PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
D U R B A N
ON 29 AUGUST 1996
[PAGES 1 - 130]
Index (Page 1)
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Case No NNN/024
R G Luthuli.......................................................... 1 - 21
2. Case No ZJ/040
B Ngobese............................................................ 22 - 31
3. Case No NN/002
Thandi Memela...................................................... 32 - 51
4. Case No MR/031
Khanyisile Ethel Ntuli.............................................. 52 - 63
Mbusi Ntuli........................................................... 63 - 70
5. Case No MM/991
Obed Mthembu....................................................... 71 - 87
6. Case No NNN/029
A Mthembu........................................................... 88 - 91
Mr Mthembu......................................................... 91 - 93
7. Case No KM/559
N D Mabele.......................................................... 94 - 100
8. Case No FS/025
E Khawunda.......................................................... 101 - 110
9. Case No ZJ/016
S M Mnguni.......................................................... 111 - 114
Index (Page 2)
I N D E X
10. Case No NN/018
Gladys Khumalo..................................................... 115 - 125
11. Case No NN/030
M Ndlovu........................................................... 126 - 130
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Luthuli, we welcome you here today. can you hear me through the earphones and understand me? MRS LUTHULI: Not through the earphones.
COMMISSIONER: Maybe it's not on the right programme. (Pause) Is that better? Can you hear me now? Can you understand me? Are you hearing anything?
MRS LUTHULI: I can hear you.
COMMISSIONER: Are you hearing my voice translated into Zulu?
MRS LUTHULI: I am speaking Zulu.
COMMISSIONER: The witness should be understanding me now in Zulu through the earphones. Okay, do you hear me now, Mrs Luthuli? Can you understand me?
MRS LUTHULI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: Good. Thank you very much. Sorry about that. You are from Umlazi township, but you have come to tell us today about experiences in Chesterville, where you were harassed and intimidated by members of the A-Team in Chesterville. Before you give that evidence I'd like to ask you to stand please to take the oath.
R G LUTHULI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Dr Magwaza will now assist you with your evidence.
DR MAGWAZA: We greet you, Mrs Luthuli. We thank you for having come here. Even before you tell us about your story could you please relate about your family. Tell us more about your family. --- I am sorry, I have got flu. We grew up in Chesterville in Umkumbane. That's where we stayed with my family. But unfortunately or fortunately I never grew up in Umkumbane. I was staying
in the rural areas with my grandparents, who later died. I had just finished my first year, and I grew up in an orphanage. I went to school at the orphanage, and later on I came back to stay in Chesterville. That is where I had got my uncle, because my father had been deceased at that time, and my mother had also been deceased. That is where we got involved with my husband, who at that time was active, and also very close to Chief Luthuli from Groutville. They were freedom fighters both of them. They were very active in fighting for human rights. At the time my uncle was not literate. He always used to encourage me to read newspapers, and he encouraged me to read for him and translate or interpret, and he would later on tell me what was meant in those newspapers. He made me somehow politically aware by reading newspapers. And at that time I realised that we were an oppressed nation and I decided that I was going to be a community helper because I was against oppression and I was against harassment.
Even before you go on further just tell us about your family. As you are staying in Umlazi together with your children how many children do you have? Where is your husband? Just give us a brief picture of your family. --- I got married to Mr Mkhize, and I was quite unfortunate because there were family fights. They were fighting for inheritances, and my husband gave me a chance to take refuge together with my baby, and I flee with my baby. At that time when I was away my husband was influenced or poisoned by his family and he died in 1975.
How many children do you have? --- I have only one child. That is Mduduzi. But now I do have a daughter
who is handicapped. I had adopted her after she was abandoned by her mother, so I have two children at this stage.
Just tell us briefly, and stick to your story to what happened. Just give us a brief history as to what happened to you. --- The most difficult part of the story started in 1981. That was in May the 1st. That was when my sister died. She died whilst staying at the rural areas, and I had to go and bury my sisters. There are no mortuaries at the rural areas, and I got a telephone call that my sister had died and I got myself transport to go home and bury my sister. I went and buried my sister. I stayed there for about a week after having buried my sister. She died on a Sunday. I am sorry, it was on a Saturday and I was told on a Sunday, and I buried my sister on a Monday. When I came back after having buried my sister I came back to Chesterville, and when I came back there was a lot of confusion, and I discovered that somebody in the family had been killed. And I went to that person's house because we used to go to church together with that family, and we were quite close, and I wanted to go and see the family.
Could you please tell us as to who died, and how did he die? What has he got to do with all this, because you say in 1985 there were many people who died, and they were being killed by the A-Team as well as the police. --- That is what I am coming to, because that's where the whole thing started. It started when this person died in 1981, and after the death there was a lot of clashes, fights, as well as a lot of confusion in the residential area, because the person who was killed was killed by
certain people who were not known. Then in 1985 there was another fight that broke out. I don't know how this fight started, but at the end of the day there was a certain bottle store, as well as a bar, which was burnt down and converted into a police station. And police were staying there, and when the police started there it's then that people started dying. The first one who died was a certain man from the Mthembu family, who was killed and was run down by a police van. And at that time the person who was in charge was Commander Visagie. After this little boy had been run over by the van we started asking ourselves as to what was happening in the community. Within a week thereafter Phumu from Road Seven, KwaZamisa died. Within a short while thereafter at Road One a Madonsela boy also died. And now this became a usual occurrence that young men died in that area. All of them were quite young.
Let me just interrupt you. Who was killing these young men? --- They were being killed by certain people. They would be surrounded or circles and they would be killed. For instance the Madonsela boy, as well as the Zamisa young man, they were attacked. Their house was surrounded, and whenever they tried to go out or escape they were shot on the spot. I wouldn't know who was actually shooting them or killing them, but police were involved, as well as certain members of the community were working hand in hand with the police.
Are you referring to the A-Team when you say some people? --- These people were working and colluding with the police, and the community named them the A-Team because the A-Team was a TV play. Whenever there was a
problem in a certain community this A-Team would be fetched to come and rescue the community and then disappear. Now they were given this name by the community because they were colluding with the police at that time. These killings went on. The young men were being killed day in and day out. At times others would receive telephone calls in the afternoon, or in the evening, and they would be threatened with death. Immediately thereafter they would be killed. I also received a similar telephone call at round about half past 11. I was sitting in the living-room and reading a certain book. Whoever was on the line said to me, "We are coming and we are going to kill Mduduzi because he does not want to join our group." Now I didn't know who was talking to me because he never wanted to introduce himself to me, but what I noticed was that his voice was that of a very young person. I told him that, "My son, what has happened between you and Mduduzi? Is there any altercation that took place?" He refuted that and he told me that as there two groups in Chesterville my son did not want to join our group, and he was probably joining the other group, and that is the reason why they wanted to kill him at that time. I told the person over the line that so many young people had died, and they died after receiving telephone calls, and I told him that, "Whenever you come to kill Mduduzi he must be the very last one to die. You must not continue this reign of terror." He sounded a bit calm and convinced, and I sort of gave him as an advice as an old person, and I found myself to be wiser than him. I told him that this group which was conducting a reign of terror was ripping the community of its right of living. I told
him not to involve himself in such killings. Luckily, up until today these people have never come to kill Mduduzi. He was at home at that time. I never woke him up to tell him that I had received such a call.
I want to try to guide you so that you come back to your statement, so you mustn't be startled when I try to restrain you. Now, you decided to form a prayer group. Tell us more about that prayer group. --- Yes, just at the midst of that confusion on a particular morning I was preparing myself to go to work and I saw a group of women, and I asked myself as to what was happening. They came to my place and I told myself that I would wait for this group of women, speak to them, and hear as to what their problem was. They came to me crying, and their plight was also my plight, because they were also worried about the youths who were dying daily. They said to me they had come so that we could devise a plan to save our children. "We are being harassed at our homes. We do not know who to turn to." I felt powerless. I did not have any ready-made plans, but I decided that I should pray to the Lord Almighty to give me strength and wisdom to be able to decide as to what we should do with the women. We prayed, and I asked them to excuse me because I was going to work, and that I would come back to them. When I came back home on that day I had got a plan. Then I took my robe and I put a pillow inside my tummy and I pretended to be a pregnant woman. I went around asking women that we should form a formal prayer group so that we pray to save our children. They responded positively, and it was on the 15th of May we went around praying with the women together with the children. We stood in the street underneath the
street light and we prayed. We prayed until dawn. At about 1.00 am we stopped praying. Somehow we had this fear, and we kept on asking ourselves as to who was next, who was going to be killed next amongst the youth? As we were still praying we felt as if the earth was shaking. When we looked up we noticed that there were cars, a lot of private cars, police cars, as well as police vans and Casspirs, which were heading to the police station, which was a little bit further up. And we asked ourselves as women what was happening. We thought maybe somebody had called the police because we had gathered, and probably they thought we were doing something out of line, but we were just praying on that particular day. We went on praying. As we were still praying under the street lights there came to Casspirs, being followed by one police van, and this police van came straight to us. We were not even able to run. We were arrested, and the soldiers also came and they cocked their guns. They formed a circle around us. We stopped praying and there was some quiet. Nobody was speaking to anyone. The police did not talk to us. We also did not talk to them. There is a certain policeman who was wearing a police uniform, and the others were wearing brown uniforms. It was cold that day. I took out my coat and I threw it right in front of the policeman, as well as my scarf and my hat. I took out everything and I was left only in my dress, and I lifted my hands and I asked as to who the leader of the soldiers was. The other one who was wearing the police uniform came forward and said he is the one. I asked him what his name was. He told me that his name was Bernard. I asked him whether he was the leader. He confirmed that. I told
him that as I have lifted my hands I am a woman, and we are all women. We are not armed. As I am indicating I do not have not even a fork. I do not have any arms, so we want to talk with the police without them pointing their guns at us. We want them to put their guns away so that we can talk freely. We started talking with Bernard, and Bernard asked us as to what we were doing that time of the night. I told him that we had come to pray, to pray to the Lord to save us as well as our sons and daughters, because there was a certain group called the A-Team which was notorious for conducting a reign of terror in that residential area. So we were praying to the Lord to answer our prayers so that this particular group can put down the arms and stop killing the people. He asked us as to whether we knew the members of this group. They said they knew the members of the group, and they said we should choose three women who would come to the police station and make a formal statement and say who these people are. I totally refused because I did not want anyone to be singled out to go and make a statement at the police station. We wanted to do this collectively as a group. We marched away as the women, following the very same police van, and we got to the police station. And the very same gentleman who was speaking to us was no longer there, and at that point we were introduced to another person totally different from the one we spoke to. We got into the police station and another policeman, a very young one, came to us, and I told him that I wanted to see Bernard. He went away, but Bernard never came back to speak to us. There was a very long chalk board. It was long, but not wide. It had a list of names, as well
as their ranks and works. That is the people who belonged to the A-Team. And one of the women said, "We must not tell them anything because the names of the people were on the blackboard." And at that time one policeman jumped over the counter to conceal the board.
Now, according to your statement you said you continued being harassed by the police up to such time that they killed your dogs because they said your dogs are giving them problems during the night. Now, relate to us at the instance at the time where you had to run to Umlazi, and they harassed you even there. --- From that day we continued to have the prayer meetings until we were joined by the women of Black Sash. We continued with these prayer meetings, and at that time I think I was singled out because I was the leader of the woman. One time when I came back from work I heard some gunshots, and I discovered the following morning that my dogs had been shot. I went to call the SPCA, and they told the SPCA that they had killed my dogs because my dogs disturbed them during their work at night. I think it was on the 4th of June when I was from work I went to a certain house and we conducted a prayer meeting. That was at Khuzwayo's place. Just before we finished praying the lights went off and children were arrested outside. We left the prayer meeting and went out to investigate. We discovered that the soldiers had arrested our children. Each and every one of them had a youth in his hand. I asked them as to what the youths had done. They left the youths alone. The youths ran away, and at that time it was dark. The lights had gone off. We decided to wake other neighbours and tell them that, "Here is an attack that has
taken place." Women started screaming and waking up the neighbours. Just as it was dark we heard there was a lot of gunshots. Luckily I was saved, I survived. There is also a friend of mine who is in this hall who was shot on that day. We ran away and went into Khuzwayo's house. Just as we were there the electricity came back, and the soldiers came an knocked. Mr Dubazana opened up the door. When they were still knocking I had made a call to the Parliament. At the time we were not represented at Parliament. There were certain members of the DP whom we used to tell that we were now being harassed. And we indicated that the police were harassing us, and I made that call and told them that we were being attacked by the police at that time. That is when they barged in and got into the house, and at that time many people were already hiding. They got inside. They got the people out. Whoever was hiding was taken out of his or her hiding place. They started searching the house and they pointed out that they were actually looking for a certain woman. There was a soldier, a white soldier, but he was speaking Zulu, and he was saying they want a certain very dangerous woman who was staying in Chesterville.
Did they ever say who the woman was? --- He never mentioned the woman's name, but I believe they did not want to mention the woman's name. But they came to me and they surrounded me. They said I looked like the one I wanted. Then I said, "I am happy. If you people could be looking for me I could be happy." But there is one who had a great suspicion that I was the one they were looking for, and he ultimately went out, and at that time i did not go back home. My sisters and I went away. I knew
that the police were searching for me, and we were on the wrong path. So we started to be on the run. We went away from our homes. My son at that time also ran away from home, and we were not seen thereafter. We only came back in 1988. We were not hiding in Umlazi. I only went back to Umlazi in 1987 when I had got a house. When I got there I told myself that all was behind me, the past belonged to the past, but on the 7th in 1990, during the night, I heard some knocks all over the windows. People were saying that they were police and that I should open up the doors. I heard that the voices that were speaking outside were white people's voices, and the knocks were noticeably violent, and I told my children to sleep so that whoever came at that time should kill us whilst we were sleeping. I told my children that we shall die inside the house defenceless, even if they may tell lies later on, but the truth will come out at the end of the day. They started throwing tear-gas canisters inside the house through the windows, and they even sprayed through the open windows, especially the bathroom window. And at that time we started suffocating, but luckily it never really affected us. Apparently it affected them. Just when I was trying to grab a towel - I wanted to protect myself, as well as my children - but it did not affect us at the end of the day. There was a two-year-old child at the time, but nothing happened to the child. They started once more threatening us that they were going to throw tear-gas canisters again. They threw in more tear-gas canisters. I said whoever was scared amongst my children must come to me. They came to me and I protected them. I started praying because I lived by prayer. They started
... (incomplete - end of side A) ... it was open. They directed us to come out. They threatened us that they were going to bomb the place and we should come out. They said it for the third time. They kept on repeating it until they climbed on top of the roof, and at that time I get very scared because the windows were broken, the doors were broken, and they were climbing on top of the roof. Everybody was scared at that time. I went out. I was in my nightdress. I went out so as for them to see that I did not have any arms. When I went out into the kitchen I heard somebody screaming that I should come out very quickly. I went out. I saw white men, as well as two black men. Just as I went out they all stood up. There were so many of them. They were surrounding my house. Some were behind the house, some were at the neighbours' places. They started pointing their torches at me, and they loaded their guns and they pointed their guns at me. I asked them as to what was left of me, because they had already broken into my house. I looked at them and I told them that they should fire, they should shoot me. I faced them in all these directions telling them that they should kill me, because I felt very annoyed at that time. But they never shot me. I saw two white people coming, and they tried to strangle me. They dragged me into the house. Just before we got into the house they said I should take everybody - or direct everybody to get out of the house. There was a two-year-old boy, my cousin's child, my sister's daughter, who had come to visit, as well as my adopted daughter. Nhlanhla was also there. He was in standard six and he was staying at my place. They pushed me inside the house, and I went on switching the
lights on because it was dark when we got into the house. They looked around, searched the house, but they never got anything. And another group came in, a very big group. I started screaming, and people started coming out, and the soldiers started running. They held me and they said to me I think that they are thieves, wasn't I aware that they were police? I told them that they were killers, they were housebreakers, they were thieves. They were harassing people. I asked them where Stanley was, because he was also a policeman and he ended up being a criminal. And at that point they did not know what to say to me. They went inside the house with me. They went in through the safety hole which was in the ceiling. They went through that and disappeared. I don't know where they disappeared to. And at that time I saw five elderly men, very old men about my age. They came, and they were boasting, and they came into my yard. Because I was very angry I grabbed one of them and asked them as to what I had done. This one was very tall, and he looked down upon me and asked me as to whether I didn't know that I was hiding terrorists in my house. I exclaimed and I started screaming and calling everybody, and I told him that, "The only terrorists that I know are you. You are the only terrorists that I know who have been terrorising my family. I have never terrorised anyone." We went into the house. They went around searching. They looked at the walls and they asked me what my name was. I asked them who were they looking for. They said I should tell them my name. I told them my name. I told them that my name was no secret, but I told them that as they had come into my house they were supposed to introduce themselves
Because we want to save time can you please summarise the whole thing. --- He gave me his card, and his name was Martin Fivaz. I also wrote his phone numbers down, and when I tried to call him I was told that that person was not known. They went into my bedroom, they pulled the drawers, they started searching. They also went into the bathroom. I got very annoyed when they went into my bathroom, because I told them that this is a very private place. They thought that I was joking. Then I sat on the seat.
Now, where did it end, where did the harassment end? --- The harassment is that they broke my windows, they broke my doors, and they destroyed my house totally. Up until today I am struggling to rebuild the house. They had taken out the doors, as well as the windows, and you know the cost involved in trying to rebuild a house. They had also taken tiles from my roof, and I had to spend a lot of money trying to re-roof my place. But I did not know who to turn to for this sort of help, and I told them that I was going to report them so that they would come and fix whatever damage that they had done. And at that time the President had just come out of Robben Island, and they told me that I should go to Mandela and Mandela was going to fix my house. That is when they went out. This is the sort of harassment that I got, because I kept on being threatened that I was going to be shot and going to be killed. I always lived in fear. I ended up losing a great deal of weight due to the fear that they used to instil in my family as well as my children. They also tormented me psychologically, and this was an ongoing
process of harassment, as well as torture. Now I want to recover the cost of refurbishing my house.
I need to clarify certain issues, as I have already indicated that we are running out of time. There are certain people whose names you have mentioned, and you said that they were harassing you. --- Msuthu Mliphe, Mpemba Mpanza, as well as - the list is quite long, and these are policemen. Bernard and Swanepoel. Do you know where they are at present, or where they are working? --- I don't know where they are working, but Swanepoel was the leader of the group that came on a particular night to attack in Chesterville. Martinus Fivaz was the leader of the soldiers who came to attack my house in Umlazi.
In which police stations were they? --- I do not know. They never told me. Even when I asked them they never wanted to tell me. They just made me a laughing stock. Swanepoel was very angry at me for having asked as to who they were.
