PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
29 MAY 1997
[PAGES 1 - 50]
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Opening address.............................................. 1 - 2
2. Tryphina Masondo........................................... 2 - 9
3. Ntombizonke Linah Ndlovu................................ 10 - 18
4. Khanjani Bester Mnyandu.................................. 19 - 24
5. Peter Dominic Stephen Stewart
Rachel Stewart............................................... 25 - 37
6. Dingile Melita Sithole...................................... 38 - 43
7. Conclusion.................................................... 44 - 50
PROCEEDINGS RESUMED ON 1997/05/29
OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
CHAIRMAN: Good morning, and welcome to the third and last day of the public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Mooi River. We apologise for the late start this morning. We were expecting a number of witnesses from the Bergville/Woodford area, but our driver, who went up there this morning, reported that a number of people from that area who were going to give evidence this morning have decided not to give evidence because of a generalised fear and a feeling of intimidation, and they have chosen not to give evidence this morning. In their place we're going to receive, later on this morning, a short submission from a community worker from the Bergville area, just to give us a background on the political conflict in that area in the late 1980s.
For those of you who are not able to follow the evidence, which will be given largely in Zulu today, there are simultaneous translation earphones, and you will hear the evidence, which will be given in Zulu, it will be translated into English, which you can receive on channel six. Please, when you leave the hall at lunch time or at the end of the day please remember to leave these earphones behind. They don't work outside of the hall and they are very expensive. We do have statement-takers from our - Truth Commission statement-takers here in the canteen area. If there are people who wish to make statements, who haven't had an opportunity to do so already, they can see one our statement-takers and make a statement relating to what happened to them.
We will start then with the first witness, who is Mrs Tryphina Masondo, if she can please come up. Good morning, Mrs Masondo. We welcome you here today. You, like all the witnesses yesterday, are from Brandville township, and you have come here today to talk about the death of your daughter, Alexia Sithole, in December 1991. Before you give that evidence - Mrs Masondo, we know from listening to many, many other stories like yours how difficult it is to relive those experiences, and please take your time and recover yourself. We know how difficult it is to speak about the loss of a child. (Pause) Before you tell your story you will be required to take the oath, and I am not going to ask you to stand up.
TRYPHINA MASONDO (Sworn, States)
CHAIRMAN: Now, just before you tell us that story just give us briefly a background about your family. How many children did you have altogether? Aside from your daughter, Alexia, how many children do you have? --- I have one child, one girl. I have one daughter.
(Inaudible) ... how many children do you have? --- I have one daughter.
Is your daughter living with you in Brandville at the moment, or is she married, has she left home? --- She is not married, she is still single, and I am staying with her.
(Inaudible) ... husband, or are you living just yourself and your daughter alone? --- We are staying together with her children. She has got two girls, and I don't have a husband.
Are you working, Mrs Masondo, or are you on pension? --- I am on pension.
Now, how old was your daughter, Alexia, when she died? --- She was born in 1970.
And she died in 1991, so she was 21 years old, is that right? --- She died in 1991.
Now, can you just tell us briefly some background to what was happening in the township of Brandville at that time. Just give us an idea of what was taking place there. We have heard from other witnesses that there was violence, conflict at that time. What was happening in Brandville at the time of your daughter's death? --- There was violence.
And do you know anything more about that? What was taking place? Who was the violence - who was the conflict between? --- ANC and Inkatha were in conflict, and it led to violence.
And can you just describe briefly in your own words the events on that day. --- Early in the morning, it was still dawn, you couldn't see from far, my daughter was sleeping somewhere, or my granddaughter, and then she came and knocked at the door. When I opened the door she entered and she said Inkatha people were attacking. When I looked through the window I saw a flame, and other houses were in flames. And we woke up, me and my late daughter. We were sleeping in the dining-room, and I was confused at that time. When I woke up I took everything that was in the dining-room. I didn't even see my daughter getting out of the house and running away. And my grandchildren wanted clothes to wear so that they run away as well, but because I was confused I couldn't help
them. When Inkatha group was next door I realised that they were near, I was the next one. I opened the wardrobe, I put my grandchildren in there, and when I asked them where my daughter was they told me she ran into the garage. When I went to the garage I realised that it was locked. And then I asked them. They insisted that she was in the garage. At that time they came. They didn't use the gate. They were from my neighbour. They didn't use the gate to enter my house, and one of them screamed and said, "Here there's no one because the gate is open." One of them stood there next to the fence and took a stone, threw the stone through the window. And then I realised that maybe the person saw me. When I went to the dining-room they threw another stone in the dining-room, and then they left, they continued. Later soldiers came and they asked me if there's anything wrong, and I told them no, nothing was damaged except for my windows. And then they came back - now Inkatha members. When they were at the gate they saw the soldiers. One of them said, "Here are the soldiers," and then they ran and they disappeared.
You said that your grandchildren told you that your daughter had hidden in the garage. What took ... (intervention) --- Yes.
Tell us what happened to your daughter. --- After they disappeared and I realised that soldiers were around I went to the neighbours' houses, and then I realised that there was no one. I came back to my house. When I was at the gate Tryphina Mchunu came. She was carrying a baby, and she said to me, "Mrs Makatini, here's the child." I said, "Whose child?" She said it was
Mamo's child, and then I said, "Where is Mamo?" And then she said to me, "I heard that she ran away and she left her child." And then I asked her, "Now, how come you have the child?" She said, "Sibongile gave me, and Sibongile said she was given the baby by the soldiers." I took the baby, I went inside the house. I took a blanket, a small blanket, I wrapped the baby behind my back, and then I told my grandchildren that I was going out to look for my daughter. And then my grandchildren asked me where. I said, "I don't know, but I am going to look for her." When I left my house at the gate I met Tryphina again, and then now she was with other women. And then she said to me, "I was scared to tell you, but Mamo has passed away." And then I asked Tryphina, "Why didn't you tell me?" She said she was scared. And then I went there to look for her body. I found her there. I found her lying dead, and her stomach was big and her mouth was wide open, and her eyes were opened as well. I called her. She couldn't reply. I came closer to her body. I closed her mouth, I closed her eyes, and I managed to do so. At that time ANC youth came and asked me, "What happened?" and they asked me if it was her, and I told them yes, it was her, and they sympathised with me. These boys took grass and tried to bury the blood. And these were young boys, ANC young boys, and they helped me. And they said to me, "We were just passing, going to look for more damage," and I was left there with my daughter or my granddaughter. And my granddaughter told me that she was going to fetch a blanket, and she went there to bring a blanket. And police came, I was still there, and they took her body. And when I asked the police if I had to
leave with them now they said, "No, we can't take you together with the body because we are still going around taking more corpses, but we will take your name." And I gave them my name, Tryphina Masondo, I gave them my address, 43, and they told me they will come back if there's a need for them to come and fetch me. That's how they left.
