PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
N E W C A S T L E
ON 11 SEPTEMBER 1996
[PAGES 1 - 107]
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Case No KM/616
Nomaliso Dube....................................................... 1 - 8
2. Case No KM/617
Clara Jabhile Khumalo.............................................. 9 - 20
3. Case No MDU/002
Thembisile Rita Nkabini............................................. 21 - 28
4. Case No KM/639
Samuel Sotsha Nkosi................................................. 29 - 43
5. Case No MR/161
Harriet Mntambo...................................................... 44 - 52
6. Case No KM/643
Johannes Simelane.................................................... 53 - 57
7. Case No KM/645
Mzwakhe Ezard Sithebe............................................. 58 - 73
8. Case No FS/202 and FS/200
Clifford Mendisi Siyolo and Ephraim Ngcobo.................. 74 - 97
9. Case No MR/167
Belinda Mdlalose...................................................... 98 - 107
COMMISSIONER: Good morning, Mrs Dube Zulu, we welcome you here today, and your - is it your daughter that you have with you today? We welcome both of you. Thank you very much for coming in. You have come to tell us about the murder of your son, the death of your son, Sifiso Blessing Dube, who was killed in October 1993. Before you tell us that story can you stand to take the oath please.
NOMALISO DUBE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Dlamini will assist you.
MR DLAMINI: Mr Chairman, I would like that the males who are inside the hall and wearing hats would please take off their hats. Thank you. Well, you are welcome, Mrs Dube, and your family. Before you can tell us your testimony would you please tell us more about your family. Where is your husband? --- I had six children. Two are dead now. The first one was shot by a guy from Durban who had run away as a UDF member. Now I am only left with four children.
How old are your children? --- The first one is here with me. She is 20 years old. She is already 21. The second ... (intervention)
Is she at school or working? --- Yes, she is still at school. She is at Technikon. The second one her name is Mbali. She is 14 years old.
The one after Mbali? --- Her name is Kethagile. She is eight years old. The one after that one is Mthunzi, and he is six years old. They are all at school. The last one he is still attending creche.
What about your husband? --- Yes, my husband is still alive, he is in Jo'burg working there. I am married
to Mr Zulu. Dube is my family last name.
When Blessing died how old was Blessing? --- He was 20 years old.
Was he still at school? --- He had matriculated at that time.
It's very sad that one would lose a child. I would like you to tell us more about your story, what had happened. --- When my son died it was on Saturday, on the 23rd of October on a Saturday. He was supposed to come to see me in town because I asked him to come to see me so that I give him those goods, because I was going somewhere. On the same day there was going to be a rally at the stadium. Chief Buthelezi was coming over to that rally. What happened is that Sifiso went there next to Zenzele General Dealer. It's also a bus stop. That's where we catch taxis and buses, right in front of that general dealer. His friend came. He was driving a car. He spoke to Sifiso. Sifiso was together with his friends. What happened is that while he was talking to this guy, after they were saying goodbye to each other he closed the door of that car. Inkatha people were approaching behind them, and he wasn't - he didn't notice that. He only heard people screaming, and when he turned and moved back he didn't realise what was going on. There was a girl. Her name is Nonozi Mthethwa. This girl was my neighbour. I know her very well. She is the one who pointed at Sifiso and said, "Here's another comrade," and then they started attacking him. Everyone who was at the rally started attacking at Sifiso. He ran and they ran after him. The only place he could run into was Zenzele Shop. He went there. On woman came. I think it was the lady
who was owning the shop, Mrs Mkhize, who is an MP in KwaZulu now. And Mrs Mkhize told Sifiso to get out from her shop, and he had no choice but to leave the shop. And he left the shop, going to the Inkatha people. That's when they started attacking him, assaulting him, stabbing him. He tried to ran. He ran opposite - the house opposite the general dealer. What happened there, police were there and they were escorting the Inkatha supporters who were marching. He ran and they ran after him, and he went inside one house, and the owner of that house, the woman, said, "No, leave the poor boy please," but they didn't, they continued stabbing him inside that house at Nkosi's house. This woman said that's where he fell. After they stabbed him police came, and they were there watching all this thing. They came and they called the Government mortuary that it must come and fetch one body. These police, were they escorting people who were going to a rally? --- Yes, they were ZP police. They were from Madadeni Police Station. After the police had called the Government mortuary the community was there, and they could see, they were crying, they were screaming. And the rally people continued to leave, and the community were screaming at the police that, "Here are the people who just killed this person and you are leaving them going just like that after they killed someone." The community took the stones and started throwing the stones at the buses because they were angry at the police behaviour. That's when the police started - after they have stabbed him the doctor said what really killed him was four wounds. Two wounds were at his left and two at his right. They also cut his nail - finger. The next day on a
Sunday houses were burned. I didn't know whether Inkatha people were burning ANC houses or ANC people were burning Inkatha houses, but all I can say is that most of the houses were burnt. I think it was a war between Inkatha and ANC. Children left their houses. Some children left Madadeni and went to Jo'burg. And other children had threatened me that I can't bury my son at Madadeni because he was an ANC youth. What happened, because I was also confused, is that they came back to see me because they were accusing me of hiding ANC youths. I called police, Newcastle police. I called them to come over. I told them I had a problem and I told them I was scared, and I told them I've been receiving threats that I can't buy my son at Madadeni. They told me I can't bury him at Madadeni, I must see where to bury him. I tried to call my mother in Jo'burg. I asked her to make arrangements for me so that I bury my son back home in Johannesburg. People were scared, they were running away. They couldn't sleep in their houses. I asked the police that they must watch us. The police helped us. They used to come from 6 o'clock, and they will ring the siren that they are here and they are now leaving. I also asked buses from police. I asked them to offer me buses, and to escort those buses because people were scared to go to a funeral in Johannesburg now. When buses came police came as well from Newcastle Police Station. They did as I asked them. Police from Madadeni couldn't do anything for me, and I didn't want to ask any assistance from them because I knew I wasn't going to receive that. The second thing was that I buried my son in Johannesburg. After two weeks I came back. Because I was so confused I went to Mkhize General
Dealer. I found police in his shop, and they were like guarding the shop because they were scared that people will burn Mkhize's shop. And I told the Zulu Police that, "You are happy because today you are here to safeguard Mkhize's General Dealer, but you let my son die before your eyes." And then I left. I stood. I told them, "I am here. You can call Inkatha people to come and kill me. I am not scared."
You can take your time, Mrs Zulu. We know you are going through a hard time. --- (Pause) The very same year there were children or youths from Zenzele who ran away from Zenzele and they went to Johannesburg. They stayed at my mother's house. We didn't know how to help them. I went to ANC offices to tell them that we have a problem because these children are supposed to come back to Madadeni to attend school, and they are supposed to write exams, but there was nothing that anyone could do. Those children didn't even write exams. And then they came back the following year after their parents came back to their houses.
Thank you, Mrs Zulu. You have also stated in your statement that your son by the time of his death he had been expecting a child. How old is the child now? --- Two years old.
Who is taking care of the child? --- His mother, because I asked her that I'll support the child but she must stay with the child. I am the one who is supporting the child. Even at my work they know. She comes and do grocery for my child.
After the funeral was there any inquest or anything that was done? --- No, nothing happened. It was
quiet. It was so quiet, nothing happened.
They didn't call you for any inquest or investigation? --- No. I went to Madadeni Police Station and I asked who was in charge of the case. I was talking to Mr Mthethwa, and he said he was going to look for the person who was handling that case, and ... (intervention)
You didn't get hold of the person? --- No, I didn't. Even now - in 1995 they called me and they said to me I must bring a name and everything because now they are investigating all the cases that they were never taken after. So I went to the police station and then I gave them a statement. We went to the court.
Who was responsible for this investigation? --- No, no one gave me any details. The only thing they told me is that they told me that all the cases who were never investigated they are now taking care of them. The boys who were there, the Inkatha youths, they denied, they said they were not there on that day. Another thing what happened in court is that on the last day before the case was finalised the boy said he didn't know anything, and one of them is now dead. And they found them not guilty.
You mean the Court found those people who were accused not guilty? --- Yes.
Who was responsible for the investigation? --- The detective or the sergeant. I can't remember his name, but the police was from Newcastle Police Station. I still do have a case number. I think it's written on my statement.
Thank you very much, Mrs Zulu. We also heard that you asked for assistance that someone should help you
supporting the child. There's nothing that we as Commission can do. What we can do, we'll send all the requests or make the recommendation to the President, and they are the ones who are going to look and see if there's anything that they can do.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... for coming and telling us this story. We have heard so many stories from mothers of children, especially of their sons, who died in the political violence over the years. And those children, those sons, are victims, and the mothers too who are left behind with the memories are also victims, and we extend our sympathy to you. It's a difficult thing to lose a child, and we thank you for having the courage to come and talk to us today.
Another story that we've heard so often from people at this Commission all over Natal is about the KwaZulu Police, and how they have consistently supported and sometimes assisted the one side, the IFP. And you have told us that they saw the people who killed your son and they did nothing about it. They didn't arrest them, and they went on providing them with support and assistance in going to the rally. And it is behaviour like this from those police that has helped to create an atmosphere of lawlessness today. If people see the police failing to do their duty, refusing to arrest people, then people have very different and wrong ideas about what is right and what is wrong, and what is law and what is order, and they have a lot to answer for. They are responsible for a lot of the current lawlessness today which we see in many of the townships.
You mentioned that you did receive support from the South African Police from Newcastle, who provided you with assistance when - before you buried your son, and we do commend them for that.
As Mr Dlamini has said, we will try and find out, we will look at the inquest documents to try and ascertain what went on at that inquest and how it was that the people were found not guilty. We will also, as Mr Dlamini has said, make recommendations to the Government about support for the children that your son left behind.
So again thank you to you and your daughter. We are glad that your daughter was able to be here today to assist you and support you, and we thank you both very much for coming in and sharing your story with us. --- I would like to say thank you to the Truth Commission. At least I have got a chance today to tell someone, because I have been living with this thing. Now I trust that after this day I'll be better than before.
(Inaudible) ... we do hope that this has helped you to - as I said to the last witness, to come to terms with your son's death, and also to get some idea that perhaps you are progressing closer towards finding out why it was done and who did it. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Good morning, Mrs Khumalo, and welcome today. Thank you for coming in. Can you hear me properly?
MRS KHUMALO: I can hear you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... Madadeni township, and you have come to tell us about the attack on your house and the burning of your house by members of the IFP in June 1993. Can you stand please to take the oath before you tell us that story.
CLARA JABHILE KHUMALO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much. Mr Lax will help you.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good morning, Mrs Khumalo. Thanks for coming again. Before we talk about the difficult times that you experienced in June 1993 can you give us a brief picture of your family, your children, are you married, and so on? --- My maiden surname is Mtshali. I was married to the Khumalo family. We separated with my husband in 1980.
(Inaudible) ... do you have? --- I have three children.
(Inaudible) ... ages please. --- The eldest was born in 1960, the following one in 1975 and the last one in 1976.
(Inaudible) ... mention a son, Mdeni. Which one is he? --- Mdeni is my last-born.
And then you mention another son, Xabangani. --- Xabangani was born in 1975.
Your first-born, what is his or her name? ---
Now, this story of yours happened on the 8th of June 1993, is that right? --- That is correct.
And at about 11 o'clock that night you were woken up by disturbances, is that ... (intervention) --- That is correct.
Tell us what happened. --- The Inkatha had been troubling us for quite some time. They had been attacking my children at school.
Why were Inkatha attacking your children? --- It's because we were ANC members.
Thank you. Please continue. --- When he was coming back from school in May 19 ... (incomplete)
INTERPRETER: I think the witness is listening to me, so she listens to me and waits for me to finish before she starts talking. There's something wrong I think with the tuning. --- Yes.
MR LAX: Okay, let's continue. So you were saying your son - on the 19th of May your son had trouble on the way home from school. --- That is correct, and when he was coming back from school he told me that he had fought with certain members of Inkatha, and the one that he had fought with was Vusi Mapanga. The Inkatha youth were staying at the school of Ndumiseni, where the vice-principal was the premier's son, that is Dr Mdlalose, and each time Ndumiseni went to school they used to trouble him, as well as other children. And he told me that he cannot be able to stay there because of the Inkatha youths which was troubling the schoolchildren. Then on the 19th of May he told me that he had fought with Vusi Mapanga, who had gone to fetch an Inkatha group, and they had been waiting at
the gate and they wanted to attack him, and he was helped by other schoolmates. And when he told me this I told him that I am suspecting that they would be coming to my house, and on the 18th of May they came to my house at about past seven in the evening. And the person did not want to identify himself, but he said he wanted to see Xabangani. And I asked as to who he was, but he flatly refused to identify himself. Mdeni wanted to go and investigate who was at the door, and I restrained him. I asked for the third time and he said he was a comrade. And I asked which comrade was he, and Papi went to the door to investigate, and when he talked my son told me that this was Papi, and Papi was one of the people who were killing the schoolchildren. Mdeni said we should switch off the light, and as we were just about to switch off the light they threw a stone through the window. And they started breaking all the windows, and lastly we could hear that the stones were now ceasing to be thrown, and they said to me I should come and see the people who were throwing the stones. And when we looked there were about a group of 40 people, but Mandla Mdlalose and Vusi Mapanga, as well as Sikhumbuso, were the last ones to leave my yard. Thereafter the police came after they had gone, and we told them the names of the people and they said I should get into the car so that they should take me to 2707. And at that time the neighbour's children were convened at my place, they met at my place. And my mother said I should go to the police station to report the matter. Then at the police station when I was there they just took me as if I was mad or insane or just crazy. They did not pay much attention to me, they never even
arrested the people that I had told them about, the perpetrators. The following day the police came, and each time it would be different police coming. Some would say they were coming from Nqutu, but they never arrested the people. Then on the 7th of June, when I was coming back from work, I was told that the KwaZulu Police were with the Inkatha group, and they went to all the comrades' houses searching for the comrades. And I told them that probably they were coming to my place. I slept very late that night keeping vigil, and I just could not sleep because I was somehow scared. And just when I was about to fall asleep I heard the sound of shattering glass at the sitting-room, and I realised that probably they were starting to attack us. And I heard the window shattering, and I could see some petrol pouring. And just when I was about to run away I saw some fire. The house was being set alight. Mdeni as well as Sifiso Mpusula were sitting in the kitchen, and they said they heard the sound but they never paid much attention. But when they went to look through the window they could not see anyone, and they went to investigate at the dining-room and at the sitting-room, and they found that the place was set alight at that time. And we met at the passage. He was coming to tell me that the sitting-room was on fire. And at that time the whole house now was on fire. I went to check on my grandchildren. The other one was six and a half and the other one was two and a half years old. And I tried to pull the blanket on which they were sleeping. The elder one managed to escape on his own, and when I opened the bedroom, just when I was about to go out I realised that I was burning, I was on fire at that time, and my clothes were also burning. When I went into the kitchen I decided to roll myself on the floor so that I could extinguish the fire, and I saw Mdeni pulling out the bedspread, and he threw it over me to extinguish the fire. I picked myself up and decided to go out because I did not want to die inside the house. And the children refused me permission to go out, but we ultimately went out through the kitchen door. And as we were still standing on the stoep I heard a voice saying, "Here are the dogs," and by that time Xabangani was saying that and they were running towards the gate, and they were picking up some bricks and stones. And when they came back running I thought they had come to take some weapons in the house, because when we went out we were unarmed, only to find that at that time they had been shot. Just when I turned around to look at them when they were from the house I saw Sikhumbuso, who was in front of me - Sikhumbuso Mabaso. There were two of them but I don't remember the other one. I looked at Sikhumbuso because I knew him. Sikhumbuso shot four times. He had a gun. Xabangani at that time was standing in front of the door, and he kept on urging me to come back into the house, and at that time my clothes were burnt up and I was naked, and I was just standing there on the stoep. And I looked at this person in the eyes, because I always told myself that if you look at a dead person there is always that picture that remains embedded in your mind. I don't know whether I shut my eyes, but later on I saw them that they were no longer there. I put on a hose pipe, trying to put out the fire in my bedroom. And Xabangani told me that he had been shot at that time, and I came close to him and I saw that his arm was bleeding and I could see that he had a
fracture, and the other bullet was on the right arm, and I said he must point out to me which place else he was shot. Then I said, "You are not going to die. Let's go and get you a car to take you to the hospital." We went to Simelani's house and we asked him to take my son to the hospital, and he duly took us to the hospital. When we were at the hospital the security who was on duty was Mr Grey, and each time when I had visitors they used to come to the ward. And they could not sleep at the hospital, they could not be admitted on that night because the hospital got attacked the very same night. And each time when there was a visiting hour my relatives could not come because they were always blocked from coming in, from getting into the hospital.
