TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION HEARING
ON TUESDAY, 24 JUNE 1997
[VOLUME 1 : PAGES 1 - 91]
OPENING PRAYERS BY FATHER KWABABA
WELCOME BY THE MAYOR OF LADYBRAND
CHAIRPERSON: I have already welcomed the people here in this town. These are all our hearings, and we want to be as meticulous as we can be. And I welcome the witnesses and their families and their relatives, and the people who come from the communities to support them. These are our last hearings in the Free State, we are pleased that people have come to support the witnesses. I think now, Makozi, if you are ready - are you ready - we shall call upon the first witness. That is Joseph Mongani Matela.
JOSEPH MONGANI MATELA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRPERSON: Now, I am going to ask my brother, Ilan Lax, to lead us with this witness.
MR LAX: Mr Matela, before we look at your story would you help us by just giving us a small picture of your family. How many children do you have, are you married, and so on? --- I separated from my wife, and we have children, but they are staying with their mother.
How many children do you have? --- We have two children.
What are their ages please? --- I do not remember their ages, Sir, but both of them are above 20 years of age.
Thank you. I see that you have been working. Are you still working at the moment? --- I am trying to work, Sir, but I cannot hold on because of the illness I have. I run short of breath every time.
Thank you. The story you're going to be telling us
covers two different periods, first in 1985, where you talk about what happened to you in Aliwal North, and then when you talk about what happened to you in 1992 in Bethulie. Let's deal with the first situation first, and then we'll come to the later one. At that time were you living in Aliwal North - in 1985. --- Yes, I was working there and I was staying there.
Please tell us what happened. --- It was Sunday afternoon. I was passing, going home, and I saw a group of youths and I wanted to pass. And they said I should join them, I should help them, support them while they were singing. Yes, I joined them and I started singing along with them. A police Casspir approached from the west. That was a Hippo. It was approaching from a direction just not far from where we were, and a second Hippo approached and it came straight to us because we were at Mokwena Street. We only heard gunshots, and we ran for cover until I ran into a house. Because of the situation I could not go to the hospital, but the next morning a man took us to the hospital. On arrival at the hospital I was x-rayed, trying to remove all the bullets. And after that we were all pushed into the van and we were taken to the CID offices. When we arrived at their offices we were then taken to the cells. From the cells we were driven to Jamestown, and a tear gas canister was released in the van until we arrived at Jamestown Police Station. That is where we were put in the cells. At about 8 o'clock a white man without a police uniform came to us and he told us that we were making noise. And he also had a tear gas canister in his possession. He threw it at us. Sir, it was terrible in that cell because he
closed the door. We were just packed in the toilet because we wanted to get water to get rid of the tear gas. We spent that night without any blankets, not even one. And after a day or two we were taken to Calamazembe(?) Prison. That is at Bekkersdorp. When we arrived at Bekkersdorp we were put in the cell and we spent 21 days. We were taken back to Aliwal North thereafter. We were each given a bail of R100,00. After a few days we went back to the Court of Law and we were told that all the charges against us were dropped. That is basically the gist of the first story.
Before you proceed with the second story there are just one or two questions I want you to cover just to clarify some aspects in relation the first story, and then we'll come to the second story. Okay? Now, you said that you were shot. You were x-rayed to try and get the pellets out. Where were you actually shot and how were you injured? --- I was shot at the back.
How many pellets did they take from you? --- They removed a pellet on the back and the other one at the back of my head.
So it was two? --- Yes, M'Lord.
Now, you said that a number of people - you didn't say so now during your evidence, but in your statement you mentioned that approximately seven people were killed on that day. Is that so? Do you remember that? --- People were talking that night saying there are people dead, but I didn't see them with my eyes.
When you came out eventually and you went back home did you not find out whether anyone had died in that incident? Had there been funerals? --- I heard while
in prison that the funerals were conducted, because the people were bringing us food and they will bring us information. Every time they will say to us, "Listen, today so-and-so is going to be buried."
So that's how you arrived at the conclusion that about seven people were killed. --- That is correct, Sir.
You said this was a Sunday afternoon. Do you remember which month or what date it happened? --- If I am not mistaken it was in August, but I am missing the date really.
So this was winter time? --- I would say it was just after winter. I can't remember very well.
Now, you said you were held for 21 days. Was that under the emergency regulations? --- They arrested us for - they said it was under Riot Act.
Before you were held for 21 days did you appear in court anywhere? --- No, Sir.
So you only appeared in court later when bail was fixed. --- Can you repeat your question, Sir.
I am saying you only appeared in court after the 21 days when bail was fixed for you. When you were moved back, in other words, to Aliwal North. --- Yes, you are correct. That was after paying the R100,00 bail each.
Okay. Let's now move to the second incident, which is in 1992 in Bethulie. Do you remember what month that was? --- M'Lord, I am very forgetful, I can't remember the month, but I still remember exactly what happened on that day.
Well, we don't - we're not too worried whether you can remember the exact date. It's not important to us.
Please tell us the story. What happened? --- It was Sunday. I was heading for my house to rest and I took a turn to the squatter camp where I staying. A girl called Nthombizolwa and a boy called Mbongi came out. The other one, that is the man, had a knife, and the girl, Nthombizolwa, had a sjambok. They called me. They said, "You come here, a member of Inkatha." Should I have known what was going to happen I could have ran way, but I just stood there not knowing what was happening, and the boy arrived and he stabbed me with the knife. I tried to run away, and I went into a shack and I fell on the floor. A man called Kethekile came with two children that were going to point at me. He kicked me with his boots and he took me. He pulled me out of the shack. After pulling me out of the shack a group of people arrived. One of them was Ola. Ola had a garden fork. They applied every weapon on me. They really injured me. I could not do anything. I lost consciousness, and a policeman took me. Instead of taking me to the a police station or anywhere he took me home, and the next day I went to the hospital. That is where I was operated. I have many operations here now. That is all I can tell you, Sir.
These people who attacked you, you say they accused you of being IFP. What were you? --- I do not want to lie, Sir. I would say they were the ANC members, and I am also a member of the ANC, but they just decided to call me Inkatha member on that day.
So they must have made a mistake accusing you. Did they know you? --- Sir, I think these people were bribed to do this action. I would say they were bought by someone to do this, because we were related in some way
with them. There was another girl in the family who was accusing me of the ... (inaudible)
Sorry, what were you being accused of? We didn't catch the translation very well. If you'd just repeat that please. --- This girl was fighting me for the family heir, because we are related, though we were not born by the same woman.
So are you saying that this was a dispute around family succession? --- Yes, because after I was injured she came in, she looked at me, she didn't say a word, and she left immediately.
Did you ever discuss this with her or with these people who attacked you? --- Yes. I talked to her directly and I talked to my father, and I told her that, "You bought these people to assault me." She did not give me an answer, nothing, she just looked at me.
So you haven't resolved this issue yet with her? --- She is very shy these days because she comes to my place, and today I am the one who is helping her in turn. I support her children and I am trying to show her that I am not in the past, I am living now for the future.
Now, how were you injured during this attack? You haven't told us yet what your injuries were. Can you just briefly describe them for us please. --- I had an operation and I was injured on the eye, and there are still scars on my body. The operation is from the chest up to the abdomen.
Did your breathing problems start after that? --- Yes, the breathing problems started after the assault and after the operation.
Now, just one last aspect. Did you lay a charge
against these people? Did you go to the police and open a case? --- Yes, I opened a case against them.
And what happened with it? --- I do not know what happened. I think they were equipped with a lawyer. I did not even go to the Court of Law. I only heard that they were charged, and one of them served a prison sentence and the others were released.
Okay. Mr Matela, thank you. I'll hand back to the Chairperson to see if any of the others have any questions for you. Thank you very much.
DR MAGWAZA: Good morning, Sir. There are a few more questions to ask. At the time when you joined the group of youths who were toyi-toying, what was happening at that time? Why were they toyi-toying? --- They were chanting slogans about Mandela, and we were singing about the freedom.
Any particular reason you were doing that? --- There was no reason, because I was just passing and they stopped me, they said, "Hey, join us. Support us. Sing along with us."
The next question I would ask is you joined this group because they asked you to join them, it was not your will, you didn't want to? --- This group stopped me to join them, and they were saying - they were going around the township to take out everybody so that everybody can join them and sing.
The other question I would like to ask, you have mentioned hospitals where you received treatment the first time when you were shot at by the police, and the second time when you were assaulted. To which hospitals did you
go? --- I went to Roma Hospital and they told me that they were not going to help me, I should go and be helped at a government hospital. They just gave me some tablets until the next day, when I went to the hospital. A shopkeeper took us to the hospital.
The shopkeeper took you to a hospital, which one? --- It is a hospital at Aliwal North. It is the only hospital right in town.
The last question I would like to ask from you is that you told us that you suffered injuries in your body, including a major operation running from your chest to the abdomen ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 1) ... back? --- I was working at the municipality, but I was never accepted back at my post when I went back. I think it is because we were working as temporary workers, we were not registered, they didn't take me back.
In other words your life remained the same after the assault. Although you were severely assaulted and you had operations you still managed to work as before? --- I do try to work, but because of this short breath problem I cannot. And I feel very nauseous at times, and dizzy, and then I cannot work under these circumstances. But because of an empty stomach I try to stand up on my feet and get temporary employment.
Are you getting any medical treatment now? --- Yes, I attend doctors around here. I went to Aliwal North ANC branch to ask them what was happening about me. Now the attorney that was acting on our behalf in that year told me that that time has since passed and I should go and consult with the ANC branch at Bethulie, but they could not help me. I am saying they could not help me
because up to now they have never said anything to me.
The last question, have you tried to apply for a grant, because it looks like you can no longer work as before? --- I tried, but the doctor doesn't care at all. I told him about this problem at the back of my head and he saw that my nerves were troubling me, but he doesn't care at all, he doesn't help me fill the forms.
Okay, thank you very much, Mr Matela, but one thing that could help is to see the local social workers. Probably they could be in a position to help you. Thank you very much.
Mr Matela, just one question. You say that you were suspected of being an IFP member. Did you have two organisation around this area? --- I do not want to feed you with the information I do not know. I only heard that members of Inkatha were around. You know, I was new in this township, I was arriving from Bloemfontein. I never even saw these people with my eyes, but I heard as they were talking that around the township there are members of Inkatha, but I have never seen them really.
CHAIRPERSON: We have heard your story, Mr Matela. Of the heart of darkness there seems to be a common phenomenon around all where we go, these shootings of people, innocent people, when they are walking, and it is very unfortunate that even the people who should have protected people, like the police, all over where we go we find that they are the people who have been shooting people. And it shows really that we are coming from the
heart of darkness. And you have asked here in your statement that you feel that there must be a community built for the community for rehabilitation, a monument built, and we are going to pass these things to the President. We don't give these things you are asking here, we just make a recommendation to the President and the Government. And we are very impressed that you are thinking of the community which has been broken by violence, that it should be built again to be the community which it used to be. I thank you very much for coming forward, for telling your story, and we hope that your telling of the story is going to have a process of healing in you. Thanks a lot. --- I also thank you, Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: There are some people who are not here. We are trying to re-arrange the order. We are trying to sort ourselves. This person should have come on the day two, and because of certain circumstances he comes day one. Again I am going to ask Ilan Lax to make you take an oath.
MPAFANE KHANG (Sworn, States) (Speaking English)
DR MAGWAZA: Good morning, Jacob. --- Good morning.
We welcome you here and we thank you very much for having come forward to share your experience with us. --- Thank you.
As a starting point I would like you to tell us more about your family. We just want to know more about you and your family. --- Well, I was raised up by a single mother because my father died, a long time ago he passed away, and we - in fact I had four sisters, one of whom in fact passed away in 1993, if I am not mistaken, so I am left with three. And then I also have a brother. And in the family of six children I am the second one in the family.
Are you married? --- Unfortunately not yet.
Why unfortunately? --- Well, I am saying unfortunately because of, you know, my age at this point in time.
Can you tell us what were you doing at the time when this violation occurred? How old were you? Were you still - were your working or were you still at school? Just give us a sense of what were you doing at that time. --- When the unrest took place in Bloemfontein, or in the Free State or in South Africa generally, I think I was about - for sure between 18 and 19. No, no, it was late
1979 I think, and then my active involvement started in 1980. And then I was one of the people who established COSAS in Bloemfontein, Mangani Youth Congress. We first - before we had Mangani Youth Congress we had Mangani Cultural Organisation. That's how we used to call it before. And I also, you know, had a close contact with the other trade unions and people who were like trade unionists in the - whatever, Free State generally.