So did they explain to you how your daughter had died, what means had been used to kill her? --- I think she was stabbed. I don't think she was shot. I think she was stabbed by a spear. I am not sure if she was shot, but I think she was stabbed by a spear.
And did the police ever come back to you and take any statement from you? --- You mean the police who took her corpse?
Did anyone come and take a statement from you? Did you make a statement to the police at all about your daughter's death? --- After I went back home a car came to my house. That car came from Gwala. And I went to Pietermaritzburg, and I went to ... (inaudible) ... I gave the police there my statement in relation to the death of my daughter, and that's how I got her death certificate.
And did you attend any court case or inquest, or anything of that sort relating to your daughter's death? --- No.
Were you ever told by the police or anybody else as to who was responsible for killing your daughter? --- No. They said unknown.
DR MGOJO: The soldiers who gave Sibongile Tryphina's
baby, did they explain to you where they found the baby? --- They said they found the child next to her mother's body.
Your daughter, the one you're staying with, is she working? --- No. She was working at that time. She was working at Woodlands.
Now is she working? --- No, she is no longer working. She came back because she was ill.
These grandchildren of yours, how old are they? --- The first-born was 14 years in 1991, and the other one was 11 years old. Now I think they are a little bit grown up. One of them is still in school. The other one is no longer in school because she was mentally disturbed. The younger one is still in school.
What is his name? --- His name is Zeblon. Zeblon was 11 years in 1991.
In other words he is now 20 or 21. --- He is in standard four.
The name of the other one? --- His name is Thokozani.
No longer in school? --- No, he is no longer in school.
What standard did he leave school? --- He was in standard eight last year.
Why did he leave school? --- He was mentally disturbed.
Is he getting any medication? --- I am trying.
Where are you taking him? --- I am taking him to doctors and to sangomas.
Do you take him to psychiatrists? --- No, I never. I never took him to psychiatrists because I don't
What about Zeblon? --- He is doing okay. It's not that well. He is not that good. Naturally he is too slow. He is scraping very slow.
What about you? --- I was traumatised and I was a little bit disturbed mentally. I am a little bit disturbed.
You will need to give these ladies your names. One of them is the one next to you. You can give her your name so that we can try and see if we can find any assistance for your grandchildren to receive medical attention. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Mrs Masondo, we thank you very much for coming in and telling us that story today. Your daughter died on the 4th of December 1991, and we've heard several other stories from people who were here yesterday and the day before about that particular night. She died in what has become known as the Second Brandville Massacre, and from the information that we have received from other people, and from what we've been told by the police and others, 18 people died on that night when residents of the hostel left ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 1) ... were women, and your daughter was one of those people. As I said yesterday, it is difficult for us to understand the brutality of people, of armed men, men with spears and guns, who would attack defenceless, unarmed people. The image of a woman fleeing with a baby on her back is an image which should evoke sympathy in most people, and it is very difficult to understand what caused those people to kill a person like your daughter.
But you story is important, it helps us to gain an idea of exactly what happened in those days, and your daughter's death is more than just a statistic, it's a real story now, and it helps us when we have to prepare our report. It helps us to gain that knowledge of what really took place on that day. So, while we understand how painful it is for you, we want to assure you that it's important that you have come here today and told us your story, and we thank you for being brave enough to have done so. Thank you very much indeed.
CHAIRMAN: The next witness is Mrs Linah Ndlovu. Good morning, Mrs Ndlovu. Can you hear me through your earphones?
MRS NDLOVU: Yes.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you for coming in. You are also from Brandville, and you will tell about the death of your son, Sibusiso, who also died on the 4th of December 1991. Before you give your evidence we'd like you to take the oath please.
NTOMBIZONKE LINAH NDLOVU (Sworn, States)
CHAIRMAN: Dr Mgojo will now help you with your evidence.
DR MGOJO: Good morning. How are you feeling this morning? --- I am fine.
I will ask you a few questions. I know you would have forgotten some of the things what happened because of your age. I reckon you are 87 years old. You are quite lucky to be still alive at that age and be able to come and give evidence. If there's anything that you do not understand you can always say that you do not understand so that I can repeat myself. Could you just give us a background of your family. I will just help you out so that we can save time. Do you still have a husband? --- No, I don't. He died a long time ago.
Do you have any children? --- I have five children now, as well as grandchildren, two grandchildren who are alive.
Do you have any sons? --- I am left with only one son. The rest have died, and I am remaining with daughters and one son only.
And what about this other son who is left, how old
is he? --- He has just completed his matric.
What's his name? --- His name Jabu Ndlovu.
What standard is he? --- He has just completed his matric and he would like to further his studies. The daughters have also matriculated and they are looking forward to completing their studies, or proceeding to college, and my daughter is Nyanisile Ndlovu. She has also completed matric.
What about the rest? --- They are three. The other three are married. They are living in their own houses, but the eldest one has already lost her husband.
And the grandchildren you are living with now, whose children are they? --- They are my daughter's children. She got married and she got divorced, and I am staying with the children now.
Now, how do you earn a living? Are you getting any pension? --- Yes, I am.
Who supports your family? --- I support my family.
And those who have matriculated, are you the one who educated them? --- Yes, I am the one who was supporting them, as well as putting them through school. And my other daughters were also helping.
And what about Sibusiso, how old was he at the time of his death? --- He was 17 years old at the time of his death.
Was he at school? --- Yes, he was in standard 10.
Now, will you please tell us about the day on which Sibusiso was killed. Tell us everything that you remember, even the circumstances surrounding his death. Were you as a family affiliated to any political
organisation in Brandville, because we understand that there was IFP as well as ANC? --- What I could say from my own observation was that I did not belong to any political organisation, I was just an ordinary citizen, and I later discovered that I was supposed to belong to a certain political group. Due to the violence that took place I realised that the people in the located were supposedly belonging to the ANC, and the people at the hostels were members of the IFP. That is why they kept on attacking us. They started attacking the location as a whole without even knowing as to whether each and every house has any political affiliation to any particular political organisation. It's only then that I became aware that I was supposed to have belonged to a certain political organisation, which was the ANC, because we were being attacked by a certain political group which believed that we belonged to a certain political group. And we heard that the people who were staying in the area or the location were ANC members, and the ones who were attacking were Inkatha.