You spent, you've told us, two months in hospital, is that right? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... quite extensive burn injuries on your body. We have a medical report that says that. --- That is correct.
What happened to your son, Xabangani? Was he treated for his injuries? --- Yes, he was treated.
(Inaudible) ... discharge him? --- No, we were sent to Nqutu, both of us, but even in Nqutu we were not safe, and we were sent to Prince Mshiyeni. And in Prince Mshiyeni he remained only a month. I got discharged on the 2nd of August. And when we came back we were having problems, because at that time we could not get any rest, and my children had gone to section 27. And the police, ZP police used to come, and we knew that thereafter the Inkatha group would come to attack us. And ultimately the community at Madadeni said their children should come and
keep vigil and keep security in my yard. We could not get any rest. We only got rest when Msadafi(?) came. The first time they tried to attack us, but the second time I undressed and showed them that I had been attacked and I had been burned, and we were the ones who got injured, so they could see the injuries and they promised that they would secure us. But we had problems because the KwaZulu Police used to come. At one stage they took Xabangani whilst he had the plaster of Paris and they said he was attacking certain houses. And we even fetched my brother, who was a policeman, and he is the one who went to the station commander who was on duty that day, and he got some documents from the hospital that proved that at the time this attack took place Xabangani was at the hospital. They thereafter didn't want to speak to me, they wanted to speak to Xabangani. That's when they started harassing us, because even after Sikhumbuso went around shooting ANC youths we discovered that the ZP Police was arresting our children, and they were made to do frog jumps from one area to the other. And Station Commander Mthethwa at that time, when we approached him as parents as well as ANC members he threw tear-gas canisters at us. That's when they went to fetch other people to come and release our children. We never got any rest, because even at work I was being harassed. Whoever was speaking to me would be ostracised and would be regarded as an enemy, and they would ask the person as to what he was saying to me. Even today I don't have rest at work. I am working at Madadeni Hospital.
What work do you do there? --- I am a nursing assistant.
Now, was there ever any follow-up? Was there a case involving this attack on your house? Were people charged, did it go to court? --- After my house had been burnt Sikhumbuso was arrested for breaking the windows. He was the only one who was arrested, and Vusi Mapanga and Mandla Mdlalose were never arrested. And we knew them, we told the police who they were, but they were never arrested. They only got convicted when the ANC youth said if he doesn't convict him they were going to kill him. That's only then that he was given eight months or R800,00, but he was supposed to pay on a monthly basis, but I do not know whether he paid that fine or what happened. Then as far as the burning of my house is concerned, the Magistrate said the witnesses were not able to put the case forward because they were scared for their lives. As a result the evidence that was given was not satisfactory. Then the Judges as well as the Magistrate said they were not to be involved in any politics, so Sikhumbuso was not guilty, he was found not guilty.
Where is Sikhumbuso now? --- He was arrested for other cases.
(Inaudible) ... in custody? --- Yes, that is correct, but not with regard to my case.
(Inaudible) ... go and have another look at the cases and see whether they can be re-opened or followed up in some way? --- Yes, I would like an investigation to be conducted.
(Inaudible) ... at the moment? --- He is present. He is at Madadeni.
(Inaudible) ... Mdlalose? --- I don't know where he is, but they would show me - my son would show me that,
"This is Vusi Mapanga," when I am walking in town. One other thing was that the police, Mlamli Zungu, who was staying next to my section, that is where they used to meet, the KwaZulu Police as well as the Inkatha. They would go to KwaMthethwa having guns in their hands, and they would pass just before my yard, and they would be accompanied by this particular police. And it was in section 3 where we were after we got attacked.
(Inaudible) ... Mlamli Zungu is a policeman? --- Zungu?
Zungu, that's right. --- Yes, he is a policeman. (Inaudible) ... station is he at? --- I don't know where he is presently, but he was at Madadeni all along.
Now, where are you living at the moment? --- I went back to my house.
(Inaudible) ... manage to repair your house and fix it up? --- No, it's not been repaired, but I just fixed the windows as well as the roof.
Now, in your - attached to your statement was a letter from the police giving us details of the case. I just want to confirm this for the record. They said that the value of the damage caused by the fire was over R20 000,00. Is that right? --- That is correct. They had not counted the damage on the house, but the damage of the household goods.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, that is correct.
(Inaudible) ... much more than that? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... that were on the bed at that time, did they manage to escape harm? --- Yes, they were
able. The other one was taken by Mdeni. They were taken to the neighbour's place and they slept there.
Have these harassments of your family, have they stopped now, have things eased up a bit for you? --- After 1994 votes we felt the situation was easing a bit.
Just one last question. You mentioned a vice-principal at the school that your son was at who was involved with the IFP youth. You said his name was Mdlalose. What was his proper name, his full name? --- His surname was Mdlalose, but I don't know his first name.
(Inaudible) ... of that school? --- Ndumiseni High School.
(Inaudible) ... Chairperson. I have no further questions at this stage. Thank you, Mrs Khumalo.
How is Xabangani now? --- He is just fine, but I wouldn't know other things, but he later didn't want to go back to school because he was harassed at school.
How is his arm? --- His arm is quite fine, but he gets easily tired.
Is he getting any treatment from physiotherapists? --- No, he never went to get any treatment.
Has he gone back to school? --- No. We were planning to take him back on next year. He had gone back to school, but he left school in the middle of the year.
Was it due to being harassed, or he just left school? --- No, he just decided to leave school. The one who is still traumatised mentally or psychologically is Mdeni, because he is the one who was left at home. He is getting these constant headaches, and I have been taking him to doctors up until such time that I had to
take him to specialist.
Because he would bleed through the nose? --- Yes, he would bleed through the nose, then thereafter he would get this splitting headache, and we took him to Dr Thembele and he was given certain tablets and the nosebleed was better. And Hlosile, my granddaughter, when it gets dark she screams and says, "Granny, here's Inkatha."
Amongst the specialists or psychologists have you ever taken your grandchildren there? --- No, I have never.
As soon as you are through, we have psychologists as well as psychiatrists who can give you some advice.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... coming in today. You've given us a very terrifying story, a very vivid description of what life was like then in 1993. It was less than three years ago. We have heard that your house was on fire, your son threw a blanket over you, saved your life. You ran outside almost naked, and people were then shooting at you. It's difficult to understand how people can act in such a terrible and cowardly manner towards unarmed people, women and children, and we are glad that you have survived this ordeal sufficiently to be able to come here bravely and tell us your story today.
You heard what I said to the previous witness about the KwaZulu Police, and I will repeat those feelings here, that they do not deserve the name of policemen because they did not act - many of them did not act in any way like policemen, but acted like armed thugs.
You have heard what Mr Lax has said, and Mr Dlamini
has said about the fact that it's our job to make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted. We've heard that you and your son were traumatised by this event, your house was burnt down. We do not have the power to assist you directly, but we will be making recommendations to the Government as to how you should be helped.
So we want to thank you again very much for coming and tell us your story today. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: I notice that there are people in the audience who are non-Zulu-speakers. If people want to follow the evidence which is going to be given in Zulu there are these simultaneous translation machines at the back of the hall, and you can get a simultaneous translation from Zulu into English. So please get these machines at the back of the hall if you want to.
We welcome you here today, Mrs Nkabini. Can you hear me and understand me? You are from Osizweni township and you have come to tell us about the attack and the petrol bombing of your house in July 1992. Before you tell us that story can you stand please to take the oath.
THEMBISILE RITA NKABINI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much, and Mr Dlamini will help you.
MR DLAMINI: (Inaudible) ... to do so quietly. We would like you to tell us more about your family, put us in the picture of your family background, every family member. --- I have a mother and brothers. I have a mother and brothers and my children.
How many children do you have? --- I have four children. The fifth one died after they shot him in Jo'burg.
These four children are still alive? --- Yes, they are.
Are they in school or working? --- Three of them are working and then the last one is still at school.
The one who was shot in Johannesburg, what was happening down there? Was it a political quarrel or
fight, or criminals. --- No, it was political.
Can you please tell us more about that event as well? --- I can't explain because I wasn't there. He was found dead in his flat where he was staying in Johannesburg. He left two children.
Where are these children? --- With me.
These two grandchildren, are they staying with you? --- Yes.
How old are they? --- One is five years old, the other one is four years.
Who is supporting them? --- I am the one who is supporting them.
Is there any assistance that you are receiving from the Welfare? --- No, nothing.
Did you ask for? --- No, I never asked for any assistance.
We would advise you to go and see the Welfare. You go to the Welfare Department, you ask the social workers to help you, what exactly do you need from the Government so that you raise the children. Today you are here to tell us or to give us the testimony about what happened when your house was attacked in 1992. Would you please tell us more, put us into the picture? --- The truth is I can't really tell what caused that because it started in 1991. In 1992 mine was burnt. It was late at night.
Go on. Explain more to us. Try to clarify this thing to us. --- It was late at night. I was asleep with Thoko and Zinhle. It was early in the morning. I think it was after 2 o'clock. I heard a loud noise and I heard one thing falling down, and when I checked it was a petrol bomb and the house was on fire. I woke up, I took
these two children outside and I woke my mother up. These kids were Thoko's kids. Thoko is my child. I opened the door, I threw the kids outside. I woke my mother and we also ran out. I only took the mattress bed and everything was burnt inside. My mother came out. We tried to call the police. We found them. When we ran to the neighbours we were trying to fetch the hose pipe to extinguish the fire, and we heard people shouting at us, swearing at us. Police arrived at about 20 to three in the morning. We also called police from town, and when they arrived there they also discovered a petrol bomb which was not used. It was next to the garage. The next day in the evening police came, white police came to search our house because they said we had bombs and guns, and they broke doors. Some of them they were wearing Balaclavas, and one commissioner from the town - yes, these police were from Newcastle Police Station. I am talking about the ones who came and broke our doors and said we had guns and petrol bombs. We told them that, "We are the ones who were being attacked. How can we have petrol bombs because we were being attacked?" Then they took me to the police station to open a docket.
And what happened about the case? --- There was not enough evidence so the case never proceeded up until today.
Take your time. We understand that this is very sad. It's not easy for one to relate such a sad story. (Pause) You can continue if you're ready. --- I was confused because I never quarrelled with anyone. I was never involved in ny conflict. I heard that people were fighting, IFP/ANC were fighting, but I was never involved
in any of those. Because the only thing I can recall is that I was a witness in one case at Madadeni. That's what I thought maybe my house was burnt because of that, because I was a witness in a certain case.
At home are you IFP? --- Yes, me and my children we are Inkatha, but I can't tell about my brother.
Is it true that you were never involved in any quarrel with ANC people? --- No, I wasn't, except that I was a witness in a case. I wanted to witness that case because I was there. Whatever happened concerning that case I was there.
Can you please explain to us what case was that? --- Sikhumbuso Mthethwa was involved in a case where he was alleged that he shot someone, so I went to the court to tell them that Sikhumbuso wasn't there, how could he have shot someone if he was in Pietermaritzburg?
So in other words your house was burnt because you were a witness in that case? --- Yes.
These people who came and attacked your house, were there any people that you can identify or people that you knew that they were ANC people? --- No, it was late at night. Even if I suspect the identity of people, police said no, we can't give that evidence.
Do you want the Commission to take over this case so that they come with proper investigation and investigate about this crime? --- Yes, I will be very much happy if the Commission can do so. And another thing as well is that people used to come and break our windows, harass us. In 1994 as well our house was attacked. ANC attacked our house. At home there was no one who was active, who was an Inkatha member who was active, except for me. My
brothers aren't like that. Even now I can't walk alone at street. I am scared. Even though I know I have never fought with anyone, but I am scared walking alone in the street. Even now I don't know what to do.
Mrs Nkabini, it's so sad to hear that even though we have passed that era you are still scared and being harassed. --- Yes. Even though I have never quarrelled with anyone, but I am still scared, and these people aren't coming forward to face me. I want to find the truth.
This harassment that you are receiving, is it words people are swearing at you, or people are breaking something? --- No, people are harassing me, swearing at me.
These people who are doing this thing to you, do you see them, do you know them, can you identify them? --- Yes, I can.
Do you have their names? Do you want to give us their names now, or you want to give us their names afterwards? --- Yes, I can give you the names.
Mrs Nkabini, it is children who were with you when the house was set alight. How are they? --- Thoko is not well. She is always having headaches because she was hurt at her head. She is the one who is always sick.
This house - I mean your house, is it now okay? Did you fix the house, renovate? --- It was only my part of the house which was burnt, not the whole house, because they knew I was the one who was Inkatha. I only painted this darkness from the smoke and nothing else.
I know that your other request will be that you are asking the Commission to help you that you renovate your
house. As we have told other witnesses as well we don't have the powers to promise or to do that for everyone. What we can do is that we give the recommendation to the State President and tell him, and he is the one who is going to decide what to do. We as the Commission we can't finalise that. We will do the report and we will give it to the State President, and we will also try to check with the police who were handling this case and find out if the evidence which was put forward was satisfactory or not. It is also sad that people - more especially if a woman is being harassed. It's very sad. I also agree with you that if people do not agree with you it's a good thing that they must come forward and talk with you. This is how things can be sorted out. Again I will also like to say from all these places where we've been in most cases ANC people are the ones who are coming forward to give evidence, and that thing makes it difficult to find evidence, and I'll also like to thank you for your courage as an IFP member to come forward and give evidence so that we can see that it wasn't just IFP fighting alone, they were fighting with someone. It's not just IFP, it was IFP/ANC. No one came out innocent. ANC people thought they were the ones who were just being killed and no one else, and women and children died. This picture that you just gave us, I am sure that even the ANC will realise that they were not the ones who just lost children and wives, but also Inkatha people. In the name of the Commission then I will like to say this kind of pain we would like to see it end. Before I'll give it to the Chairperson is there anything that you would like the Commission to know? --- Yes. Most IFP members ran
away from Osizweni because their houses were being burnt by ANC people, so people ran away. And I also like to thank the Commission that I didn't know I would come forward in my life and tell someone, because this thing has been eating me alone. Today I have a chance of telling everyone how I feel.