According to the statement which I have here the violation relates to abduction and torture at Ladybrand/Maseru border, as well as emotional and physical torture while in exile at the ANC camp in Zimbabwe. Can you tell us exactly what happened. --- Ja. In fact I would like to say - I am aware that you asked me to first, you know, relate my activities before ... (inaudible) ... get the point. My second point I would like to say that, you know, my story is basically two-phased, I mean in that I was a participant against the apartheid system itself, and I never regretted my involvement, you know, in politics against apartheid. And I was - I think I was one of the dedicated people in South Africa, and no one of course during my participation in South Africa - no one who knew me at that point in town, you know, could even doubt my participation. And during that time I had the blessing of having the contact of people like Mrs Winnie Mandela when she was still in Brandfort. And I was also one of the people who used to like welcome, you know, renowned politicians at that point in time in Bloemfontein, people like Terror Lekoto, when they came to Bloemfontein. I was one of the people who met them. Also Molefe. You name them, the list is endless. And
eventually of course, when - I mean eventually I joined the underground structure of the ANC. I was an underground operative, even though most of my friends inside the country didn't know that. They only learnt about that after I had left the country, and they were shocked to hear that. Of course that was the rules of the game at that point in time. And unfortunately at some stage - I think 1984 - when I was at UNISA(?), a student at UNISA, and where of course I was also assisted by Winnie Mandela to gain admission at that institution. I was working for the ANC still at that time, and I happened to go to Maseru, or Lesotho, on the organisation's nomination, and on my way back from Lesotho now, I don't know for some strange reason, I was confronted by the South African Police at the border. I don't know whether they knew that I was there or they were just - you know, it was just a coincidence for them to come across me. I don't know about that one. For sure they'll be able to explain that if, you know, approached. But the people who confronted me - one of them I know very well, it was a policeman by the name of Marapo. I knew him very well and I still know him very well even today. And then one of them was a white policeman whom I think it was Gert Prinsloo because I have had some dealing with him before. I mean I was detained on various occasions. But he left Bloemfontein for quite a while, so maybe when he came back I was not sure whether it was, you know, the same policeman, because in fact the policeman that I knew very well at that time was Andrew Prinsloo more than Gert. So I was, you know, detained, handcuffed, and they wanted to know what I was doing in Maseru, or in Lesotho. And I
just told them that I had gone there to see a girlfriend of mine, and unfortunately they did not buy that story. And they ended up detaining me, and they had took certain things from me. One of them was my passport, because I had gone to Lesotho legally anyway, and my diary, and a train ticket. At that time there was a train from Bloemfontein to Lesotho, even though it went as far as - wherever, the Maseru border. So I had a return ticket which was, you know, in my possession, and I think some photos that I had with me. Those are definitely the things that I can remember that I had at that time. Very shortly they said to me that they knew that I was on information, which of course I denied at that time, and they decided that, you know, they knew - they also said that they knew that I was sent by Mrs Mandela, which I also denied, and of course I was not sent by Mrs Mandela to Lesotho. And they said to me they were also aware that even though I was at varsity at that time my mission was not necessarily to study, but I was continuing furthering the ANC missions. And they had decided, as South African representatives of the Government, that I am undesirable and I am not needed in South Africa, and they said I will have to go back to my comrades in Lesotho. But then I denied any knowledge of comrades in Lesotho. After some while - after, you know, some time, you know, they tortured me and all that, and they put me in a car. It was a white Fairlane, I still remember, and they drove, you know, to the river bank. I think the river is called is called Caledon, if I am right, but they took me to the river that separates South Africa and Lesotho. And when we got there Marapo pulled me out of the car and they
wanted me to jump into the water. Well, at that time I could not swim. I know how to swim now, but at that time I did not know. So they said I should, you know, get into the water, you know, and go across. Well, I refused because I was not quite sure how deep the level of the water was at that time. The person whom I will refer to as Prinsloo at this point, Gert Prinsloo, took out a gun. In fact both of them had guns, Marapo and Prinsloo. Prinsloo pointed that gun to me and he said he was going to count up to 10, and if I was not in the water by that time then he was going to fire. Then he started counting. I still resisted. So I think when he was about at count seven or so, and the tone was going up, you know, because he was saying one, two, and then when he gets to six he was saying eight, seven, you know, the tone went up. Marapo pushed me into the water, and I also ended up getting into that water, and then I went across. As I am saying I was not quite sure how deep the water was. Fortunately I managed to get to the middle of the water, and at that time the water was more or less, you know, at my chest level, and I managed to go across. I was not stubborn as such, but I indicated to them that they were just wasting their time because I am coming back. So I left the river, I went back to Lesotho. I contacted congress in Lesotho, ANC Congress, and then I related the story. I made it a point - I made it clear to them that I wanted to come back home. I wrote a letter, which I believe, you know, was given to the comrades inside the country, and I said they should organise that for me. And I was prepared also to take a public platform exposing the system, you know, the police, you know, what they did to
me. And one of the letters, if I still remember very well, was supposed to have reached Mrs Mandela. Then I was told, I don't know, that my mother went to see Mrs Mandela for the first time because she was really worried, and I was more or less known, you know, in the country, and, you know, my abduction spread like wildfire, because even at UNISA itself I am told people were very worried and they thought I was dead. Because even after reaching, you know, exile, I could not communicate and tell people that okay, I was safe and all that - you get the point. So they only knew that I had disappeared, they system had abducted me, and they were not quite sure what happened to me. However, I made it a point after some time that at least my mother was informed, and I am told, as I said, she went to see Mrs Mandela, and they apparently tried to make efforts for my return. And after a while - we discussed this with comrades in exile, and they indicated to me that it was going to be dangerous for me to come back because it was not - I mean in fact people were not sure what was going to happen to me if I had to come back at that point in time. And it was felt that - I mean even though I could expose the system, but eventually maybe they would - you know, I would come back and maybe this time they would kill me. And on the basis of the advice which was given to me then I decided to stay in exile, reluctantly of course, because I really wanted to come back and expose, you know, the police. So when I was in Lesotho - well, I did a lot of things for the movement, and then eventually of course I went to various countries until I reached Angola. I underwent military training. I did quite a number of whatever
assignments in the organisation, and I have no doubt that I was trusted in the organisation, because some of the assignments that I did were very sensitive assignments. And then eventually during my stay in exile I - of course I went to different countries, and then eventually I found myself in Zimbabwe. And when I was in Zimbabwe I had another mission which I was given by the organisation, and I think some time in 1978 - 1988 or so, there was some sort of - I don't know what to call that, but basically many comrades were arrested in the organisation for being suspected of working for the system, and some of them were basically people that we knew to be renowned and respected commanders in the organisation. And some of us in the lower levels started asking ourselves questions that, "I mean if these people are really enemy agents how did they find their way to the top, to that level?" And then we started, you know, thinking and debating this thing amongst ourselves. It means there is something wrong there at the top. And at that time unfortunately some of the people that I was supposed to report to, whom I am not necessarily going to name now - you get the point - we sometimes used to feel that there was something wrong with them. And unfortunately some of them - according to the information that I had some of them I also, you know, I felt very much uncomfortable. And then I decided - it was at that time that I decided that no, I am not going to take this assignment any more. Instead I opted to go to school. And one of the people that I approached - in fact the only people that I approached about that was Comrade Chris Hani, because he was more or less connected to the assignment that I was given by the movement. And then I
intimated to him when he was in Zimbabwe that I am not continuing with the assignment, instead I wanted to go to school. Comrade Chris said, "Okay, I have no problem with that if you say you want to go to school. However, the procedure is that at least we have to write a letter to the MHQ," that is the military headquarters in Lusaka, "just informing them as a formality. So I know already, but at least we have to write a letter to the MHQ," which of course I did. I wrote a letter, I gave it to the deputy-chief rep in Lusaka - in Zimbabwe. That was Comrade Mhlope. And then, okay, he promised me that the letter would reach Lusaka, and then I think after a week or so he told me that the letter was sent to Lusaka. After some time I did not get a response from, you know, the headquarters in Lusaka. I wrote another letter to Lusaka again via the same chief rep's office. There was no response. And at that time I think I was, you know, beginning to be a little bit fidgety because, you know, I wanted to enrol during that year at the University of Zimbabwe or any other college. Then I approached the chief rep's office, indicating to them that in the absence of a response from Lusaka I wanted to start processing my whatever - my application for schooling. And Comrade Madizela indicated to me that no, he was not going to have anything to do with this. Then I waited, and then after a while - I don't know if, you know, I am taking too long, you wanted me to stop.
No, okay. --- Okay, sure. I am trying to be as brief as possible.
Okay. --- In fact a lot of things, you know, took place. So what happened is that, well, I spoke to
Comrade Madizela, who was the chief rep then, and I was surprised. I mean his, you know, response was a very negative one - if you get the point - and he was not co-operative at all. Eventually I - and I indicated - you know, I intimated this to my comrades that I was staying, that - because there were some also who wanted to go to school, who were a little bit - you know. I can't say everybody was dissatisfied. We were not necessarily dissatisfied about what was going on in the movement, but I was a little bit, you know, dissatisfied about how certain people handled certain things, if you get the point. Not necessarily about the organisation, because I really loved the organisation. I was very much dedicated to it. So when Comrade Madizela reacted in the manner in which he did then I indicated to the Congress that I was staying, and I can prove everything that I am saying here. I said, "You know, if he does this to me I will sort this thing my - you know, my own way," if you get the point. "I am going to follow the channels, but if he doesn't want to then I will see how I do this thing, but definitely I am going to go to school." Then he had his attitude, and then he eventually said to one of the comrades who was helping, you know, people with scholarships and bursaries, that he should not help me. And I was very much disappointed because he said that after we had had a meeting with them in his office, and then he said, "You must never help those comrades. You know, those comrades will simply have to leave Zimbabwe," and all that, if you get the point. I said to the comrades in point - I think it was Comrade Solly. We used to call him Solly. I am sorry to mention people's names without consulting them,
but anyway the people that I have mentioned some of them really never did anything whatever wrong, or, you know, negative against me. You know, the comrades was genuinely trying to help me at that point in time. And Comrade Madizela said whatever said, then I said to the comrade that, "Okay, I realise that you tried to help me out, but anyway thanks for that." And then after that I went to various organisations which used to help refugees at that time for scholarship, and some of them of course were willing to help me, but the indication was that, I mean, they don't help individuals. It's either you are an individual refugee, in which case they can assist you as an individual, or if you belong to an organisation then they help you through the organisation, you see. And one of the organisations that I went to was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and they also told me the same thing anyway, because at that time I indicated to them that I only wanted help, but I didn't want to leave the organisation, I only wanted a scholarship. So what happened is that the UN said it could only help me if I could bring some sort of a letter from the office indicating that I was a member of the ANC, if you get the point, because I didn't have an identification card of my own. I was identified through the organisation. So I went back again to the chief rep's office requiring for - or requesting a, "To whom it may concern," just a letter, you know, acknowledging that I was, you know, a South African refugee. And unfortunately I could not get that help. Eventually then I said no. Then the UN said to me they could register me as whatever. They could give me an ID, but before they could do that I would have to go to,
you know, to the government to get an identity whatever recognition. I went to the Zimbabwe Government, and unfortunately the applications at that point in time were, you know, processed by the Central Intelligence Organisation, that is the Security Branch of the organisation - I mean the country. I went there and the ANC was consulted. Comrade Mhlope came. He was called. He came to the Security Branch of the Zimbabwean Government. He asked me what I was doing. I explained to him, and the reasons why I was there. And then he said, "Okay, Comrade, we can go back to the office, then we'll be able to discuss this maybe in a more whatever amicable way." I said, "It's fine." Then I was prepared to abandon, you know, the process that I had already started. So I went back to the residence where I used to stay. Comrade Mhlope never showed up that evening. I think two days or so passed. After that I went back to the Government, telling them that I was proceeding with my application. After some time to my surprise the ... (intervention)
Was it the Zimbabwean Government? --- The Zimbabwean Government Security, ja, sure, because that's where you had to apply - I mean that's where you had to go if you wanted like an application for residence status, you get the point. And I also indicated to the Government of Zimbabwe together - you know, and also at the UNHCR office, that I only wanted an identification, you know, an independent identification as a refugee. I didn't want to leave the organisation, I wanted to still remain a member of the ANC. Unfortunately when I was there the movement sent a security guy, if you get the point, to come and
fetch me. So I resisted. I am not going to mention them now by names, but if I am called upon to do that then I can always mention them. Anyway. And then the guys came. Instead I was surprised. They wanted to remove me by force from there. Then I resisted, and unfortunately that caused a lot of, you know, commotion outside the, you know, the offices outside the - you know, outside the Zimbabwean or whatever security offices in Harare. As a result of that I mean many people came. It attracted whatever - the commotion that took place attracted a lot of people, and then the police - I mean the Security Police of the Zimbabwe Government, you know, put me into the car and they drove me to the police station. They decided to whatever - to whatever - to lock me up. I stayed in the cells I think for about two days, after which then I indicated to them that I am not going back to the ANC, now I am resigning. I told them straight that, "Now I am resigning," I don't want to have anything with the organisation at that point in time. Then I was taken to the refugee camp in Zimbabwe, where I stayed, and then after some time I was called upon to - I mean to a hearing for an application for refugee status. So in that hearing one of the things that I indicated, because I was asked about my safety in Zimbabwe, they wanted to know - in fact they indicated to me that how would they be able to make sure that I was safe in Zimbabwe because they had no control over the security of the movement. Then I indicated to them that I doubt that the Zimbabwean Government can say that it had no control over the security of the movement because it was a government. And I also indicated that I suspected that there were some
people even in the Security Police of the Zimbabwean Government who were, you know, conniving with our security guys because of the braveness that they had, you know, when they went to fetch me from their offices. So I think some of the things which I said there made certain people feel unhappy, and as a result of that they decided to send me to Lusaka, without the knowledge of the UN unfortunately. So when I got to Lusaka ... (intervention)
Excuse me, Mr Mpafane. --- Okay.