Now, as I was saying, could you please now relate as to what happened on the 4th of December 1991, the day on which your son was killed. What time was it? What was happening? Where was he when he met his fate? --- On the 3rd we saw a large group of people approaching from the opposite end, and when they reached the river they assaulted my neighbour's son. That was on the 3rd. And they called me at the Mthethwa household to come and witness what had happened because they had killed Mthethwa's son. And they also called me to my place because the place was full of soldiers. There were white
soldiers at my place whilst I was at the neighbour's place, and when I got there they were pointing guns. They were inside my bedroom. These were policemen. And my sons told me that these were policemen, because I could not differentiate between the soldiers and the police. To me they are one and the same thing. And I screamed when I got into the house because I saw this large number of police who were in my house, and I was asking myself as to what was happening. And they said I should shut my mouth, and I said I was not talking to them, I was just asking Jesus as to what was happening to me. There is another Madlala boy by the name of Pilo who came to ask me as to what was happening. They asked the police as to what the police were doing in my house. They said they were doing their duties. And at that time they went out. They spoke to these people who had come to assist me. They negotiated outside and they said that they were conducting a search, and some of the people who were inside the house woke up after realising that there was a large group of police. Then they left my place. I went out and I went back to where I was before at the neighbour's place, and at 4.00 am the following morning when I was proceeding home from my neighbour's place I saw a large group of people approaching, and I realised that the impi was accosting us and it was going to launch an attack. I ran into the house and alerted my children that a group of Inkatha members was approaching, and that we should find a place to flee. And they told us that there are some people who had already been killed at that time, and I hid myself into the house. At that time we heard gunfire from outside. It sounded like a thunderstorm, and we were
scared to even get out of the house. We were hiding ourselves under the beds. Some got into the wardrobes. We tried to hide ourselves, and the gunfire went on. Even next to my place they were shooting, but we were very lucky because they never got into my house.
Who were these people? --- These were a group of people who were coming from the other side. They were a large group of people. This went on for quite some time, then thereafter there was some quiet and peace. We went out to investigate as to what was happening. It was very quiet. We heard people screaming, shouting and crying. Everyone was crying. There were screams, cries, all around the place. After quite some time we heard that certain people had been killed, quite a number of households had been attacked, and people had been hacked and shot to death. And thereafter my elder son came back. They had gone to Makatini's house to hear about the death of Makatini's son, as well as Mthethwa's son, but they turned back along the way when they came across the impi and they ran into my neighbour's place. And Sibusiso ran and went to the bridge next to Luzeke. That is where they got him when he was running away from them, and he was stabbed. They left him for dead. And at that time I didn't know where my son was, and a certain boy from the Indaba family came and he told me that he had come before, but the soldiers refused him permission to go through and come to my place. Now he had come in the morning to come and find out whether we had survived the previous night's attack. I told him that I couldn't get hold of Sibusiso, I do not know as to where Sibusiso is, and he said to me that we should go and look for him. And at that time I
felt very powerless because I suspected that something was wrong. I could feel it. We went looking for a car, and we decided to follow the Luzetha route because I suspected that he was running away from the Inkatha members, so that's the only direction he could have taken, the Luzetha route. We saw a large group of boys and we asked them as to whether they had seen Sibusiso. They said they were running or fleeing with him the previous night, and that he proceeded to the Luzetha route, and we could look for him along the route to Luzetha. We proceeded, and when we got to the bridge we saw his body lying there on the ground. He was cold. (Pause)
Did you send for transport that he be fetched from that spot? --- I got to him, I touched him, and he was cold. I cried over his body. I was so stunned, and I was in a state of shock and disbelief. I left him lying there on the ground.
Had he been stabbed or shot? --- He had been stabbed. His body had multiple wounds. And we came back to Mooi River. We reported the matter to a certain man from Majola's place who was a policeman. He went to tell the other police, and they took a van and they went to fetch him from that spot. They took him to the mortuary. We stayed there and the situation was tense after we had come back from identifying my son. I fell ill immediately thereafter and I was taken by one young man to my neighbour's place.
Did you report the matter to the police? --- No, we never reported. The situation was volatile and we couldn't even move around the place. We couldn't even go to the centre of town because of the state of violence.
Now, what you mean to tell us is that you never reported the matter to the police and there was no inquest? --- No, there was absolutely nothing I could do at that time. We were not even able to go to police stations, towns, as well as courts.
Did you get the death certificate? --- Yes, I did get it. I got it just before the burial.
How did the funeral go? --- Yes, we buried him quite well. We never had any disturbances on the day of the funeral. It was on that day there were soldiers who had come to keep guard over us.
Could you just tell us as to how this affected you? --- I ended up suffering from high blood pressure, and I would get dizzy spells. I would get dizzy spells and at times go to the extent of falling down.
According to your statement you have made a request that you would like to move from the place at which you are staying at the moment. --- I moved from that time, I went back to my house, but at the moment I am staying with my sister at Mjezi, but I do stay at Mooi River. I came back after the violence.
Now, would you like to go back to your house? --- Yes, I have gone back already.
Now, your request that you've made in your statement, you said you wished that you could find another place because this place has such bad memories for you, you would like to move away from it. Did you say that? --- Yes, I did say it, because I do not feel safe in this place. I am also sickly.
I can see it's apparent that you've been
traumatised. I do not want to delay you with a lot of questions, but you mentioned that you have some grandchildren with whom you stay. --- That is true.
Are they attending school? --- Yes, they are.
Where are they attending school? --- The other one is in 'Maritzburg. The one who is in 'Maritzburg is in standard eight.
And what's his name? --- His name is Seni.
And the other one? --- His name is Siphiwe.
Is he attending school? --- Yes, he's attending school in Newcastle.
In what standard is he? --- He is doing standard 10.
Now, you say your only source of income is your pension money. Are you supporting your grandchildren and paying for their schooling? --- Yes, I am, and at times I ask for some assistance from my daughters who are already married.
I would suggest that you be helped by the briefers in order to get a letter that can be forwarded to the respective schools at which your grandchildren are, so that they can continue with their education without paying. When you were asked about as to how many children you have you spoke about Sikelo, and what happened to him? --- Sikelo has since died. He was alive at that time, but he has since died.
CHAIRMAN: Mrs Ndlovu, we thank you for being here today and telling us your story. You gave us a very vivid and graphic description of the events of that night. As I've said to a witness yesterday, when this thing happened in
1991 there were some newspaper reports about it, and they just simply reported that 18 people had died, and they went on to talk about the nature of the conflict in Brandville. But you have told us in your evidence today in detail about what happened, and in such detail that we could almost - if we closed our eyes we could almost hear the sounds of the gunshots and we could almost see the flames burning the buildings. And it's very important that you tell that story, not only for the people who are here, who were there and who know about that, but also for our records and for the press and the television. It's important that you tell the story in the way that you did. And it's a very sad story for someone like you to tell about the death of their child. Many other witnesses who have come to this Commission have told about the death of their children, and we have seen many people like you becoming sad and upset, and we're very sorry about what happened and we extend our deep sympathy to you. So, while we know it's hard for you it's still very important that you came here and told us that story, and told us in detail how it happened, so we want to thank you very much for that. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: The next ... (inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 1) ... Bester Mnyandu. Mrs Mnyandu, we welcome you here today. You are also from Brandville, and you have come to talk about the death of your husband. Before you tell us the story please can you take the oath.