You didn't explain more about your mother. How is she now? --- This is a new experience for old people. My mother was very, very worried and she got ill afterwards, and now she is doing nothing. My father got injured. It's not because of politics, he was at work.
We will also like you to pass these words to your parents at home. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Nkabini, thank you for coming here today. We are very glad that you feel that by coming here and telling your story you have got something out of you, and we're glad that the Commission could provide you with that opportunity. You heard - you must have heard the evidence of the lady before you, Mrs Khumalo. She told a similar story to you about being attacked in her own house, the house being set alight, and in her case she said it was members of the IFP who did that. In your case you said it was members of the ANC. And our view is that from wherever this violence comes it's wrong, and that you and Mrs Khumalo are sitting here together, you are members of different parties, but you have both been victims of violence. And what has that violence brought to you? Nothing except sadness, fear, misery. And we hope that the message will go out from this Commission that violence doesn't help anything. It makes - it drives people
further apart, and makes the job of reconciliation even more difficult in our country.
So, as Mr Dlamini has said, you have given us another side of the picture. We know it was not only the ANC people who suffered in Madadeni and Osizweni, we know that some IFP people also suffered, and you are one of those people, and we will be making recommendations to the Government as to how people like you can be helped.
So we thank you again very, very much for having the courage to come here and tell us your story today. Thank you very much.
SAMUEL SOTSHA NKOSI
MR LAX: Good morning, Mr Nkosi, welcome. Thank you for coming to us. Before we go into your story, and the sad death of your son, there's just some background details we would like to ask you about your family, about yourself, and so on, and maybe about your son as well. Firstly, what is your date of birth please? --- I have a wife. I was born in 1947.
(Inaudible) ... your family. You have a wife you were saying. --- I have a wife as well as six children. I had seven initially. One died.
(Inaudible) ... picture. --- I know the one who died. I don't know the other ones' ages. I know the one who died as to how old he was when he died, but the eldest one was born in 1970.
Now, how old was Stephen when he died? --- He was 14 years old.
And I take it he was at school at that time? --- Yes, he was at school.
Now, the other children of yours, the six remaining children, what are they doing? --- One is working and one is at school. The others are not at school and they are not working because of financial problems and the harassment that used to take place.
Thank you. What do you do yourself please? --- I am working at a certain garage.
Thank you. Now, the story you will be telling us about took place on the 29th of May 1993, is that correct? --- That is correct.
At that time you were living in Osizweni. --- That is correct.
And you're still living there? --- Yes, I am.
Please tell us what - before we start, what was going on in the area at that time? Was there violence, was it calm, just so we can get a picture of what was happening? --- There was some violence in that place. There was a certain place called Umlazi where certain youths were staying. That is the IFP youths. They were staying at Nxumalo's place, and there used to be sporadic outbreaks of violence. What I have submitted in my statement I haven't yet said. I am just giving you the background of what was happening. There's a certain youth who was staying just next to my place, and he apparently was the boss - it's about the eighth house from my place -of the Inkatha youth which was harboured at Nxumalo's place.
(Inaudible) ... name. --- I don't remember his name quite well because he was a youth, but he was staying at Masibini.
Thank you. If you could then move on to the details of the story about your son's death and the attack on your home and so on. --- He was the only one who was a member of the IFP, and he was not staying at his place, he was staying at Nxumalo's place. And I am under the union, COSATU. I had joined under NUMSA. Whenever there were stayaways I never paid much attention, and the residents would ask me as to what was meant by the stayaways, and I used to explain to them because I was a member of the COSATU, because NUMSA is - COSATU is affiliated under NUMSA. And they knew that I was a member of COSATU and I would explain to them whenever there were stayaways, and they would ask me what I was gaining out of the whole
thing, and I would explain to them what the objectives of the unions were, because it was to fight the apartheid system as well as the oppression of the people. And when we boycotted work the Government used to lose taxes, and I would explain it to the people that that's how we benefited as the union when we organised some stayaways. That was part of fighting for our liberation. I never paid much attention that this could possibly trouble the community. And there's a certain boy who was staying at my place, and Nxumalo went around attacking houses in that area, together with his youths. And we heard rumour later on that there's a certain youth who was no longer staying at his place but he was staying at Nxumalo's place, because his granny used to come, and he hated the ANC, and he used to say it's his son only who was an IFP member. And the children would also tell this grandmother that she should more or less join the ANC, and she never wanted to see the ANC, she wanted to remain with the IFP. And at some stage when Chris Hani died this boy was a delinquent. I don't know where they got him, and he went to this particular boss. There was an altercation between my son and this boy was injured. I was at KwaMakuku's place when this granny went past Makuku's place, and we were standing next to the gate. He called on to me. He calls me his son-in-law. I am not really his son-in-law, but we are distant relatives somehow. Then he told me that, "Son-in-law, they had killed so-and-so." And we went to that granny's place to the bereaved family, and his mother cried and said the Lord was going to answer her, and those who had killed her son would pay. The mother died during the week, and the granny said the IFP was going to come
and bury, and we were going to see as to who had killed the child. And the people were now scared to go to the bereaved family because she was threatening. The funeral went on, and we did not sleep at our respective places, we went out to sleep at different places because she had threatened that there were going to be attacks. And the people - the community remarked that Nkosi had brought ANC into the area, as well as Buthelezi, who was the chairman of the ANC. And they said the ANC was non-existent in that area, he had brought the ANC, and my son told me that we were being accused of bringing ANC members, and that the youth which had died was killed by ANC members. He said he should now pay more attention to what the community was saying. I told him that I am under COSATU, I am a member of COSATU, I did not have anything to do with the ANC, but my children were in the youth league. I don't know how many weeks lapsed, it's plus/minus three weeks after the burial, and there was going to be a rally at the stadium. I think Sithebe was going to be a prominent speaker, but I am not very sure about the exact details. And Chief Mangosuthu Stadium, that's where he was going to arrive. Then on a Saturday afternoon, just when it was getting dark, my four sons went to church because they had gone to section 42. And we said they should go quickly and come back quite quickly. They went to section 42 to the church, then we were left watching TV. I was in my bedroom watching TV, I was just about to sleep. I think it was at about half past seven to eight. My children were in the kitchen and the doors were already locked because we were preparing ourselves to sleep. And I could hear them screaming that there were three people
who were getting in the yard, and the other one picked up the dustbin lid, and I saw the children peeping through the window, and they were remarking that there were three people suspicious looking, and they started breaking the windows, and especially the front windows. They started at the kitchen, and I switched off the light and I went around switching all the lights in the house. And they were holding the dustbin lid and they were having pangas with them. And they went out, running out of the yard. Then there is a certain lady called Dolly who was staying at that granny's place, but she is not related to that old woman. Then my neighbour, Mr Ndebele, came to investigate as to what had happened. I told him that I did not know what had happened. I thought of an altercation that took place between my son and Nathi, a KwaZulu Police, and they said he had hit and stabbed the KwaZulu Police. And they said I was the one who was teaching them to be members of the ANC because I had something to do with COSATU. As he was going down there was nothing wrong, and he went to fetch these boys from Nxumalo, these IFP youths, and they were coming towards my direction. Some are 20, some are over 20. And they divided themselves into groups, and there were more than 20. And at the time when this lady, Doreen, was with these youths she was no longer talking to us. And there's another neighbour at my back opposite came to investigate. And as we were just talking we saw the Inkatha members getting in through the gate, and we started locking the doors, as well as my wife, we started bolting the doors as well. And when they came they started kicking the doors as well as chopping them with their weapons, up until such time that a big hole was made
through the door and my wife started praying. And when the door was broken down he had something - I think it was a gun - and my wife started screaming at that stage, and they went out. There is another church house which is nearby, and we heard later on that Doreen was at that church house. And my sons had not yet come back from church. They just came back a little bit late, and we were surprised as to what had happened to them. And this boy, the deceased, was the first one to come in, and they went to the back rooms. I was just explaining that my children came back from church. The story that I got was that my boys came in thinking that the IFP had gone. When we were talking to Ndebele he was asking me as to what was happening. Then we saw four youths coming in, and my boys were back now from church and the two of them ran away to the back side. They chased them up until such time that one of them had to skip the fence and go to the opposite house, and the other one got into the wardrobe and hid himself. They pulled the wardrobe, they opened up, and they put him out of the wardrobe, and it was a group of people. They chopped him with axes all over the body, and I went out at that stage to find out what was happening. I got him. He was slumped on the ground and I didn't know what to do at that stage. And I saw a car and I asked this driver to take him to the hospital. He asked me where I was taking him because he had already died, but I just had that hope that he could get some help. And we took him to the hospital, and I stayed at the hospital for quite some time and they told me that my son had died, there was nothing they could do to help him. I came back, and my wife was sitting outside at that time. All the
children had run away. There was absolutely nobody except for my wife. And I told my wife that my son had died. The windows were broken and the house was just in shambles. There was so much destruction, and Mrs Mntambo, a member of the ANC came with her sister, and she is the first one who came and got into my house because the neighbours were scared. And she spoke to my wife and tried to comfort her. When I was in hospital the police came, because my wife went to the police station to report that the windows were broken. And the neighbours had already told her that my son had died because they had seen the whole incident taking place. And he showed the police that these were the youths who had killed my son, but the police never went to arrest them. And the youths went to a certain place - I think it's Zwane's house, who was a councillor - and Zwane called me and told me that they had come into his place.
Mr Nkosi, just take your time. It's not an easy story, I understand that. (Pause) We understand how painful it is to lose a child, we really do. (Pause) --- The police said I should get to the police station to submit a statement to them. It was on a Sunday, and at about 12 in the afternoon. There's another one, a detective who came, and there were women from the ANC, and they asked him as to what he wanted at that place and he said he was the one who was responsible. Then I said we should give him the statement because he said he was the detective, and the women were swearing at him and insulting him, and telling him that he was the one, he is actually the perpetrator. And he took the statement of the damage, and they said I should also come to the police
station to submit a statement with regard to my son's death. I went on that very Sunday to the police station, Osizweni Police Station, and I introduced myself. They kept on arguing between each other as to who should take my statement. Then they said I should the following morning to submit a statement. And they took me in a police van, and along the way in the police van I said, "There's the IFP," and they were from the rally. They were marching towards the stadium, as well as the shops and the police station. They were from the stadium. As we were driving they were coming towards us, and I told the police that they were going to hurt us because they were members of the Inkatha. I tried to hide myself, and we went past the Inkatha group. Just as we were about to get to Enhloweni, just next to my place - this quite disturbed me - then they started loading their guns, and I asked myself as to why they did not load their guns when were going past the Inkatha group. And they dropped me off at my place and they went away. And they told me to come back the following morning to submit a statement. And the following morning they were still continuing with the argument of the previous day. Then ultimately one detective took the case, and he said I should explain as to what had happened. I related the incident as it took place, and he wrote down the information, and he told me to identify the people, to disclose their identity as to who did what, and where did they go thereafter. And he said I should not tell him where they were coming from, I should only tell him about when they were at my gate. But I told him that that information was crucial to this case, because he had to know where they came from in order to
understand who they were. He said to me I should only write what they did when they got to my place, and I ultimately submitted to that. And he said I should get some witnesses, and he said I should report Doreen, as well as Ndlovu youth, and that they should disclose the identities of the rest. He said he could not do that, it was not legal for him to arrest people who had not done anything even if they had knowledge of an offence that was committed. And there was a certain meeting, they called it a Peace Accord, and there were certain people who were staying there, and this person's father said he did not want to get involved in that matter. And Icecream(?) came to me and denied that he did not want the case to continue. These people came from Nxumalo's place, that is the Inkatha youth. It was on a Tuesday, and they were moving and prancing up and down the street, and we decided to call the police. We phoned the police and they promised us that they were coming. And the ANC league members said they wanted to keep a vigil on my house, they wanted to surround my house and protect me, because the police were not protecting us, they were protecting the Nxumalo family where the Inkatha youth members were. And some of the neighbours also kept an eye on my house, and the police used to come and search, and they would take whatever weapons, even if it was a knobkerrie. We decided that we should bury my son at Top Rank, but the ANC Youth League said we should bury my son where I was a resident. We went to see Chairman Buthelezi together with the women of the ANC. They are the ones who encouraged me and told me that I should bury my son at Osizweni. We went to bury, and the funeral went on quite well. The members of
COSATU, as well as ANC members, came to me during my moment of grief, and the police wanted to harass them. The funeral went on quite well, and we came back. After about three days the police came. It was white policemen, and the detectives were busy running up and down the street next to my place, and at some stage they came into my house and they said they were looking for guns. And my wife speaks Afrikaans perfectly well, and she spoke in Afrikaans to the white policemen, and she told the policemen that I do not have any guns, because if I had guns we would have launched a counter attack on our attackers. And we told them that they knew that we did not have any guns. My son would not have died if we had guns. And I was the one who was being accused of bringing ANC members into the area.
Has there been any case surrounding the death of your son, or an inquest that you might know of? Have you been called to give evidence? --- In the Peace Accord they were trying to make a follow-up as to whether there was any case, and nobody was coming forward with any information. When I went to the detective who was responsible he would always say I should bring my son, the surviving one. And I used to tell him that he had absolutely nothing to do with the death of my son, but they said to me probably I had a hand in the killing of my son. I told them that it had absolutely nothing to do with that. My son was killed because of politics, and I would not bring my surviving son to come and say something because they would possibly kill him as well. Then he said the case would not continue if I did not want to bring my son. He said he wanted testimony from my son and
not from anybody else. And I told him about the three people that I have already mentioned, that he should fetch them because they knew more about the incident.
This policeman, is this the Mr Mapalala that you've spoken about in your statement? --- He is the one who was handling the case.
From which police station? Osizweni? --- Osizweni Police Station.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, he was at that time, but I haven't seen him for quite some time.
You've told us about this granny who was connected to the IFP, and who had this connection with the youths from Nxumalo's place. What is her name, this granny that you spoke of? --- It's his son who was a member, and he was staying at Nxumalo's place, but I do not remember this granny's surname, as well as her son's name, but - I have forgotten the granny's surname, but their clan name is Msibi or Masibi.
(Inaudible) ... mentioned a Ma Shabalala who was escorting ... (intervention) --- Ma Shabalala is Doreen, who was staying at that house and who went to fetch the youths. The name is Doreen, and her clan name is Ma Shabalala.
(Inaudible) ... Doreen you've been speaking about so far, the same person? --- That is correct.
Now, do you - or were you able to recognise any of the people that attacked your house on any of the two occasions you've spoken about? --- It was at night and I couldn't identify them.