It's a long story. If you could highlight ... (inaudible) --- Okay, that's all right. Sure. Okay, sure. So eventually then - okay, I am just going to cut it then. So eventually then I was sent to Lusaka, then when I got to Lusaka then unfortunately I found the ANC guys at the airport, and then from the airport they wanted me to come and explain at least what happened to Lusaka - I mean to Zimbabwe. Then I said okay, I was prepared to explain, but not under whatever the ANC auspices. I wanted to go back to the UN. Unfortunately they insisted until they finally, you know - they, you know, took me by force from the airport up to the movement's residence, which was called RC. So when I got to RC - and unfortunately to my surprise then I was locked up. And then I stayed in the detention of the movement for about two to three months. I don't remember very well. I can be maybe after four months. I can't remember very well, but I remember that the day I eventually managed to escape from the movement's detention was on the 9th of October, and then eventually I managed to be in the hands of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the 10th. No, it was on the 8th, and then on the 10th I managed to
be in the hands of the UN or whatever officials. That's basically the - you know, the brief story that I can relate so far. I mean about my detention by the Government and also detention by the movement.
It's quite a difficult experience you had, and I am aware that you could have told us a lot. Obviously you must be feeling there are some gaps, you didn't tell us as much as you should, but we would ask a few questions which can help us also to bridge whatever information is lacking. Firstly, going back to the time when you were abducted by two Security Police, Marapo and Prinsloo, you said they asked you to jump into the river and go back to Lesotho. Wasn't that strange that they should send you back to Lesotho instead of arresting you or detaining you? That was the common practice. Why do you think they sent you back to Lesotho? --- Well, it might have been strange, and unfortunately I also, you know, I tried, you know, to think why they did that, if you get the point. My mentioning of their names, you know, today, is basically to make it a point that maybe they explain why they did that, if you get the point, because it was strange to me, and unfortunately it was strange to everybody else, if you get the point, why they didn't kill me at that point in time, why they did not arrest me, why they did not detain me, if you get the point. Unfortunately I will be unable to respond on their behalf, because I would like them to explain that as well.
The other question, if you clarify, at one point in time you made a decision that you were no longer going to carry the missions and you wanted to go back to school. What made you change? What was it that made that shift
from carrying out the missions to wanting to go back to school? --- The shift was, as I indicated - I am going to put it this way. It was - you know, when I made that shift I cannot say that I was important, I was just like any other comrade. You know, my contribution was similar to the contribution that any other comrade had made, you know, in the organisation, but when I made the shift I am sure that many people who had confidence in me became, you know, disappointed - disappointed and frustrated. And the shift that I made was simply because, as I indicated, there was a feeling of insecurity at a certain point in time, that something was wrong in the organisation. And the feeling was basically made by the fact that many comrades - or let me say some of the comrades were basically, you know, killed immediately on their arrival inside the country, if you get the point. And sometimes, you know, I was one of the people who used to wonder how ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 2) ... certain things when we were doing them they wouldn't reach the South African Security Police, but when at that point in time some comrades who basically, you know, were at a higher - some sort of higher structures of the organisation were arrested, then that sort of, you know, increased the suspicions that I also had that there was something wrong in the organisation, if you get the point. So ... (intervention)
They were arrested by whom, if I could ... (incomplete) --- Well, unfortunately certain comrades in the organisation were arrested because it was said that they were selling out.
So they were arrested by the organisation itself?
--- Ja, some of them were, you know, arrested because the organisation felt that they were selling out, if you get the point, you see. And when comrades like those sometimes were arrested because they were selling out then we started asking ourselves, I mean if they were selling out how many more people were selling out in the organisation itself, if you get the point? And basically I also started, you know, feeling insecure that it might have been possible that some of the people - I am not saying that it was the case, I am saying I only thought that it might have been possible that some of the people that I was supposed to report to might have been themselves sell-outs. I am sorry to put it that way, if you get the point, you see. And that's basically one of the reasons that made me change. I started, you know, suspecting people around myself, you know. I don't know if maybe they suspected me as time went on, but basically that was the main reason why I decided that I was not going to take the missions any more.
The other question is you say you were abducted. You say you were abducted by Zimbabwean Security Police, they put you on a flight to Lusaka, and that on the other side of Lusaka you were met by ANC Security Police. Were the Zimbabwe Security Police working together with the ANC Security? How did that happen? --- Well, you know, I don't want to start making insinuations, you know, like those, if you get the point.
Ja. --- But I was also surprised, because when I was fetched from the refugee camp in Zimbabwe, and then straight to the airport, to Lusaka, I was surprised to find ANC guys waiting for me. And also one other thing
that I did not understand, when I was in the movement's detention or whatever, at that time I am told that Ms Mpisi, who was the protection officer, a UN protection officer in Zimbabwe - I am told, I don't know - approached the ANC in Lusaka. She first approached the Zimbabwean Government, wanting to know about my whereabouts, and the Government told her that I voluntarily left Zimbabwe for Zambia. And again I am told that the UN approached the ANC office in Lusaka about my whereabouts, and the chief rep at that point in time said that he didn't know where I was, and said that I never reached, you know, the ANC office, if you get the point. And it was not until I escaped that all these things came out, that I did not leave Zimbabwe voluntarily, and that when I was in Lusaka the entire period I was in actual fact in the hands of the organisation. So I cannot really say, if you get the point, that the Zimbabwean Government was working with the ANC, but it might have been possible that certain officials were in connivance with the movement.
Ja. I know we have spent a lot of time, but one last question almost. You said you were detained for four months under terrible conditions. Can you give us just a sense of what those - how those conditions were? --- Do you know, the conditions were terrible in the sense that before I left the country I was, you know, detained on various occasions, and for sure I also spent some time - I think about four months or so - in prison in South Africa, one of our whatever main prisons in Bloemfontein. And the conditions were terrible enough, if you get the point. And at that time I didn't mind because I knew that - I regarded the Government basically as my enemy, and I
didn't expect any sympathy from the Government, if you get the points, so I accepted the conditions that I found myself in. But when I was locked up by my own organisation, the organisation that I had sacrificed so much for it, and for no apparent reason, without any explanation whatsoever, I was really - I mean I really shed tears at that point in time because, as I am saying, no explanation was given, I didn't know why I was arrested. And the conditions were - I am sure that there are people in South Africa who were, you know, put in gaol conditions which were very terrible, but unfortunately the conditions that I found myself in when I was in the movement or whatever's detention were more terrible than the conditions that I found myself in when I was detained in South Africa, because during my imprisonment here in South Africa at least I had a toilet that I could use, and when I was the organisation or whatever's detention I had no toilet, I just had a tin, which was a small tin, which I had to use. And the room was dark. In fact I cannot even call it a room. It looks like a room from outside, but inside it's basically like a dug-out because it's very deep, you go downstairs, and with - I can say with no ventilation, because there are no windows, there's nothing. And I mean it's dark. I mean you can hardly see a person inside unless you stay for some time. If you can stay let's say for two or three hours, that's when you start, you know, getting used to the darkness and then you can see a person, you know, inside. And I mean it was - I mean it was really terrible, I mean, for me, you know, to find myself in conditions like those. And I remember when I was in detention and in prison here in South Africa
we sometimes used to - at some stage we had hunger strikes because we were like complaining about the food that we were given at the prison, but when I was in the movement's detention sometimes I would go without eating at all. At times I would get like one meal a day, at times, like I am saying, I wouldn't get, you know, food at all, if you get the point. And there were some sort of flimsy excuses. And I mean basically they were terrible. There was - I mean if I was an enemy agent maybe I would have accepted the conditions, but nothing was ever said to me that, "You are an enemy agent," or, "We are detaining you because of one, two, three." So that is why even today I still want that explanation. I still want it, I mean, from the movement, and also maybe from the Government side. And I really want each side to come up clearly and say - if the Government makes insinuations that I was working for it I want them to say that, "This person was working for us," and maybe come with - I don't want them to prove it, a mere allegation is enough. Then I'll be able to disprove it myself. And if the ANC can say, "This person was working for the system," I want them to come up with mere allegation. I am not saying they should prove it, they must just say, "This person was working for the system." Just allegation is enough, then I'll be able to disprove it, if you get the point. I am not saying they should come up with evidence or anything like that, if you get the point, but at least I'll be content if I can get explanations. And I am sorry, I am not trying to make a speech, and unfortunately what happened, and what is still happening - that's why I decided to come here today - is that people don't come to me and say, "You did one, two,
three." Instead they make allegations and insinuations to people who are surrounding me. And the unfortunate part is that all these things happened, and people knew that I was abducted by the Security Police. And, as I said, I was very active here in South Africa and in - you know, in Bloemfontein, in Free State in general, if you get the point. And the people were surprised. When I came back, you know, I didn't want to have anything to do with politics, and I didn't give an explanation. Even my own family members they will be hearing this thing for the first time, if you get the point. They were never political, but they are now today more political than I am, if you get the point. They are wondering why - what went wrong, and the allegations that the movement is making against me confirm - I mean in fact my attitude, my silence, confirms the allegations that maybe there was something wrong with me, if you get the point, because I decided just to keep quiet, not to say anything against the movement. I have been quiet. I mean I went abroad. Unfortunately I went abroad, I went to school, I did everything, and I was just quiet. And I struggled to go to school, if you get the point, and I mean people maybe are asking themselves where I got money from, and for sure people are making their own whatever assumptions and allegations, and they don't know how much I struggled to get money to go to school. And that is why I am saying I decided to take this platform, because I want everything to come out, if you get the point. People should stop saying all the kinds of things that they are saying. I want explanations from the Government and also from the movement, then I will be content.
Okay. Thank you very much, Mr Jacob. You took a long time, but I think for you it's going to be very helpful, especially if you say you are sharing this for the first time. It looks like you are looking for some form of vindication, as well as getting some communication with people who perceived you otherwise. I know - I can see you are hurt and you are quite - there's a bit of pain, but thank you very much again. I will hand over to the Chairperson.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Just one question, Mr Khang, just so I can try and situate this thing. You escaped, you said, on the 9th of October, but you didn't give us the year. --- I think it was in 1988.
1988. Thank you. That's all, Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you, Mr Mbafane, I can see that you are really angry. You are an angry young man who wants to get explanations about what happened to you, and I think the Truth Commission is about that, that the stories must come out, and people who are hurt must say that they are hurt, and they must get the explanations of why they are hurt, especially this with you, that you say that even your family, you have never said anything to them, and they are wondering what is happening to you when they knew that you are an activist. We thank you for coming here. Your requests will be followed as you have required, and we hope you will get the explanations from the Government and from the ANC. Thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON: Now, may we call upon Mr Aaron Simon Thabo to come on the stage please. Good morning, Sir, are you fine?
MR THABO: Yes, I am fine, Sir, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Before you tell your story - you have come here to tell a story relating to a shooting at your home. Now, before you tell it I am going to ask Ilan Lax to make you take an oath.
AARON SIMON THABO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRPERSON: Aaron, I am going to be asking you some questions, and please do relax so that you can say what you want to say very comfortably. Is it true that you reside at 860 Cape Sands? --- That is correct.
Were you born there? --- Yes, that's correct.
Can you give me the picture of your family? Just give us the picture of your family. How many are in the family - mother, father, brothers, sisters, etcetera? --- We are six at home. My father has just died two years ago. We are left with your mother. I am the fifth-born in the family. We are six boys.
Six boys in the family. --- Yes.
Are there any in your family who are still in school? --- The one coming just after me is still schooling. That is the last-born in the family.
What class is he? Is it a boy or a girl? --- It's a boy. He's doing standard eight.
Did you say that your parents are no more living? I didn't understand from the interpreter. --- I am left with my mother. The father just died two years ago.
What are the other members of the family doing apart
from this one who is in standard eight? --- My four brothers are married, they have families of their own. I am left with my mother, that is myself and my younger brother.
Thank you. We are dealing with the times when there were conflicts in certain communities, and when the communities were divided into different groupings, political groupings. Can you tell us about your family, did your family belong to any political grouping? --- All of us at home were the members of the ANC. Nobody else belonged to any other party, we were all members of the ANC.
You were all members of the ANC. Was there any other organisation around in your community which was not ANC? --- The other organisation was the IFP. It just came to be without any expectation. We didn't expect it to be formed, but seemingly the councillors formed such an organisation.
What were the relationships between the IFP and ANC in your area? --- The councillors who were members of the ANC were not wanted any more. They were staying by force in the township. Now, this brought about conflict.