You were really harassed at that time. Not only your family, but even the violence that was taking place against children and youths. You have counted certain houses where the youths died - Mthembu, Madonsela, as well as your friend who was shot. Where are these people now? Did they ever come to make statements here in the Truth Commission? --- My friend who was shot is present at the moment. The other one whose son was killed by Bernard ran away, and I don't know where she is now. The other ones whose sons also died I haven't seen them. I don't know whether they came to the first Truth Commission or they are still coming. I am really not certain.
You almost said as to what your wish was, or your wish is with regard to your harassment and how this changed your life. What is your expectation that you want us to be aware of? --- My biggest wish is that these people who harassed - let me just say it straight that the boers who were harassing and torturing us during their reign are still there. They are still walking freely. I wish that they could come forward and come and answer certain questions in front of the people and the community or the South Africans, and tell us whether they still want to fight and harass us, or what do they want out of us. Because I feel that in my heart I have forgiven, but I do not know what they want from us, because even until today we are still being told about things that happened in the past, that we are people of a certain calibre that they did not want to associate with. Now I want these people to come forward and tell us what they want out of us, and that we should go towards a road of reconciliation. And they should stop going around and wreaking havoc amongst black people. The costs that I incurred in trying to rebuild my house I would like to recover.
How are you feeling now at the moment? How is your health or your life? --- I still do have some fears. I still do have some anger. As a result thereof I don't go to certain funerals because I am scared. I have got so much empathy. Whenever something happens I just burst into tears because of the things that I have seen in the past. These things haven't hardened me, but they have made me very sensitive. I get panic attacks and I am always scared. I don't know whether I could attribute this to old age, but I have a lot of empathy ever since
these things started happening. I do not want to see a bad thing happening. Even when I see the Truth Commission hearings appearing on TV I don't watch because of the empathy that I have now.
Maybe you would need some psychological help, or you would need to see some social workers so that you can talk to them about your harassment. I shall pass on to the Chairman.
DR MGOJO: We are running out of time, but there are certain factors that we would like to put into perspective. At the time when you were in Umlazi you received a certain letter that was written by Zakile Malinga. Do you know who this Zakile is? --- No, I don't. It was after my house was attacked. Two policemen came into my house, two black policemen. They had a letter with them, and they told me that the letter had been written by Zakile Malinga, and he wrote it whilst he was in Swaziland, and they wanted to know what the connections were between me and Zakile. I never even allowed them to go into the house. I got very angry and annoyed, and I asked them as to what Z41 was there, but they never answered me. And I asked them as to who had opened the letter. They did not want to answer me. And I chased them away.
The politics of Chesterville are not like the others in other residential areas. In order to get an understanding you need to dig a little bit deeper. There are comrades as well as Inkatha. Now, I want you to tell me as to whether you knew the parents of the A-Team gang, and whether their parents participated in the prayer
meetings or what happened? --- We knew their parents, because Chesterville is quite small and we knew each other, but the parents of the A-Team were never involved in the prayer meetings.
Did you ever invite them to come to the prayers? --- We invited everybody to come to the prayer meeting, but some of them decided not to take part in the prayer meetings.
What about the A-Team gang, are the members still alive? --- Yes, they are, and I know them.
If we want to get them can we get them? --- I do not know where they are at the present moment, but they are still alive.
You are a very brave woman. You are very courageous, and your courage has made you survive this long harassment. We do admire you for your courage.
Mrs Luthuli, where you said you were phoned by a certain Lieutenant Lawrence. He even asked you to give him the quotation of the damage that took place in your house. Did he ever say where he was phoning from? Did you ever make the quotation? --- He said he was phoning from C R Swart. Maybe I am the one who spoilt the whole thing because of anger, because at that time I was angry. When he phoned me I told him that if he had a problem with me he could come personally or send somebody to come and kill me, and his problems would be over. Or if I heard I was a problem to his Government he might as well come and shoot me. I was really angry over the phone. I never made the quotation, because at that time I was angry and I did not trust them. I found that to be
degrading for me to take the quotation to the C R Swart.
Mrs Luthuli, good morning. I want to ask you a few questions. As Mr Lister said I am out of this area, so you must forgive me my ignorance. You said that when the trouble started you dated it back to 1981, but the prayer meetings only started in 1986. But a number of people had died in that period. Can you tell us how many people you think died during that period, number of young people? --- I am sorry I didn't a list. I had this list in my notebook. They were in the - some were in the A-Team, as well as in the other group, that is our youth, because to me I was a parent to all the children, the A-Team as well as the other group. I do have the notebook, but I do not have it with me today. They are about 21 who died during that period.
Can you please explain to us. You said earlier on that ... (inaudible) ... prayer meetings. Were you a member of the ANC? Were you also harbouring, as they said, people who were freedom fighters, or terrorists as they were called? Was it because - why was your home attacked so many times? Why were you attacked so many times? --- I could say that even in Chesterville, that is my home, in 1986 was at some stage surrounded by the soldiers because it was alleged that I was a youth leader in Chesterville. They said I was controlling the youth. I was not controlling the youth, but I was controlling the youth in my church, not the youth in the community. But I got used to all the youth due to my responsibilities in church, and I used to teach or educate the youth about the circumstances that we live in, as well as the situation in
our land, and I was taken or regarded as a freedom fighter, and I never disputed that.
Can I then ask you directly, were you an active member of any political organisation? --- That is correct. From the beginning my family was a member of the ANC before it got banned. When it got banned my family belonged to the ANC. After it got banned, when the UDF started, I was a member as well as a supporter of the UDF. I was a fully-fledged member, but I was a member who was bringing peace because I wanted to fight for the rights of the people, but at the same time not breaking the laws.
(Inaudible) ... last question. When you were talking about what you would want from the Truth Commission you said, "they" removed your tiles and "they" removed your windows. Who were these "they"? Was it the policemen, or people in the community, army? Who was it that actually took things away from your house? --- They were white soldiers who told me that they were police.
Soldiers who removed things from your property? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... in the area that soldiers had removed windows and doors and other things? --- No, I was the last one. I was the first one it happened to, and I was the last one to whom it happened.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Luthuli, thank you very much for coming into today. You have described to us some of the activities of the A-Team in Chesterville during the 1980s, and your story is very similar to stories which we have heard from people in the Free State, where we heard about
similar gangs. We heard about gangs called the Eagles and the Three Million gang, and all these gangs were set up in the same way and had the same aim, to intimidate, to harass, and to kill politically active members of the community. And the police cynically used these gangs, these surrogate forces in many parts of the country for several years. And in Chesterville, as we know, and as you have told us, many people were brutally assaulted, and more than 20 people were killed by the A-Team in Chesterville. And this evidence is important because it provides us with a background about the A-Team and how it co-operated with the police, and when we write our report at the end of our period of office your evidence will be there to tell us about the history and the activities of the A-Team. And you've also given us a very vivid description of what life was like for a politically active person in Umlazi in 1990, and this is also important for the purposes of our report.
So we thank you very much for coming in, and we wish you well as you go. We will take your requests and we will be making recommendations to the Government, and we have heard what you have asked us and we will be making recommendations to the Government as to how people like you may be assisted. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome you here today, Mrs Ngobese. Can you hear me and understand me through the earphones?
MRS NGOBESE: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: You have somebody with you on the stage. Who is that?
MRS NGOBESE: It's my daughter.
COMMISSIONER: What is your daughter's name please?
MRS NGOBESE: Molly.
COMMISSIONER: Welcome Molly, and Mrs Ngobese. You have come to tell us about the death of your son, Mxolisi, who died in 1990. Before you tell us that story can you please stand to take the oath.
B NGOBESE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Now, just before you start, Mrs Ngobese, just tell us how many children do you have? You have your daughter Molly with us today, and you son, Mxolisi, he died in 1990. Do you have other children? --- Yes, I do have other children. I have six children.
Yes, just take your time. I know it's very difficult for you to tell that story, and we understand how you are feeling. And are you living in Durban North, as you have said in your statement? Is that right? --- Yes, I am still staying there.
Are you working, Mrs Ngobese? --- Yes, I am working.
Are you a domestic worker? --- I am a domestic.
Now, you've said in your statement that in 1990 Mxolisi was schooling at Ndwedwe, is that right? --- That is correct.
How old was he then? --- I don't remember how
old he was at that time because I got confused immediately after the incident. I think he was about 21 years old, or 20.
You said in your statement he was born in 1969, and this happened in 1990, so he was ... (intervention) --- That is correct.
Now, you said that on the 9th of May he didn't come home from school. You said that he used to go to school in Ndwedwe, and then come home for weekends. Is that right? --- That is correct.
But he didn't come back from school. --- That is correct.
Tell us what happened. Can you tell us how it happened in your own words. You said in your statement you started to become worried about him. --- It was on a Wednesday, on the 9th. I was supposed to go court in Ndwedwe, and I was supposed to pass at his school, but I was not able to go to him at school, then I went straight to court. He was staying with my sister-in-law, and I was staying here in Durban, and each time I would go past his school, then on Fridays he would come back, and he had a temporary job that he did on Saturday as well as Sunday, and then he would come back home and leave on Monday for school. So that was routine, that's what he used to do. He used to come back on Friday. I went to Ndwedwe on that particular day, and I came back home without going to him at school. And then on Thursday I went back to work, and when I came back from work I was told that two males had come from Ndwedwe. They were the Mthembu males, and they gave them cool drink as well as biscuits. I went to pay them money because they had taken these things on credit.
On Friday I said they must go fetch his reference book. They went to fetch his reference book at Ntuzuma. When I came back on Friday I said they should show me his ID even before he came back, and each time I come back on Friday I would get him at home. Just as I opened his reference book I heard a voice that said, "The owner of this reference book is no longer alive."
(Inaudible) ... that you are too upset. Just take a few minutes to recover. We know it must be very difficult for you now. (Pause) Then I told my other children to close the ID and put it away, and I asked them whether he had come. They said no, he had not yet come. And it was quite a surprise because it was the first time that he hadn't come home, because it was late already. And I kept on talking to myself, wondering as to what had happened. I slept, and we woke up the following morning and I went to my relative's place where my father's sister had died, and I asked my sister-in-law as to where my son was. She told me that he had gone on Wednesday, and she thought that I had taken my child. Then I said to my sister-in-law probably my child was dead, because if he went away on a Wednesday, and by Saturday he was not yet at home, there could be something wrong that had taken place. I came back to Durban and I told my neighbours as to what had happened. Then on Sunday my neighbours accompanied me. We went around looking. I didn't even know where to go. My sister-in-law at that time had earlier told me at the funeral that my son had received a letter from certain males who were staying at Amawoti, and these youths were comrades, and he had been called by these youths. We went around looking for him at
hospitals as well as mortuaries. We went around explaining, but we did not seem to be accepted. I think the corpse was there, but the way we described him probably led to some confusion or misunderstanding. We went back without finding him on that particular day. Then on Monday my husband's relatives came. They said they wanted to help me look for my son. We went to school where he was schooling. We were told that he had gone to Amawoti together with that group of people who were comrades, because there were a lot of comrades at that time, as well as Inkatha members, who went around burning people's houses. We went around looking for him. We even stayed at Ndwedwe without getting any help. We went back home on that particular day, and we were doing this up and down looking for him. Then on Tuesday we went to Verulam and we tried to get some clue as to where he could possibly be, because we were told that he had gone to Amawoti, but nobody was prepared to volunteer any information to us. We searched for him until the afternoon on that particular day, until we reached a resolution that we should go ask some soldiers to help us look for him. Then on a Wednesday morning we went to the soldiers. They accompanied us. We went to Amawoti together with my other daughter. My daughter went with the soldiers. I was left at that place called Entabeni. At about 1 o'clock during the day they got a telephone call - the police station got a telephone call from Amawoti that they should come and collect a corpse. The policemen from Entabeni told us that they had received information that there was a corpse at Amawoti, and we should go and identify the corpse. We followed the police
car together with my brother's child. When we got to the police station we saw the corpse, but it was not my son's corpse. We reported this matter to the police station that we were also looking for a corpse, and we described my son, and that we had suspicions that he had died in Amawoti. The policeman I was speaking to said there is a corpse that was discovered on a Thursday morning, but they were not the ones who took the corpse. The corpse was taken by the Phoenix police, so we should go to Phoenix to investigate. We went to Phoenix, and we were given the number of the corpse, and we went back to Verulam with the number. And when we got to Verulam we identified him, but it was difficult for me to identify him because he was swollen all over the body. I was relieved to see the corpse because I wanted to buy my son. I wanted to give back to God whatever he had given to me. I was relieved, and I waited for the funeral and I ultimately buried him. After the burial I was never quite the same because my son was the apple of my eye, and he was the most understanding child amongst my other children. He was quite different from them. Then I started getting heart problems. My heart started getting sore, and I now recalled that there were certain youths who came who were bought cold drink, and I thought probably the two youths who had come had killed my son, because I don't know what they wanted in my house. Even today I still tell myself that they were not the only ones. Probably it was a group, and the two were sent to come and look for my son. And what pains me even more is the fact that my children tried to entertain them by buying them cool drink and biscuits, only to find they were the ones who were looking for my son. And whenever
I saw schoolchildren, especially wearing their uniform, I couldn't bear to look at them, because when my son died at that age he was still at school. And each time I went past a certain place called Bester I usually saw my son crossing the street, proceeding to school. Even though he was not there, but he was in my imagination. Even after I had counted years, and told myself that by now he should have probably finished his matric, he could be working and he could be helping me, and I keep on counting years and imagining the things that he would be doing for me if he was alive. Because he was my only hope. He was very constructive as a child. He showed some signs that he cared so much for me as a parent, because even when he was holding this temporary job he used the money to help with the household expenses. He would give me the money and I would give him some pocket money, and we would use the other money for the other children. So I knew deep down inside my heard that at the end of the day he would be the one amongst the other children who would help me. And I took him as the breadwinner who would take care of his sisters as well as other brothers. Now this troubles me so much
Was your son a member of any political organisation? Was he active politically as far as you know? --- I don't know anything that involves him in politics, because even if he did want to join he never had a chance because he was so busy. Each time he came back home he would do the house chores and he would help his father. And thereafter he would go back to school, and on Saturdays and Sundays he had this temporary job. So there would probably be no time for him to be involved in any
political activity even if he was interested. I do not really think - he had time for that.
Now, you've said in your statement that Ndwedwe was an IFP area, is that correct? --- That is correct.
Do you think that because he was seen coming from that area that he was possibly identified as a supporter of the IFP? Is that right? --- It could be possible, but I don't think it is like that because I am staying with ANC people. But they do not behave in the fashion that Inkatha behaved. They knew where he was coming from, and at that place it was an ANC stronghold where I was staying.
And after his death did you ever find out who had killed him, how he had died, why he died? Did you ever find out anything about it? Are you any the wiser as to ... (incomplete) --- I never got any information, because I never asked anyone and nobody volunteered any information, so I cannot say who killed my son. I don't even know why they killed him. There was even no case thereafter.
Does the death certificate how he died? --- Yes, it does. They say he was stabbed on the neck and his jugular vein was severed.
You said that his body was found at the Phoenix Police Station. Was there never a ... (intervention) --- Yes, it was taken by the Phoenix police and taken to Verulam.
Was there never a case, an inquest at the Verulam Magistrate's Court that you know about? Were you ever called to go to any sort of court case about your son's death? --- There was a day when I came in the
afternoon and I was told that a certain policeman had come and said I should go to the police station, but I never went there because I was working. And he could not come and tell me in the evening that he wanted to see me the following day if that was a case, and there never came back anybody to tell me anything.
Which police station did he tell you to go to? We would like to ... (intervention) --- They said I should go to Verulam Court.
And where was your son buried, Mr Ngobese? --- He was buried in Ndwedwe, the rural areas.
I'll ask the other members of the panel if they want to ask any questions.
DR MAGWAZA: Mrs Ngobese, I wish to get a whole picture as to what was happening in Ndwedwe at that particular time. You have already told us that some of the youths had already run away to stay at Amawoti. Is there anything you know about clashes that existed? --- Yes, there were certain clashes that took place, and certain youths had been killed in Ndwedwe.
Who was fighting? --- It was the political organisations that were fighting.
At the time of those fights were there any youths or students just like your son who were killed that you know of? --- I do not know of any personally, except that some were neighbours' children who had died, but some were not attending school, they were just youths.
How did you get to know that these were the people who killed your son? --- There's another one that I saw at Verulam who was born at the same place where we
were staying, and when I asked him he laughed at me. And at the time when he laughed at me I wasn't alone, and when we got home we discussed this matter that we had seen one who was staying at Amawoti, and who said he knew my son, and had he seen him he would have told me. And certain males that I was staying with in Durban went to fetch him from Verulam, and he explained, and he had a certain piece of paper from which he was reading as he was explaining. Was he explaining to you? --- Yes, he was explaining, and these youths were there. He was telling us as to how my son died.
Even though the case never took place did you know about the people who killed your son? --- Yes, I did.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... to the previous witness, Mrs Ndlovu. We've heard so many mothers like yourself and like her telling stories about the death of their children, and, having seen how people like you and other mothers have suffered, it's correct to say that they are -you are as much a victim as the children you have told us about, whether they killed or whether they were assaulted, because you have to live for the memories for years and years afterwards. The process that you have described to us of going from hospital to hospital, and then from mortuary to mortuary, must be a terrible thing for a parent to do, and it is something that we have heard all over this country from witnesses like yourself. It seems that you are not sure as to who - as to why your son died. There's some suggestion in your statement that because he came from an IFP stronghold in Ndwedwe that he may have been killed by people in Amawoti, which was an ANC area,
and if this is the case then it's another indication of the terrible political intolerance that we have lived with in this country.
We are very glad that you could have been here today with your daughter, Molly, is Mxolisi's sister, and we hope that you were able to give each other some comfort here today on the stage. We will - as part of our job we will be making recommendations to the Government and the State President as to how people like you can be assisted, and if there are any specific requests that you want to make to the Truth Commission we will consider them and pass them on to the Government as part of our recommendations. We thank you very much for coming in and having the courage to tell us your story today. Thank you very much. Is there anything more that you want to say? --- My request is - whenever I am sitting and thinking when a person dies there is some compensation that that person gets. Now I don't know what I can request from the Commission, because when my son died he was not working as yet, and whenever I see other children working for their parents I always feel that if my son was alive he could be working for me.
Yes, we understand that. Thank you very much for coming in, and to Molly as well.
COMMISSIONER: We greet you. At last you have had a chance to come to the Truth Commission to tell your story. We know that you've been waiting for a long time. You, like other witnesses who have given evidence today, are from Chesterville, and you, like many other witnesses, have come to tell about the death of your child, your son, Thabani. Before you tell us that story can you stand and take the oath?
THANDI MEMELA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mrs Memela. Dr Mgojo will assist you.
DR MGOJO: How are you, Thandi? I am glad to see you here to ventilate and tell us what you have gone through. Thandi, I will be very glad if you would give us a picture of your family, that who are you, and how many are you? --- I am the first one, and I have another six brothers and sisters, five brothers and one sister.