(Inaudible) ... Doreen and this person you've just spoken about, an Ndlovu youth you've said, who is this
Ndlovu youth? How does he fit into the picture? --- Ndlovu was also staying at Nxumalo's place. He was a youth who was staying at Umlazi. This granny features into the whole thing, because they were coming from her place and they went to fetch Doreen, then they went to Nxumalo's place and they came back to attack my home.
Just for the record, you have given us a copy of a provisional death certificate for you son, in other words not a final death certificate. Have you ever received a final death certificate? --- Yes, this is the one I submitted. I never got the original copy.
(Inaudible) ... the death certificate you've given us is one that you get when a death is still being investigated and it hasn't been finished yet, so clearly there's been no further investigation of this case. --- No, there hasn't been any.
Mr Nkosi, we will follow up why the police didn't investigate this case any further, particularly when you say there are witnesses who could give them better information, and we will see what we can do about that. Now, in your statement you've told us that what you would really like from us is for this thing to be properly investigated so that, in your own words, justice can be done. Is that right? Do you confirm that? --- Yes, I do confirm that, because I want to know the circumstances surrounding my attack, why was I being singled out? As well as this granny and Doreen. They also know something, and I want them to explain as to why they did this to me.
These people, the granny and Doreen and Ndlovu, are they still living in Osizweni? --- They are no longer
at Osizweni. When my son died Doreen was staying at that granny's place, and when my son died they moved out of that place.
(Inaudible) ... do you have any idea? --- I think the granny went to Madadeni, and Doreen is working.
Do you know where she works? --- She is working at Vega. It's a factory which is situated in Nova. It's opposite Nova. They are opposite each other.
Mr Nkosi, thank you for telling us this difficult story. I know that it's very hard for you, and it has been quite painful for you, and I hope it has been helpful for you. I hand back to the Chairperson. --- May I just ask something? I want to say to the youth I do not know whether these youths had anything to do with this, or maybe my involvement with the COSATU led to my child being killed. Because COSATU had nothing to do with politics, and I want to apologise to my children, as well as my wife, because I think this is the whole thing that led to the attack. They used to ask me a lot about the 1976 uprising, and I used to explain to them. And later on they saw things for what they were. I want to apologise to the youth, as well as to my children, because they could not continue with their education because of the things that took place, and at times I blame myself for whatever happened, because later on my children did not want to continue. The way they had been traumatised and harassed they never wanted to go back to school later on, and I keep on blaming myself for whatever has happened to my children. And I am saying this to my children as well as the youth at large, that education is very important. In whatever circumstances they should continue with their
education, because that's how they'll get their liberation. I am saying to my children, sorry, and I am saying to my wife, I am really sorry. I did not realise that by being a member of COSATU I was spoiling my children's future as well as my children's - I am saying to them they should persevere. I am saying to them they should keep on fighting the oppression, but they should never forget where they come from, and they should never forget that they should continue with their education in whatever they do. They should not allow circumstances to disturb or trouble them. So I just want to say it might probably have been a mistake for me to be a member of COSATU.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Nkosi, we thank you very, very much for telling us what you feel, and for those very moving and profound words that you have just spoken to us. You were also struggling during those years, and you were doing what you felt and what you believed was best, so it would be wrong to blame yourself for everything that happened to you and your family. You are one of many, many parents who has come to the Commission and have told these frightening stories about your house being attacked, your door being chopped down, and a family member - this time your 14-year-old son, being killed in front of you, and we can only imagine the terror that you must have felt then, and we are very glad that you feel sufficiently recovered to come and tell us that story today. As I said to Mrs Nkabini, who was the previous witness, that violence is wrong from whichever side it comes, and it drives people apart, and it makes the task, the very big task of
reconciliation in this province so much more difficult.
It's also necessary to comment on the behaviour again of the KwaZulu Police. These are people whom we should have been able to rely on to do the right thing, to do the proper thing to assist you in your time of need, and to arrest the people who were responsible for killing your son, but they didn't do that. And we hope that we are moving to a stage now where we can have a police force that we are proud of, and that every citizen, irrespective of their view, can turn to in their hour of need.
We are also grateful that you were able to receive assistance from Mrs Mntambo, who you mentioned in your statement, who was the first person to come to you after you son had died and after your house was - had been reduced to chaos by your attackers, that she could come and give you assistance, and we want to thank her on your behalf as well.
Thank you very much for telling us that story. It gives us a very clear picture of what things were like in that area only three years ago. This is not a story from the eighties, this is only three years ago, and we hope that Osizweni and Madadeni never have to go through those experiences again, and by telling your story to the public makes us even more determined that we should not go backwards again into that sort of situation. Thank you very much for telling us your story and for coming here today.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome you here today, Mrs Mntambo, and you are also from Osizweni township in Newcastle, and you have come to tell us about an attack and burning of your house by members of the IFP. Before you tell us that story can you stand to take the oath please.
HARRIET MNTAMBO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Now, Mrs Mntambo, if you can just tell us briefly you have - how many children do you have? You've mentioned six of your children here, Nkosimphile, Xelokuhle, Vukani, Sipho, Xolani and Nonkululeko. Is that right, do you have - is that all your children? --- That's all.
Are you married? Is your husband still alive? --- Yes, he is still alive but we are separated. He is staying in Jo'burg, I am staying alone.
(Inaudible) ... which was in February 1993, were you alone with your children? --- Yes, I was with my children alone.
Now, before you tell us about the attack on your house which was, as I have said, in February 1993, perhaps you can just tell us what was happening in Osizweni at that time. Was there fighting? Who was attacking who? What was going on? --- What I would like to explain is that they started attacking me in 1990, then in 1993 they burned down my house.
(Inaudible) ... who are you talking about? You say "they" started attacking you in 1990, and then in 199 "they" burned your house. --- I know them because I saw them.
What political group are they from? --- IFP.
From Osizweni IFP, or from Madadeni, or ... (incomplete) --- Yes, Osizweni.
And do you know why they were attacking your house? --- They used to pass near my house, and they used to pass remarks that in my house I am holding meetings for ANC. They used to tell me that I am supposed to leave that place because I am a Xhosa. This is the Zulu area, this is not Xhosa area. As time goes on they came one day and they broke my house windows. It was on the 4th of June 1990. Again on the 7th of June they came and they burned my house. Only my boys' bedroom got burned, not the whole house. In December 1991, it was on the 21st, a certain guy from 'Maritzburg was shot by the name of Nganda. He lost his eye. He was sitting in the kitchen. I saw them again on the very same day, IFP members. On the 20th in 1992 IFP people came again. They were having a rally at the stadium. I am not quite sure who was there at the rally, I think it was Themba Khoza. When they came from that rally they came to my house, they broke my house windows, and one guy from Khambule family got injured, glasses got into his eyes. In 1992 again, August, IFP members they had a rally again. They were with Mr Nxumalo, who was a councillor at Osizweni, and other members from Madadeni. And they came and they beat me. I saw them again that they were IFP members because it was during the day, and I was surprised because no one - we never had a case about this even though I used to go to the Osizweni Police Station to open a docket, but nothing was happen up until in 1993, February, on the 6th, when they burnt down absolutely everything from my house. IFP members came. It was early evening. They were from
Mambatheni Mortuary to fetch Thembe Mbatha's kid. They passed next to my house. They were singing. They had traditional weapons with them, and also guns, and they promised that they are coming to burn my house. And they said, "We don't need anyone who's Xhosa here. This is Zulu's land." Then they passed. They went to Mambatheni, where they were going to have a night vigil. In the early evening before sunset I was sitting outside my verandah with Xolani and Fikile. They came again, and they were also singing, Inkatha members. And I said to Fikile, "Fikile, you must leave because you are pregnant. We are better, because even if we are left behind we can run, and I am used to them coming to my house, beating me." And then Fikile left. I was left with Xolani and Vukani, before Vukani died, and Nkosimphile, Nosipho, and Xelokuhle. I was left with them. When we were asleep I couldn't sleep because we were now going to bed with our clothes on. We couldn't take off our clothes because we were scared, and I used to tell my children when I go to my bedroom that, "My children, you must please wear your clothes when you go to bed. Don't take off, because Inkatha will attack us and they will never stop." And I told them about the event that happened during the day when they told me that they will come and burn my house. I told my children to go to bed with their clothes. At 2.00 am I heard the gate opening and then I woke up, because I was ready because I knew they were coming. And when I peeped through the window I saw it was dark, full of people, so I told my children to wake up. I said, "Wake up, wake up, there's Inkatha." And then my house was burning all around. My doors were smashed down,
windows were destroyed. I was with my children in the kitchen. The house was burning now. My house was burning all over. I was holding my children, Nonkululeko, Nosipho and Xolani. I took a chair. I took this chair and I told Xolani to hold one thing and I hold Nonkululeko. So they thought it was a gun, and then that's when I got a chance of running away. I got under the grape tree. I got under the grape tree, I hide myself there. Now they were fighting with my children who were inside. They were swearing at them that they must come out, because they have been warning us that we must leave that area, this was Zulus' area. I was with the small children outside. I saw them. The house was alight. I saw Sikhumbuso Mthethwa, I saw Thulani Dube, I saw Mbekheni Mthethwa. And these others I couldn't tell their names, but I know their names now. They were from KwaMbatha. I couldn't see my children. One other person that I saw it was Tess Khumalo. He was the IFP member. He's the one who shot my son. I don't know who contacted the police, but the police came. When they were approaching we heard a gunfire and these Inkatha members ran away. I only left with what was in my body, I didn't take anything. Even my children had nothing with them.
We know it's very difficult to ... (inaudible) ... terrible things, Mrs Mntambo, so please just relax if you can and take your time. (Pause) Perhaps you can tell us how Xelokuhle was shot. How badly was he injured, and what happened to him? --- Xelokuhle was shot while he was running from the house outside. I only saw him when he was trying to jump the fence. That's when he got shot, when he was trying to jump the fence. Sithelo Khumalo is
the one who shot him. I was under that grape tree and I saw that happening. He ran away. I don't know where he went to because I was also confused. I heard neighbours crying, and I heard afterwards that other members went inside our neighbours' house and killed a boy from that house, and we discovered that Bafana from my neighbour had been killed. We heard the police went to Mambatheni. After that I had nothing. I had no money, nothing to eat. My children had nothing to wear. They had nothing, absolutely nothing. On that day neighbours gave me food because I didn't have food to eat.
(Inaudible) ... to the police? --- Yes, I did report. Police came the next morning after my house had been burnt early in the morning. They came in the morning. Also police from Nqutu. They found bullets and they said they were Zulu Police bullets. That's what they told me, and I heard that they were arrested. Afterwards I saw them. I went to Mr Dlamini, a police who was a station commander, and I asked him what was going on, and he told me the senior prosecutor has dropped the case. After that I was staying in people's houses, and people were helping me, giving me food and giving me clothes, a bed to sleep, pots. Red Cross as well also helped me. They gave me blankets. I was staying with Lindi Mhlungu.
(Inaudible) ... now? Did you ever go back to that area in Osizweni? Did you rebuild your house? Did you move from that place? --- Now I am staying there. I am trying to renovate my house, because before I wasn't working. I only used to design and knit clothes and everything, and I used to sell those things. But now I am working. I am working at Sandown Bolt. What really makes
me sad is that today I have to start it all over. I am working just to feed my children. It's difficult for me to rebuild my house. I don't have power. When I think of what I have lost I just don't have power. I don't have a chair to sit in my house.
(Inaudible) ... it must be for you, and you say that you don't have power, but although we know that you have suffered and are still suffering we see that you are powerful today, that you have gone back to your house, that you are rebuilding it, that you are still looking after your children, and that you have stood up again and that you are moving forward, and we think you are very brave to have done that. Is there anything else that you want to say about what happened to you? --- What's really sad is that I don't know what to say. I thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Other people they may not know how difficult it is to have problems and not having someone to tell your problems. Now I have a chance to come before the Commission to tell my story. I am saying this because I am a woman who tells the truth. If Rita Radebe says she is still receiving remarks at streets I am the one who is usually passing the remarks, because when her son died my house was burnt down as well. I am the one who usually passes remarks to Rita, because they were also saying I should go back to Xhosa land because that was not a place for Xhosas. Because I am a woman of her words, when we talk about reconciliation I want to come here and speak the truth. As she is saying that she gets remarks, I am the one who is always remarking because I still have anger within me, because this happened after her son died. Because I started from scratch. I am
working from hand to mouth. I had three machines when I was still working, and I would go out and sell whatever I was making. Now I am destitute.
Thank you, Mrs Mntambo. I am going to give my colleagues a chance ... (inaudible) ... questions they might like to ask.
I wanted to ask you, you said the Mbatha family came to testify. Is the Mbatha family the same family as Nkabinde? --- Yes, that is correct.
You are neighbours? --- That is correct.
I know that I am opening up a wound, but I believe that it cannot continue forever. Maybe you can come together as a family and talk this over so that you can share your pain, and see whether you cannot reach a resolution that this all belongs to the past, and you should continue with your lives. The pain that you went through is basically the same because both of the families lost. Some lost their sons, some lost their possessions. Maybe you would like to come together and talk this over. --- Yes, I would love to come together with this family so that we could talk this over.
With permission from the Chairperson I want to point it out that if people who had been involved in human rights violations in the past, and who have appeared as witnesses could be brought together so that they could resolve their problems amicably. I do not know how we can do that, but we would have failed this Commission if we wouldn't do that. --- We shall try to do that.
COMMISSIONER: I won't add much to what Mr Dlamini has
said. Thank you very, very much for coming and telling us your story today. We do extend our deep sympathy to you, and, as I have said, although you think of yourself as having no resources and no power, we see somebody in front of us who has managed to pick herself up from those bad days in 1993 and to go forward. And you are working and you are still managing to look after your children, and we hope that things get easier for you.
You are a victim of apartheid. There's no doubt about that. That's what I said to a witness yesterday. If people go around saying to you that you must leave the area because you are a Xhosa it is because apartheid emphasised and emphasised and emphasised the differences between people, Zulus and Sothos and Xhosas and Tswanas, and whites and blacks and Indians and coloureds. And apartheid was a policy which, as I have said, emphasised those differences, and people were then taken in by that and were able to go around saying that, "This is a place for Zulus and not a place for Xhosas." That's not what democracy is. Democracy is where you are able to be whatever you are, whatever you want to be, and, more importantly, to feel safe and secure in being that person, speaking that language, exercising that culture. That's what democracy is, and we hope that we are moving towards a situation where we can one day say that we are truly democratic.
We will try and follow this case up. You have given us the names of some of the people who were involved. You have even given us the name of the person who actually shot your son, and that person has not been prosecuted, and we will investigate that. We will also be making
recommendations to the Government as to how you might be
assisted, because you have suffered and you have lost a lot. So thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today, and we hope that you feel empowered by telling your story here today. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... because you were injured in the bomb blast which took place at the Newcastle Magistrate's Court, and the policeman who was injured with you, Mr Nene, was here yesterday, but we understand that you weren't able to be with us, so we welcome you here today. And you will be telling us about that bomb blast as well. Before you give the evidence can you stand and take the oath.
JOHANNES SIMELANE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Lax will assist you.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, Mr Simelane. Thank you for coming. We're sorry you couldn't be here yesterday when your colleague, Mr Nene, gave his evidence, and we also had, ironically, one of the mothers of one of the people who planted bombs in Newcastle at that time who was present, and who gave her evidence after Mr Nene. Now, before we move on to the actual story can you tell us a little bit about yourself. Are you still working with the police at the moment? --- Yes, I am working in the police force. I am at Newcastle charge office.