Thank you. I just wanted to get the background of your community so that we understand what happened at your home in the context of what was prevailing in the community. Now, you want to tell us the story relating to the story and the tear gassing of your home. Can you just tell us what happened on the 17th of April 1991. Just tell us the story what happened. --- It was in April 1991. It was during Good Friday, on a Friday. I found work in the mine. I came home with my friends. So I made
a party with my friends. Like liquor, we bought liquor and meat. We were at my friend's place. Whilst we were still relaxing, we were playing music, we were outside. On my hands I had a glass of beer. I went inside to change the record which was playing, then thereafter went outside. I heard tear gas smoke. I turned around, saying, "Comrades, comrades are killed outside." When we looked on a certain direction we heard gunshots at the councillor's house. He was fighting with another comrade, because all of us were members of the ANC Youth League. At the time we wanted to defend by throwing stones. It's then that he called the police and the police came, and they were many. Some of them were speaking Afrikaans. They were using tear gas and guns. We went to a shack house, which we were drinking next to. We ran inside the house, we closed the door. A certain policeman arrived next to the window and he threw a tear gas canister inside the house, and other police were in front of the house, and they shot straight to the door. It went through the door and hit me on the neck. I started bleeding. My clothes were bloodstained, then I fell on the bed and I was crying, saying to the comrades, "They found me." The police threw the - kicked the door, then they threw tear gas again, and they were kicking us. We were taken to the police van. They threw tear gas canisters inside that van, and I was helpless and powerless. Then from there they took us to the police station. When we arrived at the police station I thought I would be helped because I was bleeding. One of the police said, "Fucking comrades, you should have been killed," and then I was crying. One of the police said I should be - one of them should lock
me in. They took me to the doctor after a while. The doctor placed the blood and gave me pills and say he - after that I thought I was going to be locked again. We were told that we should leave and then they'll find me at home. I arrived at home still in pain. My mother was crying profusely. The bullet was stuck inside behind my neck. On a Sunday I was supposed to go back to the mine. When I arrived there I reported that I was not able to work. Then they took me to the hospital, they gave me pain-killers. I was not able to turn my neck. After some time I was taken to an x-ray as to whether you are still healthy. Then somebody told me that the doctor wants to see me. When I arrived at the hospital I found Dr Swart. He said to me, "Were you shot?" I said, "Yes, but that doctor said the bullet didn't stick in the flesh, it just passed through." That doctor - Dr Swart said to me, "That doctor was lying." The bullet was inside my flesh. He showed me the x-ray picture how the bullet was stuck in my neck. I didn't believe, but I saw it on the x-ray. Then he said to me, "After a week you'll be taken to the hospital for the bullet to be removed." After then I went to the hospital for an operation. They were able to remove that pellet. But that doctor said that the bullet didn't stick in my neck. Since I waited for the case to be presented to Court, but even up to now I was not informed what happened to that case in court.
Thank you. I am just going to ask you some very few questions. Is it true that you know the people who tear gassed your home? --- I don't know the people who were shooting, who attacked.
Is it true that you know the people who arrested you
and the other occupants of the house? --- The people who arrested us when we were taken to the police van were speaking Afrikaans, and even the black policemen were speaking Afrikaans. I was able to identify Police Magele and Mimi, who was a councillor. Those are the police whom I was able to identify when we were taken to the van.
Do you remember anything about Tiki Motili, Secheba Mahloso, Senchu Phillips, Foster Magele? --- I know them very well. They were policemen at that time.
Some of the police who arrested you? --- Yes, those were some of the police who were there at that time, but at that time I was semi-unconscious, but I was able to hear their voices outside and among us, because our local police were speaking English - Afrikaans all the time.
In your statement you have mentioned an argument which ensued between two females. Can you say anything about that? --- The argument was there where this thing started, up to the point where one comrade said to us a certain comrade is being killed somewhere, but I didn't understand what was the argument about between the two women.
Is it true that one of these women was the wife of one of the constables, Constable Senchu Phillips? --- Yes, that's true.
When the tear gas was thrown to your house how did the other occupants of the house escape? Were they all arrested? Was your mother there in the house? --- My mother was not inside the house, she was somewhere. I was at my friend's place. The policeman came next to the window and pushed the window and threw a tear gas canister. Some of us went underneath the bed, but we were
trying to hide ourselves inside that room.
And in your statement you say that you were arrested because of the public violence. What public violence was that? --- We were arrested because we were trying to help our comrade because someone was fighting him.
Somebody was fighting there. --- The people who were fighting with the comrade are those people who were fighting in that house. As all of us were members of the ANC Youth League we could not leave one of our comrades being fought by the police and the councillors, because all of them were our enemies. That is why we decided that we should come and fight against this policeman as he was fighting against our fellow comrade.
Thank you. And you say that you were charged. Were you charged for violence when you were arrested? --- Since I was arrested I don't know what happened to the case. I didn't go to court. I was never called up to this day.
Okay, I am not going to push you on your statement. Who is Dr Nel? --- That is the doctor who said to me the bullet didn't penetrate, but it just passed through.
Did he examine you? --- He didn't examine me, he just touched on my neck, and then thereafter he gave me pills and then he cleansed the blood on my neck, then thereafter I was released and I was taken to the van and returned to the police station. Then they said I should be released, "But at any time, even in the mines, we can come and fetch you."
And then how did you meet Dr Swart? --- Dr Swart is working in the mines, who is handling the x-rays, as I did explain that in the mines after a certain period you
are taken to x-ray examination as to whether you are still fit to work in the mines. That's where Dr Swart was able to identify the bullet in my neck.
And so the bullet was taken out from your neck? --- Yes, it was removed in the Oppenheimer Hospital.
So, what is your feeling against Dr Nel at the present moment? --- He looked like a liar because he didn't do his work. He must explain why he didn't do his work correctly, that he lied that the bullet didn't penetrate me, and then it was only identified by another doctor. In other words he was trying to make me suffer for the rest of my life with a bullet inside my body. He was not working professionally like a doctor.
So are you saying that Dr Nel colluded with those who shot you? --- It seems like that. That is why he lied that the bullet just passed through, it didn't penetrate, and a second doctor was able to identify the bullet inside my neck.
Thank you very much, I think I have all what I wanted to hear from you. Any members of the panel?
MR LAX: Just one quick question, Mr Aaron, just so there's no confusion about this. Dr Nel was the doctor who treated you after the police had taken you there, is that right? That would have been actually in Bethulie. --- Ja, I was taken to Dr Nel by the police.
Was he the State doctor for that area? --- No, he was a local doctor. I don't know as to whether he was a State doctor or a private doctor. That is the doctor who said to me the bullet didn't penetrate.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Aaron, for telling us your story, which again shows that there was something wrong somewhere in the community. I mean for a doctor to just say that there is no bullet without taking the x-rays, he is leaving some questions in one's mind. And you have also stated that you would like to know why Dr Nel treated you that way, and you have already called him a liar. And I think we will try to investigate this doctor and see why he said that there was no bullet when there was a bullet, when he was playing with a person's life. Thank you very much for your story. --- I also thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Can I call upon the next witness, that's Liesbet Thabantso, to come forward please. Good morning, how are you?
MS THABANTSO: I am fine, Sir, how are you?
CHAIRPERSON: I am also fine. Thank you for coming here to tell your story. It is a painful story indeed, but before you tell it Advocate Ilan Lax is going to make you take an oath.
LIESBET THABANTSO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRPERSON: When you tell your story just relax, because there is somebody who is going to help you when you are telling your story. Professor Magwaza is going to take you through your telling of your story.
DR MAGWAZA: Good morning, Liesbet. --- Good morning.
We welcome you here, and thank you very much for coming forward to share your story with us today. Liesbet, can you start by telling us something about your family - your parents, brothers and sisters? --- My mother passed away, but first died my brother. That was in 1988. He was shot by a policeman called Steerman. My mother also passed away in 1990. She was also shot by a policeman. I am sorry, my brother was shot by Simano and my mother was shot dead by Steerman. The two of them were policemen at Bethulie. I am left alone now at home. My other two brothers are in prison, the other one is in Virginia. He is working for himself. Nobody is helping me at home. I am left with the twins and the other child.
Okay, I'll come back to your mother's death. Before we get into the details of what happened in your family I
would like you to tell us how as your brother killed, and why? According to the statement here your brother, Lifa, was killed by a policeman and his funeral was also disrupted by the police presence. Can I ask you one thing before you tell me what happened to your brother? Was your brother politically active? --- Yes.
To what political organisation did he belong? --- He was a member of the ANC.
What sorts of things did he do within this organisation? --- He was working together with the ANC.
At the time when he was killed was he working or was he a student? --- He was working outside Bethulie. He was just visiting.
What sort of work did he do? --- He was working as a contractor.
According to the statement your brother was killed by the police, and you say that he was killed because he had successfully defended himself. Before you actually tell us about the killing could you tell us what had happened before? He had defended himself against what before he was actually killed? You said there was a charge, and he defended himself against the charge successfully and therefore he was killed. Can you tell us about that first? --- He was arrested by this policeman called Simano, and he was taken into court and every time he would come out clean. And when he defeated Simano the last time Simano said he will show him because he defeated him in court. And yes, he proved that he will defeat him, he killed him dead.
Why did he have to go to court? What case was it?
What was it all about? --- They arrested him for possession of dagga and other crimes that he was doing.
(Inaudible) ... crimes? --- He was breaking into houses.
Okay. Can you then tell us what happened, how he was killed? --- My mother was cooking a delicious meal on that day. It was on a Wednesday, and she had just received her pension, and she gave my brother a little money to go back to work. It was at about - it was late, the train was just about to leave, and Bunkie arrived at home to tell us that the deceased was lying somewhere and Simano picked him up. He was going to throw him at the cells. He picked him up at the station and he took him to the shooting range. That is where he shot him dead.
(Inaudible) ... understanding. Was Simano shot dead because of his involvement in politics or because of these other charges which he had against him? --- I think he was killed because of the case he came out clean with.
Okay. Can you tell us then what happened thereafter? --- Simano came home to pick up Bunkie, and he said, "Bunkie, come with me. Come and see, your dog is dead." He took Bunkie and he took him to the place where the deceased was, and he said to Bunkie, "I can also kill you if I like."
Can you tell us up to the time you had a funeral and there was a police presence? Just give us the complete story. Tell us as though we don't know anything at all. --- In the morning they came back, they picked my mother and my father, they took them to the police station, and the deceased at that time was still lying in the veld, and Simano was ordered to go and get him. He was ordered by
other policemen. And he didn't want to, he was just chanting in the room. I do not know what happened thereafter because we were outside, my parents were inside the police station. And they then left to go and fetch the body. And we left home. My parents were left behind at the police station. The person who can be in a position to describe this is my husband.
How did your mother die? --- She was on her way from work, and there was a quarrel in the house with my father and she decided to go and take a walk, and she met my brother called Dankithelo, and there and then there was an argument, an altercation - I do not know now the involvement of my mother - and she was shot.
Ja. This is a case where you have lost two family members, and also this is a case where I am not getting a very clear sense of whether this thing was politically motivated from you. It doesn't sound like a case where there were politics involved, unless you want to explain to me how is politics involved in this case. I am having a bit of a problem. --- I do not understand you.
Well, what I am trying to say here is that the cases we deal with here are the cases where people were violated or killed for political reasons, not just any other reason. Now that you have submitted your case I would like you to make me understand in what way do you think in this case there were politics involved in the way your brother was killed. Interpretation please, I can't hear.
INTERPRETER: The witness is not giving an answer, she is asking how is it connected to politics.
DR MAGWAZA: I would like to take this opportunity to give it to any of my colleagues to pursue it.
CHAIRPERSON: Ilan, do you want to pursue this? (Pause) DR MAGWAZA: Okay, Liesbet, I think the bit of a problem I have here is that you are bringing a case here about the loss you have had with your brother, and that's a serious loss for you, but it looks like some of the information you could have heard it from your - you said your brother-in-law? Your husband. Now, I am trying as much as possible to get information that will help us to deal with the case, but in the absence of that I will ask whatever I need to ask from you, because after all somebody was lost here. Can you tell us, your brother - tell us more about the death of your brother, because somewhere in the statement there's an indication that some parts of your brother were missing. What was the situation of your brother's death? --- That's correct. Behind the head there was an open hole, and we buried him without that portion.
(Inaudible) ... into the funeral itself. You said that the police used a tear gas. Why did they use a tear gas? --- At the night vigil they were spraying the tear gas. Even the funeral function they were spraying the tear gas, even shooting. Until we buried him they carried on with their shooting, and people were just fainting because it was also a rainy day.
And when - okay. --- Until we came back from the cemetery the police vans were still driving behind us, and people did not eat the food on that day. They came the next day to eat the food. This was all because of the police, because of the tear gases spraying at us.
The other thing I noticed, that the police who shot your brother has the same surname as the other police,
Simano, who was a Security Police, and that it could be that it is the same police, that there could have been other political reasons which you are not sure of. Is it possible? --- It's not possible.
After this happened did you report the case to the police station? Was there a court case? --- No, the people of the ANC were helping us.
What did they do? Did you go to court? --- We did not even appear before the Court of Law. This issue ended up nowhere.
The people of the ANC who were helping you, who were those people? Do you know their names? --- I know Mopufu. He is among the people sitting here.
