CHAIRPERSON: ... Moutse, KwaNdebele. A special welcome to all of the witnesses. We will have an opportunity to hear all of them during the course of the day. I will not, at this stage, welcome any special guests or dignitaries. We will do that through the day as the day continues and as people arrive.

May I just, firstly, introduce the panel. On my far left is Mr Tom Manthata. He is a committee member of the Commission and specifically active in the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee. Next to him is Mrs Joyce Seroke who is also a committee member and she is in the Human Rights Violations Committee. On my immediate left, Dr Russell Ally who is also a member of the Human Rights Violations Committee. My name is Wynand Malan. I will, today, act as your Chairman.

May I just say now, and I will repeat this announcement later in the day, that we are listening to witnesses who have made statements to us. Some of them, specifically, on gross human rights violations. Others on background information to assist us in getting a more comprehensive picture about what happened in this part of world. Mainly in the 80's, but going back since we have to cover a time period from 1960 through 1993. Some witnesses will give us background information and refer to specific gross human




rights violations perpetrated against them. The people that will be giving evidence will only be a few of those that made statements to us. We are basically doing our work on the basis of written documentation. Our findings will be made and each and every statement will be awarded exactly the same kind of scrutiny. We will be, mainly, dealing with our work on paper and, really, the hearings are simply organised to have a window, a public window, so to speak, into some of the affairs that went during this period. So the basis of all our activities, really, is made up of statements made to the Commission.

Now there may be some of the audience present here today who have also suffered gross human rights violations and have not yet made a statement to the Commission. Please consider making a statement also telling us your story and for that purpose, statement takers will be available through the day. You will be able to make contact with them at the back of the hall and there is a special room where you go where a statement will be taken which we will give all our attention and eventually also make a finding.

This is not a Court of Law, but it is a serious event. It is really trying to come to grips with what happened in the past, trying to understand it. In a sense we are making and writing up the history, documenting the history of this country over a specific period. So I would ask of you to be relaxed, but at the same time be honest, quiet, dignified and please afford the witnesses the opportunity to, with dignity, present their evidence.

Sorry, may I just also, while the witness is getting ready, inform you that we have these little boxes with head pieces, little phones. So, if you cannot follow the




language there is a simultaneous translation available. You can get the necessary equipment at the back of the hall, but please do not forget to return it before you leave the hall. You cannot use them except inside of the hall and it is of no value. Not that we think people will consciously be taking it away, but please make sure and remember to leave it when you leave the hall. There are four channels and you can move about on the channels. So you will be able to find the language which is best suited to you to follow the witness if you cannot follow the witness in the language spoken.

Prince Mahlangu, just before you start, would you have any objections to taking the oath?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: No objections.

CHAIRPERSON: Would you then please stand?

PRINCE JAMES MAHLANGU: (Duly sworn in, states).

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You may take your seat. Prince Mahlangu, you were very, very close to all the developments. This happened in an area which, basically, is the area of yourself and your family and you will be able to tell us a lot of the background of what developed, focusing on a number of issues on which you have given us the statement and we will be especially pleased if you will concentrate on the events of May 12 and 14 and the times surrounding those dates 1986. Welcome with us and we are ready to listen to you. Thanks for being with us.

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr Chairman, all the Commissioners who are here today and all important guests, ladies and gentlemen. Indeed, we have gone through terrible and stormy times and I hope that I am going to present the picture of what happened in the years 1984, 1985, 1986 until MOUTSE HEARING TRC/MPUMALANGA



late 1988, but before I could do that I need to raise a very great concern. I learnt for the first time, with great dismay and shock, that I was a member of Imbokhoto and to me that is viewed in a very, very serious light and that is a great insult. I would want to call upon the Commission to call to order these honourable members of the media because this will not be acceptable to me, will not be acceptable to my community and to my dear comrades and, I think, the world at large.

CHAIRPERSON: I wonder if you would allow me to respond immediately. I have also learned this morning that at least in one paper there was a report that you were Imbokhoto. In fact I thing heading up the Imbokhoto at some stage. I have not heard any such evidence, any such statement, any such allegation while I was here yesterday. I do not know where they got it from.

DR ALLY: Wrong name.


DR ALLY: Wrong name, it was Kedu Mahlangu.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it is probably a misunderstanding in terms of reference to the wrong individual following another witness, but I do not want to find excuses for whoever that newspaper report emanated from. I think we would demand, at least, that we have a correct reporting here from the media. We have not had problems or at least many problems in the past, but this is a serious thing and I think you have the fullest right to object and ask for the record to be set straight immediately.



PRINCE MAHLANGU: I would appreciate very, very much, but




this needs some follow up because I believe the very reporter has got some political agenda of some kind.

Mr Chairman to get back to the business of this Commission. I am going to address this Commission in Ndebele for the purposes of the people who were for independence, for the people who were anti-independence and those who do not know what exactly happened around these areas because I believe that there were a lot of people who died unnecessarily. There were people who died because of some other people did not know what was exactly happening around this area. So I am going to address this Commission in Ndebele, but I will mix there and there.

The main objective that created and caused all these miseries, that destruction of property and so on was independence. It was independence that was promoted and pushed by both Pretoria and KwaNdebele. Well, for different reasons of course. Pretoria wanted KwaNdebele to become independent precisely because it wanted to prove to the world that the apartheid system, homeland systems was a workable system. It would work and it is achievable. That is what they wanted to prove. They also wanted to prove to the liberation movements that were banned then that they were fighting a loosing battle because homelands were taking independence one after another. It was the KwaNdebele Government pushed and went or opted for the independence merely because they wanted to be rich, they wanted money. Unfortunately our fellow people had to die in the process. That was unnecessary and uncalled for.