What I am saying in - with your children. Not your sisters or brothers, but your children. --- All right. I am the single parent. I have three children, and my first one is a son, who is doing his last year in psychology, and I have a boy and a girl. And Thabani is the one who is late, and one girl who is right here present by the name of Gugu. And also I have a boy who will turn 16 on the 3rd of November.
Do you still have children who are attending school? --- Yes. The younger one is in standard seven.
You said the other one is doing what? --- The girl has completed matric, she hasn't got a job, and the elder boy is doing his last year in psychology.
Where? --- He is studying with Unisa. Because he was at Natal doing chemical engineering until he dropped out because they were looking for me. He was harassed.
Who was harassing him? --- He was harassed by Andy Taylor, Nyeza, Ntombela, and others.
They were harassing him whilst he was attending school? --- Yes.
Until he left school? --- Yes, he had to leave school as a result of this harassment.
Did you ever report this matter to the police or somewhere, that your child had to leave school? --- Each time they will take me I would ask, "Why wouldn't you deal with me and leave my children and my family alone, and concentrate on me?"
What did they say? --- No one doesn't know in this country, because then - that then we are not being listened to. Instead if you say something that will worsen the situation.
I will talk more later. --- That's fine.
Are you working? --- Yes, I still have a part-time, but I never used to work before. I just have a part-time now.
Are you paying for the children at school? --- Yes.
The other one who left after standard 10, is it because of the financial problems? --- Yes, it's because of the financial problems.
We'll come back to that later. Thandi, relate to us - it looks like at your place the one who was most harassed was you since 1981. Just start there. Begin
there and relate to us. --- Around 1981 the Special Branch was following me all the time, believing that I had weapons, and also giving way to the children of the country to escape South Africa to go outside of the country, and I had terrorists in my house.
Which organisation was that? --- UDF.
They used to say you recruit? --- Yes, that's what they used to say, that I am recruiting, meaning I was the one in charge of getting children out and in the country, escaping.
Did you know that? --- Yes, I knew it.
So you do admit that what they were saying it's true, and you were doing that? --- Yes, I used to do that. I will import weapons inside and outside the country, but I refuted all that each time they asked me.
So they harassed you because of that job of what you were doing, and what happened? --- Yes, it went on up to the time where Chesterville was surrounded by an army. When this started there were many people who were harassed, tortured. Some even died.
As a result of torture and harassment? --- Yes.
Who was doing this? --- At the time the soldiers were doing this. It went on until it was discovered that one of the high school - there's some rumour, and the students already had started to fight for their rights for education.
Did they have their own organisation or something? --- Well, they were youths, a group of youths, at the same time being members of the UDF.
What was the name of this organisation? --- It was Khozas, and that was the beginning of Khozas.
So the children were called Khozas who were harassed. Who were harassing those children? --- The teachers were harassing the children, and also recruited other students, and the A-Team began.
Before you go on just wait there. The teachers were harassing students at Chesterville High School. Who was the principal? --- The principal was Agrippa Penser Xebexulu. His assistant was Teacher Hani, who was transferred from the Transvaal to Natal.
Those teachers are still around? --- Yes.
Are they still at Chesterville? --- Penser is on pension. No. Hani ended up being an inspector of schools.
Were those teachers affiliated to any of the organisations perhaps? --- I would request not to say anything, not to disclose any information now. So the police or soldiers got permission from the teachers to enter the school.
Were the teachers aware that there were soldiers on campus, harassing the children? --- Well, I wouldn't know, but every parent believed that. The community believed that the teachers knew the presence of the army on campus.
And the children who were harassed at school were harassed by the police and the Special Branch? --- Yes.
Go on. In 1983 where did Thabani go to? --- Let me say before 1983 there was a time when one bottle store was burned.
What year was that? Do you still remember? --- I think it was beginning of '83, end of 1982. Towards the
end of 1982. Ntombela of the Special Branch came, and other policemen of C R Swart. Zawuzi was there, coming from Mayville.
Who is Zawuzi? Is that the police? --- Yes, and Ntombela is a Special Branch. And many others. They came with a group of boys and they knocked at my place. I asked who was that, because it was 12 midnight. He shouted Zawuzi, and said, "You, Thandi, open. We know that you are so stubborn. Just open the door." I asked, "Why should I open?" They said, "We are looking for your boy, the one you are working with. We have his friends with us here outside." When I got out I found out that there were many boys - from the neighbours, Mabaso, Thipe, Nxumalo, and others from Road Three. I asked, because I saw they were bleeding, "What's happening?" They said, "We are being assaulted. They were asking where are the weapons, the guns."
Were those children still attending school? --- Yes, those boys were still attending school. I said, "Yes, I know that, Zawuzi, when you are here should anything happen or occur to these children you must know that you and I will be faced with each other at the court of law." He said, "Well, let's hope that you will be still alive then." I said, "Yes, I am still alive." Most unfortunately I am still alive and he has died.
Why did you pick on Zawuzi? --- Because he was in front.
Go on. --- Well, they took the kids with and they left.
And yours? --- Yes, and mine. They came back the following day, and I had to go to work. I was then
working for Dr Malahlela at Clermont surgery. Just before I got out I saw the boys approaching, coming, and they were bleeding, swollen, and so on. I said, "Gugu, please take care of this. I have a medical kit in the house. And after that get some money and take them to the hospital," and I went to work. They called me and they said the police again came back and fetched all of them, and I asked, "Where did they take them?" He said - he told me that they were taken to C R Swart. This was in 1983. And I tried all I could to get in touch with Daya Pillay, the attorney. I reported the whole matter to him. He said he will follow and see what to do, and also he called me back and said they were released, they were back home.
Here at C R Swart who is the head at the station, police station? --- I will say the head was Andy Taylor, because he was the one who was always in front. After that this thing became a routine, you know the children to be taken, and to be assaulted, and to be brought back home, up until the day when one day Thabani was at school.
Did you report this to the Department of Education, because these are schoolchildren we are talking about? --- Mr Mgojo, that's very true what you are saying. That's your opinion. I should have done that, but you know very well that the procedure in the country then would fail every effort I will take.
So in all the Department of Education and Training did not get to know about this? --- I don't know if they knew or were aware about this. I did not know whether they know about this or were aware. Well, we
gathered as parents from different locations and see what we could do in light of this problem. But still the soldiers intervened, so it was confusion. It went on up to the time when I was going to the market on Saturday. I heard that Thabani was fighting the Pemba Mpanza.
Themba Mpanza? --- No, Pemba Mpanza. When they were fighting I do not know who defeated the other, but what I know is that Mpanza's mum did come to attack my place.
Pemba was at school? --- Yes, they were both at school.
So the family came to Chesterville. Which road? --- The Mpanzas are in Road 13 and we are in Road 12. There were vulgar words that were uttered, and also threats. And I asked her, "Why should we intervene as parents, because these are children.? Why should we get into the whole thing?" Well, I took an initiative, I went to the place, and I found out that these people who are here are so rude, and I asked, "Is your father here, and your mum here?" They said, "Yes." During that time Mrs Khanyile came, who was the teacher at Chesterville High School. I think she is the one who instigated this whole thing. Children used to ask, "How can we be taught by this?"
Are you talking about Mrs Khanyile here, or who? --- Yes. The husband was a teacher, Impiwane. Impiwane was the husband. The wife was already there, but Impiwane was already late then. He had died. Unfortunately he died at Mzisi's funeral, Lamontville.
Was he sick or something? --- No, he was killed by children.
You're talking about Impiwane. What is his other name? Oh, it's okay, it's fine. Let's go on. --- Mrs Impiwane said, "There is nothing you can talk to Thandi, Mrs Mpanza, because the situation is in this condition because of her. You see, Mrs Memela is the one who is provoking the situation in the location." We had altercations. We were quarrelling and in a heavy argument, and finally the others said, "Just get out, you bitch, or else I will stab you." I said, "Don't call me bitch, and you won't stab me." The said, "We will see where you will stay." I said, "I will be here in Chesterville," and I am still in Chesterville.
What about Thabani? --- Thabani was not at home then. I left. I went to work on Monday. As I was at work the telephone rang, and I heard that Dan Mthembu and Darky Mbongwa and other members of A-Team were there attacking Thabani, and they had stabbed him.
What year was that? 1983? --- Yes. Darky was the one who stabbed Thabani. He was given the knife by Dan Mthembu, the okapi. I said, "Where is he now?" They said he was taken already. The ambulance could not enter the location because the children were all over blocking the traffic. I said to the kids, "Tell Thabani to go, to find a way out and go to the hospital, and when he gets to the hospital please he should call me." I had reported this to my employer, Dr Malahlela, and he asked, "What will you do?" I said, "No, the community people are there. They will see a way out, but I will continue this day." When I got back home the police were all over, already waiting for me. Myeza was ready for me right on the entrance, and so sure that they were arresting me. I
said to them, "I will ask for the warrant of arrest." They said, "Don't tell us about our work." I said, "That's what I want." I went inside the house and closed the door. They left. After some time the situation got worse, and Thabani said, "Mum, I am going."
Was Thabani better now, or what? Where did he go? --- No, Thabani left the country. He went through Maputo, and others followed. After that Phumuza Dlamisa came to tell me that, "Mrs Thandi, please be alert because they are conspiring." I said, "Oh well, it's fine. If I die, I die. They will see what to do." At that time that's when many kids, children were being killed. I think what made the situation to get worse it's because I was so much in touch and close the community of Chesterville. A child who was 14 years old, one of those who were killed, seven of them, and one of those who were killed had no parents to bury him or her. The father was injured and died from being assaulted by the police, and we had to put our heads together and see how we would bury this child who was an orphan. And the community agreed and said I should stand as a mother and represent her mother. I went to her place, and it was badly situated because it was at the corner of Road Eight and Road 11, and those places were ruled by A-Team, and they were predominantly A-Team.
Is it true that you would be taken by the police to C R Swart? Was that routine? Did that become some routine or something? --- Yes.
And Allan Taylor was deeply involved? --- Yes, Allan Taylor was.
Tell us about 1981 when you were taken from the
surgery. --- It was 1985. I was busy on duty. I was on duty attending to one of the patients after giving her treatment. Suddenly I saw the curtain opening, and when I tried to see and look what was happening I saw this guy facing at me, and this guy was a white man, a boer, who said he was coming from Carolina. I said to them, "Please get out because I am still busy with a patient in here." They said, "No, we have already spoken to the doctor." They said, "We are not going out." I went to the doctor, I told the doctor that, "The police are here, telling me that they are here to fetch me," and the doctor said, "You know the whole surgery is surrounded by the police. Better you should go with them." I left the surgery, and the patients were there wondering as to what was happening. When I got out I saw seven cars, Cressidas, and 11 vans. Some were coming from Dabeka. I was taken and I was told I should go into Allan Taylor's car, which was the third one. At the back there were two boers, who were pointing their guns direct to me. In the car I had already seen Ntombela, and in another one there was Myeza. We went back to C R Swart. I was taken by Taylor, and he took me into a small room, and the walls were in blood, red. That's where he told me that, "This is the end of the world for you today." I am quoting him now. That's what he said. "This is where I killed Ndluli, and I am going to kill you as well." I said ... (intervention)
Who is Ndluli? From Lamontville? --- Yes, Ndluli from Lamontville. And they left and they were playing their tapes, and those tapes were playing songs of - freedom songs. They asked me, "Do you know those songs?" I said, "Yes." They asked, "Who are the
"singers?" I said, "ANC." They asked me, "Who are you?" I said, "Anything you want me to me I am that." I remember suffering from flu that day, and when he was giving me some treatment I said, "No. Maybe you will give me some poison. I don't want any treatment, any pills from you." They took me out to the office and they said I must give a statement. During the time when he was asking me to give him this statement I picked up the telephone, I called the attorney to tell them.
Who was your attorney? --- Daya Pillay. It didn't take long, I heard he was already there, and he was released. But it did not end.
What did they want from you? --- They said I should give the statement and say I am importing the weapons, and these are the weapons which are killing the people, and I am harassing the community. And I said, "I don't harass any community, but if anything should happen I will try by all means to protect myself."
And after that you left the whole thing. You said, "The things are bad," and you left Chesterville? --- No, I did not leave Chesterville. I did not have work after that, and shortly after that my house was burned.
Do you know who burnt your house? --- I know very well. It was the A-Team, Dan Mthembu and the Ntombeni family, and the Mpanza family, and the boy from Xebexulu, Xebexulu's boy, and many others, and the Isaacs. I won't forget those, Mouser and Bupini.
When they were burning the house where were you? --- I was at home. It was half past 11 at night. I was inside the house. I remember quite well, because I was watching the soap. When I switched off the light I just
heard some noise. The windows were sort of breaking, and I could smell petrol, and I said to the kids, "Wake up," and to my sister and my brothers I said, "Wake up." And Gugu, who was sleeping on the sofa, I saw the blanket in fire. I said, "No, my child cannot burn in front of me. I had to pull my child. She jumped and took off quickly her clothes. Fortunately she did not get burned. The house was on fire, in flames, and it was burning. I went quickly to the kitchen as I have already said that - I told myself, "I will die if it calls for dying." I had a big pot with boiling water in the kitchen, and my eldest son - I said to my son, "Break the kitchen window," and I saw Xebexulu's boy standing there, and Mpanza's boy there, and I just poured the boiling water through the window. They ran.
You poured them with boiling water? --- Yes, I did. When the others came they were trying to come to the kitchen. They tried to set the ... (incomplete - end of side A) ... so foolish, because when you throw the petrol bomb at one other, setting it in fire, the flames will come towards you, and that's how they were burning. Now they ran towards Road 13. And the house was in fire, and the police suddenly came, and they said to me, "Get the weapons, the guns out now." I asked them, "Which guns are you talking about?" They opened up, put the dogs to get inside the premises. I was standing outside. I saw Dan taking out a black plastic that he had on.
Who is Dan? --- Dan Mthembu, who was a neighbour. I am thankful, because usually neighbours do have differences, but my neighbours were so supportive that they tried to put on their - to irrigate and try to
extinguish the fire.
Those who burned your house, those people who burned the house, are they still alive, or what? --- Xebexulu's son is around. He is staying somewhere in the area. And Mbongo is somewhere in Umlazi. Mouser is in Westville Gaol as I am talking. Bupini is in Umlazi at AA. Mhluthu Mliphe could be in Ulundi, because he joined ZP subsequently. Others are teachers.
Are they still teaching? --- Yes, they are still teaching. Dan Mthembu is with Old Mutual. Pemba Mpanza is with SAP.
Where is Ntombela? --- Ntombela is a Special Branch, and I don't know his whereabouts.
Is he still working? --- Yes, he is still working. Myeza is around, and Taylor is also alive.
Well, we'll come back to you as soon as we want those people. After your child left the country according to you statement you say after some time you heard that he was shot and died. Where was your child shot? --- You see I was also harassed as one already have said, witnessed that I was shot at Chesterville. I left a three-year-old and I was all over trying to escape the situation, because even people were saying that, "You should be alert and see if you can a place of refuge." I had to come back because there's something I wanted to do. I wanted to cancel my bank account so my family could get some money to survive. I went to Johannesburg, Gauteng. It was now during the news time. I heard that there were four people who were shooting with the police at Quarry Road, and one of those was a trained terrorist. I therefore said, "This sounds like this is my child," and
I contacted a few people in Durban, and they told me, they said, "Yes, that is Thabani."
So he was shot in Durban? --- Yes.
Oh, so he was back now? --- Apparently. I got back and tried to get in touch with the family, and they said after the news Andy Taylor kicked the front door and was shouting for Thandi to get out, and they said Thandi was not there, but my sister went to the door and answered him and said, "Thandi is not here." And he showed my sister the photos of Thabani, and Thabani was in blood, was bleeding at the time. And they said, "If she does not come forward I am also going to kill her as I killed her son."
Is that Andy Taylor? --- Yes.
Andy Taylor is still alive. Is he at C R Swart? --- Yes.
Now, I hear you saying you could not bury your child. Is that true? --- Yes, that's true.
Do you know where he was buried? --- Yes, in Chesterville.
The relatives - did the relatives bury him? --- He was buried by the soldiers, and they said they were not going to release his corpse. When I went to the Government mortuary, along with other women of Chesterville, I was taken by car. When I got there I found out that the person I was supposed to talk to was Msimanga, who was a Special Branch from Lamontville, and I also saw others who were working at C R Swart. I asked, "Why wouldn't you release the corpse?" He said, "There was no one who came to claim and identify the corpse." I said, "But that's not true, because the sister - his
sister did come with my elder brother, and they signed the
form to acknowledge that they knew the corpse," and he gave me a form to sign and I signed the form, the identification form, and I hold onto it. I said, "I would like to see the corpse." He said, "But there's no key to the room. Taylor has the key, and he is in C R Swart." I handed over the form finally, and I said, "Okay, go and call Taylor." And I told the other women that I was with, I told them to go back to the car. I know from C R Swart to where we are it's about 10 minutes. I will go even if I did not see my son.
So you never saw your son? --- Yes, until he was buried. I asked the central if there were any means they could make so I could come at half past three in the morning to see the corpse. When we came and approached the central I looked on the other side. I saw them sleeping, and the guns were there. I told these women, "Let's go back. I'll try to tell myself that I cannot get to see my son."
Is it true that after the funeral they used to come visiting you a lot, and harassing you? --- Yes, it's true. I already had a way of contacting my relatives, because after Thabani's funeral - just before his funeral, when they had come to kill the boys at Road 16, those who killed the boys came to my place where Shasha was, and Nofomela, and others. The girl came and showed them the magazine of 9mms. Luckily at that time I was not at home, but they continued harassing us, to such an extent that my daughter on another day was accosted by certain boers. They were driving a certain car with the Transvaal registration. They asked her as to what type of socks I
wear, and what type of perfume that I use, and where could
they possibly get me. Gugu at that time ran away, and she was no longer staying at home. There is nobody at home who did not get harassed, up until such time that I felt that we were helped by Mr Mandela, though we don't know how liberated are we.
We thank you very much for having related this story. You have also got a good recollection of the people who harassed you. You have come to the Truth Commission, what are your expectations of the Truth Commission? --- I will just say that I want to request the Truth Commission to investigate the A-Team and try to find out as to in reality who were behind the A-Team, who were sending them to conduct this reign of terror, because they were youths, so there was somebody behind the A-Team. And I want to know what they were promised for conducting a reign of terror. I even wrote to the Attorney-General, the then Transvaal Attorney-General, the one who was saddled with the duty of investigating the third force. He replied to my letter and told me that he will conduct an investigation, and he will come back to me, and according to my own investigation, when I followed de Kock's case, de Kock did admit that he had something to do with the death of my child. Nokkie also admitted that he was given certain weapons at Vlakplaas so that he could come and plant them with the four corpses so that there would be a suspicion that they had come to kill people in Durban. Andy Taylor was the spearhead of the Vlakplaas unit in Natal. Now I want to put it to the Truth Commission that I know that you do not have a lengthy opportunity or much time. I want an investigation to be
conducted insofar as the Attorney-General of the
Transvaal is concerned, that there are so many atrocities that had been committed, but nobody had been brought before the law. Justice was not done. And I want an inquest to be re-conducted with regard to the death of my son, because Andy Botha did admit that they had to kill my son.