(Inaudible) ... Zulu so that the people can hear. Those of us who don't understand Zulu so well can listen on the earphones. (Inaudible) --- No, I am not married.
(Inaudible) ... children or dependants. --- Yes, I do have children.
How many please? --- I have two children. One is five years old, the other one is three years old.
Thank you. Sorry, can you please raise your voice a little bit so that people can hear, because everything is coming through this microphone in front of you, and if you don't speak up they can't hear you. Now, the events that you have come to tell us about happened on the 11th of November 1986, is that correct? --- That is correct.
We have in quite detail heard a lot about that story already from Mr Nene, and I am going to ask you in the interests of time not to tell us the story again so much, as to tell us how you saw it and how it affected your life, if you understand me. --- Yes, I do understand you. In 1986 on the 11th of November I was at home on that day because I was sick, and Sergeant Gunene came to me and he was fetching me to the hospital, taking me to the doctor. I went to Dr Waite because I was suffering from tonsillitis, and he said to me I will get him at court because he was a witness in a certain matter. And from Dr Waite I proceeded straight to the court, and that's where I got him. And we just sat there at the courthouse waiting for the transport to Osizweni, because the police used to come and bring prisoners. As we were just sitting there it was at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and we heard a loud explosion as we were just sitting there. Then Gunene stood up and he went around to look as to where the explosion was coming from, and he said it sounded like a bomb. Because I hadn't heard a bomb blast or heard a bomb explosion, so I could not identify the sound, and he came back and sat. Then we saw one of the court orderlies, and the court orderly directed him to move away from the dustbin and he looked through
the dustbin, and he didn't get anything and he went away. And we continued sitting where we were sitting. Within a few minutes we heard the second explosion, and at that time I did not know that it was a bomb that was exploding. I heard the loud explosion, but I lost consciousness. I later woke up and realised that I had been injured. Then we were taken to the hospital in an ambulance. And I regained my consciousness the following day not knowing what had happened the previous day. I only heard the explosion. I stayed at the hospital, but I don't remember how long I stayed, but I was told that I had to be referred to Wentworth in Durban because I had internal bleeding. Gunene was left because he was amputated by then, and I was taken to Wentworth Hospital. And I stayed only a week there and came back to Newcastle. I received treatment and I was discharged on the 24th, a day before Christmas. I went back home, and I would just go to the hospital for check-ups, until I got a lot better and I was just receiving treatment from the doctor. I only got hurt on the chest, as well as on my leg, and that is all.
At the present time are you quite fit? Are you in your normal state physically? --- I wouldn't say I am fit because my leg always troubles me. My muscles - I am always getting cramps, muscle cramps. I am not 100% better.
Have you had any other side effects that you've been affected psychologically, or headaches, or other things like that that you're aware of? --- No, I do not have anything except for my foot.
(Inaudible) --- It's my foot. That is at the ankle, not the leg as it is.
Now, you've told us that you received R2 000,00 compensation from - was that from the police themselves? --- I wouldn't know where the money came from, because what I can remember is that I received an amount of R500,00. They did explain it, but the R2 000,00 they never explained anything, they just said to me I was going to be rich and I was going to be rich, but I was never told who the money came from.
Can we just settle down please. Thank you. As you are aware we've already heard that three ANC people were convicted in Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court for planting this bomb and other bombs in the Newcastle area. You're aware of that? --- I heard about that later on because I went to the 'Maritzburg Supreme Court with regard to the matter, and I knew that they had been arrested at that point.
Have you ever spoken to any of these people, met any of them, or discussed with them what happened, why they planted those bombs? Have you had that opportunity ever? --- I have never met any of them, and I have never had the opportunity to ask them.
You've said here that you would like the Commission to compensate you for your pain and suffering, because you feel you've never been compensated for that sufficiently. Do you confirm that? --- Yes, that is correct, because I do not know the origin of that R2 000,00. If that is the compensation to me that is not enough for the injuries that I've suffered.
Thank you, Chairperson, I have no further questions.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Simelane, thank you for coming and
telling us your story. We heard in more detail about this event yesterday from your colleague, and I said to him yesterday that people did many irresponsible things in the name of opposing apartheid, and one of the very irresponsible things, criminal things that people did was to plant bombs in public places. People have come before this Commission and have - some people who did those sorts of things have come to this Commission and have tried to explain in other forums why they did those things, what drove them to do it, their anger at apartheid, their frustration at apartheid. And whilst what they did may have been understandable from one point of view, it could never be justified that they could put a bomb in a public place and injure innocent people. And you were one of those victims, and you were a luckier victim than Mr Nene, who sat here yesterday in a wheelchair with no legs at all. And we are glad that you were able to recover so well from that incident.
As Mr Lax has said, we have the power to make recommendations to the Government as to how you should be assisted. You have received some compensation, it doesn't sound very much, certainly not enough to make you a rich man. I am not saying that we will make you a rich man at all. We have no power to award any damages or any money to you, but we do have the power to make recommendations to the Government as to how you might be assisted in some way.
So thank you for coming to talk to us today. It would have been nice if you could appear yesterday with Mr Nene, but that wasn't possible, and we are glad that you could make it today. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Good afternoon and welcome, Mr Sithebe. Can you hear me and understand me?
MR SITHEBE: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: You're from Dundee.
MR SITHEBE: Quite correct.
COMMISSIONER: And you are going to tell us about what happened to you when you were a youth activist in Sibongile township in Dundee in 1985. Can you stand before you tell us that story and take the oath?
MZWAKHE EZARD SITHEBE (Sworn, States) (Speaking English)
COMMISSIONER: Now, just to give a background to your evidence, you said that you were at Misinga High School. Is that in Sibongile township in Dundee? --- Quite correct.
That was in 1985, and you were involved in class boycotts because of the quality of the education which was being given in black schools at that time, as well as what you saw as corruption from the school leadership. --- Quite correct.
So, perhaps just with that as the background you can tell us your story, and just go from one event to the next. You mentioned your activities at school, then in 1983 - or was it 1983 when you worked in a trade union - and then the state of emergency in 1986, ending up with your period of imprisonment in Kandaspunt Prison. Just deal with those main issues. Thank you very much. --- I think first and paramountedly one must correct one mistake. I was studying at Misinga High School in 1982, where I happened to be involved in school - many student
Mr Sithebe, just for the benefit of the audience, and it's your choice of course, but it would be easier if you spoke Zulu. --- Okay.
Okay? --- Okay.
Those of us who don't understand Zulu as well, we can follow it, and then the audience can follow everything that you say. --- (Witness now speaking Zulu) I would like to rectify just a minor mistake. It was in 1982 when I was an activist in school. I was doing matric in Misinga High School in Tugela Ferry. What happened there is that we didn't approve or like the way or the kind of education that was given to us. The decision-making was not very impressive. We were able to try and organise certain meetings amongst ourselves as students, as well as the teachers, and we brought forth our grievances, as well as the system of teaching at that school at that time. We had a problem at that time because the teachers did not accept our grievances, and that we wanted to talk to them. From there they tried to organise some vigilantes to come and attack us as students at the school. We went to the circuit office for that particular boarding school I was attending at Misinga and we put forth our grievances that we had a problem at that school, and we wanted to talk to them and explain what our problem was. And along the way when we were talking we had some preliminary talks, and they said they would come to our school and they would speak to us as well as our teachers so that we can get a solution to our problems. They gave us a particular date and they never turned up on that date. And we were sent to go back to talk to them once more, and we were
representing the students. When we got there we could not get any of the people that we spoke to before, and it was apparent that they had spoken to our teachers. When we went back to the students to give them a report as to how the meeting went it was apparent from our discussions as students that we were not going to be heard, and we decided to organise a school boycott so that the circuit inspectors could come to our school to intervene. We entered into a class boycott, and this school is in Msinga. The place is infamous for violence. There has been sporadic outbreaks of violence due to political reasons. And our teachers organised that they were going to fetch people from Msinga, or the Msinga community, to come and deal with us accordingly, and part of that was that we should be shot. They came and they told us that they were sent to come and kill us because we wanted to burn the school down. And we wanted to sit down with them. We pointed out to them that our grievances had nothing to do with politics, and we were not fighting, but we wanted solutions to our problems. And they understood our problem, they accepted it. On a particular night, that very same night, we heard some gunshots within the premises of this boarding school. We tried some means of going to the circuit inspectors to alert them as to what was taking place at the school, and we organised a march to the circuit office. The circuit office was about three and a half kilometres away from the school, and when we got there there was nobody. The inspectors were not there, and we spoke to the clerks who were present on that day, and they said we should wait for them because they were going to be on their way quite soon. We waited
until late and we had to go back. And the very same night there were shootings at the school, and the following day we realised that we were not safe and we decided to go to the Magistrate to tell him the problems we were encountering at the school. And we were approaching September holidays, so we decided to go home on that day. When we came back from the holidays we discovered that there were certain vigilantes who were resident in the school, and some of the vigilantes were our schoolmates who had been used to turn against us. And we saw that these people posed as if they were people from outside who were going to come and cause some havoc within the school. And they were going to start assaulting us because they were fully armed. It was on a Saturday morning, and we were from the dining hall. Some of the students ran away when we came across the vigilantes who attacked me. When they attacked me they left me for dead. I had lost consciousness at that time and they thought that I was dead, and they - they rushed to the dormitory. At the time that they were chasing the others at the dormitory some other classmates of mine came to fetch me. They took me to a certain cottage. At that time when we were attacked by these vigilantes my classmates or schoolmates ran to the girls' dormitories and they heard there that I was not dead, I was taken to a certain cottage. I was hidden in Mrs Sithanza's cottage in 'Maritzburg. That's where I was receiving treatment as I was injured. What happened thereafter was that they wanted to gain forceful entry into Mrs Sithanza's cottage, and I thought it would be safe for me to go out, but the people that I was with inside the house restrained me from going out. And some
people went out, and at the girls' dormitory they were also chased. Some ran from Tugela Ferry up to Newcastle in their pyjamas. Some went to 'Maritzburg, Johannesburg respectively. And at that time the police were starting to stream in, as well as the ambulances. We decided to go into the forest. I was taken through the forest. We crossed the River Tugela on foot, and they were trying to take me to the hospital. As we had just crossed we kept on stopping - they kept on stopping the ambulances to check as to whether we were not there and being ferried to the hospital. Luckily we were not in those ambulances. I went to the hospital and I received some treatment and I was admitted. Within 10 minutes of being admitted one gentleman came, and it was apparent that he knew a lot about violence. And I saw them indicating using their eyes and their fingers pointing at me. They were actually using body language. And some had already alerted my mother that I was injured and I was at the hospital. I was taken to Dundee Hospital. I was no longer able to write my exams in 1982 at Misinga High. One of the things that I can say to this Honourable Commission is that at the time when we were negotiating with our teachers they used - my mother used to receive some phone calls from the school headmaster, who was warning my mother that if she did not fetch me she would fetch me later in a coffin. And in the meantime there were these sporadic outbreaks of violence in the campus. I got work in 1983, working in a cable firm.
(Inaudible) ... to the next incident, which is when you were working. Just tell us briefly how were you assaulted by these vigilantes? What did they use to
assault you? --- They were using stakes, knobkerries,
knives, as well as pangas and butchers' knives. And the people who were present, I would meet a group of eight people or more.
(Inaudible) ... they people from the rural area of Msinga, were they political party supporters? Who were they? --- What happened is that at that time we had closed our schools for September holidays. The headmaster arranged a certain group of vigilantes to plan an onslaught on us.
(Inaudible) ... that was your first job, was it, after you left school in 1983? You were working for a cable firm. Okay, take it up from there. --- I got to that firm in 1983, and I worked. It was in Dundee. When we were working in that firm - it was called Alu Cable, under African Cables - we observed the manner in which the workers were being exploited or oppressed, and the way that they were being chased out of work, the treatment as well as the working environment, and we realised that this was a violation of workers' rights and we wanted them to join certain unions. And at that time, as I have already mentioned that it was way back in 1983, the only union that was existing at the time was SAAWU. It's South African Allied Workers Union. And we tried to mobilise these workers to join the union, and there was one worker who was chased out of work. We decided to come together as workers to support this worker who had been chased away from work. We said, "This is the time to show solidarity as workers. We should not withhold and support, and we should withhold our labour so that our bosses may realise how important we are in the workforce." And one of the
white people had to be chased out because he had no
absolutely no reasons why he chased one of the workers away. Thereafter we started negotiating about wages, because our wages remained the same, whereas the cost of living was getting higher and higher. We negotiated up to a certain extent that we went into a go-slow. That was the very first go-slow to take place in that particular company. And it so happened that we got into negotiations with the union office. We decided that there should be certain things that we should do. We came into a conclusion that we should stop the boycott or the go-slow. After we had fixed the problem of workers being exploited we went on, we moved further to the community, where the councillors were increasing rent, which was initially R26,00 and it was going to R28,00. And we realised that we should help the community, we should talk and have negotiations as well as meetings with the community. And we came together as workers from Alucab, and we wanted to expand this to the community so that we can come up with a strategy to deal with this. And we discussed it as the community that we have never been consulted with regard to the rent increase, and it was not going to help up for the rent to go up because we had no facilities that would make the rent increase. And we divided our work into different categories. Some were talking to the workers from different factories, some were going straight into the community, and some were mobilising part of the community to join the unions and be part of the struggle. They decided that we should spray some graffiti which passes some message with relation to the strategy that we were going to take as workers as well as community members, and /the leader
the leader was Dumisani Oscar Zulu, who was leading in the
spraying of graffiti. And there is a certain person, that is myself, I had to go into the community to mobilise the community towards this. Whenever there was a meeting, whether it was between the political groups or within the workers themselves we would visit those meetings. We would attend those meetings from time to time. And we would also go to meetings where they would discuss the rent going up. And we realised that the conditions in that residential area were not healthy and they were not acceptable. We still used the bucket system and we did not have proper taps, we shared the taps. We decided that we should sit down and talk to the people, show them the negatives of the residential area in which they were staying, and we decided to boycott rent. We told the community that we were not going to pay rent from that particular month, and we went to certain attorneys to try and give us some advice. We sent some of the delegates to go and see some attorneys. They gave us a report back as to what the attorneys had said. And at that time the attorneys could not tell you to go on and boycott. We decided that the boycott was the only solution that would bring change. What happened was we went on with the boycott, and the administration agreed to lower the rent. And we saw that there's a lot that we could get at that time if they could agree to lowering the rent. What I experienced as a student I also experienced as a worker. The behaviour of the councils was the same as that of my superiors at school, as well as the headmaster. They said we were people who had come to sow some seeds of hatred within the community and we deserved to be arrested or to
be killed. This was a directive from the then
councillors. We were arrested in 1985, and we were arrested on different occasions. When we were arrested some were left out, and when we were released some would be arrested. Our charges were different. They would be public violence and illegal gatherings. Even our bails were quite high, but the community came together. When they said they wanted R5 600,00 the community collected that amount of money within 30 minutes and they bailed us out. This place was still Natal, and there was not yet a state of emergency. It was only implemented in the Eastern Cape as well as the PWV area. And in 1986 as we went on with the struggle, and after Comrade Moses Mabhida had died, who was general secretary for the South African Communist Party, we attended his memorial service at Edendale Cemetery. And when we got there we came back with some pamphlets that we had to distribute in the residential area as well as at factories in Dundee. And thereafter I started being harassed. I was living like an animal being hunted by predators. I was hunted by Security Police as well as the Flying Squad and the SBs. Whenever they wanted me they had to even come to my workplace, and I could not even walk around the residential area, and I decided at that moment that I had to leave the country. And when I was speaking to some attorneys in Durban I told them, and they said to me there was no need for me to skip the country, I had to remain in the country and they would defend me whenever I was accused of anything or arrested. And I lived a life of a hunted person. I had to hide myself at Lamontville,
together with other comrades, because I was running away from the police. And there was a certain meeting that was
organised by the UDF which was in Cape Town, and I had to take some of the activists with to attend this meeting. There was a youth meeting that was organised in that residential area. I was phoned and told that it was very important that I should get there to attend that meeting and address the meeting. We went to that meeting and I came back. We organised a programme of action in which we wanted to implement some clean-up operation as the youth of that residential area, and we wanted to clean that residential area to show the councillors that they had failed in their jobs to keep the area clean. As we were starting to plant the trees, as well as planting grass, a state of emergency was declared, and I think it was about in May on the 20 - on the 20th of May, somewhere thereabouts. Just as we were still cleaning and doing the job a state of emergency was declared. And then in June 11, 1986 we could not sleep at our places because we were wanted by the police. We were sleeping at certain houses within the township. Then at about half past 11 the Flying Squad would come, and they got to the house where we were hiding. We were arrested and put in the back of the van. It was winter and it was very cold. They drove around the residential area for the whole night in that cold, and then at half past five in the morning they drove us from Dundee to Newcastle Police Station. And when we got to Newcastle Police Station we were put in a certain cell and we were interrogated. When we were asked these questions we were interrogated for about seven days, and they started giving us porridge every day in the morning. /And we
And we told them that we never used to eat this type of food, and they would give us phuthu and black tea during
the day or for lunch. And we wanted to be charged. We wanted them to tell us why they had arrested us. We asked whether we were being arrested for speaking the truth. We decided to go on a hunger strike for about seven days, and they sent the district surgeon. They sent the district surgeon, whose name was Waite, to come and beg us and reason with us to start eating. We told him that the food was not healthy for us to eat. Some of the things that happened was that they separated us. Some were left at the police cells in Newcastle, and we were taken to Waterval. When we got to Waterval we came across others who were involved in the struggle. In Waterval that's where the police started interrogating us, and what happened there, that's where we realised that there were certain things that we were supposed to say and reveal, but there were certain things that we could not say. We warned each other. And most unfortunately there were certain people who were now informers, and they went to tell the police what we had discussed earlier on, and the police realised as to who was actually the source. They further separated us. I was taken to Hlobane Police Station, which was called Draaifontein, Matthew Simathi was taken to Dannhauser, Professor Sibonkhulu was taken to Paulpietersburg, and Dumi was taken to Waterval. When I was transferred from Waterval Geldenhuys said to me I should be happy because I am inside in prison. If I was outside he was going to send Inkatha to finish us off, so we should be happy that we were inside. These words were further reiterated by a certain policeman who was
interrogating us. His name was Olivier. He repeated the very same thing that was said by Geldenhuys earlier on.