Now what instruments did they use to achieve their objective? One, they used Pretoria itself because Pretoria was behind this option for independence. We communicated on MOUTSE HEARING TRC/MPUMALANGA



numerous occasions with the Government of Pretoria telling them about what was happening around our area, but I was happy to learn from Chris Heunis, the Minister of the then Constitutional Development, that he was briefed. He knew exactly as to what was happening around our areas at that time. He got the information from his sources every morning.

Now the problem was now why did he not intervene because we were calling for his intervention or the intervention of the Government. We communicated with the State President, we communicated with Vlok, we communicated with the Minister of Development Aid which was Gerhard Viljoen. We have got proof to that where we were telling them of what was happening in our areas. They used KwaNdebele Government through their Parliamentary structure which passed motions to get Moutse incorporated because they wanted KwaNdebele consolidated. They used their majority in Parliament and this needs to be said that they were not elected popularly, by popular vote, but they were all designated to Parliament. Designated by traditional leaders, designated by traditional authorities to Parliament. As a result they knew that because of that whatever action they were taking would not be regarded as legitimate. They used their majority in Parliament to throw all those who were opposed to independence and they used Government resources to fight their cause.

Why I say Pretoria was behind that was because they provided money for that. There was enough money for celebrations, there was enough money to buy Caspers, to buy ammunition, to buy firearms, to buy all these things to fight the opponents of independence, but when it comes to




development, that money was no longer there. That was very surprising. They used Imbokhoto to terrorise our people. If time does allow I will come up with details, but I can say right now that they used Imbokhoto to terrorise our people, to torture our people, to maim our people, even to kill our people. Some of our comrades, up to this day, disappeared. We do not know where they went to. It would be very busy today if the Commission would investigate, make investigations as to where were these people buried so that they could get a very respectful burial. They want to know where the bones are. This is very hurting because it was the Government itself, the Government that we thought would protect its citizens, but it was the Government that was doing all these things. I can carry on and say they used the police from Pretoria to do what they did. Those policemen from Pretoria were here on secondment, but you could clearly see that they were pushing the Pretoria agenda.

Because as we talk, it was on the 14th of May. The helicopter was hovering and they were throwing teargas canisters at us. On that day people were killed and this helicopter was from Pretoria. There were Caspers all over the place, the same Caspers were from Pretoria. Two young boys died on that day. I am very happy to see their families here. I am happy that the Mthimunye family who died on that day is here today. Many people were injured on that day. I have to say that soldiers were also involved. They were used, they wanted to be rich, they wanted to enrich themselves with our money. This was perpetrated by the Chief Minister and his members of Cabinet and some of the business people. What I can say is that




they used again "kits konstabels". These were members of Imbokhoto. Some of them got promoted, they went to very high ranks and they were doing everything they wanted, they had control. They would get into peoples houses, assault people, break peoples houses. You know, everything would take place under normal circumstances. There was no unrest at all in the township. This was a very unfortunate situation.

They used the traditional leaders. My late father, David Maboko, was a very fierce opponent of apartheid and Imbokhoto itself, independence as well. I heard one of the witnesses here saying that these things were planned from the Royal family. That is where they originated from. That is what he said yesterday. I want to say that my father never agreed to apartheid policies. There is enough evidence that he has been tried for the white people for many years, but he never agreed to their call. He did not even want to see the tribal authority. He use to say I am a South African and I want the land to belong to its rightful people. Everytime he would say why are they whites leading this country if Verwoerd insists on saying he wants blacks to rule themselves. He did not go along with such principles. We were sent to farms to be farm workers. You know, even today we are still slaves of farmers. This is very painful.

It is promising that we are here today talking of reconciliation. We want to open our hearts and cough out everything because we really have to go forward, we have to repair mistakes of the past.

In this traditional authority my father was the only man who was against independence. I also have evidence, if




you want evidence, I will give it to you. As a result of that my father suffered the consequences. My father's house was bombed. It was Lerm and his policemen together with Imbokhoto. My father would be woken up in the middle of the night and he would be made to walk along the streets. We decided to take him away. You know, it was disgusting, the King leaving his nation behind to go into hiding.

You must understand that the KwaNdebele Parliament was run by members of Uzunza Tribal Authority. Skosana, Makawe, Mfenie and all the Ministers. They were members of this traditional authority of Ngwenyama. I was ultimately the Chairperson of the tribal authority. Those members who were members of Imbokhoto who were going to appear here were under my leadership, I was the Chairperson. This tribal authority had a function. The first thing it was supposed to lead all the nations whose leaders were members of this tribal authority. We had to see to the wellbeing of the community. What my father and myself were doing was that a King is a King because of the nation. The King was not supposed to dictate at all and that was our principle. We were listening to the people. There was not even one thing that we did without the approval of the nation.

I want to say today after completing my schooling in 1980. I started working in 1981. I was the Secretary of the Tribal Authority and in 1983. This gave me strength to control even the nation because they had already put themselves out. I was in a position to stop everything that was going astray in this tribal authority and we were able to stop the police involvement against the people. The police were abusing our people because Skosana himself was the Chairperson of this Tribal Authority and my father took




over a long quarrel and his people were suffering. They were slaves on the farms. They were working without pay and they were taken to farms to stay in a farm with no position at all.