KHANJANI BESTER MNYANDU (Sworn, States)
CHAIRMAN: Mrs Gcabashe will help you now.
MRS GCABASHE: Good morning, Mrs Mnyandu. Can you hear me? We thank you for coming here before the Commission because this will help us in obtaining the truth as to what happened in those days here in Brandville. We know that your story is one of - a sad story, and that because of the violence that's how you lost your husband. Before we can start I would like you to just give us a picture of your family. In your statement you have mentioned that you have a son by the name of Robert. How old is Robert? --- I don't know his age.
Is he the eldest son? --- Yes.
And you also have a daughter by the name of Regina. --- Regina is the one after Robert, and there's another one, Simon. Jane is after Simon.
I don't think you have mentioned Simon in your statement. --- The one after Robert is Regina, and after Regina is Simon, and then Jane. And then the last one is Jane. And then there's Joanna. And there's Wilson. And I lost Julia and Alson. I am only left with six and grandchildren. My grandchildren are Mphume.
How old is Mphume, do you know? --- No, I don't know. And there's Lindiwe. She is also my granddaughter. And Sbu is my grandson. Sibusiso is my grandson. Yes,
they are staying with me. Yes, they are still in school. Wilson is also still in school. Wilson is in standard 10, and Joanna is still in standard 10. She is supplementing some of the subjects which she didn't pass last year in her matric. And Nomphumelelo. Only two are still in school who are my children. Mphume is in standard seven, and Lindiwe is in standard three, and Sibusiso in standard four.
Are you working or are you a pensioner? --- Yes, I am a pensioner, I am receiving a pension, and I am not working.
Is there someone from your children who is helping you to maintain your family? --- No, there's no one who is working. They are being maintained by me.
Are they working, your children who are not in school? --- Jane is working. She is working in the corporation.
You can take your time. Where is Jane working? --- She is working at the corporation - municipal.
And who else is working from your children? --- Simon and Robert. They are married and they have their own houses.
Now you can start relating to us as to what happened. In your statement nothing has been mentioned as to a date or a year. --- I don't know which year he died, but it was in the early stages of the violence. It was the first of its kind, the first time the violence started here in Brandville.
What happened on that day? --- Early in the morning - I wasn't in the township, I was still staying in a slum area.
The name of the slum area - what was the name of that slum area? --- No, we didn't have a name of that area. They used to refer to it as the slum area. In the early hours of the morning we saw a group of people near the hostel, and later on during the day those people were still there. They were going up and down. We were in our areas. Later on during that day - I am not quite sure whether it was 1 o'clock or 2 o'clock - we saw this group of people running towards the township. We realised this and we left our respective places. We went on the other side of the area. I was in front, and when I turned back to look my husband was following me. And then all of a sudden he was lying down, and then I went back. And my other children were already gone and I went there. I tried to wake him up to make him sit. At that moment he wasn't even talking, or he was unable to speak, and I went to look for a car to transport him to the hospital. He was admitted there. The next day in the morning I went to hospital. That's when I discovered that he had passed away.
We are very sad about this. It's very difficult to relive something like this. You can take your time. (Pause) --- When we arrived there he was already dead. We came back home to make preparations for the funeral. The funeral went on and it was okay.
You said you were going up the street. --- He just died. He just fell there. It was a steep slope and he just fell and he couldn't speak again.
Why were these people attacking - or rather why were you running away, because these people were attacking the township? --- No, we were scared.
Did you report this to the police? --- No, the police came and I gave them my statement, and they never came back to me or contacted me.
Did you receive a death certificate? --- We did, but I don't have it any more with me.
What was written on the death certificate? What was the cause of ... (incomplete) --- They said he broke his neck.
Did the funeral go well? --- Yes.
There was no inquest? --- No, there wasn't.
Now, what about you, how do you feel? What about your health since you were running away, you and your husband and your children? --- I am very sick. I am -on and off I am very ill. Sometimes I am okay. I have high blood pressure, and I didn't have it before this incident. I have high blood pressure, and also my legs are giving me problems.
What are the doctors saying about your legs? --- I was once attacked by a stroke.
You were not crippled by it? --- No, I wasn't, but it's painful from time to time.
Are you seeing any doctors or are you receiving any medication? --- Yes, I do see doctors sometimes. I see doctors whenever I have money. If I don't have money then I don't go.
In other words you are paying for your medication? --- Yes, I do pay. I do go to a clinic sometimes because there I don't pay, but I also go to doctors and I do pay there.
How do you feel mentally? Are you all right, or something is wrong with you? --- I think I was
mentally disturbed after I lost my husband, because now I am left with a burden, everything is on my hands. I have to do everything for my children.
You also mentioned in your statement that you would need help, financial assistance. Is there anything else besides this? --- No, nothing.
I heard you saying that you only go to the doctors whenever you have money to go there. Now, I would like to advise you that you need to see these people from the Commission, these counsellors. They will be able to help you as to write you a letter and give you so that you can see government doctors, so that you don't have to pay for those doctors. And also we can also help you by giving you a letter to take to schools so that your grandchildren and your other two children who are still in school will be able to study free. Thank you, I will hand it over to the Chairperson.
CHAIRMAN: Mrs Mnyandu ... (inaudible) ... us today. One of the things that we've noticed since we've been here in Brandville, after we've heard stories from people like you, is how many of the victims of the violence here were innocent people. You heard this morning the evidence of Mrs Masondo, Mrs Tryphina Masondo, who talked about her daughter, Alexia, who was stabbed with a child on her back while she was running away, and one can hardly think of a more innocent victim than that. And in the same way you and your husband and children, you weren't taking part in any violence, you were running away from it. You were afraid of it, and you were running away from it, and while you were running away from it your husband died. And
that's something that we've heard all over the country, is the completely random nature of the violence, and the fact that so many of the victims were innocent people, and worse, so many of them were women and children.
So, we can see how the events of those days have affected you. You are left without your partners to raise your children, and we are very sorry, we extend our deep sympathies to you, but we hope that it's been of some small assistance to you to be able to come here and to tell your story in an environment which accepts what you say. So we thank you very much for coming in to talk to us.
CHAIRMAN: The next witness is Peter and Rachel Stewart.
Rachel and Peter Stewart, we welcome you here today. You have come all the way from Johannesburg to talk to us about the death of your sister, Clare. Will you both be talking, or - you will both, okay.
MR STEWART: We will both be talking.
CHAIRMAN: Right, okay. I'll then swear both of you in, if you could stand up to take the oath please.
PETER DOMINIC STEPHEN STEWART and RACHEL STEWART (Sworn, State)
CHAIRMAN: Ilan Lax will help you now.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson, and welcome once again to both of you. Can you hear me properly through those headphones? --- Yes.