Did you ever get a death certificate? --- I got it recently because I went to demand it.
We thank you very much for having come before this Commission. Our job is to pass these recommendations or requests to the State President in consultation with Parliament. He is the one who will give the final decision as to how to help victims like you. We are very disappointed and dismayed to hear that there are such things which have been happening in Chesterville which certain people were not aware of, because these things have affected the community and divided it into two.
DR RANDERA: Mrs Memela, I just want to make two comments first before I ask my question. The one is that it must feel very good - and I say this because earlier on you said you don't know how liberated we are, but it must feel very good to be able to stand here today and to be able to openly say, you know, "I was helping people to leave the country in order to fight for the liberation of our country." My second comment is really related to your statement, and perhaps you can also comment on it, and that is to say that, you know, you have told us so many things today which doesn't appear in your statement, and yet of course it would help us - this is going to go onto
our records what you have spoken today, but there are many
other people who are also probably doing the same as you are doing, and we won't have the benefit of the oral history that you're giving us today, and I just want to know why people still feel that they don't have to give the full statement when they're speaking to our statement-takers. My question comes back to this period we're talking about, and you were intimately involved at that time. We are told that between 1980 and 1993 that 35 000 people died in our country. We are also told that 1978 to 1990 was a period of reform in our country, and we also know that part of that period of reform, and extension which went before already, was the homeland structure that was in existence already. I would value your opinion actually as to what you felt, why you actually in a sense rejected on the one side this period of reform that people talk about, and at the same time rejected, it seems, the homeland structure that we know existed in this part of the country. Although not accepted as an independent state, but nonetheless there was a Legislature, people were allowed to vote for that Legislature in other parts of the country, people recognised these independent structures. I wonder if you would be willing to actually comment on that? --- Should I answer in Zulu? (Speaking English) Dr Faizal, were you in South Africa at that time? We were not free, we were slaves at that time. We were oppressed. Our children were deprived of proper education. We were forced to take a certain type of education which was not going to equip our children in future. The homelands that you are talking about were some of the ways in which to oppress the black nation
completely. If you tried to show that you were against or
opposed to oppression you were a dog that deserved to be killed. Some of us decided to try and fight for freedom, as well as the rights of the people. We taught our children about our history, our history of oppression. This new phase of reform, which indicates that there's something that has changed, or there are certain things that have changed, there is absolutely nothing called reform. We were even more oppressed than before. To me reform is a myth. It is just a dream that never came true. That is why we tried and devised means so that we can be liberated, so that Africa can come back to its owners so that we can be really liberated. I don't know whether I have answered your question for you.
DR MAGWAZA: We have run out of time, but I do realise that if I fail to say this to you I would have failed myself as well. We were with Mrs Luthuli from Chesterville, and now we are with you. Both of you are women, and you were harassed. We usually get males who were harassed, but today we have come across women who were harassed whilst trying to fight for the rights of their children. You make us proud as the womenfolk up until today. You and Mrs Luthuli, today you are winners for us all. We thank you very much.
MR LAX: Thank you, chairperson. Mrs Memela, just one factual question. What we don't have is the date round about when your son was killed. If you could just assist us with the date round about when your son was killed. Unfortunately we don't have it on the record. --- It
was the 7th day of the ninth month in 1986.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Memela, we thank you very, very much for coming to speak to us today. You were a political activist for many years in Chesterville, and because of this, and because of your son Thabani's activities, you were continually harassed by the police. You were frequently detained for questioning, your house was set alight, and tragically in the end your son died. The policeman who instigated much of this reign of terror against you was a very powerful person, and for many years held a senior position in the Security Branch in Durban. His name, as you have told us and as we know, is Andy Taylor, and he is presently facing charges of murder for the death of Griffiths Mxenge. This is the calibre of policemen that the regime used to intimidate and harass courageous people like yourself. You have provided us with a valuable commentary on those years in Chesterville, and we are grateful for that. And as Dr Randira says, that your commentary will find its way into our reports, and it would be so much more valuable if many of the other people who came and gave statements to the Truth Commission could give the sort of background that you have provided to us, rather than just telling us about the specific incident that they were involved in.
So we thank you again very much for coming forward, and we certainly are investigating the A-Team in Chesterville, as you have requested us to do so. We have already started investigations into the A-Team, and we hope that at the end of the day we can come up with some coherent answers as to why this organisation existed and who was responsible for its existence. Thank you very much for coming here today.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Ntuli, are you Khanyisile Ethel Ntuli? Can you hear me, Mrs Ntuli?
MRS NTULI: Yes, I do hear you.
COMMISSIONER: Are you Khanyisile Ethel Ntuli?
MRS NTULI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: And you have with you on the stage?
MR NTULI: It's my son, Mbusi.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome you both here today. You are from Umbumbulu, and you have come ... (intervention)
MRS NTULI: No.
COMMISSIONER: Where are you from?
MRS NTULI: I am destitute. I don't have a place to stay.
COMMISSIONER: You and your son have come to talk about some of the events which led up to the massacre in KwaMakutha, where you lost your husband and your three daughters and grandchildren. Before you tell us about that tragic story can you please stand to take the oath. Will you both be giving evidence today, yourself and your Mbusi?
MRS NTULI: Yes.
KHANYISILE ETHEL NTULI and MBUSI NTULI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Lax will help you with your evidence. MR LAX: Good afternoon Mrs Ntuli, and good afternoon to you, Mbusi. --- Good afternoon to you.
Mbusi, if you need to you could wear these headphones. They will help with the translation into Zulu. --- No, no ... (inaudible)
I understand that, but if you will talk in Zulu so
that the people present can hear, so that those that don't understand English will hear the Zulu, and those that don't understand Zulu will at least hear the translation in English, so that way we can have as many people to understand as possible. Before we move on to the story of the tragic events which you will be telling us about, which include both of you personally and members of your family, could you briefly for us just tell us how your family was made up, how many people, and how many children you have had, and so on. --- I had seven children.
You were married to the late Willie Ntuli, is that correct? --- That's correct.
Could you assist us by just, if you know, giving us your husband's date of birth at all? --- I think he was born in 1924.
Thank you, that's very helpful. Now, your family lived at KwaMakutha, is that correct? --- That's correct.
And your husband was a church minister. --- Yes, that's correct, but I would like to say something before we go on. Unfortunately today I won't relate the story because I did not see my attorney, but what I would like to continue and tell you about is what took place before -after the attack.
When you say after the attack, you want to talk about the harassment of your family after that attack? --- After the attack there were many things occurred and that took place and transpired. First of all what hurt me and what was most painful to me, I lost hope in our law, in the court of law. The mayor came and said the police will come and secure us. They mayor left for
Amanzimtoti, and when he came back he said the station commander of Amanzimtoti said I should come in person to him. I asked and said, "What will I do and say, because there are police there, and the police will ask as to who I am and why I am looking for him? He does not know me, I don't know him either. I don't even know his office." Victor took me with to Durban. Although I don't remember quite well as to who we spoke to, but I know very well it was a white man. He explained and gave me a report, a letter to take to Amanzimtoti. I went to give the police at Amanzimtoti that letter, and I was taken to the station commander's office.
The white man you went to see, was that a lawyer who gave you the letter? --- I think so today. Then I did not know, but today I am convinced that was an attorney.
You may proceed. --- We got there and we sat around the table with that white man who was there, and I gave this white man the letter. He read it and asked me didn't the mayor tell me that he was looking for me. I said, "Yes, he told me." Then he said, "Why didn't you come, because I was looking for you? You went around to your friends, and after that you get this letter to take it to me," and he tore that letter apart and said, "You are a bitch." And I said, "You shit." I said, "You should come to me alone, and you went around to friends and contacting other people, and you are coming after a long time." And even what I was trying to relating to him he could not understand me because he was so furious and fuming. Each time I would say something, utter a word to him, he will respond immediately. He asked me who were investigating the case. Because I was confused and
shattered I did not know who were investigating, and there were investigators standing suddenly. I did not even know when they came and who called them. He asked them what did they know about Makutha's issue, and there was one police I knew, it's Hadebe, because he was my neighbour, and Hadebe explained and said at 18 it's Inkatha which is leading. And they were talking, talking so many things that I can't recall. After some time he turned and looked at me, this white man, and said to me - and said, "Take this lady out of my office," and these police took me out of the office. I left that place. I was confused, I did not know what was happening. You know we drove a long time, and I did not even know where the taxis to KwaMakutha were because it was such a strange place that we were at. I left - but I am not going to dwell in this matter.
Mrs Ntuli, if I could just interrupt you for a moment there. The policeman that spoke to you, was he the station commander of Amanzimtoti Police Station? --- Yes.
Do you know what his name was by any chance? --- No, I don't know his name.
Do you know whether he was a station - was he in plain clothes or was he in uniform? --- He was in uniform, and had the medals on.
After this - this mayor that had spoke to you and told you to go and see the police at Amanzimtoti, his name was Shabalala, is that correct? --- That's correct.
What area was he mayor of? --- Makutha, Makutha location.
Was he involved with any political organisations as
far as you are aware? --- I wouldn't know.
Now, this was in 1987, is that right? --- That's correct.
And at that time most political organisations except for the IFP were opposed to being part of those structures. Do you remember that? --- Can you please repeat your question.
At that time in 1987 most of the political organisations, particularly the UDF, were opposed to people being involved in those structures, to be mayor of townships and so on. Do you remember that? --- There is nothing I can say and remark about inasfar as these groups are concerned, because I was not a member of any group.
So you were just an ordinary citizen, not a member of any party. --- Yes.
Thank you. Now, as far as the actual attack on your house is concerned, you yourself weren't present on that day. --- Yes.
That's partly why you are able to be here today. --- Yes.
You told us that you went to Izingolweni to prepare for a church meeting there. --- Yes, at Izingolweni.
Right. Now, it's no secret that your house was attacked, and that ... (intervention) --- Yes, it's no secret.
... people were killed at your house. --- That's correct.
And in fact the subject of that attack is presently the subject of a court case in the Supreme Court. You're aware of that? --- Would you please repeat your
The attack which we are talking about is the subject of a court case in the Supreme Court. Do you confirm that? --- Yes.
Now, can you tell us, as far as you're aware, which of your family members and which of the people who were living at your home at that time in separate accommodations, that were part of your - let's say of your family dwelling? --- Thusini was there living.
Which are the people which actually died in that event, if you could assist us there? --- Mrs Ndwelane and Ndwelane.
Your husband also died. --- Yes, my husband also died, and my three daughters, and my grandchild did not die, was injured, though critically, and survived. And my other - and another child who attended survived, but the mother died.
(Inaudible) ... Khumalo family who survived as well, some people of that family. --- Ma Khumalo did not lose any relatives or members of her family.
(Inaudible) ... Nduli - Ntuli? --- Nduli, N-D, Nduli.
His daughter was shot in that incident, is that right? --- No, Nduli is the one who died, and Jabu Nduli - the child survived. Jabu Nduli died, but the child survived.
(Inaudible) ... as far as you know how many people actually died in that incident? --- There were 13, because in one of the shacks there were six.
(Inaudible) ... in that incident. --- Thusini's child was brutally injured, although I did not understand
what happened to her, and my grandchild also was severely injured, and Nduli's child got injured on the arm.
(Inaudible) ... in evidence to say that the house was attacked by people trained by the army, and there's been more than enough evidence. What can you tell us as far as you know of that? Can you tell us anything? --- What I know - yes, I do have things to say to you.
Then you can. --- After that I left my house. I went to Folweni for two weeks, and the person I was with said I should leave because they were not safe because of my presence. I went to Umlazi, and I was there for a few months, and I went to Izingolweni. That's where I built my house. You know I don't think my family is safe enough there because people are scared of associating with us, and to be seen as people who are close to us. I took Mbusi to some other place in Impendle, and also rented a house for - I came back to Durban, and I was looking for -he said he was staying at KwaMakutha in Mr Nxwensa's house, and I asked him as to how safe the place was. He said the place was not safe, but he was also scared to go to school because the schools could not accept him because of his past. I was at my wits end, and I left him there to attend school. Then in 1988, as well as in 1989, he was staying there. Then in 1989 he sent a message that I should come to him because he wanted to see me. I went there to see him, and I also sent a message that I had arrived. He told me that it is now 1989 and he had passed his matric, and he promised me that he was going to build me a house, because all this that took place was because of him. He admitted that he knew about political organisations, and he was sorry that I did not know
anything, but I ended up being a victim. He further told me that he had had an altercation with Mrs Mtshali, and I asked him as to what problem there was. He told me to listen carefully. He related to me that he got involved with Mrs Mtshali's daughter in 1985. This shocked me because I had not seen anything amiss. After the family had separated I went away. Then when I came back I discovered that the lady I was involved with had now been involved with another person. I told him that that was his own problem. And he further told me that this woman was involved with a KwaZulu policeman, and he did not want the relationship to end between him and his girlfriend. And I realised that his life was not safe now after he was the policeman's rival, and I left him at that place. I think it was in October or November during the year 1989 when I left. I went away. Then towards December I went back and I tried to look for my son. We had a conversation and he told me that he had had an altercation with the policeman. They were walking with the girlfriend, and at that time they came across the policeman, who said they suited each other. And he abused him verbally, and he ran towards a certain Mr Mtshali's place. Victor went to where he was staying. That was at No 23. Then immediately thereafter he said the girlfriend came back to tell him that he was going to be evicted at that place if he continued with the relationship. Then Victor had to give the relationship up so that he could have a place to stay. And at that particular time he was not working. It was towards festive season, and in January, immediately after the new year, it was on a Sunday, I woke up and went to our church service. I
received a telephone call that Victor had been
shot. He did not identify himself or say who he was, but he told me that Victor had been shot the previous day. I did not have money at that time because nobody was working. Victor was the only one who was at least old. I got a collection from the church so that I could go to investigate as to what was taking place. Then on a Monday morning I received another telephone call, and it was Mrs Msani from Lamontville, who said - I did not speak personally over the phone, but the message that I got was that I should go to Mrs Msani before I proceeded to KwaMakutha. And I did exactly that, I went to Mrs Msani. When I got to Mrs Msani she told me that she had also received a call that she should tell me. I also told her that I received the same phone call from an unidentified or anonymous caller. They decided that they were going to take me to the scene, but just before we went Mrs Mtshali phoned, an Mrs Mtshali said I am sitting there and she is waiting for me at her place. I told her that whoever was calling did not say who he or she was, and I could not have known that it was Mrs Mtshali. And I further told her that the area in which she was was very dangerous, and I could not come all by myself, and she put down the phone on me. And Mrs Msani took me with at Nxwensa. We made preparations for the funeral, and I stayed in that house. On the day of the funeral, just when we were at Shabalala's place, we saw seven vans, as well as police who were in the street. We could not go past. The funeral procession could not go past, we had to stand and wait. They told us to get off the buses and walk on our feet. Linda Zama got out of the buses and went to
Mr Shabalala's place to phone the soldiers, and the soldiers came to accompany us to proceed to the cemetery. All that I know about Victor was that he was a rival to the policeman. Besides that I know nothing else besides that they had planned to have a meeting or a peace meeting. Thereafter I did not see him, all I saw were wounds on his chest, indicating that he had been shot. And thereafter I could not sell my house or stay in my house because went in there to stay. When I sell the house whoever comes to view the house cannot buy it because there are people occupying the house.
What we've been able to gather from your statement previously was that a meeting had - this is in relation to Victor's death. A meeting had been arranged and called by the IFP for a peace meeting between the different groups in that area. You confirm that? --- That is correct.
And then the people came together for that meeting, and it was at that meeting that Victor was shot. Is that right? --- That is correct.
Do you know whether any inquest or court case has been held in relation to Victor's death? --- There was nothing.
Do you know whether there were any police people present at that meeting where Victor was shot? --- I am not sure because I was not there.
Okay, we can investigate that further for you. Now, with regard to your house, you've told us that there are some people who are living in your house. --- That is correct. They have been staying there all those years.
Do you know who gave them permission to stay there? --- I don't know, but I hear rumours that - no, I did
not hear rumours, but I was told by the police who were investigating the case that when they went there, thinking that I was still staying there, they were told by the occupants that they were put by Mr Mkhize, who was a councillor and my neighbour as well.
This Mr Mkhize was involved in some harassment of your family before this massacre. --- Before the massacre. I think it was in December. It was towards Christmas. It was in 1987. A youth was shot from the Mkhize family. Not Mkhize my neighbour, but another Mkhize within the area.
You told us in your statement that his name was Thulani Mkhize. Do you confirm that? --- That is correct. On the very same day in the morning - excuse me, it was in the evening, because I remember my husband was working night shift. Mkhize, my neighbour, came to me and he said he had come to tell me that Victor had looked at him - had looked down upon him, and the people around looked at Mr Mkhize, and when he dies he will know that we were involved in his killing. I told him that, "Victor was only a child and you are an elderly person. Whenever something happens you should come and approach us as parents, and we should call victor." He said he is not going to discuss the matter any further because he had gone to report to Nyosi. But this came as a surprise to me as to why he had not gone to the police, but he had gone to Mr Nyosi. And he went out at that time.
Who was Mr Nyosi? --- Nyosi was a leader of Inkatha in that region, but I do not know what position he held within the Inkatha.
Mbusi has a story to tell us about his own situation
with Mr Mkhize, and we will come to that shortly, so if we don't dwell on that for the moment. Now, you've told us that Victor had had some troubles previously when all this harassment happened. He had to stop his schooling. He then continued his schooling, and by the time he was shot he had got his matric. Do you confirm that? --- That is correct.
Now, what was he doing after he'd got his matric and before the time that he was killed? What was he doing? --- He told me that he had been given some equipment so that he could type. He had been given a typing machine, and he was going to start working ... (incomplete - end of side A)
MBUSI NTULI (Previously sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MR LAX: Thank you. If we could move to you, Mbusi, and if you could just briefly tell us - time is quite short, and we still have a lot of people to get through. If you could briefly tell us about what had happened between yourself and Mr Mkhize, and as far as we can see it started in December 1986. You confirm that? --- That is correct.
You've indicated that there were two groups in that area. There were the people from Nyosi area, and there were the people from Section 18, or 18 Section, as it was called. Now, the Nyosi people were IFP people. --- That is correct.