In the early 60's the Boers evicted them and they had no place to go. They went to Bophututswana, many of them went to Bophututswana. They had no rights, no rights whatsoever. Now you can imagine being oppressed, harassed by your own blood and kin. They did not have rights at all. They were called passers-by and my father was then convinced that his nation must have its area. These people did not have place and for the sake of the poor souls. It was in 1969 when my father decided to take this Tribal Authority. Now my father and the Tribal Authority got into this activity because they wanted schools for the people, they wanted houses for the people and it was painful because even in schools you could not find Ndebele language at all.

My father had no intention at all to go up to independence. Now the nation believed that my father had power and the Tribal Authority had power over the Parliament and that is why when this independence issue cropped up, it was clear that the nation was unaware. People claimed here that the nation knew about independence. No, it is not true, they did not know anything. The people came to us. Fortunately enough we have the former Secretary of the Tribal Authority. I was the Chairperson and he was the Secretary. We wrote letters to the top accolades of the police telling them what was taking place here in KwaNdebele. We even wrote to all prominent people around KwaNdebele. We even wrote the letter to the Chief, but what I remember very well. Chris Heunis kept on saying, because




we were writing him letters, and he said to us that is an internal political problem, sort it out yourselves. We were being killed by the Government and his Government was involved in this. In his reply he was telling us this is an internal problem. This really shocked us. How could they say that? I was talking about the Tribal Authority and he referred this matter to the Tribal Authorities. He said constitutional structures should be followed.

This authority was pressing my father not to or to agree to independence, but my father did not listen them. They did not even respect him at all. They were attacking people and as the Chairperson I was telling them, I said to them we are inviting problems. You are going to be injured, you are going to be hurt. Now, because of the fact that they knew very well that I was in the struggle in 1976. With the Soweto uprisings I was at the University of Zululand with many members who are MPs now. I can mention Peniel Maduna and a few of them. We were the leadership structure at the university and they knew the members that I was also a student at the University of the North and I was active in politics because I wanted to share with them politics. They could not stand for their right and fortunately enough within the community of KwaNdebele we had very educated people to mention but a few. It is N J Guy and others. These were very educated people and we deemed it fit to consult.

My father was then referred to this Tribal Authority, but because he was already in hiding he could not attend some of the meetings. The then Chairperson of the Chiefs said, Mahlangu, you are against independence and you are oppressing other peoples feelings. You have not been to




several meetings. Are you still a member of this Tribal Authority? They fired him just because they were in favour of independence, they were in favour of Imbokhoto. They wanted him to keep quiet.

The KwaNdebele Government then appointed a Commission to look into the question as to whether my father, being a traditional leader, the Head of Amandebele Nzonza tribe, was still in the interest of the tribe. They are not saying was it still in their own interest, they are saying, is it still in the interest of the people, but because of our struggle. I want to thank, specifically, on this matter, thank one, traditional leaders themselves. Starting from my father particularly from the Nzonza Maboka side. Those were my heros. Those were people who stood through thick and thin. I want to thank the youth and end up with thanking the mothers, the women.

Throughout the struggle they were at the Chief's kraal. Imagine women leaving their homes to spend their time at the Chief's place praying all the time to cast evil spirits. They went to Courts of Law, they were the people behind winning this issue of independence. They went to court, they challenged the validity of the Government because women were not allowed to get into the Parliament and vote when decisions were taken. I want to thank them. I can count many occasions where women took part. Women would go to the police station during our arrest and demand our immediate release. They were involved in so many activities, I do not know how can I really thank them. They really assisted us.

I want to touch now the instruments that were used by the Government to oppress the people. I want to involve MOUTSE HEARING TRC/MPUMALANGA



KNDC which is KwaNdebele Development Corporation. This was part and parcel of the then Government and it was used effectively and successfully. Many business people would be detained with us and it was a well known fact that we did not have money and we would be sent to jail. These business people would use the Chairperson and they would use the Strategy Committee and the other one called Communication Committee.

What they KNDC use to do, they would go to their meetings and it would type pamphlets, you know. They would type pamphlets with no shame with UDF logo. They knew very well that by distributing those papers we would be arrested. We know the policemen who use to arrest us and today they are occupying very high positions. They got promoted because of the arrests they have made. We left our children at home, our shops were burnt down. KNDC still claims, even today, that the people that were detained were unruly. You could not even consult with a lawyer because you were detained under the State of Emergency. This was a terrible situation. They still maintain that we owe them today, but our reply to them is you blocked our rights.

Chairperson, let me go forward. I want to say many people died. The nation was destroyed. People use to come to the King and say can you please call the Members of Parliament and ask them who gave them the permission to accept independence. Ask them who gave them the permission to form Imbokhoto. They never came, but instead they decided to victimise us. As the Chairperson, they started with me and they went onto the other members. We were very popular and we were communicating with the whole world about the issues of KwaNdebele. They use to take police, as I




have already mentioned, and they would take the vehicles from the Tribal Authority. Before I could take the Chairmanship these things were happening. They would take vans or vehicles and attack, but since I took over I made it a point to run the office according to the Act and according to the people's needs.

We were against independence because people came in large numbers to the Chief's kraal. Can the people please be quiet, I do not want to be disturbed while I am busy here. I will supply them with that information. I said when I spoke I am sorry, I have missed my point now.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I had the earphones on so I did not hear any disturbance.


CHAIRPERSON: Please remain quiet so the witness can continue. Prince Mahlangu, I will appreciate it if you could focus a little on your own experiences and I failed also to welcome your wife.


CHAIRPERSON: Mrs Georgina Mahlangu, you are very welcome. Thank you for being with your husband. If you could focus on that and narrow it down to the exact, please, occurrences also around that week from the seventh ...