Okay. Don't worry about the translation, it happens simultaneously, so that's okay. Just try and relax and we'll take you through the thing. Before we get onto the story of your sister's tragic death I am going to try and - as you will have seen with other witnesses - develop just a bit of a picture of your family background. Peter, we don't have any demographic details of yourself. What is your date of birth please? --- I was born on the 26th of December 1956.
And you're presently resident in Johannesburg? --- Yes.
Rachel, if you could just please give us that same sort of information. Your date of birth please? --- The 16th of September of 1958.
Thank you. And you're also living in Johannesburg. --- That's right.
Besides yourself there's another brother, Peter Stewart, who lives in Harare. --- Another brother, John Stewart.
Is it - sorry, John Stewart. I beg your pardon. We have his details. He actually made the original statement as I understand it. --- Yes.
And are there any other siblings? --- We have a younger sister, Alice Hotesman, living in Connecticut in the USA.
What is her age please? --- She was born on the 29th of July in 1963.
Thank you. Could you - we'll turn to Clare's children, if you could just give us some idea of what children she had please. --- Clare had two children. The older one, Thambo Stewart, was born on the 17th of January 1985, and the younger one, Phuleng, was born on the 3rd of July 1992.
Where are both these children at the moment? --- Thambo lives with our brother John, in Harare in Zimbabwe, and Phuleng lives with me in Johannesburg.
Is Thambo at school at the moment? --- He is, yes.
What standard would he be in please? --- Standard five.
Thanks. And Phuleng? --- She's in nursery school.
Thank you. What is the position with your parents please? --- Our parents were killed in a car crash in 1984 in Lesotho.
Thank you. I am sorry about that. Okay, if you can please turn to the events as you know them relating to
Clare's death, and just tell us a little bit about Clare before, perhaps as an introduction - what she was doing and so on. --- Clare was an agricultural worker living in - at the time of her death in Mangusi in northern KwaZulu-Natal. She was co-ordinating the Masivela KwaThenda Nguni Co-operative Cattle Stud, that was designed to redirect income from cattle sales to the local farmers in a co-operative. At the time of her death she was involved in travelling around Maputoland getting cattle for - or looking for cattle for the cattle stud, which was now at the stage of getting cattle. She had spent some years before that involved in the setting up of the co-operative, in negotiating for land for the cattle stud, negotiating with local people and with the KwaZulu Bureau of Natural Resources.
Please feel free to come in if you want to. It's fine. --- Ja. Shall we go into the events of the day?
Please do so. --- Okay. On the 10th of November 1993 Clare, who as then 34 years old, and the single parent, the single mother of the two children, was hijacked near her home in Mangusi ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 2) ... the 9th. Several men unknown to locals approached people in Mangusi asking - and speaking Zulu with a Thonga accent, and asked where the white woman agricultural worker lived. The next morning, that's November the 10th, at about 6.00 am a neighbour, a young girl, was approached by a stranger, speaking normal Zulu, who asked who was the owner of the 4x4 vehicle parked nearby, and she said that it was Clare's, and the man identified himself as Hazel Buthelezi. At 7.15 Clare left for work. Shortly afterwards people still at her house
heard the vehicle stopping, and then there was one hoot from the vehicle, but they didn't go down, they didn't - then between that 7.15 am and 8.00 various local people saw the vehicle being driven rather erratically by somebody they didn't know. It was a very noticeable vehicle because it had the co-operative logo of a cattle -of a cow's head on the - painted on the vehicle. The driver was driving fast and erratically, and several times took little side roads off the main Mangusi/Jozini road. Between 8.15 and quarter to nine we presume that she was killed, because at 9.00 am the vehicle arrived in Ingwavuma at a petrol station and there was only a single man in the vehicle. In the middle of the morning the vehicle, again quite an easily identifiable vehicle, was seen nearby Mfakayi on the road just 30 kilometres north of Mtubatuba, and the person who saw it, who was a member of the co-operative, said there were three or four people in the cab at the time. And I forgot to say at - before the vehicle arrived in Ingwavuma for petrol the bakkie stopped and picked up a hitch-hiker. This was when the stranger was driving the vehicle and Clare was sitting in the front. They stopped and picked up a 13-year-old girl, and later dropped her somewhere towards Jozini, or somewhere further along the road. Then at 1.15 in Empangeni the bakkie was involved in a minor traffic accident near the road going to Ngwelezana, and when the traffic officer pulled the vehicle over the driver ran off, and an AK47 was found behind the seat of the cab. We didn't know what had happened to Clare, and for two weeks we had no information and we had no knowledge. We had no idea what had happened to her. --- We searched in
various places, in Mangusi, in Empangeni, and the area in between. --- And then on the 24th of November a cowherd found her skeleton on the road going up to Ingwavuma, the dirt road going up to Ingwavuma. It was just five metres or so from the road, but the road's cut on a hillside, so it was above the road and totally invisible from the road. And then we buried her on the 6th of December in Mariannhill. At her body, at her skeleton, there were two spent cartridges, and she had been shot through the head and her hands were tied. --- We strongly - Clare's family strongly believe that this was a political killing. Amnesty International has made a major campaign based on the same belief, and the whole style of the killing somehow, from the evidence collected, seems to be that of a hit. It was fast, organised, shot through the head, no other shots, and it seemed all to have been over within an hour or an hour and a half of the hijack. There was a police investigation, which went on for quite some time. The police reports concluded that it cannot be assumed without facts that the deceased was a victim of extra-judicial execution, but - well, we think the police could not conclude that it was an extra-judicial killing, but we also believe that the police were in no way competent to investigate the various security forces. And one of the investigating officers was actually at the time facing a court case from Sipho Cele, the father of Clare's second child, alleging assault. The same investigating officer, Captain Erasmus, was previously censured in court for covering up misdeeds of fellow officers. So we think he was not in a particularly strong position to investigate the political or security
aspects of the murder. The other investigating officer, Sergeant van der Westhuizen, who was the principal investigating officer, was, by his junior rank, also in a weak position to investigate.
Can I just ask something? You're alluding to some sort of political motive. What was Clare's political involvement? --- Well, Clare ... (incomplete)
Sorry, that just hasn't come out at the moment. --- Clare - in Zimbabwe in '97 Clare was ... (intervention) --- In 1987. --- In 1987. Sorry, 1987. She was recruited by the ANC's military intelligence, by Ronnie Caswells and Bill Anderson, to do surveillance in rural South Africa, and she was armed with a camera and given training, brief training. We believe she took this responsibility seriously. She continued to have contact the ANC military intelligence when she moved to Northern Natal. She may have been involved in other underground activities that we don't know about, and so she may have been seen by the intelligence - well, the State intelligence services as a significant person in that respect. She also - after the unbanning of the ANC she was an active ANC member in a politically sensitive area of Northern Natal. She helped in setting up an ANC youth group in Mangusi, and she helped organise an ANC lawyer from Durban when some of the youth group were accused in a witch killing case. She did attend some ANC meetings in Mkuze, and she also visited the ANC Empangeni offices.