Anybody else? --- Yes. His name is Muzunjani.
The matter was reported to the police station. Which police station? --- Bethulie Police Station.
Do you know the name of the police who was in charge of this, in charge of your case? --- I think Mopufu knows the name of the policeman who was in charge.
You wouldn't have any case number about this particular case, so you have nothing that could help us in this case? --- I don't know. You know, at that time I was still well enlightened, and I did not communicate with my elders.
Okay, I understand your problem. Other than Simano which other police was involved in the death of your brother --- It was only Simano.
Do you know where Simano is now? --- Simano has since died.
One last question. Your brother, at the time of his death was he married, did he have any children? ---
Yes, he has one child.
And where is that child? --- The child is living with the mother.
Do you know where the mother is? --- I was told that she is working somewhere in Bloemfontein, and the child is at the home, he is staying with the grandmother.
How old is the child? --- I think the child is seven, if not eight years old.
Liesbet, I understand your problem that you came here on behalf of your brother, but because at that time you saw you were not that enlightened you don't have some of the information. With the information we have, and possibly other information we might get, we will try to follow up this case. I would like now to pass you over to our Chairperson.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Just two questions. I understand from another witness' evidence that will be coming later on in the day that there was actually an inquest for your brother which was held in Bloemfontein. Did you never hear about that? --- I heard just a little about this issues, Sir.
So we can follow that up with the other person. Now, with regard to your mother's death was there an inquest? --- Yes.
(Inaudible) ... that happen? --- This took place at home.
(Inaudible) --- Yes.
Was it in the Magistrate's Court there? --- Yes.
Okay. Then we can follow that up as well. Thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Liesbet, for coming with this very painful story of losing the mother and brother in such a way. Some of the questions which you have not answered will be investigated, and we will try to get the answers which have not come out clearly, as Lax has just said that in one of the cases we have some clarification which will clarify some of the things about the story you have told us. Thank you very much for coming. God bless you.
CHAIRPERSON: (Inaudible) ... Dumela. Good morning, Sir.
MR JAS: Good morning.
CHAIRPERSON: How are you?
MR JAS: I am fine, Sir, and how are you?
CHAIRPERSON: I am also fine. Thank you for coming to tell your story, and before you tell your story, your pain, I am going to ask again Mr Ilan Lax to make you take an oath, and after that he is going to lead you when you are telling the story.
DANIEL JAS (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MR LAX: Mr Jas, you come from the Bethulie area, is that right? --- Yes, you are right.
Before we go into your story can you just give us a small picture of your family? Are you married? --- I am not married, Sir.
Do you have any children? --- Yes, I have two children.
Are you working at present? --- Yes, I am working.
What do you do, if you don't mind me asking? --- I am a security at Bethulie Tavern.
Thank you. How old are your children? --- The other one is 13 years old and the other one is seven years old.
Are they both at school? --- Yes, both of them are at school.
Thank you. And your parents, are they still alive? --- Yes, both my parents are still alive.
Thank you. We are then going to turn to the story that you have come to tell us. You say in your statement
that it happened in the beginning of 1991. Do you remember the date at all, or the month? --- I think it was in May 1991, on the 8th of May.
Please tell us what happened. --- I was in the Bethulie district in Platkop when I saw a police van. In the van was Sergeant John Simano, Constable Bagabu. Sergeant John Simano came out of the van, then accused me of having an illegal gun which I was given by Faso. I replied to him that I am not in the possession of a gun. Then I said to him that he must come in the house and search as to whether there is a gun inside. They tortured me firstly by pointing guns at me. They locked me up in the van, then they went into the house, where I was staying together with my brother. They just went there for a half minute, then thereafter they came out. Whilst on the road when we were at the tarred road, at Gerrit Dam they stopped. They said to me I should put off my clothes, but I was left with an underwear. Then they put me again in the van and they were driving fast. Then we arrived next to the dam. When we arrived at that dam we returned again to town. On our way to town there is a road. We turned off at the road next to the shooting range. When we arrived there I found Sergeant Steerman, Sergeant Phillips. They were at the shooting range. They made me to take off my clothes and made me to sit down. They then cuffed me on the table. On my buttocks I was wet. They then handcuffed me on the table and they put a hessian cloth on my head. There are things which they were tying on your fingers, left and right hand. They were speaking Afrikaans. Then he said one of them should put it on. Then I shouted. From there they would take
off the cloth on the head, thereafter I would tell them that I don't have a gun, and I don't know what kind of a thing is a gun. From there they hit me with batons. They would electrocute me up to afternoon. After that they put me again in the van and I was taken to the police station, then from there they took me home. At home we found my mother and my sister. My mother said to me what was happening. I told them that they suspect me to have a gun. My mother said, "Here is the house. Go in and search." Sergeant Steerman hit my mother with an open hand, then they threw a tear gas inside the house. Inside the house they didn't find a gun. They took my mother and myself and locked me in the cells from Sunday up to Monday, then on Monday my mother was released. I was released later. Then I went home. When I arrived home my cousin took me to the doctor, to Dr Bates. Dr Bates examined me. He just looked at me, then from there he wrote a letter, then from there he said I should go to the police station to open a case. When I arrived to open a case - forgive me for a while. On a Monday I asked the station commander to meet with him when they were coming to take complaints from those detained. Then they sent a station commander. It was Warrant-Officer Veldman. When I arrived in his office I found Sergeant Simano in that office. When I explained everything - when I arrived in that office he said to me, "Where is the gun?" Then the station commander said Simano must hit me with an open hand. Then I said to him, "Do you still say to Simano to slap me?" Then he said, "You must give us the gun. If you don't produce that gun I will tell them to continue with the torture." Then I left that office. Then they
locked me again in the cell. On Tuesday when I went to the doctor he gave me a letter - I still have a copy of that letter with me - so that I should open a case with that letter. I went to the police station. When I arrived at the charge office to open a case I don't remember the police who were there, but they were white policemen. When I told them what was the cause of opening the case they laughed at me. Adjutant Veldman talked with them outside. After some time they were writing something, which I don't know what they writing, right, and then they denied that I should look at that statement. Then they said they will come to me, but up to this day they haven't come yet.
You say that you've still got the letter from Dr Bates with you? --- Yes, I still have the letter.
Can you let us have a copy please, because we've contacted Dr Bates to try and get copies of his records, but his records - it's quite a long time already, so he doesn't actually have the old records from that long ago. So it will be very helpful for us if you could let us have a copy of that letter. I just want to take you back a little bit. You said in your statement that after Simano first searched your house they came back with the SADF. Do you remember that? You didn't tell us about it now. I am just helping remind you about that. --- The police arrived when we were arriving in the house.
In your statement you said that first Simano met you and accused you of this, and they searched your house but they found nothing. You said then a few days later they came back with the SADF, with the soldiers. Do you remember that? --- Yes, I do remember.
Now, when was that? What actually happened that day? --- It was at night when the soldiers arrived after I had been released from the cells. This person used to come all the time saying I have a gun.
You see, what I am trying to understand is were you arrested the first time they accused you when they just searched your house, because you say you were released from the cells? --- They took me from the farm and they detained me, and then again when I was released then he came together with the soldiers.
I just clarifying this. In the statement we have from you these things are a bit mixed up, so this must come at the very end. Now, you've said in your statement that at that time you were running a vegetable stall, a little stall, is that right? --- That's true.
And this Simano came and searched your stall and tried to stop you from selling, is that right? --- That's true.
He accused you of not having a proper licence, you said. --- That's true.
Where is this Warrant-Officer Veldman now? Is he still there at the police station? --- Yes, he is there at Bethulie, but I think he's on pension now.
Okay, we'll have to write to him and ask him about this. Now, what injuries did the doctor look at? What did he say was wrong with you? How were you injured? --- He examined all over the body, at the back, in front, and I was sleeping on the back. Then he said I am badly injured, this could not have been done to a person.
So did you have bruises and marks from having been beaten? --- I had wounds on the face, but on the body
I had swollen - swollen parts on the body. My parts were swollen.
Thank you. And one last question. Nothing ever happened to this case? In fact it looks like they didn't even open a case when you went there. --- Yes, I did open a case there during that time after I returned from the doctor, but up to this day I didn't hear anything.
What I am saying is it looks like although you went there to open a case the police didn't take it seriously, they didn't do anything about it at all. --- I think that is true.
Thank you, Chairperson.
DR MAGWAZA: I would like to go back to the beginning where you said the police wanted the gun from you, the gun from Klaso. Who is Klaso? Who gave you the gun? --- He is here. He's sitting at the back. He is sitting at the back rows. That's my cousin.
Were you and your cousin members of some political organisation, or you are involved in some other activities? Why were they looking for this gun from you? --- Yes, Klaso has a high profile identity within the politics, but I was just a supporter in politics.
The second question is just a follow-up on health. After the assault and torture you only went to the doctor once. After that you never had problems about health, like you never went to any hospital or any other doctor for the injuries you suffered? --- Yes, I went to other doctors, but I didn't go to the hospital. I was a person who was fit in my life. Even my weight was 81 kilograms, but now I am weighing 70-something kilos, so I
don't know what's happening to me.
Are you saying that up to now you still feel that your health is not the same as it was before? Are you still suffering now from what happened in 1991? --- Yes, it's still affecting me. Even after when my mother was tear gassed she has visual impairment. Even life we do not live happily in the house. My mother is now 56 years old. It is because she is visually impaired and that has affected my wellbeing.
So it's your mother basically. You are just helping her. Although you have lost some weight, but you feel healthy. --- Yes, I think I would say I am normal now. There is nothing which I could say is bothering me, but I am not able to work normally as before as I know myself.
Okay, thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Sorry, can you just - has your mother made any statement about this event at all, about her own injuries? I am just concerned that she seems to have suffered as well and we may want to hear a story from her. --- She didn't make a statement, because when the Commission was sitting at home she was in hospital because of her problem with her eyes, and headaches and other problems. So she was in the hospital then.
Okay, well it's still possible to make a statement, and maybe if you can speak to her, and if she's willing contact our people and we can arrange for a statement to be taken. --- I will talk to her, but where should she give her statement to because we are staying at Bethulie?
We'll make arrangements for people to come and do that with you. --- I will be happy if that is going to
Thank you, Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Daniel, do you know where John Simano is because he seems to be the source of all what happened to your family? --- John Simano has since died. Even if he's the one who has started all the problems no person can just do a thing, but he was given authority by someone else to do these things.
Do you know who is that someone else who gave him the authority? --- Yes, I know, because at that time when I was before the station commander he said to him - the station commander said to him he must clap me, and he hit me with an open face in front of him, and then from there he said I must be taken by them to go and fetch the gun.
Thank you. Thank you for your story. Again this is showing the common feature which we get right throughout the country, where people were forced to confess that they had guns or firearms when in actual fact they didn't have them, and they had to suffer terrible treatment, treated less than animals. I mean even the SPCA, if you had to treat an animal in this form I think you would really have to answer. What more about a human being treated in this manner, shocked, handcuffed, beaten? It shows where we come from. And thank you for coming to tell us your story, because it is going to help us to understand what has been happening int he past. We will do all what we can to responde to your requests. You are asking there that the case must be re-opened, and Ilan Lax has already said that they are going to try and see if they get this
person who is mentioned by you through the investigations. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: In human nature we are governed by what is called time, and this is ... (inaudible) ... for this session and we are going to adjourn for tea. And we shall come back at 20 to, and unfortunately we are unable to serve tea for everybody here. What we are going to do is to serve tea to the witnesses and their families. And the procedure is that when we adjourn we always stand until all the witnesses have gone out, as a sign of respect. I believe that we have come here to support them, to give them the moral support, and we must give them all the respect they deserve, these people. They suffered. So we are going to stand, and then our briefers are going to lead out the witnesses, and then when the witnesses have been led out then we also adjourn.
CHAIRPERSON: The people that want to give statements, we are offering that opportunity for them, and Reverend Bosman will be seeing that that thing does happen. For instance there are some people who are mentioned here who could help us in some cases who would want to give statements. They can't help us unless they have given some statements. So we are arranging that at the back there the people who want to give statements, who have not given statements, will go at the back there, and Reverend Bosman will see that they get the statements. Thank you.
Now, the next witness is Mohise Jacob Motheoane.
(Pause) I greet you, Jacob.
MR MOTHEOANE: Good day, Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you fine?
MR MOTHEOANE: Yes, we are fine, no problem.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for coming to this Commission to tell your painful story. Now, before you tell it I am going to ask Advocate Lyster to make you take an oath.
MOHISE JACOB MOTHEOANE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You just collect yourself. I am going to help you in telling your story. I will be leading you so that you tell your story clearly. Before you tell your story, is it true that you reside at 119 Veregenug, Bethulie? --- I went there because of employment. I am staying at 147 Portabello.
Thank you very much. Can you just give us the picture of your family, wife, mother - if you have got mother, father, children, etcetera, so that we can see the
picture of your family? --- I had a wife. She left me because of the problems which happened to me. My mother is still alive. She was born in 1914 and she has since died. My father has since died, but my mother is still alive.