CHAIRPERSON: ... of May through. It is a very important period and we would like to have some evidence and the time is not unlimited unfortunately. I do not want to rush you, but I do want you to assist us in getting.

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, I am just sorry that time is limited, but the whole happenings regarding these issues revolved around my tribal authority and myself. If you want to get




the true picture of what happened, you need to get it from me. Right.

Now, we invited these people on the 12th of May 1986, we invited the Cabinet. Fortunately after having negotiated with the Commander, the then Commissioner of Police, Brigadier van Niekerk, he agreed that he would escort them to come to the Royal kraal there. They came, fortunately, the Ministers. The Chief Minister was brought at that time. They were told in no uncertain terms that Imbokhoto is torturing them, is killing them, is doing all these things. To that independence they do not want because they are not consulted. In actual fact they do not want it and they do not want to hear anything about it and thirdly that all Uzunza Members of Parliament must resign. Ntswene did take that, I thought that he was going to report and give the report back on the 14th of May.

On the 14th of May the meeting could not take place as planned because, one, on the 13th the Commissioner learnt in the afternoon. Not the Commissioner, the Magistrate sent a letter to the Chairman of the Unzunza Tribal Authority to say that the meeting will not go on, it is prohibited. Because of the promise from the Ministers that they are going to come back, people came in droves, in great, great numbers. I do not know how many people were there on the 14th of May. Thousands and thousands of people. Fortunately we had journalists, you know, some from abroad. We have people like Gillfilan from the DP. We had people like those and when the police attacked us without any warning, without any warning they started just shooting like that, at random just like that, indiscriminately. They were even shooting at my father and they targeted where my




father use to, you know, to stay under a big tree at home there. They knew very well where he use to sit. They targeted my father, shooting. They tried to run away, they kept on shooting at him with teargas, got into the house, they just shot at him. I have already said that two people died at that meeting. After that incident. That is the incident, actually, that sparked everything. It sparked everything.

After that we started with this running up and down. Going to the police, big police, going to the Ministers, doing all these things until such time that, this was an unfortunate incident where the, then Minister of Internal Affairs, Matauw Piet Ntoli was bombed. Unfortunately, I was the first suspect there. They came to me asking me all these funny questions, but I did not know anything about that, but peace did descend. Peace did come to our place and people celebrated. Unfortunately, people did celebrate. They celebrated and that is why we are able to stop independence on the 12th of August. We were able to be called, you know, to discuss the issue of the unrest and few, we were very few in Parliament. Few as we were, we were able to bring a motion to have independence and Imbokhoto. Imbokhoto disbanded, independence called off. We succeeded in that.

Late November I got detained after documents and everything that we had were confiscated. We were detained on the 10th of November. Me and Andries Mahlangu and what was hurting was that being the Chairman of a very big Tribal Authority, I was put into a bakkie with dogs. Now, dogs kept on barking at me. Doing all this you know, these funny things and so on. That was just humiliation. They took me




to Siyabuswa, from Siyabuswa to Nylstroom. At Nylstroom there I was not, you know, treated nicely because of those dogs. Two, because of the room in which they kept me. They kept me in a very small room with very dirty blankets, toilet facilities there, you find this bucket there full of lice. They ate me almost the whole night. After my release, I was released at a later stage because the then Chief Minister Skosana died and they were going to have elections. Now, probably somewhere, pressure was put on the police to release me. They released me.

My comrades who supported advised me that guy, we know that you are against these things, but you have to go on, stand for elections as the Chief Minister. So that when you succeed you will have to help us call off independence, disband Imbokhoto, do all those things and bring back the area to normality. Unfortunately, I failed.

Early in January Lerm called us. No, before that. Lerm called us to his office late November to say to us. It was myself, Andries Mahlangu and my brother, that what we were doing, I do not know what that was, what we were doing was a treasonable act. It was treason in actual fact. He said he is a lawyer. He showed us, you know, some pictures that he is a lawyer and he is going to make sure that he gets us arrested and he is going to deal with us because he has heard that we have been doing all these things and the police were not doing anything. Van Niekerk was doing nothing about that so he was going to make sure that he deals with us accordingly.

In January the 14th he called us to his office again. He said to us that we have imported hit squads, hit men to come and kill the Chief Minister and the rest of the




Cabinet and we are harbouring terrorists at our places so that they could kill the Chief Minister. He said to his police because there was Keen there, Andries Keen, who was the Deputy Commissioner. Piet de Jager, Willie van Wyk and ... for us. It was a hell for us because they started by closing down our offices in February, in January and February when I went to court. During that time when my offices, all offices were closed we were being victimised by the police, victimised by the "kits konstabels" and so on.

On the 18th when I went to court because I made the application. When I went to court I got arrested there by the KwaNdebele police because they realised that the ruling is going to be in my favour to get the offices open. I got arrested, they brought me to Siyabuswa. They did not try me until such time that I made an application that I be tried or be given bail. They gave me bail early Saturday morning and Monday morning when I went to Parliament, because I was member of Parliament, I went to Parliament they arrested me again and put me in a van that was full of tyres, loaded with tyres, dirty tyres. They mixed me with those tyres, took me to jail, put me there until Parliament was over because they were fighting that I should not attend the Parliamentary sitting because I was a nuisance. I was always opposing them with my brothers.