The Section 18 people were predominantly UDF. --- No, that was not it. The Inkatha Freedom Party felt that all the members of the football club were members of the
UDF because they were youths. We were youths and members of a certain football club. Most of the members in the football club were UDF members, so probably they took it that all of us were UDF members. At some stage we went on a camp because we were going to play football on the following day. We had a tournament. We went to camp. As I have already said that Mkhize had realised that everybody who belonged to the 18 Football Club was a UDF activist. We went to the camp, and at night whilst we were still sleeping we heard some noise outside, and when we woke up they were breaking the windows. And they continued breaking the windows and they gained entry through the kitchen.
(Inaudible) ... sleeping. --- We were inside the house.
Which house was this? --- It's a certain house called izimpohleni. It's a bachelors' residence.
Is it a hostel? --- It is a hostel. They came in during the night. They broke the windows and they threw in petrol bombs. We were 13 inside the house. We were 13 in ages, 13 and 12. Some went out through the kitchen, but I was not able to escape at that time and I hid myself underneath the bed which was next to the door. This member of Inkatha poured petrol over the frame and the bed started burning, and I was hiding myself underneath the bed, and the bedspread started burning also. And everybody else in the house had escaped, and they came in, they lifted - they first shot before they lifted the bed under which I was hiding. When they came to my bed my bed was burning, and they neglected to lift it. This other one tried to handle the frame, but the
frame of the bed was hot because it was in flames. But I could see their feet as they were walking past, and I could see they were wearing police boots. They attacked and they left. I was left inside the house. When the house was now in smoke I managed to get out and escape. They went away, and I also got a chance to escape from the house. I went to sleep at a certain place. Then the following day we went to the playgrounds. When I got there I - I think Thulani was 11 years old, and he had been shot. He was wearing a white T-shirt. Thulani had been shot on the chest, as well as in the heart. There was a big hole. It looked as if they had actually tried to rip the bullet out of the flesh. His fingers were missing. His private parts were missing. They had cut them out and they had placed a liquor, a home-brewed beer box on his private parts, and there was a big hold on the chest. His tongue was also missing. I went to make a statement because I was the one who was there. I went to the police to submit a statement as to what had happened. Before I went to submit the statement I saw Mr Mkhize, and I saw some tyres in front of Mr Mkhize's car. I saw him taking some red meat from the tyres, and I was surprised as to what that red meat was doing. It was in a certain plastic, and he noticed that I had seen him. He looked at me with some surprise. I asked myself as to what the meat was doing in a green plastic and between the tyres. When I got to the police I submitted the statement. When I came back from the police Mkhize chased me. He tried to shoot me, but he missed. I was having a steriliser in my hand, and he shot part of the bottle and I was left handling the neck of the bottle. But I didn't notice that
he had shot the bottle. I only realised later on that I was left with the neck of the bottle thereafter. And after that there was this serious harassment, as well as disturbances between Mr Mkhize and myself. That's when they ended up attacking us. I could not stay at home at that juncture because Mkhize, as well as Inkatha members, were harassing us. What causes me to say it was Inkatha that was at my place to attack, they were singing their war cry. They have some war cries that they utter, and they were uttering their war cries. They have particular war cries that they utter whenever they attack. And I had seen one of Inkatha members having something that looked like a baton, and the Inkatha members shot us - shot at us and they ran to Nyosini. And the ZP Police used to go to that place at Nyosini. That's where they used to meet apparently. And thereafter I could not go to school. I ultimately had to go away from the school, and whenever they looked at my document that said I was Ntuli family, and I was coming from KwaMakutha, I would not get a school, I would not be accepted because of my past and the place at which I was staying. I went away in 1989, and that's where I schooled. That's all I can say.
One last question around - you said you reported this case of the attack at that hostel and of Thulani Mkhize's death. Was there ever an inquest or a court case about the attack, or anything of that nature? --- No, there is nothing that happened, but when I came back I was attacked by Mkhize for that. He told me that I thought I was brilliant for having gone to make a statement against him. But I was not fighting against Mkhize.
No, we hear you. Thank you very much. I hand back
to the chairperson.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Ntuli and Mbusi, we thank you both very much for coming here today and telling your respective stories. As Mr Lax has said, only two kilometres from here, in the Supreme Court, a large number of people - I think there are 22 of them, including the former Minister of Defence, Magnus Malan, the Chief of the Army, and many other generals and senior officers, are on trial for the murder of your husband and daughters, and your father and sisters. We don't know if these people will be found guilty of the murders, and if they are found guilty we will subpoena them to come to this Commission to tell you, and to tell the members of the public, why they did what they did. It is also possible that even if they are not found guilty we will subpoena some of those people in order to shed light on the terrible massacre which took place. As you know the evidence against these people is that Chief Minister Buthelezi, as he then was, requested the Defence Force to provide him with a covert or secret offensive unit which could be deployed against the UDF, and the evidence contained in the docket is that the South African Defence Force acted on this request, and that they recruited a number of IFP members in the townships around Durban, and they sent them to an army camp in the Caprivi Strip to be trained in the use of weapons. And the evidence is that these people were then sent back to Durban, and they were housed in army barracks of the Defence Force. And the docket goes on to state that these people became impatient, and they wanted to practice their newly acquired skills, and that, with the help of the
Secretary of Inkatha, Mr M Z Khumalo, a target was chosen, and the target was a certain Mr Thusini, who was a tenant in your house. And the evidence goes on to state that a Defence Force vehicle with false numberplates dropped off a number of armed men near your house in KwaMakutha in the middle of the night, and that they attacked and killed your family.
Now, it must have been very difficult for you to have waited - lived for so many years without knowing who killed your family and why they killed them, and we hope that this ordeal will come to an end soon for you. I am sure that you and many other members of the public are awaiting the outcome of this trial, which is due to be completed next week.
Mbusi has also provided us with very graphic evidence of his own suffering and harassment at the hands of people like Mr Mkhize an other members of the IFP, and of the terrible mutilation and death of an 11-year-old boy. We have heard many stories from witnesses at this Commission, and this surely must rank among the worst of them. We have heard your mother's request - we have heard her say that she is destitute, she doesn't have a place to live, that there are other people living in her house and your house, and we presume that this is one of requests that she will make to the Commission, that she should be compensated for the loss of her house. And when we make our recommendations to the Government this is certainly one of the recommendations that we will be making.
Is there something else that you want to add to what you've already said? --- I want to ask a question. I
did not understand you when you said there were people who /were targeted
were targeted. I don't know - there's something you said about targeting. And one other thing that I wanted to ask is with regard to compensation. If this thing happens won't it affect the case as the case is still going on? What I want to understand is, is it not possible for it to affect - if a person lays a civil claim after having given testimony here won't that affect the civil claim?
No, it won't affect it at all. It's quite clear that you were innocent victims of this thing that took place in - whenever it was - in 1986, and one of the jobs of the Truth Commission is to make recommendations to the Government as to how people should be assisted. So there's nothing that you have to be concerned or worried about. And also no evidence that you've given here can be used in any other court of law. That is part of the Truth Commission's - part of the Act under which the Truth Commission was established. And also, as Mr Lax pointed out at the beginning of your evidence, what you have said is common cause. The court in Durban, the Supreme Court, has heard that your house was attacked by armed men, that people were killed. No one disputes that. Not even the police themselves dispute that. They are just disputing that they themselves did it, or that they were involved in it. So you don't have to worry that anything you have said will jeopardise any claim you want to make. --- I want to say something else. The harassment that took place is still going on even now. I am in the Protection Unit even now, because after the case the people with whom I was staying at that time said they could not - even the people I was staying with were harassed because they kept
on coming to the place looking for me. And there are
people who phone, and they say they are from the ANC offices and they wanted to help me. And I am not free any more, because wherever I go they tend to follow me and harass me, and harass the people with whom I am staying. It's still happening even now.
(Inaudible) ... we understand that, and we are glad that for the moment anyway you are safe, in the sense that you have been placed in the witness protection. Unfortunately the Commission is not in a position to assist you with things that are happening now. If you are no longer in witness protection, or if you seek witness protection, we can assist you at that, but I understood you to say that you have - you are in protection at the moment. But if at any stage you feel that you need protection from the Truth Commission's witness protection programme that can be arranged.
Thank you very much for coming in.
OBED MTHEMBU (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
You have come here to tell us about the killing of your son, Joseph Russell Mthembu. --- No, that's another story.
Oh, we have two Mthembus here. No, there is a mistake here. Lax should be leading. We would change it, but we'll leave it like this. Mr Mthembu, Dr Magwaza will lead you.
DR MAGWAZA: Mr Mthembu, we thank you for joining us today. We know that what you have come here for is from the other part of Clermont community. Today we have been concentrating on Clermont and Umlazi. In the past hearings there are people who have come forward and enlightened and gave us some picture of what has gone through. As you are here as well you are here to tell us also about the harassment and the torture you've been through. Before we go on we would like you to give us a brief picture of your wife and the family. --- I have older children already, and one died in a car accident already. I have a place in Clermont, but after some time I left Clermont and now I stay in Westville. Briefly at Clermont were families who lived in peace, peacefully, but after some time we went through difficult times now, harassment and so forth, although I wouldn't even know where this started. When I bring this picture forward, Clermont is a place where people have bought themselves sites. It's not like a location, where people will pay rent and already occupy houses that were existing. People were buying sites and built for themselves. And I also grew up and I bought myself a site. Through it all, as people who know where we come from, we were people who
will appreciate to live in peace if anything. No violence or no harassment should go on. But when time went on things started to happen now as a result of Clermont being under the Zulu Government, KwaZulu Government. Many people did not like this, but since people are so different, and have different interests, but most of us, the majority did not like the idea, because we knew that if we were under the discrimination, racist government, we will not exercise our rights. To this day what brought me here is one of the things that led to our harassment. One time there was a Commission that came into place that disclosed the truth, asking why didn't we want to go to KwaZulu Government. Many things were listed, and I am one of those who were present at the Commission in Durban at Four Seasons. My cousin accompanied me, who already is late now. After a while we arrived there. Some girls came. I know one of those girls, although I don't quite remember her because this happened some time ago. I asked her, "Are you also here? I never thought you will come here." She said, "No, I got off from a car, Jamile's car." Now I asked, "Where is he?" She said, "He is not here."
Let me just disturb you, Mr Mthembu, so we can clarify some things. Who is Jamile? --- Jamile is a person who instigated all what went on in Clermont. Through the difficulties that we've been through it was because of him. He provoked things.
Who was Jamile? Did he occupy some kind of position in the community or in the Government? --- He had a position that had to do with schools. He was a chairman for schools, and also he had another position in Inyandeni
in the Chamber of Commerce, and we used to work together at Inyandeni. He was able to get that position because I left it, and therefore he took over because he was my secretary. When I left this position he took over. When I was promoted from that position I therefore said he should take over. Then he became a secretary. After some time we heard that he was now Inkatha representative in Clermont. After some time again there were voting going on in Clermont. Suddenly we heard that he was the Member of Parliament in KwaZulu. After a while we heard that he has already been promoted. That was shocking. Suddenly he was a deputy. He was a Deputy Minister of Interior in KwaZulu Government. That's where I think he felt he could become the head and the lord and the king in Clermont. Even when he was walking you could tell that he was so arrogant because of the position now he held. He tried to get into Advisory Board, but because the community of Clermont are people who are very - who keep a very low profile, and who are so - who respect, they therefore decided that that Advisory Board will belong to the community of Clermont, and Mr Makhatini was left outside. And Mr Jamile tried to get into this Board. Unfortunately he got only seven votes in the whole of Clermont community. In other words what I am trying to say here, the only position that he was left with is this one of being a deputy in the Zulu Government.
Let's go back, Mr Mthembu, to your story that pertains to you. Tell us now about what happened to you as a person. --- It was a funeral of Mrs Shabalala. We were at a meeting just before the funeral. We were at a meeting of the Clermont community at night. Just when
the meeting was going on Shabalala's boy came and said, "Rush, Dad, my mum has been shot already." We left the meeting immediately. We rushed to the scene and we found her. Truly she was shot, and she was lying there in the river of blood. It looked like they had slaughtered three sheep, but she was already taken to the hospital. We went to Mariannhill and we got there. We found out that she was not inside, but still in the van outside. The doctor saw that she had already died. But what was the most painful thing to see is the way she died. She died brutally. I was one of the speakers at her funeral, representing the businessmen of Clermont. My speech was not so long, it was brief, because there wasn't much to say. But what I think brought enmity for me are the things that I said. I remember one time when we heard ... (inaudible) ... on an Indian in Durban who had already finished people. Many people will remember this. I think one day - what I am telling you is that one day he was arrested. I remembered Mavini, who finished the whole world killing people, but he was finally arrested. And I said this person who committed this crime - because we knew, we suspected someone, and there was one we suspected so strongly that he had committed this crime, and I said, "God will disclose the person who has done this. We will get to know about the person who did this." And when I got outside after my speech I met Mr Makhatini outside, who was Jamile's friend. And I said, "Mr Makhatini" - he is my cousin by the way, I said, "You go and tell your friend, because you know each other and you know very well that he did this, but finally he will get arrested. He must know that." And after that my cousin dismissed all
what I said and went on. Then after a few days, because the funeral day was Tuesday - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - Saturday morning, it was just during the day Saturday, I visited one of my friends, who was a businessman in Pinetown. We were just chatting. I told him the danger of what transpired, and also I went on to say that, "I am sure those people will get so agitated and so annoyed and so angry from what I have said in my speech. I know they will be after me." Now, one time we were sleeping at night, as I have already said that all my children have left home because they are older. We were there with the helper, with my wife and myself and the helper at night. I heard my wife waking me up, saying, "Obed, wake up. There are people talking outside, making noise." When I tried to open my eyes I stood up. It was around half past 12 on the 21st of February 1988. When I woke up, went to the passage in the house, I just saw this rainbow. It was green-red in the house already, and I got back. I said, "Wake up, wake up, we are being bombed here." My wife woke up and I approached the door, the kitchen door. When I was opening the door I saw people standing out there in their uniforms, police uniforms, and their caps. One other was so fat and the other was so tiny. When I tried to do this he shot me just once, and it just got into my thigh. It grazed my thigh. They were shaking, and you could tell that the things that they were doing were evil. And he shot me once again, and that hit me. That one was scaring. I could see smoke, and I got shot. And I tried to hold onto the door, and I could feel that I have some kind of fracture on my foot. And I said to my wife, "Let's call the police quickly." I tried to hold onto my
wife, walk slowly towards the phone, and I picked up the receiver. As I was trying to dial I saw my wife dropping something, and I saw her running out. When she was trying to run out there those people came. This other one looked at me. My wife managed to escape, to run away from the situation. Right at that time when that guy was trying to hit me, beat me, I held him tight. When I was trying to even hold even stronger, trying to get his cap off so I could see him who he was, he refused and he shot me again. And I said to myself, "He got me this time." I said, "Yes, he got me." The house was in flames. You see, before I came home, before I went back inside - maybe let me say this. Before all this transpired we used to rehearse and say, "When people come to shoot us what will we do?" We had a basement. Now, my friend's child fell there on that basement, and that's just how my wife fell, just like that child, to the basement. Well, as I was there shattered, in pain still, it was dark at home, but you could see one another because of the flames, fire. They ran away, the fled. When I heard from people they were 19. 19 people were outside and two inside. In all they were 21. I just heard that from people. I just heard that figure from people. The house was burning, the curtains in fire, the headboards in flames, smoky all over. I said to myself, "You know, I once said when I die I should be cremated, but I never thought I will die alive like this in this way." But suddenly I recalled and my memory got back, and I went to the dressing table and I tried to open the window, and the air got in now and I could breathe properly after that. You see I could feel that I have lost my arm and my foot as well. I cannot
even walk or do anything. I tried to walk and I did. When I was trying to shake I could feel the bone. I held onto the bone so strongly and struggled with my other left foot to walk. And in the passage it was wet because my wife was trying to extinguish the fire using water. I crawled, crawled up to the kitchen, and there was a steps towards the basement from the kitchen side. When I got to the steps I said, "Now I am outside even when the house is burning and in flames, but I am outside and safe." But after some time the geyser exploded, and hot water was all over, splashing all over, and I was burned from the geyser water. And I wasn't dressed, properly dressed, I just had a pyjama top, because I had already taken out my trouser, my pyjama bottom, because it was soaked in blood. I tried to go out. There was a tap down there, and I am burning, and the house also is falling apart now. The ceiling was beginning to fall. I was burning on the other side. Now I said to myself, "No, let me just get down." And also I said, "How will I get down to the steps. Maybe I should devise a plan to get down the steps," and I held onto my thighs so tight and I went down slowly. When I got down there there was a pipe, but fortunately I did not disconnect the hose pipe from the tap, so the hose pipe was connected to the tap. I moved slowly towards the hose pipe to get hold of it so I could open the tap, and I sprinkled my body all over with water. That's how I survived that fire, the burning. And one gentleman came and said, "What's happening?" I said, "Don't ask me questions, just try to get me out of this place." He looked at me, and I think he just said to himself, "Things are bad here." And I tried to move, but I could not, but
the neighbours came suddenly. My neighbours were standing watching this, so that when I was outside they quickly rushed to me. I don't know when they came, but they were there suddenly. The car almost caught fire, but it did not get burnt. And the neighbours tried to help us and see how they could get us save from the situation, and they took me. Now, when I were outside now by the street, and waiting for the ambulance, I remembered where's my wife. I did not know where my wife is, and I went back to the house and there was no way to see where my wife was at the time. The house was in flames, burning. Suddenly a boy came and said - told me that my wife was out there. She survived. She was shot four times. The other one grazed on the head, the other here. Her ear is not functioning properly. The other one the shoulder, the other one on the thigh. Fortunately, by God's grace, I don't know how she survived this. And after that they took us into the ambulance, we were taken to the hospital. Most fortunately when we got to the hospital I called one doctor who was a friend of mine, and they told me he was not on duty, but he was called. He came. I won't mention his name because I know they'll be after him. He contacted other doctors and they helped us, they attended us. My wife could not even talk. You see I talk a lot. I have a verbal diarrhoea. I talk a lot. Well, the weekend passed. On Friday - because they left me before they could do anything to my leg, to my thigh and to my foot until a certain time. They said they will just hold on before they could do anything further or complicated on my thigh. But they put a pin in my thigh, and it's still there even now. During the day around 12 - I was not
eating yet. They used to bring me food at the hospital. I will take food and try to eat, and I could not eat it. You know, I could not even get the taste. I will try an apple, I will try a banana, especially that I like bananas, and I will manage to eat banana and take the second banana, but I don't remember if I finished the second banana. But at around one I felt powerless. Because I was right next - my ward was right next to the duty room I went to the window to knock at the window, and when the nurse came she asked me, "What's happening, Mr Mthembu? What's wrong? Oh, please call the doctor. I think he is dying." I touched my tongue. I could not feel. I felt numb. And the doctor marched in suddenly and asked what was happening. You know, what completely finished me, the doctors were working 24 hours. They did help me a lot. After that I was discharged.