These words started making us aware of the situation that was prevailing outside. What happened thereafter was that we remained in prison. And luckily I had appeared before Court because they were - they had charged me after a year and a half of staying in prison. They were charging me with possession of prohibited publications, and thereafter I was released. And I still continued with the struggle even thereafter. But the most disturbing thing is that when we looked at the violence that took place in this province of KwaZulu-Natal, when we tried to scrutinise and see as to how this was planned, we realised that the people who planned this were people from the then government. They were using all positions - or people from different positions to try and sow seeds of hatred and violence. When I start from school I see the role that was played by the headmasters, as well as the inspectors of the schools. Going further to Ongoye(?), some of the people who were involved are now in parliament. When I look at some of the institutions, and look at the leaders or the people who were in power at that time, what role were they playing? And when you look at the bosses at workplaces, what role were they playing in oppressing people so that they may not voice themselves out? I'll take the case of the MC ... (inaudible) ... as well as Hlobane, and all other places. Then we come to the councillors themselves. The councillors - in order to oppress people they wanted to make sure that the councillors were using every method possible to oppress the people. We've got cases of people who have come
before this Commission to testify about the councillors who were involved in the killing of people, because they
were given guns. When we proceed to the rural areas, the roles that were played by the chiefs, the chiefs were armed, they were given guns so that the change may not be implemented in KwaZulu-Natal. And what makes us even more disturbed about the past is that this is still continuing. When we were coming from the Local Government elections we were asking ourselves as to whether our people had voted properly. It is very apparent that it was not done procedurally. But what is the solution? What I would like to request this Honourable Commission is that when I look at the background of whatever was happening, is that human rights were not respected, and human life was not sacred. I am asking that whoever is in a position or a certain position should respect human rights as the Constitution which came out in May, which further goes on in chapter two talking about human rights. That is our shield, and that is what should be implemented as well as respected, because everybody has got a right to voice himself or herself out. Everybody has got a right of association. Everybody has got a right of doing what he or she wants to do.
Thank you very much for that very articulate and, if I may say so, very moving overview of your life as an activist over the last 14 years from 1982. Many of the people who have come to this Commission have talked about a specific traumatic incident which has affected them, such as the death of their child or the burning of their house, and you have given us the social context in which these things happened. You have given us an overview of /what took
what took place over a period of 14 years from your days as a school activist, where, as you say, every element of
society worked to suppress what activists were doing in those times, whether it was the school principal, whether it was the police, whether it was vigilantes who were drafted in to assist them. And it provides us with a valuable insight into the lives of people during that turbulent period in our country's history. I am just going to ask my colleagues if there's anything that they wish to ask you arising out of your evidence.
MR LAX: Mr Sithebe, apart from that one being brought to court on that pamphlet, were you ever charged with any other offences or anything like that? --- I was never accused of anything thereafter after I had appeared in court.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Sithebe, again thank you for having given us that overview of - there were three main incidents which you mentioned, the attack on you in 1982 by vigilantes who were bused in by school authorities, your imprisonment as a trade unionist in 1983. You mentioned in your statement that you were tear-gassed while you were in a police cell. Is that correct? --- Yes, quite correct, in 1985.
'85, sorry. Could you just briefly just tell us what they did there. --- In 1985 we were arrested for an illegal gathering. It was a Saturday afternoon at about 3 o'clock, and we were at Dundee police cells. As we were in the cells a certain policeman came, opened up
the cell, and threw a tear-gas canister and closed the door. We coughed, we suffocated, and there was not even
a single policeman who came to help us. We stayed inside being suffocated by the tear-gas, and they came back after about three hours. We reported the matter and nothing was done about it. I think that was part of violation of our human rights.
(Inaudible) ... you mentioned the third incident was your arrest in 1986 during the state of emergency, when you were detained at Newcastle, Kandaspunt, and then you were charged for possession of SACP material. --- That's true.
You mentioned also that members of the Security Branch, Mr Geldenhuys and Mr Olivier, said to you that you were lucky that you were inside, because if you were outside they would send Inkatha to finish you off, is that right? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... something that we've heard in other areas, where members of the Security Branch spoke in that way, and this indicated that they were in a position to call on IFP people to go and act against activists, again showing the very close relationship between that party and the Security Branch. You've said in your statement that when you - you were released - how long were you in gaol for by the way? --- When I was sentenced I got a suspended sentence, which was for two and a half years.
(Inaudible) ... Commission assist the victims of apartheid, particularly those who are unemployed. Now, as you know the Commission isn't in a position to assist by giving people financial compensation, or by organising them a job, and our brief from the Government is to make
recommendations to the Government as to how to assist the victims of apartheid, the victims of human rights
violations, and we will be making those recommendations, and your evidence that you've given, as I've said, is very important. It provides us not with just evidence of a single traumatic incident in your life, but it provides us with an overview over many years about the life of a political activist, as a student, as a trade unionist, and as a member of the community, so we thank you very much for coming in and sharing your story with us. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... they will be describing the same event, which was the massacre at the Hlobane Mine, we are going to ask them to come up onto the stage together, and that is Mr Siyolo and Mr Ngcobo.
Good afternoon Mr Siyolo and Mr Ngcobo. We welcome you here today. You have come to tell us about a very important event in this province's history, which was the massacre at the Hlobane Mine, and we have asked you to come up onto the stage together and to each give evidence, but not to tell the same story. If one of you says something, and the other feels that he has left out something, then when it is his turn to give evidence he may fill in where he thinks the other one left out. Before you give your stories can we ask you both to stand together and to take the oath.
CLIFFORD MENDISI SIYOLO and EPHRAIM NGCOBO (Sworn, State) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: We're going to start with the evidence of Mr Siyolo, and Mr Lax will help you.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, gentlemen, thank you for coming. As I have explained to Mr Siyolo I have some personal knowledge of some of those events that happened at that time, and so I will help you through the stories. Obviously each of you has an individual story that involves what happened to each of you individually, but what happened at Hlobane Mine didn't happen out of the blue, it happened as part of a much bigger picture that was going on in the country at the time, and in particular in the mines in that area at the time. And so I am going to ask Mr Siyolo to start off to
give a short context to the build up to what happened and how the massacre subsequently took place. So if you could start with that, Mr Siyolo, and then what we will do, when we talk about the individual stories we will then take your personal details at that time. (Pause) Maybe I can help you. Let's do your personal details first. You were born on 24 April 1953, is that right? --- That is right.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, I am married.
And do you have children? --- Yes, I do. Four.
(Inaudible) ... do? What are their ages and what are they doing? --- Three of them are still at school. One is not working and not at school. The first-born was born in 1970, the second-born 1986, the third-born - I made a mistake. The second-born was born in 1976, the third-born '78, the last-born 1982.
(Inaudible) ... at the moment. --- I am working at Spin and Win. There's a casino there.
Now, you joined the mine in 1972. --- Yes.
(Inaudible) ... there was no trade union on the mine. --- There was no trade unions which grouped all the employees together, even though there were unions where individual workers can go and join.
Please continue with the story from there. --- Because if we are talking about the Hlobane people are confused, they don't know what actually happened, but what I will like to explain here before the Commission is that there was no union which grouped all the employees together at Hlobane up until 1983. It was on the 12th, it was on Monday. There was a confusion at Hlobane. There was an electricity cable which was called 84. 68 people
were killed in that mine on that day. Three of them were whites. The employers said we were supposed to work on that day even though people died. That's when people - employees started saying, "No, we can't do that. We can't work when people had died like this." A lot of people got injured as well. Some people went to Rand Mutual Hospital in Johannesburg. After other employees went to visit their relatives they met a general secretary. At that time that general secretary of the union was Cyril Ramaphosa. He was there because he wanted to find out what was actually going on. Employees tried to explain to him. He introduced himself to the employees and he also introduced his union. So employees realised that this union had objectives which were good for them, so employees decided to join the union. Employers said employees were going to die if they joined this union. They said they were going to give us only R500,00, it doesn't matter if you have a large family or a smaller family. We as mineworkers we had no light. We didn't know our rights. Besides, even if we knew our rights those rights were not our rights, they were white people's rights. People who died received money. People who didn't have dependants received R14 000,00 for his parents. Those who had children I am not quite sure how much they received, but at least people received money, and this is why we were so interested to join this union. All of us Hlobane employees in 1984 we became the union members. In 1985 in October - if I am not mistaken, it might be August - that's when we had negotiations with our employers concerning increase. Mr Watson was the manager at that time, and he was stubborn. At that time people
who were working right underground they were so underpaid, they were getting less than R200,00 even if they worked more than 30 days, or 30 days. Employees decided and agreed that they should stop working, they should go on a strike. That strike took three days. We agreed with all of us employees that police were going to work, people who were working in the kitchens were going to work, and the administrators were going to work, but those who were working underground are not going to work. Nothing happened after three days even though we received what we were fighting for, but we were not satisfied. In 1985, it was on the 30th of November, the federation was formed which grouped all the unions together. It was called COSATU. NUM was one of the unions which was affiliated there. The employers were now angry. They were calling us terrorists, they were calling us names. We couldn't understand what was going on. In 1986, if I am not mistaken it was in March, if not February, there was an announcement which said that there were people who were coming from KwaZulu Government and they were asking to meet mine employees. Because we as mineworkers we were one, so we were happy, we were looking forward to meet these people from KwaZulu Government even though it was the first time. These people, even though I couldn't even see them before, some people said - I heard people saying one of them was Gideon Zulu and Mr Ntombela. Maybe what actually happened there was in that meeting we also had women who were married to mine employees. This man, Gideon Zulu, put it clear that if you are a Zulu there's no need that you should join any union or organisation, because there is an organisation for the Zulus, and that
organisation it's Inkatha. We were confused whether we were right as Xhosas to be there in that meeting or we were supposed to leave, but he put it very clearly that these organisations were organisations for other people, not for the Zulus. The women from locations were angry because they were married to the Sothos, to Xhosas, and now they couldn't understand why this person was putting it like that. We were many who were worried. So we saw these women leaving the hall because they couldn't stay there an listen to that nonsense. We also followed these women. There was a second man by the name of Madela Qesa(?). He was an executive. He had a question that, "Now that you are saying so, Mister, in 1983 people died here. What did Inkatha do?" That's when it got sour, because this person got angry that how come this person is asking him such a question. After that it became clear that the union or the - that workers be caming together or united was one thing which was going to lead to problems. So one day, it was myself and one guy from - Jack Senele, he's a Xhosa guy as well - our chief called us. David his name. He said he would like us to explain to him because he was disturbed. He wanted us to explain what exactly did we say to the union. So we asked him to explain to us. So he said to us he heard by Ncube that Xhosas are saying - I would like to with your permission to say this, because he was swearing at us, but I like with your permission to say exactly his words. He said, "Xhosas are saying that the king of the Zulus, Goodwill Zwelithini, will be Mandela's teaboy, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi will be the garden boy for Mandela." We were surprised because we didn't say this, and we asked him, "Who said we said so,
"because it's so clear that you heard it from someone?" "That's why I am confused, because I am also Xhosa, that's why I am asking you." When the meeting was held this issue also came up. He wanted to know who were those Xhosas who actually said those words. They said it was Phumelani Mdletshe. Phumelani Mdletshe was the organiser of the NUM. John Shangase was also an organiser. Maxwell Nxumalo. Maxwell Nxumalo is a chairperson of the union. All these people are from Nongoma, and Madela from Qesa, Fanisile from East London, Jonas - I have forgotten his last name. They said, "These are the Xhosas." And the chief said, "I have a problem, because among the six men that you have mentioned there is only one Xhosa. Why now are you saying the Xhosas are saying this, because you should have said the Xhosa said, not Xhosas? After the meeting there was this picture now, because this issue came with the people who were working for the Welfare Department, the administrators. Now, this became a very hot issue. As you've said before that I will say something, and if I leave something my brother here with me will fill in the gaps.