Then they later again, when they were preparing for the again Parliamentary sitting, they took me in. They took me in April, the fourth of April. I was in there until such time I was taken again to Pretoria because they were saying I am a bomb expert, I know about the bombing of Makawe and they found a bomb here at Moutse Magistrates Offices. Then they took me to Pretoria to interrogate me about that bomb. MOUTSE HEARING TRC/MPUMALANGA



I knew nothing about it. When after some time I was taken out again, brought to Wamshlanga. When I arrived there they served me with a prohibition order that I should not attend meetings where independence is discussed, where the Government is criticised and so on. They served me with that. That day, again, I was charged by Kloppers under the Internal Security Act. That is what he said, you know, treason, (inaudible), arson, murder, you name them.

When I appeared before court my attorney and my advocate Maklala Makala was arrested. Advocate Mosega was harassed very terribly. As a result he did not come back when I came, you know, to appear again with my brother. When they took me, you know, to the hospital, what was unfortunate. I was not a terrorist. I regarded them as Imbokhoto, as terrorists. I was not a terrorist, I was nothing, I was just fighting for our rights. You know I was kept in chains throughout. When I got to the hospital they would chain me. They would chain both my hands and the feet. I discovered that they were trying to show the whole nation what they do to their leader is what they will do to them.

I have already referred to the Prohibition Order. I was given the second one and this second one stated that I have to pay R2 500.00. I do not have to go out anywhere, I have to go to the police station three times a week and when I went out of the court the police were now following me everywhere I was going to. On the third of December or November, I do not remember very well, I was with my wife at home and the police were always at home guarding me. They would see everything that is happening at home.

One day they came home, they shot at my house and they




wanted to kill me. I want to say they could not get hold of me. I am here today and we are free. They shot the bus and they ran away. I do not know what happened to the gun that was found at the scene because nothing was done thereafter. The police decided to run away because they thought that I had been shot the previous night. They thought that I was a ghost. I had been arrested many a times thereafter. Lerm issued out many summons to my father. I have them here with me if you need them.

We have been to courts and women were helping us and we defeated Imbokhoto, but even thereafter when it was the time for elections, Majozi came up with his tricks again. He wanted to go back into the Parliament to start with his Imbokhoto activities again. Can you imagine, it was in 1988, people were killed in KwaNdebele because of independence and Imbokhoto. Even today there are people who disappeared. Mahlangu, Shabangu and many others. We do not know their whereabouts. I have already alluded to the fact that if their bones can be discovered we would gladly like to have them and bury them so that there can be peace and reconciliation.

The first thing, people who suffered, people who got injured and people who are crippled as in now should be helped by the Government. Those who cannot hear perfectly should be given hearing aids, those who are very sick should be given medical attention, those who cannot walk should be assisted in any way possible. It should be investigated what happened to the others who went missing. The third point, some people got mentally disturbed because they witnessed the torture, they witnessed the killing. They need to be assisted, they need to go for counselling. My




mother experienced everything and up to today she has been affected mentally. People who lost their belongings especially those who really deserve help. Many comrades lost their homes, they lost their shops because they were burnt down. They need to be helped. The fourth issue, I want to support my King that there should be a unity festival.

King Mayisha the Second sent me to call the people of Imbokhoto so that when we come to the Commission we would have met before and sort out the matter between us. I was always calling them, we always held meetings to talk to them and they said, listen, we are not going to co-operate with you, we want our houses to be rebuilt, we want you to reinstate the Chiefs that you have fired from the Tribal Authority. The third one I cannot remember very well, but they said to me we will only negotiate on condition that these three demands are met, but I think it is time for us to reconcile because there is peace.

I want to say the relationship between us and the Bantwanis was very good. It is still good today and it should still be good. We have worked together in many instances and we use to send them letters to inform them abut the activities of KwaNdebele. Imbokhoto was an organisation forcing the people to accept independence even if they did not want it.

Thank you Chairperson. I have documents that will help you with your investigation. I hope that what we are doing here today will encourage the nation to stand together, to unite so that we can respect each other. I thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Prince Mahlangu. These documents that you have offered to us I will appreciate it




if our researcher, Terry, could just take it. Well, we will get hold of him. He can analyse and assist us in making it available and accessible to us.

I have a few questions and I am sure my fellow Commissioners will also have. I will try and be brief and, if possible, for you too to be brief in your answers. When you talked about the history and the development of the Tribal Authority and eventually the people settling here, you made it clear that independence was the furthest from contemplation, really, by your father and virtually by the nation, by the people themselves. Could you just refer a little to the need to get together again, to get land as opposed to independence? In other words, without giving it political content, a homeland, but not a political independent homeland. People from the farms, from Bophututswana.


CHAIRPERSON: There seems to have been a drive for that at some stage which originated from the people themselves because the Government did not initially provide in their planning for a Ndeble homeland or even Tribal Authority.

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Right. Thank you. I would want to refer you back a bit. That we are told and it is reflected somewhere in the history books that when our people were defeated in 1883 it was specifically said that Ndebeles should not be allowed to get grouped together again. As a result the Government was very reluctant to make any provisions for the poor Ndebeles' to be a tribe that would come together. As a result our people became slaves, as I have already said, on the farms and when these other ethnic groups followed this homeland system, they were accorded,




you know, some rights which the Ndebeles did not enjoy, did not have and as a result the tribe itself stood up.