Do you have any children? --- I have two children. They are under my care. The other one was born in 1975, the other one was born in 1970.
Are they schooling? --- The other one has completed standard 10, the other one is married in Lesotho.
The one who has finished standard 10 is the one who is born in 1970? --- He is the one who was born in 1975.
And the one who is married is 1970? --- He is the one who was born in 1978.
This one who has passed standard 10, is it a girl or a boy? --- It's a boy.
What is he doing now? --- He is attending school in Strydom College of Education.
Oh, school of education. Are you working? --- I am working at Asler. It's a contractor.
So you are the one who is paying the fees for this child? --- That's true.
You have just said that your wife left you because of your problems. Do you want to say more than that? What problems are those? You don't have to say it if you don't want. I am just following - you say that your wife left you because of your problems. You can tell us what problems were those. If you don't want you are free not to say so. --- These are my problems. They have
amputated my penis with a plier. That's the reason why my left me.
Maybe we should hear about what happened. Can you tell us what happened in 1983? In fact do you remember the month when this thing happened in 1983? --- I don't remember the month, but I remember what happened on that day. Even the bullet inside my head causes problems and makes me to forget. It has caused me amnesia.
Okay, just tell us what you remember. --- In 1983 I was from REP Mine in Boksburg. When I have withdrawn R1 800,00 the bus has already gone. I took a bus to Verkeerdevlei. I alighted there at Stelspruit. After I have alighted there I followed that bus. There is a slope. When the bus turned I was the descent looking at that bus. A certain car came and switched off the lights, then a certain car came again. They switched off the lights when they arrived at the first car. When I arrived to these two cars I heard a gunshot. I thought these people will ask me, because I didn't know them. I jumped the fence and ran away, and my hat was left on the fence. These men followed me. They shot in front of me and then the stone splinters hit me on the face. That's where I lied down, knowing that these people are going to kill me. The other one arrested me and say, "Are you a communist?" Then I said to him, "No, I don't even know what communism means." He said to me, "Thambo has left to Lusaka, but Mandela is going to die in prison." He said to me I should stand up, then he hit me with a gun. Then he say as I am a terrorist I should tell them where I come from. Then they picked me up. The other one squeezed my hand. My ... (inaudible) ... on the ground scattered. They cut
the fence and handcuffed my hands with wire. (Pause)
Take your time. Take your time. I know it's very painful. --- I was not able to see because I was tied on my hands and thighs, and then three white people came. After that they took me to a house and kicked me. Then I made myself as if I am dead. After some time a police car arrived. This white policeman said - he was a warrant-officer, I was able to identify him as a warrant-officer. Then he said,"This kaffir is pretending to be dead." Then he said, "He'll wake up." They brought cups with coffee or tea. Then the other one said, "We have tied him up with a plier on the hands." Then he said, "Bring the plier with me. Then they opened my - they spread me across with my legs. Then he squeezed my genitals with the plier.
Okay, take time, take time. (Pause) --- I was taken to a farm called Dirk Patroos. When I arrived at that farm it was dark and it was cloudy. I was hit with the skulls. Then he said, "At this farm many communists are sleeping under those trees." That is the farm where I was kept for a long time, like three or - two to three weeks. A certain old doctor came. He gave me tablets, then he said I should take two. These tablets made me to feel numb. Then they still pursued that I am still a communist. I produced a paper to show them that I belong to - I am working at the mine. The warrant-officer teared off that paper, then he took my identity book. They took me again to that farm. When I arrived again at that farm they said I raped. After they said I raped they said I should hold a rock. The warrant-officer took photos. My story will be long. After he had taken these stones, some
pictures, he took me and locked me up in the cells at Verkeerdevlei. I was eating a raw porridge. Then from there he made me to make a statement so that I should tell. He informed me how I should formulate my statement. He took me to Brandfort for a case, where I looked for a doctor. The doctor said they should telephone Vicky in Verkeerdevlei to come and take me to the doctor. Vicky arrived. At dusk Vicky arrived and took me. He then informed me that I think I am wise. He detained me at the cell. There was a certain lady who was having a bottle so that I should urinate in that bottle. After the day of the trial I was taken to Bloemfontein, but before that in the same van where I was put they loaded a sheep, and this sheep was given to the prosecutor. All the black people were taken out of the court, only the whites remained behind, and the Magistrate of the day told me that the police didn't bring me there because I was assaulted. They came with a case that I broke into a house. Vicky requested to go back with me to Brandfort, and after some time I was sentenced to five years at Grootvlei Prison. I requested Captain Visser to help me because my body was swollen. Captain Visser took me to a doctor in Bloemfontein. That is at Pelonomi Hospital. I could not eat, I was only vomiting blood, and I asked the doctor what the problem was with me, but the doctor never gave me a reply until today. I was afraid to reveal this because I was promised to be killed. They told me that I must never set my foot at that farm at Verkeerdevlei. They said because it was Verkeerdevlei I was also "verkeerd," I was wrong. I have a request to the Commission. I want the money that belonged to my children to go back, and
their clothes, and I want the end - or the head of my penis. That's all I want.
Are there any people from the panel who want to ... (incomplete)
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Motheoane, this person you refer to as Vicky? --- The person referred to himself as Vicky.
Is that the warrant-officer? --- Yes, he was the warrant-officer.
And he was based at that time at Verkeerdevlei Police Station? --- Yes, that's correct.
Dirk Patroos, is that right? --- That is correct.
If we wanted you to take us to that farm would you be able to find your way there again? --- I want to go to that farm. I want to take you personally to the farm.
(Inaudible) ... arrange that at some point. Would you be able to, if it was necessary, identify those people who arrested you and who took you there? --- If it's possible, because I am so forgetful, I even forget something that is in my hand, but I know their names. I know Vicky and I know Fourie. These are the people who were in charge of this case.
(Inaudible) ... farmer? --- I do not know whether was he a farmer or not, but he had the soldier's camouflage on that day, but I was accused of breaking into his house.
Thank you very much, Chairperson.
DR MAGWAZA: I am very concerned about the torture and
all the assaults that were done in your body, and you have mentioned that you went to hospital at that time only once. Have you ever had any treatment? What's your state of health now? --- My state of health is at risk because I cannot urinate properly, and sometimes my body gets numb. I am forgetful, I forget everything.
Are you getting treatment from anywhere else? --- No treatment because of lack of funds. I cannot get any work. I have to take care of my children, take care of my mother and my other siblings.
Okay, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: I am not going to ask you many questions because I can see how much traumatised you are, but I am just interested at those human skulls which were on the farm. Can you remember how many they were? --- The three - the policeman had a skull in his hand, and he threw that at me. I think I saw three skulls.
Did they ever tell you where they got those skulls? --- They said those were the skulls of the terrorists just like myself.
Thank you, that is noted. You have again said that they kept you for two to three weeks in the farm, and whilst you were there a certain doctor came, who gave you the pills which made you numb. Did this doctor ever tend to your injured parts of your body? --- This doctor examined my body. He took out some of the splinters that were on my face. He left the one behind my head.
And did this doctor ever treat your injured private parts? --- This is the doctor who amputated me.
Were you bandaged? --- There was something like
a torch, and when they used it my skin would stretch, and they only put a pipe on my penis and fastened it with something like a rubber, or an elastic rubber.
Do you know the name of this doctor? --- I do not know the name of the doctor, Sir.
(Inaudible) ... say where he was practising? --- I do not know where his practice was. He only came to the farm. I saw him at the farm. Because I was locked in a shack, and my hands were tied with a wire.
(Inaudible) ... people like Mr Vicky, the warrant-officer would know him? --- Yes. He is the one who came with the doctor.
Another question. You said that you were made to write a statement. Can you remember what you were asked to write on that statement? --- I remember just a little. I am so forgetful, because these tablets that they gave me had an effect on me. I forget easily. But this is briefly what I - they said I should agree that I broke into the house, and they took the fingerprints of my right hand, and they said I should not stand against his word that I was harassing the white lady at the farm, I wanted to rape her. That is when they shot me.
So that is what you were compelled to write in your statement? --- They were actually emphasising the fact that I stole money to the value of R1 800,00 and I raped.
And you were given five years' sentence? --- I was sentenced to five years' imprisonment.
I have forgotten, just remind me. You said that it was said that you raped a lady. --- They said I raped an old woman who was at that farm.
Was she a labourer? --- I do not know, because
I spent a lot of time working in the mines.
Was this lady a white lady or an African lady? --- It was a white old lady.
And for raping a white lady you are given five years? --- It was a political - they said a political case, and the raping of a woman were dropped, and the one that cropped up was the housebreaking offence.
Thank you. What political case was that? --- This is the issue of Oliver Thambo. They told me that Oliver Thambo ran to Lusaka and Mandela is in prison and he will die and rot there, and I told them that I do not know these people. These are the only two people that I know that were involved in politics.
Did you belong to any political organisation yourself? --- I was just working at the mines. I was not involved in politics.
Well, Mr Motheoane, I am not going to press you, but to me I don't understand this. You know any person who has lived in South Africa would know what would happen to a black person when he is alleged to have raped a white woman. To me really I don't understand that you can be gaoled five years just because Mandela - Thambo was going to Lusaka, and Mandela is mentioned, and the case of raping a white lady is dropped. To me that is a mystery in the context of our country. Anyway ... (inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 4) ... less than animal, and we feel sorry for you. But we are going to take your requests and try and see that investigations are made even about the doctors who were colluding with the police. That is going to be investigated. Thank you very much for coming here.
CHAIRPERSON: Now, the next witness is going to be Msunjani Shadrack Mbokhwe. (Pause) I greet you. Are you fine?
MR MBOKHWE: I am also fine, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: I am so glad that you are here today and you are going to open up. Before you tell us about your story I am going to ask Advocate Lyster to make you take an oath.
MSUNJANI SHADRACK MBOKHWE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MR LAX: I will be taking you through the story. It is correct that you were born in 1963. --- That is correct.
And you presently reside in Bethulie. --- That is correct, I am at Bethulie.
Now, can you tell us a little bit about your family please. Are your parents still living? --- Yes, I have just one parent, that is my mother, and my father died in 1970. At home we were 12 in number, and I was the 11th-born, but due to God's will only four is left alive and I am the last-born now. We are three boys and a girl.
Are you working at present? --- Yes, I am temporarily working, but when the project is over then I am not going to be working.
How far did you go at school? --- I went up to matric.
Thank you. Now, the story you're going to tell us involves detention and torture, and happened during the middle to late eighties. --- That is correct.
Will you tell us. Just tell us a little bit - I see
from your statement that you were quite a prominent Youth Congress person. --- That is correct. I started to be an activist in 1986. That was after - or I was working, and then that is where I learned politics. The thing that involved me in politics is that my brother who I come after was also a part of the 1976 Soweto uprisings, but I was left behind at home. And for that reason I joined politics, because the Special Branch would come every time, because they were assaulting me, telling me to tell them where he was. In 1986 I took a decision to come and stay at home because I was not working any more, and furthermore I was prepared to go back to school, because I never completed my schooling when I left.
And you became president of the Bethulie Youth Congress in 1986. --- Yes, that was towards the end of that year.