So she was quite a high - a relatively profiled ANC person. --- Yes. She didn't hold an office in the ANC structure. She wasn't a branch chairperson or something
like that, but she had an ANC profile. --- The cattle co-operative was not associated with any political party, but maybe there was some association in some people's minds because of Clare's political profile.
Just in terms of the area she was working in Mangusi, to some extent do you have any idea of the sort of political tensions that may have existed there? --- I think it was not a strong ANC area, but neither was it a strong Inkatha area. There was a whole history of the Thonga independence movement and the kind of Thonga ethnicity separate from the Zulus, and there was also a great - it was the area where Dave Webster was finding out stuff about covert military operations. Somewhere to the south of Maputoland there were - at the time of her death there were big Inkatha training camps. --- That was between the 4th and the 14th of November that there were those large training camps near Mtubatuba. --- And there were, amongst the covert military operations, perhaps training camps in those areas for Renamo. So there was - it was a very - there was a lot going on in that area. And there is the possibility that as Clare travelled round Maputoland that she saw something, that she stumbled on something.
It's widely believed that that area was rife with gun smuggling, with ivory smuggling, with rhino horn, that sort of operation as well. --- That's right.
And do you think she may have stumbled across that? Did she ever talk about it to any of you, or ... (incomplete) --- No. We have been asked whether she might have just recently, just before she died, have found something, but she went to a party the night before she
died and she was completely relaxed. She mentioned nothing. She didn't seem to have anything weighing on her mind. There was nothing very particular that she had found out which troubled her. --- And I had just arrived back in South Africa on the 7th of November from many years away, and I spoke to her on the Monday prior to her death on the phone for about an hour or an hour and a half, and she didn't indicate that anything was amiss.
One other aspect you've alluded to in the statement is the question of some degree of conflict between elements in the community and the Bureau of Natural Resources, and you indicate that to some extent there may have been some tension between the project, the co-operative, and the Bureau. Would you like to elaborate on that? --- I don't think we know about that in detail. There were some conflicts. There were also formal agreements between the project and the Bureau. The KwaZulu Bureau of Natural Resources wanted to make the whole of Northern Natal into one big park at one stage, and that put them into conflict with a number of communities, and also to some extent with the project. Clare was involved in some negotiations with them which seemed to reach some settlement as well. But the KwaZulu Bureau of Natural Resources also controlled the area around Kosi Mouth. There were some security police who had chalets there. There seemed to be some knowledge of -some interchange between - or some social exchange between the security police and a number of other groupings in the area.
Has any inquest been held at this stage? --- An inquest was held last year in April, and the conclusion
was death by unknown persons. And with the paragraph that my brother read about that it cannot be assumed that, with the evidence at hand, that it was an ex-judicial killing.
--- It should be mentioned at the inquest six of the key witnesses did not appear, so the investigation was not a satisfactory one and the inquest was not a satisfactory inquest.
Thank you, Chairperson. I think I'll stop there at this stage. Thank you very much. Is there anything else you want to add before I hand back to the Chairperson? --- Yes, there are a number of particular things which we would like the Truth Commission to follow up if it is at all possible. One thing is to investigate whether there were some underground activities Clare was carrying out which we don't know of. We wondered if the Truth Commission could contact the ANC people who had recruited her, that's Mr Bill Anderson and Mr Caswells, and ask in what way her underground activities continued. Secondly, to find out whether security agencies might have known about her underground role. If Clare's security file from the Security Police could be located that would help. That might have a reference to her link with military intelligence. Thirdly, if there were any records of JMC structures in Northern Natal, particularly in Empangeni and Newcastle, it would be interesting to know if Clare's name came up in any of such JMC meetings. And, fourthly, to see whether any of the personnel involved in the running of the Inkatha training camps, running between the 4th and 14th of November, had any links with security issues of Maputoland. And then, lastly, the presumed murder weapon, the gun, which the police had, has got lost
and the TRC is looking for it. We hope it keeps looking for the gun.
Thank you very much. I'll hand back to you, Chairperson.
DR MGOJO: Clare's children, Thambo and Phula, isn't it? --- Phuleng.
Is their father still alive? --- They had different fathers. Themba's father is alive, he's a Zimbabwean, and - she was not married to either of them. Phuleng's father, Sipho Cele, is alive in Empangeni.
This one who lives at Empangeni, do you know if he has any political affiliations? --- Yes, he is an active Cosatu organiser in Empangeni, and he's been involved with local defence units in Ngwelezana. He's clearly on the ANC side. Clare had known him for about 12 years. He wasn't a recent friend. He is Phuleng's father, but for the year before Clare was killed he had not been involved with Clare at all. He - so he was not an active parent at the time.
The common question usually asked - how much has this affected Clare's children, the death of their mother? --- I think particularly for Themba, the older one. He was eight when Clare was killed. He - I think it was a great trauma for him. He had been - before his little sister was born he had been an only child for a long time, and he was very, very close to his mother. He's a very bright child, and he did go to counselling sessions with a child therapist in Johannesburg, and he's handled - he's dealt with it very well. He's a very intelligent, very sorted-out child, but I think - well, it's been very hard
for him. And Phuleng was only 16 months when Clare was killed, so she doesn't have a conscious memory of Clare. But she - obviously in the weeks after Clare's death she was highly traumatised because she had lost her mother and she didn't know me, she didn't know the people that took her. --- Fortunately she had just finished breast-feeding. Phuleng had just come off the breast.
So you feel Themba has had satisfactory counselling? --- I think for the time being. We have tried to take the children into our broader family. Ever since our parents dies in 1984 we brothers and sisters have been quite close, and so once Clare died we were there to try to help Clare's children. And we're coping. The children will have - will suffer from it as they grow up. Yes, we can't stop that.
Thank you, Sir.
MRS GCABASHE: There's just one small question for my own clarification. In your statement it's mentioned that Clare was working at KwaNgwanase. --- KwaNgwanase, yes.
Is that KwaNgwanase. --- Well, Mangusi is in KwaNgwanase.
Oh, Mangusi is in KwaNgwanase. --- The town is Mangusi, the post office is KwaNgwanase.
CHAIRMAN: If I could just clarify, the town is known by both names in fact. --- Yes, that's right.
Thank you very much for having come all this way to speak to us. We know that you and your family or families have kept alive the investigation into Clare's death for
many, many years. We also know that international organisations have put - continuously kept pressure on the Attorney-General in this province, and on the police, to ensure that a proper investigation takes place. And we know that the matter has been investigated by the police, that an inquest was held, and our investigators also have all the documents, but at this stage we are, as you know, not really any closer to finding out how or why Clare died. However, we know that it is your view, and the view of many people who knew her, and knew what work she did, that this was a political killing. We know about her background. We know about her ANC membership after 1990. You have told us about her activities in the ANC in that area, the nature of her work that she did for the local community. All these things would make her a target for a political killing in a politically divided and politically sensitive area. She was a committed and a dedicated person, who worked incredibly hard for her community, and also worked hard in the pursuit of a vision for a new South Africa, a new South Africa which she was not able to experience.