I remember my brother was part of the group that was moving around the farms to say, guys, for us to be able to have our own place, to enjoy the rights that are enjoyed by others we will have to contribute R3.00. They went around, you know, collecting R3.00. The R3.00 was for the development because I remember my grandfather bought a farm somewhere there in Weltevrede and those funds that were collected were to be used for the development for the building of schools, for the building of clinics infrastructure and everything. So that when these people are evicted from the farms at least have a place to go to and the people who were from Bophututswana and, particularly, because of independence and the rights that they were denied. Then the felt a need that they should also have their own place where they could practice and enjoy the rights enjoyed by others.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I want to put a follow-up question on this to you. One of the tasks on us in terms of the Act is to look into the motives and perspectives of the different role players. I want you, for a moment, to try and get into the shoes of the Government of the day, view it from their perspective. I know that is very, very difficult and it is much asked. Do not stay there, get out of the shoes again, but they were claiming, at the time, that here was a reawakening almost from a (inaudible) people coming back wanting their own homeland and it is against the background of their own thinking that all nations want to be independent. Now suddenly people are demanding an acknowledgement like some of the other traditional




authorities or tribal authorities that were not acknowledged, Ndebele was not acknowledged, a demand for land, this reawakening and there from the, could this have been read as, but this is really a support for our policy which we did not even recognise in the beginning?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, I do agree with you there. If I were in the shoes of the Government and because the Government was very obsessed about this policy of theirs, I would think that way that these people were supporting our idea of homeland system, but they forgot a very, very important element there. That these people were rallying and paying allegiance to their traditional leader and these people themselves, as I have already said, had confidence in their traditional leaders because they were able to gather there to discuss, deliberate and debate about whatever issue that was confronting them. It would be the people who would say to the King this is what we would want you to do not the other way round.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. May I move to your role and your direct role. It appears that you really assumed a leadership role especially with the youth during the years, and I am talking, you mentioned 1984 through 1988 especially. There were many references that we came across that you, indeed, took a leading role with Timothy Skosana. Some people even claimed, and especially the Imbokhoto members claimed, that acts of necklacing, of killing, of murders, could be retraced to yourself and others. Now these are allegations that we have to deal with. We will further have during the course of the day two witnesses that in their statements, at least, have implicated you and you will get copies of the statements in due course to respond,




but seeing that this will be coming up today, I think it is only fair to make reference to that while you are in a position to give evidence. The name Mthimunye, is that a name that rings a bell with you?


CHAIRPERSON: Mthimunye. There is claim that a certain Richard Skosana, businessman, was necklaced and that his house and fruit shop was burnt down in two separate incidences and there is reference to yourself, Mabangwa Mahlangu. I am just mentioning it.


CHAIRPERSON: So you do not have to go into any detail.


CHAIRPERSON: The idea is, but I want to mention it to you. If you want to make a statement you can do so and the second reference will be a reference by a Mrs Sithole to yourself and a Mr Majonie Mahlangu, Majonie. Where Majonie Mahlangu came to her saying that he was looking for her husband at your instance, that the husband left then with this Majonie Mahlangu and was later found dead at Tabane. There were many allegations of necklacing, of your being involved in the leadership and generally the commanding of, commandeering of Putco buses for that meeting of, for the funeral between the 12th and the 14th of May. Could you tell us a little about the activities of the youth? You did mention in your statement that, I wrote down the words here, that we defeated Imbokhoto, you said at some stage. Can you talk a little about that? What was the programme?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, I can give some information regarding that. Yes, I was the leader because I was the Chairman of the Tribal Authority and all the people, irrespective of




what their affiliation or backgrounds, were all coming to me as members of the area of my jurisdiction. That is why and two because of my warnings that I use to give to the Tribal Authority members when these things started happening. They said you are responsible for this and thirdly when our people, particularly the youth, got arrested the traditional leaders around the area agreed that we needed to have a fund, the Inzunza Relief Fund, which was run by me. That fund was one, established specifically for the following. One, to help the poor comrades who happened to be arrested because almost all the youth in the area was arrested. Two, to challenge the decision of the Government of going for independence. Thirdly, for the fact that for consultation purposes we had the youth, as I have said, that almost everyone, you know, our place was like a, I do not know what to call it, where everyone goes when, it is a refuge place. There we set up a structure that was connected to the Tribal Authority and the King helping us in the administration and giving attention to the complaints that were put to us. We had a very big book where we enlisted all the people who came there to lodge complaints, but unfortunately all those were confiscated by Lerm and his force. These people use to come there and they were getting help and because of the Imbokhoto raids. After the raids people would come to my place there and because of the administration that was there because there was no longer administration, tribal administration. It was because the members of the Tribal Authority, most of them, were Imbokhoto members. So, nature does not allow vacuum. So we had people who were helping the Tribal Authority in the administration of the area here. Probably that is why and I remember that it was because of




allegations like those that I got charged under this serious Act. I want just to put it that I was never involved in any ill activity. That I can openly say in front of the world, in front of everyone, but for their sake and their rights. I mean they have got a right, you know, to say whatever, put whatever allegations as it is a standing rule in South Africa that one is not guilty until something has been proved that he is.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. May I put one follow-up question? I am not challenging what you are saying, I am not even making a moral judgement on killings or not killings in these days. I am not getting involved. I want to get to some facts.