What happened after that? --- I was the president elected by the youth after the incident of that time. There were some youths who were arrested for arson, and I was helping them, I was the co-ordinator to get them the legal representative. Now the youth elected me to be the leader. It was the UDF at that time. And the police started harassing me, not only myself, but my mother too. That is at home. I had an incident that took place in 1987, where the police started with the assault which resulted in this mark that I have here. That was after I mobilised for those who were sentenced in 1986. And in 1987 I went back to school, and when I went back to school the youth was very active in politics. And just after Good Friday - Good Friday we had an altercation with a police called Moghele. Now, this altercation was just a
township altercation between himself and myself, but because of the political situation he turned this into politics. I am now going to tell you about the 1987 incident. It was after a meeting that was held at the school, and after that meeting it was heard that we had a meeting, and this meeting was illegal. And after this meeting I think it was to 12 when they arrived. They took me at home and they told my mother that they want to know exactly the details of the story of the organisation I was in. And they took me to a police station. The police from Bloemfontein were called in. We used to know them as SBs. They were driving a Skyline vehicle and a kombi. That is where I was interrogated. They were asking me about my knowledge in politics. It was usual that when you are arrested you will negate everything they ask you. After the police left, the police from Bloemfontein, Moghele was given an order to take me back home. It was about past three in the morning. That is where Moghele conducted his own interrogation. He told me about the township issues and he told me about political issues. Because I was not afraid of him, that is when he hit me, I hit back and I was injured. That is where he called in some of the policemen who were there. They handcuffed my hands behind my back and he was now in charge. He said they should leave the room, the two of us should be left behind. He was telling me about the issues of the township, and he told me that I was not going to further my studies at all. I was doing standard eight in that year. And he - you know, his wife was a teacher at that time, and he said, "If my wife is going to encounter any problem about you you must know that your name is going to
be Bury Me." And then he hit me with the butt of the gun. This carried on in that year. I was picked now and then by the police, but in that year I was arrested twice, the longest 14 days for the state of emergency. And in 1988 this state of emergency continued. I was now used to the state of emergency because it was happening so often. In 1988 in April the schools were just about to close for holiday when we had a bit meeting and some of the members were there. I remember one of the members who was there, who was the co-ordinator for the meeting, was the brother to the sister who just spoke here today, that is Lifa, who was shot in that year. If I remember very well he was shot early, and then it was in - early in March, and we buried him in April. I don't remember very well his shooting. Yes, he was an active member in the Youth Congress. He was the co-ordinator. He was one of those people who were helping me to co-ordinate. Yes, he had his silliness like any other boy, but the way we understood the matter on the Thursday when he was picked up he informed us that he was leaving, but he was present at the meeting, and he thanked us for taking the struggle forward. And the next morning when we heard that he was shot - we can't remember very well the date, but it was after he explained to us. I went to school. I was at school, but school was not normal to me, and to others who were active, who were taking part. Now, when we were busy with preparations of the burial the Congress from the SACC in Bloemfontein were helping us. They gave us donations and some few things that we were in need of, because at his family - he was from a very poor family. I am now going to talk about the night vigil. Before the night
vigil I was taken by the police for about three hours. They wanted to understand what was going to happen, because they knew exactly what I was to the youth in general at Lephoi. That is in Bethulie. After those hours they released me. It was round about past six, and we used to call it "thibelo," night vigil in Sesotho. We started just after 9 o'clock, and the police troubled us a lot, and the house ordered me to go out and talk to the police, to tell them what we expect of them. I was scared because my life was also at risk with the police, but the mother to the deceased promised to accompany me, so that if anything happens she would come and inform the comrades. We went to the police to talk to them. That was just before we had our meal at the night vigil, and we explained to the policemen and they told us that it was their right to stay there and watch, because next-door neighbours to Lifa's family was a policeman. Now, they thought that we were going to attack the policeman staying next door to Lifa's home. We left it there and we went back to the house and I explained to everybody gathered there, then they understood, and the vigil went on very well until the morning. But things took a nasty turn when we were about to start with the funeral. As co-ordinators we were already at the funeral at 9 o'clock. The minister of religion arrived, but he was now a changed man. He told us that he was not going to conduct the funeral of the deceased. It was Reverend Bechani who was supposed to conduct the funeral. He gave the authority to the senior man in his church to conduct it. I think the man was Mr Raliyuko. The funeral moved to the cemetery, and this reverend asked the senior member of the church to conduct
the funeral. We were chanting slogans, we were singing our songs, and the reverend decided to leave, and he left. We didn't know what to do, and the people didn't want to take part to help with the burial. Because of the leadership that I had the people ordered me to carry on with the ceremony. I don't know whether I did the right thing, but we buried him. When we went back there was a conflict between the police and ourselves. As we were proceeding to the house we tried to avoid the policemen. They drove off. Then the second time the group of people, the mourners, did not accept it. They said, "Is it a sin just to walk," and the war broke between the police and the group. We were hitting with stones and they were hitting back with tear gas. We managed as the youth to keep it calm. We arrived at home, we wanted to wash our hands, and a Hippo arrived. I think it was just one Hippo. This one was always at home. Two Hippos arrived. I ran away because of the shooting that was happening. Then the sister was telling the truth when she said earlier on we ate the food the next day, because we had to run for our lives. I want to conclude now. In 1988 I was arrested. I was suspected of possession of arms. That was after June. I was just coming from the holidays at my brother's home in Soweto. I spent 90 days in the cells. That was under the state of emergency. In those 90 days I was interrogated heavily. I have policemen that I would like to mention. I think I mentioned them in my statement. The first one is Warrant-Officer Strampe, because he was in charge at that time. He was the ... (intervention)
In terms of the law we're required to give notice to
people that you name. The people who were named in your statement that I had - because I worked through your statement myself - we've given notice to them. The name you're now mentioning is a new name, and I haven't heard it before. You spoke about Mpakathi, you spoke about Simano and you spoke about Moghele in your statement, and we have given them notice. Well, Simano we can't because he's deceased. But these other names are new names for me, so I would prefer you not to mention the names, but please write them down for us and tell us what they are supposed to have done to you. You can do that afterwards, and we will write to them and give them a chance to answer your allegations. So if you could kindly not mention their names please. --- Thank you. The station commander of the time used to visit me at the cell. He was visiting me, he wanted to convince me to leave what I was doing, to join the force, the police force. I informed him that I was not interested in politics, and he explained the history of my father, which I doubt he knew at all. Now I remember one night in July - I don't remember the date because it was during this 90 days of detention. That is where they undressed me and they grabbed me by my penis and they put - the took the mattress off the bed and they tied me on the bed with the handcuffs and they chained my legs too. I remember at all times my legs were spread. I did not even have an underwear because I was really naked. There was an equipment applied to my private parts. I do not remember what I told them that day, because when I woke up I was unchained, I was lying on the floor naked as I was, and they asked me, "Do you still refuse that you went to that
place for training and firearms?" and I negated that, because it is true I didn't go for any training, I wanted to learn as any other school child. That night I was taken - that was after they have electrocuted me I was taken to a bridge called Henniston Bridge. This is a bridge between Orange Free State and the Cape, and it has got the Orange River. I do not know, but I read that that is the highest bridge in South Africa. There was a bag where they put letters by the post office people. I was assaulted by those people. I was put inside this bag and then it was tightened. I never thought that that bag can afford to carry a person as tall as myself. You know, I was standing and this bag reached my head. There was a van. I can't remember the name they used to give to that van, but we used to call it a 4x4. It was a Mercedes Benz van, and at the front it has got a chain. It is used to pull. That is where they held me, and I was put down into the river, the Orange River. They put me the third time, and when they put me down for the fourth time that is when I felt that they were now putting me in the water. I prayed to my God. I said, "God, if I don't have any chance to unchain myself please help me," because I was chained behind my back. I was still naked, and they pulled me out. That was the fifth time, if not the sixth time. They put me on top of the bridge and they were asking me, "Don't you want to tell the truth still?" Policemen who were there they were white policemen who I cannot remember, and where they came from, but I think they were members of the Special Branch from Bloemfontein. Now, the black people were there. Sergeant Mpakathi was there. He was a sergeant at that time. Sergeant Simano
was there. He was already a sergeant at that time. And the other one was Pitso's father. We called him Mthathaki Pitso. Then his surname is Moghele. They tried to assault me, and they wanted to convince me that my life at home can change because my mother was the only breadwinner. My brother and my sister were already in their homes. They were married. During the torture I came to a conclusion. If I have to struggle this way and let my mother struggle I'd better die in their hands. Now, I took a decision to run for my life, and run into the river, down the cliff, and die. This was not an easy decision. My body was hurting. All my body was hurting. And I tried to do just that decision. I ran, and at the end of the bridge, when I was just about to hold the bridge to jump, Sergeant Mpakathi was on my heels and he pulled me off. I don't know what he used, but he used his hands. Whether fists or not I do not know. He asked me what was my intention. I told him that I wanted to kill myself because I do not know what truth do they want from me because I gave them the only truth. Because it was not yet the end of my detention they took me back to the cell. I stayed in the cell for a few days. That was before I was taken to Dr Buys. I requested help from Dr Buys because I was not eating any more in the cell, and I said I wanted to see a doctor. I requested help. I wanted him to examine me thoroughly. He gave me medication and tablets, which I was supposed to take immediately. When I arrived in the cell I could not walk. Now, the prison warder was now escorting me into the cell. After some time this medication was really working in me. I sat in the cell. I woke up, and when I woke up the food was next
to me. I could not hold myself because I was so hungry, because this was now the fifth day without food. I ate that food, and after two days I was taken to the other political prisoners. This went on for some time, but I liked one thing, you know, I got a chance to study in the cell, and that was the only time I used to study, and I passed in 1988. In 1989, when I was doing matric ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 5) ... was my mother. My mother could not bear the burden any more, because I was a trouble and the police were the trouble. I know I troubled her because I was her child, but now the trouble from the police was an extra burden. As a parent she was not supposed to have been treated that way. She was supposed to be a well-respected person. And in 1989 in February I was taken under the state of emergency and I was taken to a farm and I was put in the water. I do not remember whether did they have any kind of an animal with them, but I remember when I got out of the water that is where a cat was put. Every time when I was hit I had this problem of passing out. On that day I had an underwear with me. Luckily, because I was not cuffed, they put a cat. Because I was cold and I was folding my body they put the cat behind me, and it stayed on my back. I tried to fight it, but luckily I killed it while inside this sack. When I got out of the bag I had to go back into that water, the water in the dam. It was a muddy area, but I could not - I could not run away from that mud. I had to walk on the mud, but luckily I fainted and some of them pulled me out quickly. I remember this water was deep to my - just below my breast, my chest. I do not remember whether I fell on my back or I fell on my face.
(Inaudible) ... farm that you spoke about? --- If I explain it I think it's on the way to Smithfield. That is from Bethulie. Today I still suspect that one of the two farms is the one where I was taken to, because the dams on those two farms are alike, they are the same.
Mr Mbokhwe, you've told us about a whole range of incidents over a long period of time. Some of them are new things that you didn't say in your statement originally, things you might have forgotten about because so much has happened to you. What may be helpful for us is for you to sit down in your own time and just to rewrite your statement again, just take your time, remember all the different things that happened to you, so we get a much more detailed picture. Do you think you can do that for us? --- I think I am in a position to do that because all these things happened to me, but I am going to have a problem in remembering all the dates.
As long as you can try and - because what happens with so many things is they get mixed up one with the other, and it gets a bit confusing after a while. --- There are some the things that trouble me and they disturb me, especially the one that was spoken by Methana. It is true she was very young, and the way she put it here on the stage she did not put it thoroughly. At that time I was the leader because they had their trust on me, and such things trouble me. At times I feel like my body - my life is not important than other people's lives. Even today their life is still very low. Some of their problems I take and make them mine, and I do not consider my problems. Please try to - I am that kind of a person. I talk this and I forget about the others. I have been in
many leadership positions, and the ANC came into being and it was totally a new thing again. It really frustrates me too, and I get confused at times. But some of the things if you can indicate then I will tell you everything. I have got a lot of things to tell.
I think we've heard much more than you told us in your original statement already, and I think rather than cover new ground now let's rather get it on a statement properly, and then maybe we can, with our investigators, speak to you and clarify some issues. So I think it's time we should stop, and I'd like to thank you so far for everything you've told us.
DR MAGWAZA: I will start by referring to what you have just said, that sometimes you think more for other people than for yourself, and in that sense I would like you to help Lifo's sister regarding the statement. I think the statement can be rewritten regarding all the information leading to his death, and the fact that he was actually an activist, he was just not a criminal. So one that you could do is to help her with writing the statement since you have all the information. Do you understand what I am trying to say? --- I understand.
And secondly, you said the police labelled you as an informer. What was happening at that time? Why did they label you as an informer? --- They came to me. First they said I should turn my back against the people I was leading, and when they said that they wanted the people I was leading to perceive me as the collaborator with the police. And I was also going to be arrested, but without any reason, but the people I lead were the ones that were
going to be arrested. They thought I was very faithful to the conclusions and the resolutions of my organisation.
And then you mentioned this place where they said you went for training and firearms. What's this place they were talking about? --- I went to Soweto to visit. There was one person who was a policeman. I do not know should I call him an undercover policeman, but he was with me from Bethulie. When we arrived in Germiston we took different directions. Maybe at that time this person thought I was going somewhere for training.
Lastly, I think you are just one of the few young people who have experienced a difficult situation, and yet you have been able to express it so well that you are beginning to understand the suffering and the pain you went through as a young person. I would like you to tell us what you think can be done for the young people, instead of expectations for the young people who, like you, who fought so much for the struggle, and some of them lost opportunities, and probably we need to integrate them and help them with regard to their future. If you could say in a few words what you think should be done for people like you and others as well. --- You are really asking me a difficult question, but I will try in short to give you what I think. As a young person, I think as young people we have aims that we want to fulfil, because we go to school to reach a certain point in life, a point where parents could not take us to. If the Commission can meet with the people who suffered, for instance the children at Lifa's family, they became a community problem, not because they are dull in school, no, but nobody takes care of them. If such people can be taken
care of, especially when it comes to education, they should become what they wanted to be. Because we also had desires in life. We want to become professionals. I have got just one parent, and I realise that life is difficult when you work as a contractor, when you work at the municipality, but as a young man, as a young person, you become very conscious when you see a successful person, and you want to follow in his footsteps, and if you get that chance you will definitely use that opportunity. Can the Commission please take us back to school. I think South Africa can change.
Thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON: I want also to say that you are a wonderful young man. When one reads the trauma you have undergone one wonders why you are still so articulate, and it shows that indeed if you were not traumatised, tortured, you have the signs of a person who would have been a great leader in our country. And what impresses me is that you have not given up. I see in your statement here that you still want to study further, which means that you are not a defeatist, you have the goals about yourself in life. What I will just ask you, what do you want to study? You say that you want to study further. What do you want to study? --- There are two things that I would like to achieve in life. The first one, I wanted to be a journalist, because most of the time the truth does not come out in the newspapers and in the television. What we were fighting for we have now, but just a little. I wanted to be a social worker, to work with the people, my people who were left behind by their parents. These are
the two fields that I want to pursue.