Well, Mr Mthembu, we hear your story. It's such a sad story, but you are gifted, because the way you relate your story you also related it in such a way that it becomes a joke and people can laugh to it. Let's come to the poison, because you have said something about the poison. --- No, the nurses thought the poison came from the hospital. That's when I called for the nurse to call the doctors, because that's when, after eating my bananas, I thought I had eaten poison. And my doctor said, "It's poison definitely." And I asked, "Is this poison?" The doctor said, "Yes, it's poison." But let me explain this to you. You see there are two things now that are emanating. There is this leg, we have a problem with this thigh, and also a poison.
But the poison story is finished, it's all over, but
let's concentrate now on your leg. --- Just before I go even further let me go back to this day when we were injured. You see, the people who were shooting at home - you see the road passes Nazane's store. There were police there, and the police were just standing there, and they gathered there. They were in the verandah. And when they came back from my house they started shooting. I tried to pass on the message to one of the police at 391 to tell them that they were police, that I usually forget to report, that they should come and relate the harassment that they went through. Because they were shot also, but they managed to survive and escape, but one died. Well, not from the incident, he died in the rural areas, but the two others survived, and the other one cannot properly walk even to this day. And they were older people. That I would wish to also let you aware of this.
Well, thank you very much, Mr Mthembu, because we are still listening to you and what happened ... (incomplete - end of side A) ... find them. Did you get to see them, or later on did you get to identify them? --- No, I never got to identify them or know them, because even this man - well, because of the way the police were so clever they did not even touch my case. But it's quite clear that he has something to do with this. Definitely he has something to do with this, because it was a person who will have altercations at times with, because I remember this time I was a chairman at Stanger, and he came so stubbornly and critical as well, never wanting to be supportive. So I think strongly that he has something to do with this.
This Makhatini, where is he? --- I don't know
what I will say now, because I was still at the hospital. I just heard that they were talking at the rank, and Jamile was there, and Makhatini left to his business at Clermont. And after some time a few boys came and they shot him, and he died there.
I would like to know now about your health and your wife's health. How did this impact on your health, both of you? --- I will say this is so fortunate, and I do believe that when it's not your time yet to die you will survive whatever incident that transpires. The way that happened, the way this whole thing took place, and my wife's eardrum was severely affected, but she survived the incident. At times I forget, you know, that she cannot hear properly. You will hear me now shouting so strong that she cannot hear me. You know we have been severely harassed, but thank God, because we are still brave and we are still intact. As I have already said that I have this pin in my leg. I do get pains from it. Even though I get pains I don't show it that I am going through pains. I am always in a jubilant mood. And one other thing. As these boys or these gentlemen woke me up at one, since then, since that day, every time when one strikes I open my eyes and I wake up. We left Clermont. Not because I was afraid or scared, but I will always imagine - I had those imaginations seeing those people attacking, so I had that kind of picture in my mind, so I decided for me to have peace of mind I should leave this place. But every time I want to assure you this, I wake up at one. Each time one strikes I wake up, probably up until four, and that's when I will fall asleep again since that day.
Now, what about your wife. It's only the ear, the
eardrum? --- Yes, it's the ear. And also when she thinks about this and the past she will ask me, "Why were we attacked that bad? What did we do? What had we taken from other people? Why? Because we had no altercations with other people. What was the cause of the attack?" But we are glad that there are people who can enlist some help and help us to a great extent, like psychologists, because having gone through what we have gone it's so serious. You cannot just take it normal. It's an abnormal situation, so we would like and we are happy because we still have psychologists. Even the people who did this, and the very one who sent them, we - you know, you must know as a person that you have a conscience, and God has created us in such a way that we have those conscience, guilty conscience, and I think he is the one who is undergoing atrocities more than I did because of the guilty conscience.
Did you report this matter to the police? --- Yes, we did at the Dabeka Police Station. It took so long for a long time before these police could attend this case, so that if we didn't even try to take some initiative no one would have go to know who the instigators were. We eventually went to the police station to report this, but what surprised me was that not even one said something about this thing. It just died a natural death. That was it.
Do you happen to know of any of the policemen, probably the name of a policeman or something? --- Well, the police were from Dabeka Police Station. There was one who used to come to get statements from me at the hospital. I think it's Dlamini, but I am not too sure.
But the case was sent to Madlala by me, because he phoned to ask the case number. I think he has the information. Well, something else that you could give us some - you know, we'll appreciate if you could give us some hospital records for our records. --- Yes, I have those records, the hospital card. I can supply that to you.
Lastly, finally, what is your wish, and what would you like to request from the Truth Commission? --- My wish to the TRC is the one that we will - is this one. We will be very happy to have the perpetrators come forward, the ones who attacked us. Those perpetrators must come forward. I just want to look at them, even I know I can't do them anything. Just to look at them, that will be fulfilling to me. And second this person must say as to why he did this, and who sent him, and how much was he going to earn from committing this act. And also one thing that I think about is that he could have killed us, but he did not know our children's whereabouts. He did not know where our children were, and that was foolish of him, because he, yes, could have killed us, but our children were going to survive. I would like for the Truth Commission and the police also to investigate even further, because it's known that things cannot just transpire and happen, events cannot just take place with no one behind them.
We thank you very much. You have just reminded us of what Clermont went through. The Truth Commission investigation will be dealing with this. They will investigate this matter even further, and we will make some recommendations and forward them to the State
President, and I will hand over to the Chairperson.
Thank you very much, Mr Mthembu. We have heard your story. You have touched something about your wife, that your wife was also affected from this. I would like to know if your wife was attended by psychologists or doctors since she was affected in this? --- Yes, she went to King Edward Hospital. It was at night she went to King Edward and she got treatment, and when she went to the specialist they said something like the eardrum blast. Yes, that's what she said, that her eardrum punctured.
Where did she go for this help? --- When she was running away she was crawling. You see, her story is also pathetic. She said it was raining, pouring, and she was crawling all the way - all the way to one of our friends, neighbour in the neighbourhood, but I cannot mention her name, and she is also here, the very neighbour that my wife crawled to. Because we don't know these marauders if they are here, some of them, or what. But I just think that she is also here. That's where she went, and the neighbour enlisted some help. She knocked at the door and she was on her knees. The lady of the house was not there, but the husband was there, and the husband said, "You drunkard, what do you want here?" and he suddenly said, "No, but I think you are clean. Oh, by the way it's you." Then he recognised her and opened the door. Fortunately my son was there, because he had already heard that the house was attacked. They tried all they could to get the ambulance to take my wife, and from my wife the ambulance came to me and took me. We went together to the hospital in the same ambulance. But the truth is she was
affected from this, and the sister in charge at the hospital was so troublesome to my wife. And that sister is our neighbour at Clermont, and she took an early retirement, that sister who was so troublesome to my wife, waking her up and telling her, "You go and wash the bathroom," and giving her such ill-treatment. Nevertheless we prayed to God that God should let this pass.
DR RANDERA: You've mentioned this Mr Jamile several times in your story. Just for the sake of completion can we please have his full name? --- It's Samuel Bhekisizwe Jamile.
You've also mentioned ... (inaudible) ... connected to your shooting? --- No. I was trying to give you the background of something that took place. These people were killing people, and it took so long for them to be discovered, as even in Clermont this went on. Children died in Clermont. Assaulted, children were assaulted. Some died in Clermont, and the police hid this, hid all these evil deeds. I don't even think anyone was accused of this. They were shot. And the perpetrators were known, using the kombi and grabbing the children and do all sorts of things to them. Now I was trying to give the picture that even so and so will be known, because even the Indian, Beleni, who was in town, was discovered as well.
My third question is you said earlier on that you are a man of peace, and that you belong to a business group in Clermont. Did you belong to any political party? --- Yes. When Inkatha was formed I was recruited by my
neighbour, and told me all the beautiful good things about Inkatha, telling me that Inkatha was trying to imitate the ANC, fighting for the rights of the blacks. That sounded so good and wonderful I felt maybe I should join Inkatha, and thus I joined. Many people were afraid, did not want to join any of the political organisations, especially Inkatha, but when we heard that they were - IFP and ANC were having some altercations and so forth then I started doubting IFP, and the UDF was formed, but I never thought and I did not want to be the member of UDF. I just decided I should withdraw from all these political organisations and just be myself and live my life. When the ANC was unbanned I joined ANC. I am just a member of ANC, not to say I am probably active or something.
You said earlier on that your wife had asked you many a time what the motive was behind the shooting of your and your wife. I mean it's now eight years since it happened. Perhaps you can just tell us again, as briefly as possible, why you think this happened. --- I don't know really, but what I could say is that since Clermont was against the fact that we shall be under the KwaZulu Government, so there were those understanding and conflicts. I think all the people who belonged to my group were harassed severely, because there was a time where at Clermont we formed a group and we had these two-way radios, that when there was something you suspected you should get in touch with your other friends, so that we could have this network and be able to overcome what they were trying to do. When all this transpired, and after that, after all this transpired the situation got back to normal. I was - and we were against those who
wanted Clermont to be under the KwaZulu Government.
COMMISSIONER: We have heard several witnesses from Clermont - not at this hearing, but at the previous hearings, who told about the shootings and killings in that township in 1988, and all of the people that we heard evidence from were opponents, as you have said, of the incorporation of Clermont into the KwaZulu homeland. And, as you know, that campaign to have Clermont incorporated into KwaZulu was run by the then Deputy Minister of the KwaZulu Government, Samuel Jamile. He attacked and killed some of his political opponents, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment for those murders, and he was pardoned and released after serving less than three years of his sentence. It's terrible to hear how ordinary, law-abiding, peace-loving people like yourself and your wife were shot at like animals, and had their house burned down and lost all their possession, and we hope that those days have passed now in Clermont, although it's clear that in many other parts of KwaZulu-Natal those days have not passed. We hear your request, and we will certainly do everything that we can to find out why this happened to you, who ordered it, and we will - if at all possible we will subpoena the people that we think are responsible so that they can tell you and others why they did it and who sent them to do it. So we thank you very much for coming in today and telling us your story. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Mthembu, we greet you and welcome you here today. You have come also from Chesterville, like many other witnesses this morning, three other witnesses this morning, and you have come to tell us about the murder of your son, Joseph Russell Mthembu in 1986. Before you tell us that story can you stand and take the oath please. Russell Mthembu was you son, thank you. Not Joseph - Russell. Thank you. Can you stand, Mrs Mthembu, and take the oath.
A MTHEMBU (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... now help you in leading your evidence.
DR RANDERA: Mrs Mthembu, good afternoon. Will you introduce the young man who is with you? --- It's my youngest son.
Welcome. I see, Mrs Memela is also on the stage. I welcome her as well. Mrs Mthembu, you're going to tell us about Russell Mthembu, who was 20 years old I understand at the time when he was killed. I want you to just take your time and tell us the story. I will interrupt from time to time if it's necessary, but this is your time, so make what you want of it. Thank you. --- I was not present at that time, I had gone to Ntuzuma, but my child went away from me and went to the grandmother's place in Chesterville, because every vacation they visit their grandmother at Chesterville. And I heard whilst I was in Ntuzuma that the children had died in Chesterville, but I didn't have any details as to what had happened. But according to what they told me they said SB police officers came, and they said they were looking for a
certain boy. And they were given a permit to get into the residential area and they went to street No 16, but I don't know whether they got whoever they were looking for. But later on I was told that the very same police who went to street No 16 to look for a certain person got to the youths, and they told my son to go and look for other youths. And after looking for those youths he must bring them with to them, and they must go to a certain shack. And they wanted to take them to be trained as soldiers, and they told him to recruit quite a number of youths, because at that time it was very difficult for the youth to go out of the country and be trained as soldiers. My son went away to look for other youths to no avail. They were told to get into a certain house at No 16. They went there. I think they were about five. They went into this shack, and when they got to the shack which was pointed out by the police they were shown guns. That is according to what was related to me, because I was not there. And in the street there was a certain kombi with dark windows, and it was also dark, it was in the evening. Most of the lights in the houses were off because it was late at night. The only people who were not asleep were the ones who were staying in the shack that my son went to. There were certain vans waiting at a certain bridge next to a certain village called Masixanga, and the police as well as the SB were waiting there, as well as at the cemetery, and vans were lining the street. The youths went into this shack, and some other police who belonged to the SB, as well as one female - there were two females. They went into this particular shack and they were shown guns. They were asked as to whether they knew what these were, and
the children said they didn't know anything about guns. And they were asked whether they wanted to skip the country. The youths said they wanted to skip the country, and the policemen said to them they should wait there. As they were still waiting there for the policemen to come back they shot them through the windows of the shack, and everybody else inside was shot. One of the youths escaped through the window. He was shot in the knee. The other one was stampeded upon, and my son was just in pieces. And people were running away because they did not know what was happening, and they did not know where the SBs were. That is the story that I got, and the following morning the boy on which they had fallen was still alive, and he screamed from beneath the other bodies. And police from Cato Manor came and they retrieved the bodies that were there. There were about four. That is all I know about this incident.
Mrs Mthembu, thank you very much. I am sure you have relived this story many a time. Can you please tell us, because you were not there, who related the story to you? Was it one person? --- I came the following morning because somebody rang me. He phoned me and told me that this had happened. Then I went there to have a look. Then I came back home thereafter. When they were buried I was - when they were taken to the mortuary I was also there. Even when the children were buried I was there already. Then from there we went to court. I was also present at court. I did attend it.
I just want to repeat what I said earlier on. You were not there at the time. Can you just tell us who told you the story? Was it one person or many people? ---
I was told when I got to street No 16, as well as how the police went away I was told. I was told by the survivors. There were two survivors who related the story to me.
Can you remember the names of these survivors? --- One is present today. Probably he is going to appear and talk on his own behalf.
And the other person? --- I don't know about the other one. I don't know where he is, but his parents are still staying at street No 16.
(Inaudible) ... we'll come back to that for that information. Can you tell us something about Joseph himself? Oh, sorry, Russell, is that right - Russell himself. What was his involvement? Was he working at the time or was he at school? --- He was attending school and he was doing standard nine at that time.
And you say four other people were killed, is that right, in that ... (incomplete) --- That is correct, he was the fourth one. The other ones were staying at street No 16.
Can you tell me whether there was a post-mortem or an inquest? --- We were told that they had been killed by the boers.
MR MTHEMBU: Can I say something?
COMMISSIONER: You must be sworn in if you want to add something to what your mother has said.
MR MTHEMBU (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Just restrict your remarks to - or please just add to what you feel your mother has not mentioned. We don't have time to hear another full piece of evidence. --- I will just add onto what my mother has said. The
police were SB police. There was a case. We were told that these police were working for the Government. And at court they were not showing their faces, their faces were covered. So we could not identify them. My grandfather also asked as to why they could not be identified because they were killing people, and he was chucked out of the court. He was told to go out. Up until now we never saw them or never could identify them.
DR RANDERA: Thank you very much for that. Mrs Mthembu, it says here that there was a death certificate. Can you tell us what was written on the death certificate? --- (No reply)
Can I repeat the question? --- You mean the death certificate of my son. They had written that he had died due to gunshots, because he had been shot all over the body. And some of the empty cartridges were taken by the police. All of them were killed by gunshots.
My last question is, can you tell us something about yourself? Are you married? How many children do you have? --- I am married. I had five children, and one has died. I am left with four now.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Mthembu, thank you, both of you, very much for coming in today. The incident that you have described to us is a famous one in the history of Chesterville, and many of us here know about it. It was a classic set-up or a trap which was laid by the police for those young boys, and as far as we know, the information that we have is that the whole episode, the whole incident was arranged - organised by members of the Vlakplaas unit in the Transvaal together with members of
the Security Branch here in Durban. These boys were murdered in a situation where it was impossible for them to have even defended themselves in any manner. And, as your son says, the inquest Magistrate - I recall from the time - he allowed the witnesses to give evidence completely in camera, with their faces covered, and this should never ever have been allowed.
We are glad that the two of you were able to be here today, and that you were able to be supported by your son, and we hope it was of some comfort to you. We will do everything possible to find out why this happened, and if necessary to call those people who caused this to happen to come before this Commission so that they can explain themselves. So we thank you very much for coming in today. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... you hear me through the earphones?
MRS MABELE: Yes, I hear you.
COMMISSIONER: Who is that with you on the stage today?
MRS MABELE: It's Ntombifuthi.
COMMISSIONER: Is that your daughter?
MRS MABELE: No, it's my sister's daughter.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... is that right, and you have come to tell us about the disappearance of Mkazimulo Mabele, who is your nephew.
MRS MABELE: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER: The brother of Ntombifuthi.
MRS MABELE: No.
COMMISSIONER: Before you tell us story please can you take the oath. There's no need for you to stand, because I can see you're having difficulty with your crutches.
N D MABELE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Gcabashe will assist you now.
MRS GCABASHE: Good afternoon, lady. --- Good afternoon to you.
I see that you don't walk properly, but I still want to thank you for your patience to wait up to this time. We would like a briefing about your family, and we have your children here, Zakile, Vuwisile, Mkazimulo, all those. Are these your children? --- Yes, they are my children, but Zakile is late.
The father is still alive? --- Yes, he is still alive, but he is ill. He has fits and heart attack.
You've come here to relate the events of the 23rd August 1992. --- Yes.
We'd like to know. You may get started. --- We hadn't gone to our bedrooms to sleep yet. It was at night. We heard this noise, and this noise scared us. There were people who were there who were watching, children, and saying that they were children who had joined UDF. And when we heard this noise we thought those are the people who were guarding in the area. We did not know what was happening, and we all woke up, thinking that all - I was with every member of my family trying to run away, but Mkazimulo was left back at home. I thought we were all together. I did not realise up until after some time that Mkazimulo was left at home. When we went back home, trying to go back home after hours, after a long time, that's when I discovered that Mkazimulo was not with us, and he is not there, and I kept asking even the neighbours that, "Where is Mkazimulo?" I was asking everybody, "Where is Mkazimulo?" and no one could tell. Mkazimulo disappeared that way. We even thought maybe those people who were guarding the neighbourhood are the ones who took Mkazimulo. And I thought that I will get a message or something afterwards to tell me and notify me about Mkazimulo's whereabouts, but up to this day that was to no avail.
Tell me about the people you say they were guarding the neighbourhood. What were those people doing and who are those people? --- I don't know who those people were, but one thing I know is that they were Inkatha people.
Oh, they were Inkatha people? --- Yes.
Now, what did you do after you had seen that you cannot get your child, he is missing? Did you report
this? --- Yes, I did report the matter to the police, and I told them I will like their help, I will like my child to be found, but I could not open a case because there was no one I could open the case or accuse. You know, things that were happening were hurting to me. That even led to me leaving the place and going to another area.
Where did you go? --- I left one part - the other part of Makutha to another part of Makutha, but I am still in Makutha. It's just that I changed areas.