CHAIRPERSON: A lot of the politicians from the old order take exactly the same line. You have heard them say we were not involved. Mr de Klerk in his submission on behalf of the National Party said, we did not give any orders, we did not do anything. The question remains was anything done when these atrocities did happen to stop them? Was it investigated? Now my question is likewise. Do you, when it was quite apparent that some of the youth did kill people, did burn down shops, did you get involved, did you try to stop it, were there public statements?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, I think you in the investigation, you might pick that up because, as I have said, I went personally when these things were happening you know. One, to the Chief Minister himself although he got angry with me when I said to him, you know, this is going to create problems because people have been attacked by Imbokhoto which is led by you. We are going to have problems. I




think you need to stop this. I went and wrote a letter, personally, but as the Chairman of the Tribal Authority to the Commissioner of South Africa then, to the Commissioner- General, Mr Gerrie van der Merwe, to the Ministers I have already said, telling them about this and I did make a statement that I am a traditional leader and I do not have to take sides, but unfortunately because of my position and my stance I was on the side of the people, of the comrade, but I did reprimand them everytime. Even at my place there I use to address them to say, guys, let us not attack these people, let us not do this ill activities. Stop doing this and when there is something that has happened, whether burning, necklacing and so on, it is the very Prince James Mahlangu who use to take that up with the police.

CHAIRPERSON: So you did report and give information to the police.


CHAIRPERSON: Even where some of the youngsters would have attacked Imbokhoto?


CHAIRPERSON: You would have examples of that, some documentary examples for us to get to study and to get to findings on?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: I will not have, but the police, I think, will have. I remember one incident where two guys from Waterval brought a R1, whatever this rifles, R1, R4, R5. I do not know what type was it. Having committed crimes at Waterval. I did phone the police and referred those people to the police station. Again when two people were killed, necklaced at my place, Weltevrede there, it is me who asked the police, tribal police to go and report that there are




two people who have been necklaced in my area and police would come and collect, you know, the corpses and investigate. Unfortunately, I was, you know, accused to be responsible for that. When, in actual fact, I was not party to that. What I did before, I did meet with the people who were related to that incident to advice them that, no, they need, you know, to sort that out in talking. So I have instances that I can quote where I was directly involved and reporting information to the police.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. That is the end of my questioning. Dr Ally.

DR ALLY: Prince James, we have been keeping you for a long time so I just want to ask one or two questions. Just to come to some of the internal politics. You mentioned in your testimony, you spoke about the Commissioner of Police, Chris van Niekerk.


DR ALLY: Now, in terms of some of the information that we have gathered it seems as if there was an internal division within the KwaNdebele police and relationships between the Commissioner, at least, of the KwaNdebele police, Chris van Niekerk and those who were supporting independence, was not always a harmonious relationship. Do you want to, perhaps, just say something briefly on that?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, that is true. Van Niekerk was accused of being biased, of being siding with me and the comrades. That was the allegation because they were saying why is he not arresting me and van Niekerk could not arrest me because there was nothing that linked me to any ill or evil act. Investigations were done, were conducted, but nothing that would connect me to any incident and that, as




a result, the Government felt that this man was siding with us. That is why he cannot, you know, get us arrested.

DR ALLY: And, in your opinion, was that the reason why a decision was actually taken to remove van Niekerk and to replace him with Brigadier Lerm who became Commissioner of Police. I think it was after August 1986.

PRINCE MAHLANGU: No doubts about that. I think my brother did allude to the fact that when Lerm was brought down here to KwaNdebele to become a Commissioner of Police he was given some specific instructions that van Niekerk failed to carry out. So that is true that Lerm was brought here precisely because van Niekerk was regarded as someone who was very lenient.

DR ALLY: Now, in your testimony you did actually mention Lerm and you mentioned him in connection with harassment which you yourself and your family experienced. I want to ask you do you have any personal knowledge of Lerm's direct involvement, Lerm personally, in any gross human rights violations. Where he was either personally present or where he himself was personally involved in human rights violations?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, unfortunately these are incidents that, you know, touched someone very badly, but one, I can say the Queen, that is the wife to my brother. The Queen Siphila Laminie, the daughter to King Soboswa. In her harassment, torture and bad experiences that she had, Lerm was present. Two, when my brother, Colin Mahlangu, who was arrested. Attempts were made by Lerm himself to have Colin necklaced and other relatives of mine. When they were arrested Lerm was part of that group that arrested them.

DR ALLY: Prince James, do you actually have personal




knowledge of this? I mean you saw this or are you basing this on what was told to you. I mean that is very important because we have actually questioned Brigadier Lerm on these issues and he denies any such involvement. So are you basing what you are saying on you actually having been present, having seen this or on what was told to you?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Well, the Commissioner there, Wynand Malan, has correctly put it that denying has become a big thing in South Africa, in the old order in actual fact. Well, I was not directly involved because we were either in jail at the time or have, you know, escaped from the jaws of Lerm's force. They were outside the borders of this area. So, I was not personally there. This is what I was related to or told by those who were affected by that action.

DR ALLY: Thank you Prince James. One last question. On the Parsons Commission.


DR ALLY: Now, I am sure that you are aware that people have different perceptions as regards the Parsons Commission.


DR ALLY: There are some who actually believe that because the Parsons Commission was set up after you became Chief Minister that it was actually involved in a witch hunt, that it was not objective, that is was there to simply identify perpetrators from one side of the conflict. Imbokhoto police, people like Lerm, de Jager and so forth. Do you just want to, briefly, say something to us about you viewed the Parsons Commission?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, definitely. At that time there was this problem of Pretoria not me. I did not have a problem. Pretoria had a problem. It regarded all the homeland




leaders as their supporters, as their lackeys. I refused, you know, to become part of them. I, in actual fact, did all that was in our power to demonstrate to them that they are the oppressors, they brought this misery to our people here and they are the cause of every sufferer in the country here. So we cannot be seen to be party to them. That made them, you know, to bring someone who was close to them, like Parsons, to deal with the question of the reason that led, you know, to the unrest in KwaNdebele, to look into the question of the administration and so on.