Who was this Chief David - what was his surname, that you spoke about? This chief called a meeting that you went to, and you said his name was David, but you didn't give us his surname. --- I have forgotten his last name.
(Inaudible) ... before the troubles really started, and that was that in May of 1986, as you've told us in your statement, UWUSA was formed. Can you continue from there and just tell us that. --- Okay. In that meeting people who were left behind decided that they will
form a union for the Zulus. In 1986, 1st of May, we took this day as a Workers Day and we didn't go to work as usual, but we heard that people were going to Kings Park and they were going to form an organisation or a union. We took a decision then that as NUM's members we will work this day. Many of us went to work on that day. Unfortunately other people went to Kings Park. There employees came back and explained to us that they have buried COSATU, now the union now it's NUMSA. If you are still holding on COSATU then you are in trouble. But what the chief said is that if you've killed a COSATU member then you've killed a communist. And this was put in our agendas if we had meetings, and they used to say even if we are many they will be able to destroy us because they have soldiers, because they don't want COSATU in South Africa.
MR NGCOBO: I think there are a few things which he didn't mention.
MR LAX: (Inaudible) ... so we can get to the actual incident. --- When he explained about the meeting which was held in Arena Mine Stadium. On that day after the meeting, because we couldn't agree on one thing, because others had beliefs on NUMSA they didn't want to agree that they - they kept on insisting that it was Xhosas' union. They were interested in forming their own Zulu union. One of our colleagues was stabbed. I think that's the only event that he left, because one of our colleagues was stabbed. If I continue explaining as he explains I'll explain, I'll try and put and fill in if there's something left.
MR LAX: There was one thing that you mentioned in your
statement, if I can get back to Mr Siyolo, which you didn't mention this time round, and that was you said that after this meeting, but before UWUSA was formed, the attitude of management changed quite substantially, and they became quite difficult and they fired certain people and so on. Maybe you can just briefly cover that issue. MR SIYOLO: The truth is that after UWUSA was formed we had a welfare department inside the mine. This UWUSA union and Mr Ntombela received offices in that department, welfare department, so they were working together. He was working together with the administrators. If he wasn't there administrators will be there. This led to difficulties, more especially on the side of the NUM. Say, for instance, if there were employees who were fired we had difficulties because we, as shop stewards, NUM shop stewards, we were supposed to go and see Mr van Zyl, who was white, and he was the had of the security. Or we were supposed to see Mr Zachariah, a Sotho guy. He was also difficult. He was so difficult that if a mine employee had a visitor this man will make sure that they'll arrest that visitor. We also had a police station near the mine, Driefontein Police Station. Workers didn't like his behaviour. They decided to negotiate and sit down and talk about this issue. They were confused why is this black person doing this thing, because we were fighting for our rights and we were being oppressed by whites, but now here's a black person doing this to us. We decided that we were supposed to go to the manager and explain to the manager that we need him to fire this person. Of course all - Zachariah, the Sotho guy, was also the head of the securities. As they were leaving the office - our
office was outside the mine. It was a place where we were selling home-made brew, iJuba. They gave us that place to sell liquor. When they left there they went to see the manager, the hostel manager. Lucky enough they saw Phumelani Mdletshe. He was from town. I think it was about 10 to 11. Phumelani on that day he was from town to buy a tie. So they told him that we are going this way. They went with Phumelani. They told the manager their grievances. They told the manager that they want him to fire this person today, not any other day. So the manager did that.
Was this before the 5th of June? --- Before.
Okay. --- Before. It was early in May. van Zyl came. He came with his rules and regulations that as from that day there will be no person that will go and see the manager before he sees that person. The problem was that when you come from underground you will pass the manager's office, but when you are going to Mr van Zyl's office you are supposed to go a distance like from here to Nxanthu(?). It wasn't a nice thing for employees to accept it. Phumelani Mdletshe was never wanted in the mine, and this was also another problem, because this guy was the one who was resolving our problems. He was the organiser of the NUM. He was employed full-time by NUM ... (inaudible - end of side A) ... we realised that we couldn't do anything. We were now forced to meet the manager because the shop stewards have failed to negotiate with the manager. They have tried up until the 5th and they have failed, and workers had been fired. And we also realised that - after they have fired an employee we have realised that they were trying to promote NUM so people
couldn't go to UWUSA. There were few workers who wanted to join UWUSA. What happened was that on the 5th we took a decision that before we go underground on the 6th we will ask the manager to explain to us that how are we going to work because the organiser has been fired, shop stewards are not called back to work. Because in Pretoria we agreed on the negotiations that NUM will - if I am not mistaken on the 13th when Cyril Ramaphosa was there we agreed that NUM was going to negotiate for the workers. Black workers were there and NUM was there for them.
Can you come now to the actual day of the massacre and explain to us what happened? We understand the background now, but we are running out of time, and I don't want to be unfair to other people. I want to be fair to both of you, so you can tell that story now. --- On that day, as I have explained that we came to a conclusion that we were not going underground before we go and talk to the manager, and that's exactly what we did. At half past five, because the usual closing time was 6 o'clock, we waited for the manager. We were told that we must wait, he'll come and talk to us. At about nine - between nine and 10, if I am not mistaken, shop stewards were called. Mr van Zyl was there. After they called the shop stewards those people who were working in that welfare department - Ace Mngadi was one of them, he was known or he is known as a soccer star. He is the one who called them, the shop stewards and everyone. Mr van Zyl opened the door and they came to us. They told us that we nearly died there. Now they told us that Mr Mngadi had a spear. We got worried. After that we heard that buses are coming from Nongoma, from Qesa, from Newcastle.
That's when we realised that we had a problem. And fortunately enough we realised that there were so many police around and we were at least relieved, we thought we were safe. And Mr Struwig, the mine manager, came and told us that he's asking for all the workers who are Zulus to go to the playground, there are brothers who wants to meet them. Maxwell Nxumalo, who was a chairperson, told them that if they have a problem those people they must come and join us because we are also in trouble. He called them to come over so that they can come and solve the issues. Struwig failed, and then he left. At about half past one they asked us that we must leave the entrance. We left that entrance to the underground. We left that entrance and we went to the offices nearby. I think what happened is that we saw people, a lot of people wearing tackies, having spears in their hands, and these people as they were coming, passing us, they went to the police and they shaked each other's hands, and that's when we realised that - that's when we realised that these people knew each other. After they were all left we saw another group approaching as well, and they just stood nearby. Those police who were there, I think they were nine if not seven, went to them. Lucky enough there was a certain man by the name of Mthethwa. This man came and he was singing. We were all confused. Nxumalo was the one who was announcing, telling us that it's war, we must leave the place. And then we started leaving. That's when they threw a tear-gas canister and I was hit by a stone. I tried to crawl and I went inside a hole. We were a lot. Other people were assaulted, were stabbed. I was fortunate because when I got underground I could see
because there were lights. I don't know how many kilos, because I walked from Bongla One(?) to Bongla Two. And afterwards I realised that people were injured,and others said when they tried to cry for assistance from police, police told them they didn't care about them because they are still alive. All they were looking for were corpses. And those corpses which were there, it wasn't just that people were assaulted or stabbed, because some corpses had just one wound. What I can say is that these people were first being shot and then being stabbed. There were people there who were saying that they were there because, "You Xhosas, you're blocking the Zulus from going to work or from going underground." And others tried to explain to them that no, that wasn't true. I will like to just explain that. I think what really confused these people is that there was no quarrel or fight between the Zulus and Xhosas, but the employers themselves are the ones who did this. They made us to believe that we were fighting with each other, we were enemies. As I am here I am Xhosa, and Ngcobo here with me he is Zulu. We never fought a day. We were friends all along, we are still friends.
Just to follow up on one thing. From your statement it looks as it the police opened fire on the group of people that were there. Is that so? --- I think I am not mistaken on that. I am not sure how true it is, but there was one police who is now a head, he's a station commander. He was a Flying Squad, Mr Geldenhuys. He's the one - he's one of the police who were there on that day, and I think if you get hold of him he can tell the Truth Commission more.
From your statement it looks like you got shot in the ankle, but in fact you got hit by a stone, is that right? That translation I heard of what you were saying was that you were hit in the ankle with a rock or a stone. Or were you shot? We're just trying to clarify that. --- I think it was written wrongly, because what I said is that police were shooting, but I was hit by a stone. They were using tear-gases.
MR LAX: Mr Ngcobo, just for you to tell us what happened to you on that day. You were also present on that day, and you were also injured on that day. --- Mr Siyolo had already said ... (inaudible) ... Gideon and James Ntombela came from KwaZulu Government. We met with them as shop stewards. We agreed that we were supposed to go and meet with the management. We did that. We negotiated with the management. As we were there negotiating about a case, a certain case, worker's case, Madela said, "Mr Elliot, what's going on? Why are you sending people to come and kill us at the mine? On a Saturday we had people who came to kill us." He was the assistant general manager of Hlobane Mine. He was a shop steward. When Mr Madela realised that Elliot had sent his dog to come and bite us as mineworkers Elliot stood there and said, "What? What are you saying? I am calling Ulundi right now," and then he took the telephone, he called. He said he was calling the chief of KwaZulu. He called Ulundi. He did mention that he wanted to talk to Mr Buthelezi. He talked to him. He was using English language. After that we could realise that he was angry. A week didn't pass, a chief came and three guys. They said they were the
securities of the king. They came to the hostel to fetch Madela to go and answer back about his swearing at the kind and the chief. This was so confusing because it wasn't true. We've heard that the king was going to be a teaboy, and the chief was going to be a garden boy. Every time when they wanted to fight they will say this thing. They came with Mr Madela to go and fetch his son at Ulundi. We gathered together as shop stewards. We decided that we mustn't agree that Madela should leave because we were scared that they might hurt him. This was so difficult because the management had allowed him to go, because they said they were going to pay him. That's when we realised that this won't help, because if we let him go to Ulundi they will kill him. So we refused, and we said if he wants to go home he mustn't go with these people. Because it was so obvious that Elliot wanted to kill him, so we didn't want him to leave with them.
(Inaudible) ... Elliot ever go, or did he stay? --- He didn't go with them. We refused. We contacted the head office general secretary and the president, Cyril Ramaphosa. We asked them to come down because one colleague of ours got injured when we left the stadium, so we said if we let it go this thing will continue happening. Then the general secretary and the president came. The management denied all this, they said there was no employee who was injured. We had to go to hostel and fetch that employee to show to the management and the president and the secretary that, "Here's the person who's injured," so that's when the management agreed that that thing happened. We realised that this mine situation was getting worse. It was obvious that the management had a
problem since from 1983 when those people died, because the workers showed them that there is something that they can do as long as they can get together, be united. And again I'll also like to emphasise one event that happened on the 6th of June in 1986. As Siyolo has mentioned here that we got together and we had a meeting, and we agreed in that meeting that workers who were going to work at night were supposed to go to the offices of management so that whatever we're going to say there we're going to say there all as one. We agreed all of us. We went there early in the morning. The first person that we met was Mr van Zyl. I am not sure what was his position at that time. What I knew is that he was a security. If we were supposed to meet the management he was always there blocking us. We were not supposed to go to the management but via him. So we explained to him that we wanted to meet with the management. At the end we met with the management. We went to the office and we started to negotiate. We saw a group of people, men with shields and spears. It was for the first time in my life seeing that thing even though I am a Zulu, I grew up with Zulus. I am a Zulu myself, but it was for the first time that I will see someone carrying a spear just like that. One person that I can identify is one person. I stood up inside the hall. Van Zyl went to the door and he closed the door. We opened the windows. Van Zyl opened the door because he realised that others were leaving his office through the windows. So as we were talking to the management people with spears came, but in the negotiation we were talking basically about that employees should go back to work except for the administrators, and the workers said they
couldn't go back to work, especially underground. Now, we realised that if we didn't run away through the windows, try to escape through the windows, those people were going to kill us. We realised at the end that it was true what employees were saying. We tried to contact the offices of the UM. The management came back to us and told us that our union has contacted them, and they asked us to sit down and negotiate with them, so we said to them, "We can't do that, because if we try and do so you call people to come and attack us. What we can do is that if you can give us another venue where we can go and sit down and negotiate with you we can do that, because we are scared now sitting down here with you." Then he left, and then he came back to address us.
(Inaudible) ... you said, "He left and then he came." --- Mr van Zyl. When he came back to address us workers took the microphone from him. They didn't want to let him talk. As time goes on they explained to us that, "If you are a Zulu you must go down to the mine grounds. Zulus are meeting down there." And this came surprising to us, because to us it really didn't matter who you were.
(Inaudible) ... Siyolo has already told us. What we would like to know is what happened to you. --- Okay.
Because you're adding now - repeating the same things. You've added the thing about van Zyl and about the armed people while you were meeting with them. Just one thing you can tell me. You said you recognised one of those people. Who was that? --- I would just like to tell you now exactly what happened.
(Inaudible) ... on that first group of people that
were armed with spears and shields. --- When we were at the office I saw Mr Mngadi.
(Inaudible) ... talking about? --- I am not quite sure whether we meant one person, but the person I saw was Mr Mngadi.
(Inaudible) ... Mngazi Buthelezi. Now, that could just be a writing error or a reading error, but that's the name mentioned in your statement. --- Yes, he is the one I am talking about, Buthelezi. He was working at Shaft 17.
(Inaudible) ... time now. --- I think I got confused when I realised that there was a group of people coming armed, and they were being led by Mr Mthethwa, who was working at the kitchen, and Mr Dlomo, who was driving a goods car going underground. When they came I got confused, because it was for the first time that I had seen people carrying spears and shields. When I stood there watching these people I saw police going to them. I thought the police were going to stop them because they were carrying weapons, but I got scared when I saw police coming and these people were following the police. The police were leading them. That's when I saw police shooting. I think they fired three times. Because I was so scared I couldn't even move. A person could have killed me because I stood for a while. I don't even know what injured me. Whether it was a spear or a gun I can't tell. All I did is that I ran afterwards. I left those steps and I started running. And I jumped a certain place - it wasn't that high - and I continued running. I saw a van, and Mr van Zyl was driving the car, and there were people inside this car. And when this car passed these
people were armed, so I realised that Mr van Zyl was delivering or deploying these people, because he knew we were running into the forest so he was deploying these people so that when we run we meet them forward. I ran through the forest. I ran up until Louwsburg. I went into a family whom I know, and that's where I slept. Even though in my statement I couldn't make the events follow each other coherently, I can't even now tell what I have left or I have said everything. I don't know.
(Inaudible) ... much what you said in your statement. What I want to know from you is, you said that the following day you learnt that 11 people had died in this incident. Is that right? --- That's correct, although I didn't believe that the number was the correct number, but I heard 11 people died. But I realised that people who got inside the forest trying to run ... (inaudible - end of side B) ... this made me sad, because I didn't know in that mine that we were Xhosas and Zulus, but at the end, at the final statement said that it was a war between Xhosas and Zulus.