We will continue to investigate the case, and we will do the things that you have asked us to do, but obviously we can give no guarantee that we will resolve this case satisfactorily. But we hope that you are able to take some strength from the memory of Clare as a brave and committed person. So we thank you very much for coming in and telling us Clare's story today. --- Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: We didn't have a tea break this morning
because we started late. We're going to have a lunch break now for one hour, so please can you be back here in the hall at 1.30. We will start again at 1.30. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN: We're going to start again now, and we would ask the next witness, who is Mrs Sithole, Dingile Sithole, to come up now. Good afternoon, Mrs Sithole, we welcome you here today. You have also come to speak to us from Brandville, and you've come to tell us about the death of your husband in 1991. Before you tell us that story can you please take the oath.
DINGILE MELITA SITHOLE (Sworn, States)
CHAIRMAN: Dr Mgojo will now help you.
DR MGOJO: Good day, Mrs Sithole. I understand your pain and I would like to pass my sympathy. I understand it's really painful, but we have to talk about this, about the death of your husband, Bhoyi Sithole. It's sad, and knowing the way he died. Before we start going into this I would like you to give us a detailed background of your family. We want to know how many children you have and if you have grandchildren as well? Now, you can start whenever you're ready. (Pause) If it's difficult for you to say anything you must tell us, because some people can't - or they are unable to relate such stories. --- It's true he died. He was from work.
I would like you to first give us a picture of your family before you can start relating this story to us. --- I have nine children, and I have six grandchildren whom I am staying with.
You just said you're staying with six. --- Like I said I have nine children and six grandchildren.
Where are your kids? --- They are working, and some of them are in their homes. They have their own
houses. I am only left with three of them.
You say you have three in your home? --- Yes, I have three. They aren't in school. Only my grandchildren who are in school.
Where are they attending school? --- They are attending school in Brandville.
Who is paying for their education? --- It's me.
Are you still working? --- No, I am no longer working, I am a pensioner. They were never married.
You can take your time. (Pause) --- They were never married.
Are they working? --- No, they aren't.
In other words you are maintaining your grandchildren? --- Yes, I am.
Do you know what standards are your grandchildren in? --- Zenzele is in standard five. Nokuthula is in standard two. Njabulo is also in school.
What standard is he in? --- In first year. And my other two grandchildren are not in school, they are at home.
Do you know what standard did they leave school? --- They aren't working. I didn't have money to take them to school, but their age is an accurate age for being in school. The other one is seven years old, the other one was born in 1980. They never sent to school because I didn't have money. I didn't have enough money because I was supposed to buy them uniform as well.
Now I would like you to start relating to us the incident which happened and led to your husband's death. --- There was violence at that time, but what happened is that my husband left for work. When he came from work
he didn't even reach home because he was shot right inside the car where he was in.
Where was he working? --- He was working in a firm here in Mooi River.
Was he a member of any political organisation? --- I would say yes, he was a member of ANC, because the area where we were staying was an ANC stronghold area.
In other words there was a conflict between ANC and Inkatha members? --- Yes, there was, because the hostel residents were Inkatha members.
Do you know the people who killed your husband? --- No, I don't.
You don't even know where they were staying? --- No, I don't.
When your husband was attacked was he still in the car, or this happened after he got off from the car? --- Yes, it was after he got off. These people saw him getting out of the car, and that's when they attacked him and they started assaulting him.
What did they use to kill him? --- They shot him.
So they didn't stab him? --- No, they didn't.
Was there anyone who was arrested? --- No, I never heard of anyone being arrested in connection with this case.
I want to check and verify some things which is written here in your statement. In your statement it says there was an IFP member who was arrested in connection with the murder of your husband and he was later released. Is this true? --- I never went there.
I don't understand this. --- I never went to any
I am trying to rectify something which is written on your statement. On your statement it says there was an IFP member who was arrested in connection with the death of your husband, and later he was released. Is this true? --- I heard about that. It's true I heard about that.
Can you tell us or give us the name of this person who was arrested and later released? --- No, I don't know this person.
Was there any case or inquest? --- I think there was an inquest in Pietermaritzburg, and my children went there.
What happened? Did they find out who killed your husband? --- No.
Now I would like you to tell us how did this affect you, your life? --- I was really traumatised, and it affected my life badly. And today as I am talking to you I have grandchildren and they don't even have food to eat.
What about your health? How do you feel after you lost your husband? --- I was only diagnosed as someone who is suffering from high blood pressure and nothing else. I am confused sometimes, and sometimes early in the morning I would think as to what to eat the whole day.
Are you seeing any doctors? --- No. I used to go to doctors when I was sick.
Are you still going to doctors? --- If I have received money I do go.
Now, you will need to give our counsellors your name - one of them is the one sitting next to you - and maybe we can try and write a letter so that you get assistance perhaps. And again we can try to do something for Zenzele
and Nokuthula, your granddaughters, to write a recommendation letter so that they don't pay in school. This lady next to you will be able to help you with regard to that. --- Yes, I understand.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mrs Sithole, you mentioned there was an inquest in 'Maritzburg as far as you could remember. Would you - what did your children tell you about that inquest? Where did it happen? (Pause) Can you understand? --- In court.
(Inaudible) ... speak to the children who went there, and if you could just ask them to contact us just to tell us which court it was. That will help us track down the records. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Mrs Sithole, thank you very much for coming in. Your story has been similar to so many other stories that we've heard over the last two days. We know that it's a very special story to you, it's a unique and individual story, but it is very similar in the sorts of events that you describe to many other stories that we've heard.
You told us about your husband, who, coming back from work in a taxi, an ordinary person doing what was expected of him, working to support his family, and tragically he was killed for no apparent reason whatsoever. And this has been the story of many victims that we've heard of in the last two days.
And so, while we know it's been difficult for you to come and relive those experiences, it's important for us to learn your story first-hand, and we thank you very much
for having had the courage to come here and tell us that
story. Thank you very much indeed.
CHAIRMAN: Mrs Sithole was the last witness that we will hear. We were going to hear evidence from a group of people from Bergville. As I said this morning they were too afraid to come in. And we had hoped to hear a short submission from some community representatives from Bergville, but they returned to Bergville with one of their community members, who unfortunately had become so emotional at the prospect of giving evidence about the death of her son that she had to return home. So, unfortunately we will not hear evidence from any witnesses from Bergville today.