Now, if you look at the information that he was relying on or relying upon was the information that came exactly from the seconded officials who were here as if they were part of the KwaNdebele Civil Service when, in actual fact, they were working for Pretoria.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Joyce.

MS SEROKE: Prince Mahlangu, we are told that Imbokhoto disbanded and was declared illegal in August 1986. Would you say the activities of Imbokhoto continued after that disbanishment or whatever? Did they continue or if they did, in what guise and what happened?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes. Let me start here. On the 29th of April 1986 after Jacobs Skosana was killed, the day before, a motion was tabled in Parliament to the effect that Imbokhoto be recognised by the Government as a movement in KwaNdebele and that was passed. That is why on the 12th of August a motion was raised that it be disbanded because from the look of things it was even, because of its recognition, it was enjoying the support of the Government in terms of money. It was disbanded and then they turned around, all those Imbokhoto guys were made special constables. Then




they operated from that anger as "kits konstabels", but in

actual fact they were still Imbokhoto members. Imbokhoto is still going on.

MS SEROKE: My last question. You described, you know, what happened to your people before 1985, 1984. They were evicted from farms, they did not have places, but would you say during that time, you know, what was the mood other than being evicted in terms of peace between, you know, the tribal leadership and the people and so on?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes. One, the idea was, as I have indicated earlier on, that my father kept on saying that we need our land back and our people felt neglected as if they do not have the leadership. Hence, they stood up themselves to say we need a place of our own, we need to have a place where we shall worship and recognise, pay allegiance, you know, to our King because he was like a King without the nation or the tribe. So hence they felt that, no, they should come back to this areas.

On the part of the white farmers, the problem was these people were now saying, guys, you need, you know, to pay us, you need to pay us now. We have been working for you as slaves for years, you need to pay us. Now, as a result the Government, seemingly, was giving audience to that and these people did not want, you know, to have these people paid, did not want to share their land and they were also having some cattle on the farm there. Then the whites did not want that happening. That is why and then they decided to have them evicted and other things that they must get and feel this repression by other ethnic groups so that they themselves could also, you know, look for their own place where they could say, well, you have got your own place as




Pedis, we have got your own place as Ndebeles. Things like that. The Cabinet was trying to have it policy promoted.

MS SEROKE: When the KwaNdebele refused independence, when did they begin to aspire for national liberation and independence?


MS SEROKE: I say when they refused their homeland independence, when did the people start aspiring for the national and liberation and independence?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: That was in some in the minds of many like, you know, my dad, that was there with him and others, elderly people, but his followers are phasing strongly in early, I mean, early April 1984 and people then started having meetings, having social gatherings and those social gatherings, you know, things of national importance like these were discussed and so on.

I must say that it has been said here that ANC was involved in a way and so on and that they kept on saying that ANC was involved. ANC, as far as my knowledge goes, was never directly and physically involved. Of course, we did have people around here, UDF and so on. People that we use to have, you know, meetings with, but they were not directly involved. They were involved morally because when we had this meeting on the 14th, after that meeting of the 14th and after people have made their voice against independence through a certain gentlemen, a Mr Masong, who was one of the newspaper people. We were congratulated by, you know, I want to demonstrate that we were supported morally. We were congratulated by the office or the President, the then President of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, that the stance that we have taken as a KwaNdebele nation make




them proud and makes them confident that the system of

homelands independence was coming to an end.

CHAIRPERSON: Tom, any questions?

MR MANTHATA: Prince, I am sorry. You have been grilled for so long. What is your work presently?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Can you repeat yourself?

MR MANTHATA: What is your work presently? In short what are you doing?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Okay, unfortunately, and that is very hurting that I am not working. I am a pensioner and a pensioner, you know, from the apartheid regime, not from the present Government. Unfortunately, I had to be forsaken by my own comrades. What for, I do not know.

MR MANTHATA: Okay. In fact, mine is not going to be a question so much. You have shown so much interest and rightly so with people who went missing, with people who lost limbs, you know, were maimed and people who physcologically, you know, depressed and so on and you would want that, you know, ought to be done for these people. I am saying the way we operate, the TRC, is that let this people be assisted to make statements. It is only from their statements that we can be able to begin to grapple with how to meet their requests. Can we be assisted in that direction?

PRINCE MAHLANGU: Yes, I have already started. I have made arrangements for statement takers, you know, to come to my area to come and take statements and we have been trying to encourage people, you know, to come forward, but the biggest problem here is the fact that people, like the Chairman said, people are not yet sure of the relationship between Amandabele, that side and the Sotho speaking people their




side. Now the location of the TRC sitting now does not give them courage to come forward and appear before the Commission here. So I want to also, you know, to make a plea to the Commission that it must look into the possibility of coming into our area. I believe there a lot violations, atrocities and so on would then come forward.

MR MANTHATA: Yes, in response to that, it will be borne in mind that when first it was discussed that we are going to have the Moutse hearings, it caused great concern among the KwaNdebele people and we finally reached an agreement with the KwaNdebele leadership who, on their own and of their own, decided that let be hearings be here in Moutse, but that be as it may, we are likely to have hearings later next year in KwaNdebele itself. So this should help the people, but at the same time we are saying we are going out for a drive for statements, that does not have to wait for the hearings in that area because when you talk about the problems that you still have with Imbokhoto, more especially that impede on reconciliation, we would love the Imbokhoto people to understand that anything that was occasioned them during the years of conflict, should as much as possible be brought before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

We are still mindful of the fact that some may still want other channels, but only when they have been here to us and they can stop to be a burden to your efforts for reconciliation then can be the matter be handled wisely, I think. Thank you. No further questions.