I hope the media people have understood your gospel, what you are saying about the media. Anyway, thank you very much. All these things will be investigated. There is something very mysterious about the farms in this country. So much is coming up now about what was happening in the farms, and I think we need to uncover all what was happening in the farms through our investigations. Thank you also that even though they wanted to blackmail you, calling you an informer, that was the strategy of dealing with those who had gifts of leadership, and I thank you that you have not given up, that has failed, you are still what you are. Then again I want to repeat what Ilan Lax has said, that you must rewrite your statement. There is so much in it, in your statement, that if you can put all the things you have said your statement is going to help us in many things. And just as I have said that there are the statement-takers even here. You could leave this place having given another version of the statement. There are statement-takers, as I say, that they are the people at the back who would be taking the statement. Thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON: The next witness is Moses Mathumbule Matiohi. (Pause) I greet you, Moses. How are you?
MR MATIOHI: I am fine, and how are you, Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: I am also fine. Thank you for presenting yourself to tell us the stories about your suffering, but before you can tell us my colleague is going to make you take an oath if you so wish.
MOSES MATHUMBULE MATIOHI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
CHAIRPERSON: Moses, I am going to ask Professor Magwaza to help you as you tell your story.
PROF MAGWAZA: Good afternoon, Moses. --- Good afternoon.
We know that you have been waiting for so long since the morning. We appreciate your patience, and also having made yourself available to come and tell us your story today. Before I start, Moses, I would like you to tell us something about your family - your parents, your sisters, any other information that relates to your family. --- Thank you, Ma'am. I am staying with my mother and my grandfather, who is now 102 years old, whilst my mother is 67 years old. All of us are nine, three boys and six girls.
Are you married? --- I did marry, but we are separated now.
Any kids? --- We have one child.
How old? --- Five years old.
At the time when this violation occurred what were you doing? You were a student. What standard of education were you in? --- I was doing standard five.
And how old were you? --- I was 17 years old.
17? --- Yes.
The statement you have here relates to your shooting and further beating by a policeman named Pitso Moghale during 1991. Can you tell us what happened on that day, the 28th of March 1991. --- I will start by saying I was a student at that time. There was an SRC body which was under COSAS. There were problems at school. There were text book shortages at school. There was a certain reverend called Bijani. He was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. He was a treasurer at school. We were running short of text books, which were not sufficient for all students at school. The library in Bloemfontein was not able to give us enough books. We asked therefore our SRC body to make means how they can use the school funds to buy extra books. They went to this minister that he should sign a cheque, and be given a teacher and some members of SRC committee to go and buy books. The priest was adamant until we, as students, went humbly before him to ask him. This Pitso, who is Moghele, was asked by the priest to come. They came and they were saying derogatory words, and we were not fighting against the police.
(Inaudible) ... about is Reverend Bijani. --- Yes, that's Reverend Bijani. We were not able to accomplish that the money should be used, and Pitso Moghele, we were going to church together to Reverend Bijani's church. In church we didn't have any complaints against the reverend. He used to come to my house and inform my mother to tell me that I should not - I should sever my relationship with the fellow comrades and my friend because they make me be involved in politics. My
mother did tell me on a Saturday. I said to my mother, "I am a student, therefore if there are other needs at school I don't understand how can I not participate in school issues whilst I am a student." On a Sunday after I came back from church I changed my clothes, then I went to the sports ground. On my way a certain police van came. It was driven by Moghele. They took me and put me in that police van. There were other youth members inside that van. When we arrived at the police station they were taken to the cells. I was taken alone in a certain room, where I was assaulted. This policemen were 10 in number. I did try to revenge with my fists. He saw that I was arrogant, then he said that I should be tied up. Then he called special constables who were in that room, and they were assaulting. They assaulted me whilst my hands were tied. I was left alone there with a certain policeman. Then I asked that policeman, "Why are you assaulting me?" Then he replied by saying, "Moghele said you have cast aspersions against him." Then I said, "I don't understand." My mother heard through other people to ask them - then my mother arrived at the police station whilst I was still in that cell. Then she asked them about my whereabouts. They told her that they have not seen me. I asked that policeman to release me, and that to inform my uncle to inform the station commander that I am assaulted. This policeman denied. Other policemen went with a van. My hands were swollen because of the handcuffs. He tried to unlock the handcuffs with the key, but the key was broken inside. Then he said, "There is no way I can help you. We need to remain in this room the way you are. Then I told him that he must just release me
the way I am, I will make means outside to unlock the handcuffs. Another policeman took a key for the handcuffs and unlocked. Then he said to me, "You must go back home." I said to him, "How can I go home in this way," because one of my ribs was broken because they were kicking me with boots. I walked a distance. Sergeant Simano called me. Then he gave me a charge sheet that I was playing ... (inaudible) ... there's a sergeant which I know who is Foster, who was residing next to the police station.
Just repeat what you have just said. They gave you a charge sheet - you said they gave you a charge sheet. --- Yes, it's a charge sheet.
Okay, what was on that charge sheet? --- They say they have arrested me whilst I was gambling in front of the shack houses. When I complained they said to me I should come and pay the fine, and on the other date I should come and go to court. Then I did try to go to Foster's house, and I didn't find him. Then I took the summons to the house, then I showed my mother, and "Look how I am swollen on the face," and that they have broken one of my ribs. After some days I could feel that I was not feeling well. When I was touching my ribs I could feel that something was sticking me inside. Then she gave me some medicines, but they couldn't help me.
(Inaudible) --- My mother. I was using salve medicine to rub on my ribs. On a holiday I went to my sister in Bloemfontein, then I phoned my other sister and explained what happened to me. This policeman was threatening my mother that wherever he will meet me he will shoot me. Then I told my sister that this person is
saying a different story to my mother, and he is staying a different story to myself, and then because he doesn't want me to associate myself with the ANC people. My sister took me to Pelonomi Hospital for examination. When I arrived at the hospital they took an x-ray. They told me that, "Your ribs are broken. It has been some time now. If you came early," because at that time those bones were just broken, but they were not separated from. After some time, on the 28th of March 1991, I went to school in the morning, they expelled some of the teachers who hired inside their yards(?). We as students therefore decided - then we decided as students that we were going to chase the police - the policemen's children who are attending that same school which we were attending. After some times they expelled those teachers from the renting houses, then we decided to go and help those teachers to pack. It was around past 12 to one. We were helping those teachers outside.
Can you just explain again? Why were the teachers expelled? --- The teachers were expelled from the policemen's renting houses because the teachers expelled. We expelled the policemen's children, the same policemen who were harassing us or torturing us. So they revenged by expelling the teachers from their own renting houses. We found alternative accommodation for a certain teacher. We went to a second teacher and then we helped to pack. We were through then, we were waiting for a car to come and take the furniture so that the car would put the furniture somewhere else. Whilst we were still waiting there a Nissan van arrived. It passed very quickly from the direction of the police station. After 10 minutes the
van was full of policemen, and they started shooting randomly. We started to run. We didn't even find any chance to run away, then I was shot. They shot a certain little boy from Motshlome family. They shot him on the kidney side. They broke his spinal cord by a 9mm gun. The teacher who was coming from a certain direction with his car, he tried to turn. At that time I was able to get hold of the bakkie and then went inside, because I was not able to use my feet. When he arrived in his yard he was able to collect the people to come and help me. After some minutes a certain boy who was shot arrived again. The teacher took us immediately to Dr Nel. Vusimuzi was left on the scene, lying on the ground. He's one of my classmates. He's inside this hall. He was lying on the ground and we were not able to help him because the police were denying that we should pick him up. We passed and then we went to Dr Nel, who examined us. Then he said to me, "The bullet has not penetrated your body." He gave me three batches of pills and gave me certain medicines which tasted like urine. Before we left Vusimuzi was brought by the police to the doctor. They were taken to the hospital. In the house I showed my mother, then I told her that they said the bullet has not penetrated, but I could feel that I was not able to press where I was shot because those parts were swollen. In 1992 my brother took me to Welkom so that I should come and stay with him, he said until they make progress about our case which was made. Then I told him that we have not yet made a statement to the police or opened up a case. I forgot the warrant-officer. We didn't make a case about the shooting because our local ANC officials said they are waiting for
other people. I left whilst it was still the same. Then I could feel that I was beginning to be paralysed. It was getting swollen. I went back to the hospital that is in Bloemfontein and I showed them that my leg was not recovering. I said to them, "Please check once more." They said to me, "It's going to be impossible just to check, we have to cut your leg open and check it thoroughly," and I refused them to operate my leg. Even today I am still walking on this troubling leg.
Which hospital in Bloemfontein? What's the name of the hospital? --- I went to Heidelmed Hospital.
Okay, thanks very much, Moses, for your - for sharing your experience with us. I'll ask you just a few questions to clarify some of the things you have said. It looks like on that particular day, the 28th of March, a number of people were injured. About how many of them? --- On that day I know three of the people who were shot.
You also mentioned a little boy who was shot on the kidney side, and something about the spinal cord being injured. How old was that boy? --- This is the boy Moshlome. His surname is Nshlane. I think he can be 24, if not 25. Vusimuzi Sibiso, who is present in the audience, is my peer, he is 29 years old.
When he was shot how old was that boy? --- I think he was my age, if I am not mistaken. He might be just a little older than me.
You mentioned Reverend Bijani, and was he working together with Pitso Moghele? --- Reverend Bijani was the minister of religion at our church. He wasn't working with him.
Because I heard you say that he called Pitso Moghele at one time. --- Yes, he called him telephonically because Pitso was also a church member. I think he was a church elder. Pitso was a church elder, and he was running the MBB organisation.
You said that when they were assaulting you they said one of the reasons was because you cast suspicion on Pitso. What did they mean? What do you mean by that? --- Can you please repeat your question.
When they were assaulting you for the first time what did they give as the reason for assaulting you? Why were they doing it? --- When Pitso assaulted me he picked me up and he didn't give me a reason. Afterwards I was given an explanation by this policeman. This is the policeman who was left with me in the room.
What explanation? --- This policeman told me that I wanted to burn him in the house. That is the first point, and the second point, I was too involved in politics, and I was not a person involved in politics.
Would you know all the policemen who were involved in assaulting you? You mentioned the special constable, you mentioned this other policeman, and then of course there is Pitso Moghele. Can you identify them? Do you know their whereabouts even if you can mention their names? --- Yes.
Are they still working for the police force? --- Some of them are still employed within the South African Police Services and some of them left the profession a long time ago.
One more question. Regarding the case, you laid a charge against the police who shot you? --- The police
who shot at me?
Did you lay a charge? --- I laid charges against the policemen who assaulted me.
What happened thereafter? --- Since then I have never heard anything from them. I was not even told about the date to appear before the Court of Law.
Because there are no records of the charge in the police station. Coming back to you now, are you getting treatment for your leg? --- No.
You said it was still troubling you. To what extent is it troubling you? --- This leg is troubling me a lot. Sometimes the whole leg will be swollen to an extent that I cannot put on my shoe.
Yet you are not getting treatment. --- I want to go to the doctor. I am afraid they are going to amputate my leg. I am really afraid if I show them the extent of the damage here they are going to cut it off. I am against this. Others are married in the house, I am left with my mother. I have to work really for my little brother.
Okay, what work are you doing by the way? --- I am a surveyor in Thobong, Welkom.
Okay, thank you very much. I think I will refer this to our Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Moses, thank you for telling us about your pain. Again it shows the same pattern, police involvement in the whole game, and again all what you have told us will be investigated. And if you want also to ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 6) ... method of rewriting your statement if you so wish, because you have
said many things here which are not in your statement. And I thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON: Good people, thank you for coming here to support this hearing. Charles Dickens in one of his books, The Tale of Two Cities, speaks about the best of times and the worst of times, and also one of the biblical authors in the book of Ecclesiastes does itemise or categorise different times in his biblical ... (inaudible) ... based on the socio-religio conditions of his time, and I see the similar situation of our time. But ours was the worst of times. We have heard shocking stories, stories of dehumanisation of God's people by other human beings, and I believe that at the day or the time they were doing these things they were also dehumanised, because there are no decent people who could do these things to other fellow human beings. We have heard about what has been happening on the farms, and I believe that the farms need to be investigated. And we have heard about some of the doctors who, according to their oath, should be interested in saving lives, who were colluding with the forces which were killing the people. And I believe some of the doctors need to be investigated. And one of the bad things about what we are hearing is that some of these policemen are still employed by this Government, and maybe this is an indictment to our Government too of National Unity. Ours was the worst of times, and we are still going to hear stories during these last two days, and I am sure we are going to hear the stories of the same battle. We thank the Government of National Unity for having instituted this process of the Truth Commission, otherwise /we would
we would not know about these shocking stories.
Now we are going to close, and we are going to sing the national anthem, and please come back tomorrow at 9 o'clock. Thank you for how you have conducted yourselves.
PROCEEDINGS ADJOURNED TO 1997/06/25