We have been to many areas around this province and also in the Free State. We have been to places where there has been terrible violence, like Port Shepstone and Empangeni, but the stories that we've heard here in Brandville we believe have been worse than any others that we've heard. We've heard about people who were fleeing from violence, who were pursued into the sanctity of a church, and in that church a disabled person, a woman and a child were shot, completely defenceless people. We heard about an elderly woman of 65 who was brutally stabbed with her 18-year-old granddaughter, and of a six-year-old child who had a large rock thrown on her chest and was left for dead. And we heard this morning about Alexia Masondo, who was again fleeing from violence with a baby on her back, and who was stabbed and killed. We have yet to understand why these sorts of atrocities took place, why it was necessary for people to kill disabled people and elderly and young women. It's a very difficult thing for us to understand.
We had hoped very, very much to hear the perspective /on the
on the violence in this area from the Inkatha Freedom Party, and we tried very, very hard to persuade members of the IFP to come here to give us their perspective. We contacted their representatives, we sent our statement-takers to Brandville, and to the hostel. They were not able to get access to the hostel. We wrote to Midlands IFP office, we requested them to come here to make a submission. We said that even if they didn't want to make a submission they could make a written submission, and they refused to participate with us because they said that they believed that we would not be able to bring about reconciliation.
They did give us their submissions which they made some years ago to the Goldstone Commission, and reference was made to that document by Dr Minnaar, who was a social scientist who we invited here to give evidence on the first day of these hearings. And we invited him because we believed that he would be able to give an overall, professional and independent perspective on the conflict in Brandville. He is not affiliated to any group, and we felt that it would be important for him to give his view, which would include the perspective of the IFP from that period. And in my view he did give a very thorough overview, and he talked about the manner in which the hostel residents were excluded from civic and community life, and how on many occasions they were harassed and attacked by certain people within the township. But he was not able to explain to us how it came about that the attacks which the hostel dwellers perpetrated on the residents of this township - how it was that they were so brutal in their nature, and so indiscriminate in their
targets, and that is something that we still have to understand.
For real reconciliation to take place in Brandville there must be acknowledgement by both sides as to their roles in what took place, and there must also be a very genuine desire to reconcile with each other, because without proper reconciliation the chances of that sort of violence happening again are good, and I am sure the people of Brandville do not want to see - or do not want to experience anything like what they went through in 1990 and 1991 again. And the TRC, the Truth Commission, can play a part in bringing those two sides together. We have played that role in other areas, such as Trust Feeds, and if there is a willingness and a desire from the IFP, or from the hostel residents and the people of Brandville, then the TRC can play a facilitating role to try to bring those two groups closer together.
Brandville is really like - it's like a microcosm or a small version of the country. On a national level if we don't have reconciliation it's very difficult for this country to move forward positively. In the same way in Brandville, if there's no true reconciliation between the hostel residents and the Brandville residents, the township residents, it's very difficult for there to be positive progress and unity in this area. So we ask the people of Brandville to consider that.
We want to thank the witnesses very much for coming forward. It was very brave of them to come forward and tell those terrible stories, and we want to thank them and congratulate them. And we want to thank everybody else, the volunteer staff who assisted them in the debriefing,
the TRC staff, the police who protected us here, the press
and the television. And finally for the people of Brandville, who came and gave us their support every day, we hope that it was meaningful for you to hear the experiences of your fellow residents being told. Sorry, I forgot to thank the sound people and the interpreters. Thank you very much.
Dr Mgojo will now say a few words in Zulu, and end off with a prayer.
DR MGOJO: I appreciate the opportunity that I have been given. I think particularly of people like Chief Luthuli when I hear the stories that are told in this hall. Chief Luthuli would turn in his grave if he would listen to such stories. I hope even where he is he would be shocked when he hears stories about children being killed, and he would be shocked at the idea of black against black violence. And when we talk about the residents of Brandville as well as the hostel dwellers we refer to one family, the royal family. They were under one chief, that is the Zulu chief. I do not say that even the previous chiefs like Chief Hlatshwayo, who went into exile, as well as Demizulu, they were fighting for the building of the nation. They were finishing off from where Shaka left. We were a united nation ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 3) ... our new Government, democratically elected Government, not the apartheid regime, has been blessed by the Lord above that it's very painful to try and effect reconciliation. We know that we cannot raise up the dead, we do not have those powers, but the aim of the Government is to bring about a reconciliation, but that cannot be
effected if we are not united. We regard ourselves as all
elements of human nature, and we cannot keep on killing each other in the manner that we are doing. We are trying to effect reconciliation and be one nation which is living in peace. Our ancestors suffered under the apartheid regime, and now we have acquired this freedom, but there was so much bloodshed. We do sympathise with the families that have lost their loved ones.
As Richard Lyster had already mentioned that what disturbs us most is that some other people who were supposed to have come to testify were not able to come before this Commission because they had been threatened. Some felt not safe at all to come and testify before this Commission, for instance the Bergville group. Others have got their own reasons for not coming. Maybe they were also scared or threatened, or members of their own groups or political groups were not present, but we wished that everybody could have come so that we hear different sides of the story. We are indiscriminate in this, we want to get both sides of the story.
But we do appreciate the fact that there were those who had the courage to appear before this Commission to render their testimony. You will remember that yesterday there is a witness who could not give her testimony, she was in an emotional state. And one had to be sent to the hospital today - she was from Bergville - because she collapsed because of a reason that I am not going to explain. She was unable to continue.
If there is any person who knows, or who is a perpetrator himself or herself, for there to be reconciliation these persons must come forward. These
people were created by God. We therefore do not have a
right to kill them. We think that Brian Mitchell was a good example. He asked to be put together with the families of the victims so that he can personally apologise to these people. He wanted to be brought together with the people of Trust Feeds so that he could approach them and apologise for all his past atrocities against the Trust Feeds community.
Now, if the killers are not prepared to come forward and ask for forgiveness we cannot effect reconciliation. We hope that you, as the community of Brandville, also would like to get an opportunity to see the perpetrators, and maybe ask some questions, so that whatever questions you had in the past could possibly be answered. We have lost quite a large number of youths who could be helping towards the upgrading of the country.
At first even when there were wars or there were faction fights the basic rule was that women and children would not be killed, and people who seek refuge in churches would not be followed to the churches, where they would be killed, but these are the things we are hearing in this Commission today, where people are attacked after having sought refuge in church. This indicates that there is a lot to be desired in our society.
I will request you, after we have finished here, to sing the national anthem to bring ourselves together as one. That's why we've kept this song, Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, because it brings us together. I want us to sing this with dignity. I want us to feel that we are talking to God. We have suffered so much as the black nation, and now that we have this budding democracy we should have
some reconciliation, we should have some peace, otherwise
we will not feel or experience the newfound freedom. Because this freedom was bought with the blood of innocent people. People died for this freedom to be attained, so we must ask the Lord to help and give courage to those who lost their loved ones, and for the Lord to lift the weight that is on the shoulders of those who lost their loved ones.
PROCEEDINGS CLOSED WITH THE NATIONAL ANTHEM