Now, was there any case that was opened regarding the disappearance of your son? As you have gone to the police did they do something? --- No, they did not open any case, because they asked me, "Would you like to open a case? Are you going to open a case?" I said, "I don't know who I can accuse," but what I would like for them to do is to help me find - recover my child.
So you never opened any case? --- Yes.
How old was your son at the time? --- He was 12 years old.
Oh, he was still young. What you have told is so sad, what a young child to disappear at that age. But did you ever get some rumours or probably hearsays from the Inkatha people as to where his whereabouts were? --- No, I had never heard a thing. Even now I still keep thinking and keep hoping that he may come and just appear, and at times I will see people and think, "Oh, maybe he is with them." You know, I just cannot get over the fact that my son disappeared. Zakile was buried, and the body was exhumed from one other place, but I did see him being buried. At least I can deal with that, but I just cannot
deal with this other one. Zakile was with his friends, telling himself he will come back later, and he never got back. Now one day when we had started looking around for him, and after even reporting to the police, and we thought probably he got injured, or even something happened to him not knowing. After some time we heard that there were people who were buried at some place, and the police exhumed the bodies, and that's how we found out that he was one of those who were buried after they had exhumed the corpse.
Mrs Mabele, what you experienced is difficult and it's sad. Now I will ask you about Zakile now that you told us that he also disappeared in the same manner. Did you manage to find out the reason leading to their death? --- No, I never got to know why they were killed. I am still waiting. Even though I did not open any case, but the police who exhumed the body did promise that they will try all and everything as to what happened, and find out what happened.
Where are those police coming from? --- From Khomhazi(?).
I think even you - I don't think your health condition is satisfactory because you are using crutches. What happened? --- That's true. I got a car accident. I was involved in a car accident on the 3rd of this very month.
Did you experience some change of life or in health as a result of all that transpired? --- Yes, I had some problem with my heart, and the doctor told me that it's because I think a lot, I am always worried, and I have this arthritis. At the hospital they told me that my
bones have problems. And the pain - and what I feel, even my head, I get such strange feelings. I can't not even explain. This is inexplicable how I feel. I also lose memory. I forget often times. I even forget at times what I want to say.
I hear, Mrs Mabele. --- Also my husband. I brought my child with because he cannot wake up. He cannot even walk as a result of his health. It's failing him. He has treatment that he is taking. Well, his feet, he is suffering from feet, but they do respond to the medication, to the treatment.
What about the children, the other four? --- Well, the children are healthy. At times they will get depressed, you know, when they think about the past, and I will try to appease them and try to console them and tell them that God is there, and God is alive.
I hear, Mrs Mabele, but I think you should consult some doctors, or probably the health experts and psychologist who help those who have undergone the trauma. --- I will appreciate that.
Now that you have come to the Truth Commission, if you had a way what would you ask for from the Truth Commission? --- I would like the Truth Commission to help me raise my children, because all of them are not employed as a result of the unemployment rate in our country. We live on one pension, on my husband's pension. If the Truth Commission could look into this, and perhaps also go on further to help me get the pension as well.
I hear, Mrs Mabele. How many children do you have that are still attending school? --- I have three, and grandchildren, five of them.
And the grandchildren are at school? --- Yes. In all they are eight in number.
Who is the eldest in those who are attending school, who are still schooling? What standard is he? --- Standard eight. The youngest - those who come after him, or I say those who are younger, two of them are in standard five, some others are in standard seven, and one other is in standard three, and two are in standard two.
Thank you, Mrs Mabele, I heard everything you said. Won't you like the Truth Commission to also give some help to look for the child who disappeared, and to get his whereabouts? --- If that can happen I will be grateful. You see I can't live with this. It's much better - I can live with the other. When you've seen your child dying and you bury him that is something one can comprehend, but the other I cannot live with that.
Mrs Mabele, the Truth Commission will do its best to help you, and we will compile a report and forward it to the State President, and I will hand over now to the Chairperson.
(Inaudible) ... because we are running out of time I would like to ask - you've told us now about a serious story that has to be investigated about Zakile. Would you remember when Zakile died? --- Zakile died this year. This happened recently. We parted when he was - it was April this very year. He was buried on the 4th of May 1996.
Oh yes, I just wanted you to clarify that for me. According to your statement - I wonder if it's a mistake -you say you wish for the Truth Commission to investigate
and find out about your son. Who are you talking about? Are you talking about your niece, Mkazimulo? --- Yes, I am talking about Mkazimulo.
No, I just wanted to rectify that. --- It's Mkazimulo.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... your story today. We have heard many stories in this Commission about violence against children, and this has been one of the most terrible aspects of our country's history. It is tragic for a child to die, and for those children who were not killed, but just exposed to violence, it also has a lasting effect on them. It changes their attitude towards the communities, and very frequently leads to a perpetuation of the cycle of violence, and those young people very often themselves become perpetrators.
We understand what you say that it is better for a parent to know and to have seen where their child is buried than never to know, and we understand some of the suffering that you are going through, and we will try to find out what happened to your son.
So again thank you very much for coming and speaking to us today. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Good afternoon, Mrs Khawunda. Can you hear me and understand me through the earphones? Thank you very much for waiting so patiently all day to give your evidence. You are from KwaMashu township, is that right?
MRS KHAWUNDA: That is correct.
COMMISSIONER: You have come to tell us about the death, the shooting, killing of your son-in-law, Jerome Khuzwayo, by members of the IFP.
MRS KHAWUNDA: Yes, it's my son-in-law, my daughter's husband.
COMMISSIONER: Husband, thank you. Before you tell us your story can you please take the oath? Can you stand and take the oath?
E KHAWUNDA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Khawunda, Dr Magwaza will assist you now.
DR MAGWAZA: Good afternoon, Mrs Khawunda. We welcome you before this Commission, and we do appreciate your presence. Even before we start talking to you, and talking about your son-in-law who was shot dead, my first question is where is Bhuwile? --- I have come to speak about my son-in-law.
Now I want to know as to where your daughter is? --- I told her yesterday that i would be coming here, but I think she was just not concentrating. She said she was going to look for work. When I looked for her in the morning she was not around.
We usually ask about the whole family before we even proceed, because Bhuwile lost her husband, who was - I
thought probably you would bring her with so that she could come and testify. --- She is at home, but she said she was going to look for work.
I'll just ask a few questions. These questions were supposed to be answered by Bhuwile. Does Bhuwile have children? --- Yes, she does. She has four children.
These were children she got within the marriage? --- That is correct.
I would like you to start relating the story and telling us as to how this incident took place, how Bhuwile's husband got injured. --- I received a telephone call. That was in the evening. It was in 1993 on a Monday, Monday evening. It was at about quarter past eight or half past eight, thereabouts. I was phoned and told that my son-in-law had been shot. Two youths got into the house. They were wearing coats, and they said they were policemen, and they said they wanted to see Thami. And they were told that Thami was already asleep, and they went around searching for him in the house and they got into the bedroom. They said to him he must take out the guns, because they had come to get the guns that he was manufacturing. He directed them to look for the guns themselves, to search if they wanted to, because he did not know anything about the guns. They told him to take out the guns, and he said they should search for them because they said they were policemen. They did not even go into the other bedrooms to search, they just shot him on the chest. And each time he asked them as to what he had done they kept on changing and they kept on shooting him. When he tried to run away they held him - they held her and they said she should watch her husband being
killed, and she was forced to sit down. She sat down and watched as they shot her husband several times, until such time that he fell, he collapsed. She was not sure as to how many bullets were pumped into his body. So I am staying with his children presently. I was staying them even after the accident, and I asked as to where he was. They told me that he had been taken to the hospital. I phoned King Edward Hospital, but I could not get any reply. My husband told me not to phone because probably he was at the theatre. Even if we wanted to visit him we would not be able to see him. We tried several times to phone, but nobody answered the phone. Then at about 5 o'clock in the morning I tried once more, and I asked as to where my son-in-law was and I told them the name of my son-in-law. I also introduced myself as well and I told them that I was his mother-in-law. They told me that he had died at 10 past 10. They had tried all they could, but they could not save him because he was bleeding profusely due to the wounds, and he died at 10. But the most disturbing thing is that I am staying with his children and I am maintaining his children. I don't have the power to maintain the whole family single-handedly, because I have to put them through school as well, and at times when they ask for things as children I cannot be able to give them whatever they ask for, and this makes me feel so bad. Because I don't know who can help me to raise the children because the money that my husband gets cannot be able to make ends meet for the whole family. It cannot keep the whole family above water. I don't know how or where I can get help. Then I said to my daughter we should go to Thembalihle in KwaMashu. When we got
there they were accepted, they were welcomed, and now I was scared to stay at the sister-in-law's place so we had to come back. She told them as to where the husband was working. They required the address of where the husband was working. They told her to take the children's birth certificates and submit them to their offices, and she duly did that. When one of them was being stamped at the post office we were told to go to the police station, and we went to the police station to have one birth certificate stamped. When we went to Thembalihle to submit the statements they did help us, because my daughter is also not working, she lost her job where she was working before. The officer at Thembalihle Welfare told her to stay for five years and they would phone her and give her a file number.
This is a very terrible story that happened to your daughter. There are a few questions that I want to ask from you, but this is going to be troublesome because Bhuwisile is not here and she is the one who is supposed to be answering these questions. Let's just go back. How old was your son-in-law when he died? --- I think he was 32 years old, but I am not very positive about that. I am not sure whether he was 35, but he was in his early thirties.
Did he belong to any political organisation? --- He was a member of the ANC.
In your own opinion what was the reason for the attack? --- My daughter told me that the policemen who came there told him that he had moved from a certain place to come and be a comrade there, and comrades were not acceptable there. And when he asked what a comrade was
they said he knew exactly what the comrade was, and he had come to that place with comrade tendencies.
In your statement they said he must take out some guns. Did he keep any guns? --- No, he didn't have even a single gun.
One other thing that's in your statement is that after they had killed him they said he must go and rest in heaven together with his comrades. I don't know how this happened because you said he died in hospital. --- The people who had come to shoot him said they had killed the dog when they were going out. They said that on their way out.
Had he died at that time? --- No, he had fallen, but he had not yet died. He did not die at the same time, he died at the hospital.
The attackers, who did they say they were? --- They said they were police, but Bhuwile says she suspects that they were IFP members.
What made her suspect that they were not police but IFP members? --- She says they asked whether she was a comrade.
According to Bhuwile does she know the people? Had she ever seen them before? --- She cannot identify them. That's what she said to me. I also asked her as to whether she could identify them because they did not disguise in any way. She said no, she could not point them out.
Who else was in the house at the time the incident took place? --- The children were present, but they were very young at that age. Her children were with me. There was the youngest one who was with her. She was two
years old at that time.
I want to go back to Bhuwile, and I'll explain to you as to why I want to dwell on Bhuwile, because this troubles me that Bhuwile never came to submit a statement, and even today she is not here. According to your own opinion what is her problem? --- I think her mind is not functioning very well, because after this incident she sort of lost her mind. She is not of sound mental health. I believe it's due to the worries, because she usually says she is going to the shops and she never goes to the shops, she goes around getting into other people's houses, or neighbours' houses. And I believe that this started in 1995, and even my husband commented that she is not of sound mental health.
What else does she do that is out of way, that makes you suspect that she is not sound mentally? --- I usually see when I ask for money from her then she would ask me as to where is she working. She does not have money.
But where would she get money if she was not working? --- I would say she should give me money, because even my son-in-law used to give me money and maintain the children.
Was the son-in-law not working? --- Yes, he was working.
Is there any money that Bhuwile got from the son-in-law's work? --- She told me that she was going to earn whatever money for four years from her husband's work. I think she is earning some money, because it's four years now since. She does not take anybody along when she goes to get the money.
Are you not scared that she will get injured when she goes alone? --- No, I never get scared. I always leave her to go alone. I put all that in the hands of the Lord.
Now, we come back to you, as well as your son-in-law. Are you working? --- No, I am not working.
How is your health? --- I stopped working due to ill health because I got injured in a bus accident. I was hit by a bus and I could not stand at work, and I was using a sewing machine, and the doctor told me that I should stop it because I was suffering from arthritis and I would get swollen every time.
Is your husband working? --- No, he was working, but he is no longer working.
Is he on pension? --- Yes, he is getting pension from work.
Then what about Bhuwile's children? How old are they now? --- The one is 16 years old. The other one was born in 1979, the other one in 1980, and the last one in 1985, as well as 1980. The other one is 16 years old, the other one is 15, the other one is 12. The one who was born in 1985 is 12, the other one is five years old.
As you have already said, are you the one who is maintaining the children? --- Yes, I am.
This is a pathetic story, but I have a little problem because I would have appreciated it if Bhuwile had come before us so that we can get the full story, as well as the background or the circumstances surrounding her husband's death, as well as get knowledge as to what is happening to the monies that she was supposed to receive after her husband's death, so that we could pass on full
information to other wings of this organisation. Is there any way in which Bhuwile could come to us? --- Yes, I believe so, but there are so many instances during which I have requested her to come and appear before this Commission. Each time she would tell me that she is fed up with the whole thing and she wants to go and look for work.
Thank you very much, because it's very difficult for your daughter to come, but you took the initiative to come and speak on her behalf. We appreciate that very much. Thanks.
Are you still staying with Bhuwile? --- That is correct.
Who is maintaining her? --- I am.
As well as her children. There's nothing that she can offer them. --- No, she is not working. There's absolutely nothing that she can offer her children except when she gets certain temporary job.
What about the money that she was supposed to earn? --- Yes, she would buy certain foods in the house, and I would tell her to buy school things and she would tell me that the money is not enough to buy school clothes.
Now, what about the 16-year-old? In what standard is he or she? --- He's in standard seven. The one who is 15 is in standard six, the one who is 12 years old is in second year, and the five-year-old is at pre-school.
In KwaMashu? --- That is correct.
Is it correct - it is true that your daughter should come to our offices and submit a statement. We believe that she needs psychological help. She has been
traumatised. Her behaviour denotes that she needs psychological help, and she should get some attention even from the social workers or psychiatrists.
DR FAIZAL: Just one question please. You say that when these people - in your statement you say that the two people who came knocking on the door identified themselves as policemen. This is what your daughter said to you. Were they in uniform or in plain clothes, or did they identify themselves with ... (incomplete) --- I was told they were wearing police coats.
MR LAX: Mrs Khawunda, was there ever any case in relation to your son-in-law's death, or an inquest of any description? --- (No reply)
Can I repeat the question. Can you hear me? Turn it down a little bit. Volume down please. That's why it's feeding back. Can you hear me now? --- Yes, there was. No, we never went to court, but Bhuwile went to report to the police about her husband's death, but no further steps were taken. Only the statement was taken, and nothing further was done.
(Inaudible) ... make a statement. Which police station? --- At KwaMakutha Police Station.
Now, which hospital was your son-in-law taken to? --- At King Edward Hospital.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Khawunda, thank you very much for telling us your story. We could see how difficult it was for you, and we can see that you are carrying a heavy
burden. Not only are you raising your daughter's children, but you have to raise them with the memory that their father was murdered in tragic circumstances, and this will be difficult for them to accept and understand. Also you have the problem of your daughter, and it is quite clear that she has been very badly affected by this incident. Most of the stories that we have heard, that you have heard today, took place many - not many years ago, but several years ago in the eighties. This one took place only six or seven months before our first free elections in this country, in late 1993, and it reminds us that we still have to be very vigilant about the terrible political intolerance that affects our province because these things are still continuing in parts of this province.
As you know, and as you have heard me say today, we don't have the power to make recommendations - we don't have the power to assist you directly, financially or otherwise, but our job is to make recommendations to the Government, and we will be making recommendations to the Government on your behalf and on behalf of the children that you are raising, because it seems clear that your son-in-law was killed as a result of political intolerance and political violence.
So thank you for coming and speaking on behalf of those small children today, and we hope that your daughter will be able to come and talk to us as well. Thank you very much.
MR MNGUNI: (Inaudible) ... yes, I do.
COMMISSIONER: You have come from KwaMakutha, like other people today, and you have come to tell us about the death at the hands of the KwaZulu Police of your son, Mbongeni, in 1991. Before you tell us that story please can you take the oath.
S M MNGUNI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Dr Randera will help you.
DR RANDERA: Mr Mnguni, good afternoon. Thank you for coming. Before I ask you to relate the story about your son can we just clear something up. Was your son killed, or was he paralysed and he's still alive? --- He is still alive, but paralysed. He is confined to the wheelchair.
Thank you very much. Can you go ahead and just tell us about what happened to your son? --- My son was going to school at the age of 12. Each time he gets back from school he had a friend who had a taxi, and he would help him when he was on duty. Now, one day after hours, when they had stopped working, he took the bottom of cold drink, an empty bottle of cold drink, going to go to the Spaza shop to buy some cold drink, and yet there were people already waiting for him outside. And they shot him. They shot him from the back, and the bullet went through and came out from the front. And one other on the head, but fortunately it did not penetrate into the head. And some people who saw this they took him immediately to the King Edward Hospital. When he got to the hospital he's been there since 1991 to May 1995. He is at home presently. He is lying. He can't do anything. He cannot
do any chores. He'll just be lying or be taken back to the wheelchair. That's his life. That's what he does.
(Inaudible) --- That's it. That's about it. I end there. I don't know how the Government could be of help here because I left work due to my health failing me. I am home now. Even my child, since this incident I tried to open the case twice at the KwaZulu Police, but to no avail.
(Inaudible) ... please tell us something about your family. You say you're at home now. Is your wife alive, and how many other children do you have? --- I have eight children, and the older one died. And the seventh one is the one who is paralysed, and the other six are fine, intact. And my wife is alive, but critically ill. She is also at home. She is not working due to what happened to our son.
(Inaudible) ... what work you did before you stopped working? --- I was working for Romatex as a weaver.
In your statement you say - you mention one guy who was not in a police uniform shot him. Can you just explain to me why you make that statement? I mean was he shot by the police, or do you think he was shot by somebody else? --- According to my son he said he saw the police shooting him. It was the police. He knows him.
(Inaudible) ... your son involved in any political activity in the area? --- We are in the area of ANC, and the one who shot him is coming from the area of Inkatha. And in KwaMakutha each time you come from the other area the other group would attack you. So he was shot because he was in the stronghold of ANC, the area
which was predominantly ANC.
(Inaudible) ... can you say - you say your son is paralysed. Does that mean he is paralysed on one side, or his legs are not moving? What do you mean by that? --- From the waist downward he is not functioning, that part is not functioning. So the only part of the body that is functioning is from the waist up to the head. We usually put him to his wheelchair - he cannot walk - and take him to the bed, or on and off like that.
Thank you very much ... (inaudible) --- That's what brought me here.
Mr Mnguni, what I would like to ask is about the grant. Did he get some kind of grant, compensation maybe? --- Yes, I took him to Umbumbulu, where he was listed in the pension place. Are you talking about pension? Yes, I am talking about that. --- Yes, he did get that last year.
One other thing that you have made mention of in your statement is that there's so much expenses regarding his illness. Won't you please clarify and expand in this regard? --- Yes, the costs are high, and the expenses as well. I wanted to bring him along with here, but because of the cost that surrounds that I decided no, let me leave him at home. He goes to the hospital to the doctors for check-up, and there are things that they put inside him through his stomach, and those are the things which are expensive. Because he goes to the hospital every month to change those things that they have put inside the stomach, so I have to hire a car every month.
Whereabout is the doctor? --- He is at King
Edward, and we are coming from Makutha, but the doctor is at King Edward.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Mnguni, thank you very much for having waited so patiently the whole day to come and talk to us. You came to speak to us on your own behalf and on behalf of your son, who lies paralysed at home. It is very difficult to believe that your son must now lead the life that he leads because someone disagreed with what they thought his political views were. A democracy means that we have the right to disagree with each other. Your son was raised in an era when democracy was denied, and when opposing political views were dealt with by the previous Government by detentions, torture and assassinations, so really we should not be surprised that your son became the victim that he is today.
It is very clear that he is a victim of the political intolerance and the violence that has affected our province, and we will be making recommendations to the Government, to the President and his Cabinet, as to how he can be assisted. I don't know whether your son is able to comprehend and understand anything, but if he is please extend to him our deepest sympathies and our best wishes, and we thank you for coming and speaking on his behalf. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Can I just remind people who do not have earphones to follow the translation, simultaneous translation in English and in Zulu, these earphones are at the back of the hall.
Good morning, Mrs Khumalo, and we welcome you here today. Can you hear me through the earphones?
MRS KHUMALO: Yes, I hear.
COMMISSIONER: You are from Folweni, and you have come to tell us about the death of your son, Nxolisi Innocent Khumalo in 1985.
MRS KHUMALO: I'll ask to speak in Zulu.
COMMISSIONER: Can you take the oath before you tell us that story. Can you stand and take the oath.
GLADYS KHUMALO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Gcabashe will assist you now.
MRS GCABASHE: Good morning, Mrs Khumalo. --- I hear you clearly.
Thank you very much that you came forward to the Truth Commission this day. We know very well that to go through the past it's painful, it's not something that is exciting. You've got to be brave to want to repeat the things that took place before, and tell the truth, and we do trust and hope that the truth will bring healing to our nation. Before we start I will kindly ask you to concisely tell us about your family, if you do have a husband, or how many children you have, and so on. --- My parents have died, passed away. When I got to Durban I had a job.
Do you still remember what year that was? --- That was 1958. When I got here I got work, and I worked
/as a domestic.
as a domestic. Whilst I was working there I got a daughter, and I got a second daughter, as well as a son. I had three children whilst I was staying with my boss in the suburbs.
What are their names? --- The first one was Nonzamo, the second one is Nonthando, the third one is Innocent Xolani. Innocent was born in 1972.
What about the two others? Are they working or are they at school? --- They are grown up now, but at that time they were still at school.
I mean now. Are they at school now or ... (incomplete) --- No, they are grown up now. They are staying at different places. Nonthando went to Johannesburg and she never came back.
Are you still working as a domestic? --- No, I am not working any more. I am on pension.
Are you getting your pension money? --- Yes, I am.
Now, let's - is it Xolani or Nxolisi? --- It's Xolani.
Now, you've come to tell us about Nxolisi's harassment. You said he was born in 1972. --- That is correct.
Now you may relate your story to us, or is there anything that you would like to say that happened before 1985? --- When I was still working as a domestic we got rumour that there were certain open stands which we could buy for building. I went and got the stand. I stayed with my children in the shack. It was a small tent. Then thereafter there was a development of the Urban Foundation which built us houses. I went to the
Urban Foundation to put my name that I wanted a house, and I ultimately got the house. And at a certain time we were told that they wanted to establish a certain residents' committee, and I was also chosen to be a member of the committee for that particular place. Throughout that time I was working. I would wake up in the morning at six, leave my home, and come back at six in the evening, and I was always commuting to and from work. And on a certain day we were called to a meeting of the committee. It was at night, and I went to that meeting. When I got to the meeting I was told that there was a certain ground where certain youths, UDF youths, were conducting meetings.
What was the name of the ground? --- Just at the end of that area where the shacks are, where they call it "mshayi aziyaphe"(?). They told us that we should accost these children who were conducting meetings, and that was the resolution that was taken at the meeting. Thereafter I continued going to work. One day at night whilst I was sleeping already I heard a knock from one of the neighbours. It was Mr Masikhane. He was co-parishioner. We attended church with him. When he got in he told me that he saw my son amongst the UDF youths who were conducting a meeting, and he told us that if I wanted my child I should go and look because they had been assaulted. And he warned me not to tell anybody that he had told me that. I stayed for quite a few days and my son was not coming back home, and I was somehow scared to go and look for him, but I went away and I looked for him but could not get him. I came back home, and I had to go back to work. I would go to work at six in the morning, come back at six in the evening.
How many days did you spend looking for your son? --- That was two days. Then on a certain day I just saw him coming. He had been assaulted severely. I took him to doctors for treatment.
Which doctor did you take him to? --- I took him to my employer's doctor. I was working for Mrs van Beuke. He got better with time. Then on a certain night whilst we were sleeping, it was in the middle of the night, I heard some stones being thrown on the roof.
Which year was that? --- That was in 1985. I heard some noise, and the roof was being pelted with stones. As that was still happening I saw something hitting the window, and my bed was just next to the window, and something was poured. It looked like water. It was poured inside the bedroom, and it started taking fire. My house now was on fired, and we ran into the dining-room. As we were still standing there my house was installed with burglar guards. We just saw some fire coming from beneath the door, and I managed to extinguish that fire. When we peeped through the window I saw a group of people outside, and they were yelling at me to come out of the house. They were screaming at me to come out.
Was Xolani there? --- Yes, Xolani was inside the house. And Xolani told me to open the door because they wanted him. I opened the door, but I did not open the burglar door, and when I peeped through I saw a group of people who were standing outside. And he directed me to open the burglar door so that he could go out, because he knew they wanted him. I opened and he skipped and he went out. Just as he went out they surrounded him, and I was
able to go out, and I was wearing only a nightdress. There was a five-year-old child in the house. I don't know how that child escaped. The name of the child is Sithembiso.
So in the house it was yourself, Sithembiso and Xolani. --- Yes, that is correct. I got a chance to escape. I fell, and I picked myself out and started running. As I was running in the road I saw this car moving slowly, and to me it seemed as if this person was looking at this burning house, and he called out to me and asked me who I was, and he asked me whether this was my house that was burning. I confirmed that, and he said that he should take me to the police station. He took me to Entabeni Police Station. I was still wearing my nightdress. I went to report the matter to the police. The policeman who spoke to me told me that my house had been burnt down because my son was a member of the UDF, and I was being told by this policeman. I don't know who this policeman was. I don't know his name.
Do you remember who took you to the police station? --- No, I do not know the person who took me to the police station. He just picked me up and left me there. The policeman told me that my house had been burnt down because my son was a member of the UDF, and I told the policeman to accompany me so that we could go and see whether there wasn't anything we could salvage. He pulled out a sheet that had a list of names, male names, and when I looked through this paper I saw my child's name. It was third on the list.
Were there any other names that you recognised? --- No. I think they were his friends, but at that time
I was still very shattered so I did not take notice of any. The police refused to take me back to my place up until morning. I was wearing a nightdress only, and I was naked until the policemen for the morning shift came in. When the morning shift came they asked, "What is this naked woman doing here in the police station?" The morning shift police took me home, and when I got home there was only debris of the house that was burnt down. There was absolutely nothing at that time, no doors, no windows, just the naked walls. When I looked outside I saw my little suitcase which was on top of the wardrobe in my bedroom. I saw certain letters that indicated that the suitcase was opened, and my reference book was in there.
Did you house burn down completely? --- Yes, it burnt down completely. When I looked at the suitcase apparently they wanted to use the suitcase to take some of my possessions, because the suitcase was not burnt.
What about Xolani and Sithembiso? --- I don't know where Xolani and Sithembiso went to. When we came back they asked me as to where they should drop me off. I was scared. I did not know where I should go. I said they must leave me along the road to Ntuzuma. They put me - dropped me off along the road to Ntuzuma.
Then you met Makhiya. As I was still sitting on the stone there I could not walk because I was almost naked, only wearing my nightdress, and there's a certain woman who came to me and asked me as to what the matter was. Then she went away back to her home to get me something to wear. She brought me a skirt and she took me to her place.
What I Makhiya's surname? --- Makhiya is the
Do you still remember the house number? --- No, she was staying in a shack.
Is she still alive even today? --- I think she is. I stayed at Makhiya's place for quite a few days without knowing where Sithembiso and Xolani were, and as I was still there I saw some people resembling them passing and I called out their names, and they responded, they came towards the shack. We stayed in that shack, and Makhiya gave me some clothes for me to go back to work. I kept on working and staying at Makhiya's place. As I was still working I heard that there were certain places at Bhambayi that were open for buying and erecting shacks. I submitted my name and I got myself an empty stand. I built a two-roomed house there. I came back and stayed with my children, as well as my daughters. Ever since I have been working I never stopped working. When I was in Bhambayi I got wind that he was no longer a UDF member, but he was now an ANC member, and I kept on asking him what he actually was. He was a UDF member and my house got burnt down, and thereafter he got to be a member of the ANC and my house was being threatened once more. Now, where we were it was an Inkatha stronghold, and the chairman of the Inkatha was Mr Maphalala.
Is he still alive? --- No, I have never seen him because I am not staying there any more. Then there was an Inkatha youth leader by the name of Michael Zulu. Whenever there was an Inkatha meeting they would come in front of my yard and they would march in front of my yard looking for Xolani, my son, and they would take him with. Then I would see him coming back running, and they would
be chasing him.
Who were chasing him? --- It was the Inkatha youth which was being led by Michael. This happened several times where he had been assaulted, and he ran away from home several times. He was being chased in and out of the house, and he ultimately ran away. And later on they kept on coming to me and they said I should tell them where does ANC get its strength, and at that time when the house was burnt for the first time Xolani was 13 years old, and when we got the second house now he was 21 years old. And at this time he was very stubborn. We were taken to Mr Maphalala's office. I was taken together with Xolani to Mr Maphalala's office, and they would ask him about the ANC and he would answer them because he knew, and I didn't know anything about politics and political groups. And they would come in and say, "As soon as you've finished asking him questions you must give him to us. We shall deal with him accordingly." But Mr Maphalala sort of intervened, because he was an elderly man and therefore he was reasonable, much more reasonable than the youth. And at that time I could not sleep in the house any more because I had had this experience, so I would sleep under the tree, and Xolani used to sleep on the roof. And I would go underneath the tree and sleep. At times they would just come and fill the yard, and they would look for everyone else in the house, and they would not get anyone and they would go. I would wake up from underneath the tree, wash myself up and go to work. At times I would get home and hear rumours that he had been chased and had been assaulted, and they would do all sorts of things to him. Whenever I came back from work I used
to pass through some hawkers, and they would each time tell me, "Here's meat. Buy some meat," because they were hawkers, but on this particular day when I went past them they did not sell me the meat, and somehow I felt something was wrong. I felt it in me that nobody was selling me anything today, say probably there is something wrong. Just as I looked I noticed that I was being escorted somehow. There was a youth behind me, a youth on my left as well as my right hand, and there was a youth right in front of me. I suspected that they were surrounding me. At some stage I decided to stop, and whenever I stopped they also stopped. We went up to a certain hillock, and as we descended the hillock I saw a group of me who were standing. And there ensued now a shooting spree. They were shooting each other. That is these youth as well as another group of men. And I ran away. Just as I was running away these other youths came to me and said they were accompanying me because I was going to be killed and my house had been burnt earlier on.
INTERPRETER: There is something wrong with the mikes ... (inaudible) (Pause)
COMMISSIONER: Can you hear me now?
INTERPRETER: Can you hear me? --- I can't hear ... (inaudible) (Pause) My first house was at the A Section, A782 - 84. That was in Newtown. The second one was in Bhambayi, D445.
MR LAX: (Inaudible) ... can be clear. Around about the time you then moved to Bhambayi these people then began harassing Xolani again in the new place now. --- Yes, that is correct, because thereafter they started assaulting him even when we were in Bhambayi.
Then that house was also burnt to ashes. --- That is correct, with all my possessions inside.
Then you went back to Umzimkulu. --- Thereafter I ran back to Umzimkulu, and he refused to come with me.
He then rebuilt that house. --- He rebuilt the house himself, and I don't know where he got the material from. That is where he stayed with his friends now.
Okay, and you continued to live at Umzimkulu at that time. --- That is correct. I stayed with my brother in Umzimkulu.
(Inaudible) ... returned after he had been murdered. --- That is correct.
Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mrs Khumalo. You have given us a very vivid picture of what life was like for you in the 1980s, and your story is very typical of the events of that time, where people were assaulted, murdered, or had their houses burnt down because of their support for the UDF, or because one or some of their children belonged to the UDF. And the reaction of the police which you have described to us is also very typical. The police refused to come to the assistance of UDF members and, worse, they often participated in the attacks. You have suffered a lot. The image which we have of you sitting on a roadside in your nightdress next to your burned house will stay with us for a long time, and it is wonderful to see that you have the strength and courage to come and repeat your story to us today, and we are sorry that at the end of this long tale of misfortunes that your son was brutally killed. As Mrs Gcabashe has said, it is our job to make
recommendations to the Government as to how you, or people like you, should be assisted, and we will be making
recommendations in that regard. So we thank you very much for coming in and tell us your story today. Thank you very much.
(Incomplete - first section of tape blank) ... they said they wanted the documents from the mortuary. I asked them, "Who are you?" They said they were UDF members, so they would like to have all the documents or reports regarding Sipho. I asked them, "Hau, really Sipho was the UDF?" They said, "Yes." Finally yes, I did give them all the reports the documents, and they took me to some place I did not know and I gave the statement regarding UDF, and we left, we went back home. And there was a funeral on Saturday, and at the graveside there were so many soldiers. We did not know why they were there, how we could conduct our funeral when the soldiers were present in that many. On Friday at home they sprayed tear-gas at my place. I went to Makhotha because I was suffocating. That passed, and my white lady, my employer, took me and we went to give the statement, and the case was opened.
(Inaudible) ... if I could just stop for a moment. Please take your time. If you need to just stop for a second and recover yourself. You've said this was on a week between the 26th - round about that time, but you didn't tell us what month it was. --- It was May 26th 1986.
(Inaudible) ... Monday, and you buried him on the Saturday of that same week. --- Yes, that's correct.
Okay. Now, you said you were taken by your employer to a police station to open a case. Which police station was that? --- Firstly we went to Gagido(?), but we did not give statement, but we went to Makhotha. The sergeant in charge explained to us and that's the sergeant we gave the statement to - Overport.
(Inaudible) ... from the tear-gas. --- That's
Okay. Do you remember the sergeant's name at all? --- No, I don't remember.
Was that after the funeral that you went to do that? --- No, it was before the funeral.
You've said in your statement that the ANC helped you with the funeral costs, and helped you to conduct that funeral. Is that right? --- That's correct.
You yourself, do you belong to any political organisations? --- No.
Now, are you still working at the moment? --- Yes.
For the same employer? --- Yes.
Do you know whether there was ever any case or inquest arising out of Sipho's death? --- Yes, there was a case that was opened at the court of law.
(Inaudible) --- C R Swart in Durban.
(Inaudible) --- Yes.
Did you ever get any letters about that case with numbers on that might help us to trace the case? Maybe you've kept them. --- No, but my attorney is van George.
(Inaudible) ... name again please, your lawyer's name? --- (No reply)
Would you be able to go to your lawyer and try and get us his name so we can follow up the case and see what happened? --- Yes. Yes, I can.
We would appreciate that. Now, you've indicated in your statement - sorry. So the lawyers you went to were from the Legal Resource Centre? --- Yes.
Thanks. If you could just turn that - the earphones
for the witness down a little bit, just the volume down a little bit. It's creating a bit of feedback. Thank you. You've said in your statement that you would like some sort of a pension to help you with the loss of your son. Do you confirm that? --- Yes.
(Inaudible) ... Chairperson, I have no further questions. I hand back to you. Thank you, Mrs Ndlovu.
Mrs Ndlovu, we have heard what you wish the Truth Commission could do for you, but there's one other thing that we usually emphasise, because we do feel people must get help from the Commission. Many people have been harassed and traumatised and never got an opportunity to consult with a psychologist. People will think that they are healthy and fine, and yet they don't know deep down in their bodies they are not healthy. How do you as a person feel? --- I feel so much disturbed, and I don't think I am fine mentally, and my child was affected even at school.
You mean your son - your daughter? --- Yes, my daughter. She was highly affected at school and she keeps failing. The other one who died in 1993 as well, he was so highly affected as a result of this.
So really it will be great for you to consult the psychologists who have given their voluntary services to serve people like you. Would you appreciate that? --- Yes, I would highly appreciate. Thank you.
DR RANDIRA: Mrs Ndlovu, just two questions. My first one is that - just for clarification, you know. Our democracy has created a situation where many parties are
legal now, but you say in 1986, at the time of your son's funeral, the ANC paid for it. The ANC was a banned organisation at the time. Are you talking about the ANC or the UDF? --- It was UDF at the time.
My second question is related to your son. He was 14 years - how old was he at the time? 14 - no, 20 - sorry 24. --- 24
24, yes. Sorry, my apologies. Did he have any children? --- No, he did not have any children.
MR LAX: Thanks, Chairperson. Mrs Ndlovu, you indicated there was something you forgot to tell us about that you wanted to add to this story. Please do so. --- At the court of law he did agree that he was the - the police was the one who killed him. He said yes, he killed him. Small, Mr Small, his surname, the one who admitted that he killed him.
Was that person convicted in the court? Do you know what the outcome of the court case was? --- No.
(Inaudible) ... interpreters can hear you. --- He did admit that he's the one who killed in front of the judge at the court of law, at the Magistrate, that he is the one who shot him.
(Inaudible) ... convict him? --- No, he was not convicted.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... to thank you very much for coming and being brave enough to tell us the story of your son's death today. As I said to witnesses yesterday, we have heard so many mothers telling us about the death of their children, and, as you must know better than anybody,
/it is a
it is a terrible thing to have to bury a child, especially in your case, where Sipho was an only child. Yesterday I commented on the role that the Defence Force played under the old government, and that instead of upholding the law and protecting people they spent much of their time and energy, and much of the taxpayers' money, pursuing the political opponents of the previous Government, harassing them, assaulting them, and, in the case of your son, killing them, and we hope that we have passed that era forever.
As Mr Lax said, we have heard what your request is. Our job is to make recommendations to the State President and to the Government as to how victims of the violence, people like yourself, should be assisted, and we will be taking those recommendations to the Government. So thank you very much again for coming in today, and to your niece. Thank you.