(Inaudible) ... plenty. If we understand both yourself and Mr Siyolo clearly there was no - originally no problem between Xhosas and Zulus or between Sothos and Xhosas, or vice versa. Are we right about that? Now, you said that after this all the employees were placed in hostel No 2, the ones who had been injured or had run away from that place. Is that right? --- People who were sent to hostel No 2 were those who were attacked. They were not allowed to go to these other hostels because people were scared. Management gave them money to leave the place.
One other thing you haven't told us is that you lost all your property in the previous hostels where you'd been because you weren't allowed to go back there. Is that right? --- Yes, I lost my property, because when I left my place where I was staying in hostel I was just wearing my mine uniform, so I lost my property.
Thank you very much, Mr Ngcobo, for that. Now obviously many, many people were injured, and some were quite seriously injured to the extent that they couldn't work again. Do you know what's happened to those people, how they were looked after? Did the mine look after them, did the union look after them? Can either of you maybe help us there? --- Nothing was done for them. They are still suffering, and those who were lucky enough to recover from their injuries they looked for other jobs and they are working, but nothing had been done for them.
(Inaudible) ... was an inquest or a case arising out these deaths, whether anyone was charged?
INTERPRETER: Speak up.
MR LAX: I beg your pardon. Do you know whether there was an inquest or a case involving these killings? --- No, not that I know of. We tried to follow, to go to lawyers, but nothing was done. There was no inquest, no case, nothing.
Thank you. Mr Siyolo, is there anything you want to add to what I have already asked of Mr Ngcobo?
MR SIYOLO: I would like to thank you. I would like just to add on just a little thing that I have forgotten. It's this question of asking whether do we have a case. There were lawyers from Johannesburg, Thompson lawyers, who tried to take this investigation or this case over, and
they transferred this case to Mr Peter Rush. The case was concerning dismissal of employees. Unfortunately nothing was done. In 1987 the workers who went to Johannesburg to general secretary, Peter Rush was called as well because he said he had a problem, he can't contact the NUM union. After that meeting he said things were going to be all right from then, and unfortunately up until today there was no case. There is still no case, and when we realised that Peter Rush is not doing anything we went to see Mr Mahlombo. He was working together with van Hildam(?), an advocate from Pietermaritzburg. Even then nothing happened. We went and asked Mr Mbele, who is a lawyer in Durban, and Mr Mbele did a little, because he said if we talk about dismissal it was going to be a problem. He called people who were injured and been crippled there, because they got injured when the mine people were no longer fighting. They were beaten, and I am sure people left them there thinking that they were dead. Mr Mbele took this case and he filed a case. Some of us went back to the mine. Even though I am not quite sure, I don't know how true it is, I heard that those people who Mr Mbele took their names, and those who put it very clearly that they needed money, and at that time management and employees were quarrelling because they were saying that the management had paid a lot of money to lawyers, and how come they can't pay money to them. One of the employees who is from Newcastle, he is the one who heard this issue very well. I mentioned his name because he is one of the people that I know he knows this issue. I am not quite sure how true it is. It made me so sad that people can just die and not receive anything, and
others being crippled and not doing anything. Maybe Peter Rush can explain what's going on really. And another thing is that I had enough time having this pain with me inside, and even when I am at home where I am from they are asking me how do I survive, or how do I stay with the Zulus. I have known one thing, that if you are a Zulu-speaking person, and people who aren't staying with the Zulus they have this picture of a Zulu person that it's so terrible that they think you can't live a life like others, you don't think for others. But because I have stayed with the Zulus I know the Zulus. I know now that the Zulus are part of us, and I am still insisting that whatever happened in that mine it wasn't because the fight between the Zulus and the Xhosas, and it wasn't because the Xhosas said the king will be the teaboy and the chief will be the garden boy. I still want to know who came out with this thing, because I am also a Xhosa and I know I never said this thing. I got this job because Zulus and Xhosas were always together. One other thing which makes me sad again is that in 1988, if not '89, there were soldiers who were being trained at Hlobane. They were being trained by the South African Defence Force, and in 1989 people died there. And statements were given. I think those Xhosas who were there were minor for them to cause a confusion in that mine. There were many Zulus than Xhosas. So this wasn't true. Whatever was written in newspapers it wasn't true. I still wish people should come before the Commission and say all these things, because Mr van Zyl, the management of Hlobane - Mr van Zyl is the master of this. He is the one who can explain more, because he is the one who knew from where to where.
(Inaudible) ... we will try and contact Mr van Zyl, and we will try and ask him some questions when the time comes so that we can get to the bottom of this story, because it worries many of us. We will also try and speak to all the lawyers that dealt with the case and find out why nothing further happened. We will also speak to the NUM people to see whether that is possible, because they will give us some ideas, people like Mdletshe and others who were your organisers at that time, and find out why they never followed those issues up. So I think at this stage I have no further questions for you. I am going to hand back to the Chairperson.
COMMISSIONER: Just before I summarise, can you just tell us who was the Hlobane Mine owned by at that time? --- Mr Watson. The mine is under Iscor, but the mine manager was Mr Watson at that time.
Mr Siyolo and Mr Ngcobo, today we are struggling to come together as one nation, and to forget about the fact that we come from different cultural and language groups. But many of the people at that time that you have told us about, many people and many organisations, including the Nationalist Government, UWUSA, through Prince Gideon Zulu, who spoke to you at that meeting, they preached a different message in those days, and their message was that there were certain organisations for Zulus and there were certain organisations for Xhosas, and that Zulus should not join Xhosa organisations. And many people resisted that and didn't believe that, and workers like yourself, who were Zulus and Xhosas, they joined organisations not because they were Zulus or Xhosas, but
because - they joined those organisations because they were trade unions and they wanted to improve their conditions of employment. And they resisted this message that we are different. You also mentioned some women who walked out of the hall when Prince Gideon was speaking because he was saying that Zulus should not join Xhosa organisations, and these women were married to Xhosas and to Sothos, as well as being married to Zulus. And they showed great independence and commonsense, and they indicated quite clearly that people from different language groups can live together quite happily. But, as you have told us, there were forces which were more powerful than that, and as we heard this obsession with ethnic differences between Zulus and Xhosas, which was encouraged by UWUSA and also encouraged by mine officials, it led to the massacre of 11 members of the National Union of Mineworkers. And those 11 members, those 11 people who died, and the many people who were injured, were victims of apartheid, because apartheid was based on the idea that people were different, whether they were Zulus, or Xhosas, or black, or white. Apartheid told us that people were different, and this policy of apartheid has left us with a terrible legacy, and we must now struggle to come together as one nation and to find reconciliation.
And it just strikes me that you two people there today, Mr Ngcobo who is a Zulu, Mr Siyolo who is a Xhosa, you represent the best vision that we have of a new South Africa. You've said that you were always friends, you never fought, you are still friends, and you both belong to the same organisation, which you joined to improve your conditions of employment, not because you were Zulus or
Xhosas, and you can all lead us and show us a very good example of how people can live and work together.
So we thank you both very, very much for coming in and telling us your story, and we are very glad that you could tell us your story together today. It;s very important. And we will do - as Mr Lax has said, we will try and follow up these events to try and help you and the people who were injured, and the families of the people who died in that incident. Thank you very much for coming today.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Mdlalose, we welcome you here this afternoon. Thank you for being so patient. You've waited all day to tell your story. You come from the Blaauwbosch area, which is near Osizweni, and you have come to tell us about the assault and attempted murder of your son, Elliot, by members of the IFP, and that happened in April 1991. Can you stand and take the oath before you tell us your story.
BELINDA MDLALOSE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: You have somebody with you on the stage there. Is that a relative of yours? --- It's Lena Mdlalose. She is one of the people we were with, she is one of the victims.
As the Chairman had already thanked you, I also thank you for being so patient. Do you have any children? --- Yes, I do.
Could you please give us their names as well as their ages? --- I am not sure about their ages. I am not very literate so I do not know much about the years. Fortunately it's the last one whose years I know.
What are they doing? Are they at school or what? --- They are older than the one who got injured. The one who got injured is the last-born. I got him in 1969.
This is a very painful situation that the children that God has given us for us to take pride in, and according to our culture we believe that children will always maintain us in our old age, and we always believe that they will bury us, and now that your hope, your only hope, that is your son, got injured in this manner. So we
would like you to relate to us as to how he got injured. --- My husband had just died in 1988, and I struggled after my husband died. Then in 1991 I went to look for some work so that I could maintain my children. And the elder ones were already staying all by themselves, they were no longer staying with me, and i was left with the four younger kids. Then I came back during Easter because I was working at Hendrina. Then my employer gave me permission to go home for my Easter holidays. And when I got home there was apparently a party. It was Baseka's party, who was born during Easter. And my children said they were hungry, they had no food in the house, because they were expecting me to come the previous day so they slept without food. My son, the one who got injured, was with another one who had just got a child and was no longer going to school. I gave them some provisions that I had from my workplace and they went on to show out some of the guests who were at the party that day. It was Baseka, as well as Mavuthuka. They took these boys halfway and they went to B section, and on their way back from the B section, just close to the road, there was a family, a Khanya family. That is at my uncle's place. And now my youngest son was speaking to Mrs Khanya, but Mrs Khanya has now been deceased. As they were still talking apparently the Mthambo boy had an altercation with the boy from Mr Zulu's place, and now when my boy was standing and talking to his granny at the Mthambo family the Zulu boy came with an iron rod and hit my son on the head with this iron rod, and he lost consciousness. And Dumazile came out with a bucket of water to come and pour over my son, who had now fallen down. And there is
another woman who came to call me to tell me that my son had been killed by the boy from the Zulu family. And I went out to go and investigate as to what had happened. The very same woman who came to alert me had already been deceased by now. I went to the scene. I felt very tired, I did not want to go there, and just as I was about the approach the Khanya family I met Mavuthuza together with my son. He was bleeding, but he was not bleeding profusely, it was just little drops of blood coming. He was bleeding through the nose, he was not bleeding from the head where he had been hit. I said I was going to my uncle's place to find out what was happening, and they told me that this boy was talking to the granny, and this boy who came with the iron rod hit my son. And apparently this boy was a member of the IFP and my son was a member of the ANC. I went back home, where I wanted to see what was happening to my son. He was not bleeding through the wound on the head, but he was bleeding through the nose, and it was starting to get dark at that moment. And I collected some money which I had in the house and I took him to the clinic. He was having dizzy spells, and I took him to the clinic. We got to the clinic at about 10, if I am not mistaken. He could not walk. He said he had a terrible headache and he could not walk properly. The clinic is quite a distance. It's a distance approximately from here to Livingstone. When we got to the clinic they asked me as to why I had stayed with such an injured man for quite a long time. Then they treated him. They said they were going to call an ambulance which was going to take him to Nqutu. Then at about 1 o'clock the ambulance came and he was taken to Nqutu. We arrived at Nqutu at
about 3 o'clock, and he was admitted at Nqutu and they asked me what had happened. I related the story. And at that time it seemed as if he was losing his mind. He was confused, and he started vomiting. And I told the nurses that he was vomiting. They said he must go and wee, but he threw up. They wanted me to show him as to what he had thrown up. Up until morning I was there, and in the morning we left. The following day I went back to the hospital at Nqutu. He was very confused and he was still in tremendous pain.
Did he get the doctors at Nqutu? --- Yes, he did.
Are they the ones who transferred him to Durban? --- Yes, that is correct. He stayed for two weeks in Durban - that is Nqutu, and they were trying to help him but they just could not help him. They transferred him to Durban. I am not sure whether it was Wentworth where he was taken to. There he was operated on and they tried to drain the blood, because he had bled internally. And I kept on phoning to hear as to his progress, and some other time I sent people to go and phone and find out as to how my son was, and I sent a neighbour. His father also died in Durban, and when he was transferred to Durban I had some gut feeling that he was going to die there. My neighbour helped me and went to phone, and they came back, they said he had lost consciousness, he had gone into a coma. He was not speaking, he was not eating, and his eyes were closed. I think I cried too much until I collapsed, because when I regained consciousness I was on the floor and the neighbours were surrounding me. They gave me some tablets. I felt slightly better at that time. We phoned the following morning and they said he
was at least looking, but he was not talking. I kept on phoning the hospital, trying to get as to whether he was progressing or he was getting any better. I never even went back to work thereafter. Ever since my possessions have been left there. I never went back to work.
How do you make a living? --- I had left my child who had just given birth.
Let me just disturb you now. How do you earn a living? Are you getting any pension? --- Yes, I am getting a pension, but it really cannot meet the expenses that I have.
You pointed out in your statement that Elliot does not get any pension for his injuries. --- No, he is not getting it because he doesn't have an ID. We are still trying to get him an ID, but it has not yet come back. The doctors advised me to try and speed it up.
What about the social workers, have you ever contacted them? --- Yes, I have, but there is absolutely nothing that they do. They go to certain houses but they don't go to some of the houses.
We will try to get in touch with the social workers before we leave this place, so that they can get in touch with you to speed up the ID application so that he can get some money or some compensation or disability grant for his injuries, because that's important for him to see doctors. How is he at the moment? Did you bring him with? --- No, he is not even at home. He had gone to his sister's place at Hlobane. His condition is very terrible, because at times he somehow faints and falls. I think he is having some sort of fits, because he would start by shivering and shaking then he would fall down.
Is he receiving any treatment? --- Yes, I have tried to go to doctors, but his condition still hasn't improved. When I ran away from Mondlo and got to Newcastle I tried to see some doctors, as well as witch doctors, but his condition is still the same. When this thing starts he looks like he is losing his mind, because he starts laughing hysterically, and then that indicates to me that he is going to start having these fits.
What do the doctors say? Is there any help that he can get from the doctors, or ... (incomplete) --- I do not think there's anything that can be done because I have been to Vryheid, I have been to Newcastle, and there's absolutely nothing that has helped so far. He always falls, and the doctors always give him tablets as well as medicine. That's all there is to it. At times he gets these attacks even though he is taking tablets. The situation sort of subsides and comes back once more. At times the tablets just don't help. These Inkatha people use muthi, and had he come to help my son at that moment probably my son would be better by now.
Is he staying at Blaauwbosch, the one who attacked your son? --- No, he was staying at Mondlo. At that time I was staying at Mondlo. Now, after Elliot's story my house was attacked and burnt down. Thereafter the Inkatha youth kept on attacking us, and they said they did not want to attend school with comrades. And at times they would chase our children down the river. They would always assault them from 1991 up to 1992, and in 1992 they started burning our houses, and that's when people started dying. And at the shop they assaulted him on the hip, and somebody came to tell me that they had already assaulted
my son. I went to the shop to check as to what had happened. He was lying on the floor, and the Inkatha women were singing and ululating. We took him. He couldn't walk. We carried him home. That was the second time now. That's when he was - after he had been discharged from the hospital. It was an Inkatha rally when the houses were being burnt and people were dying. That's when I decided that I had to leave that place, because I was told that the Mdlalose family should go out of that place, it was no longer affected. Jabulani was the chief of that particular place.
Why did they say the chief was going to get into the houses? --- Because the chief had already run away. He was staying in Johannesburg, and they had already burnt his house as well as his car, and his house was burnt down to ashes.
What about Jabulani Mdlalose, who had burnt his house? --- It was the Inkatha youth when they came from the rally.
Was he a member of Inkatha? --- No, he was not. They said he was going to come back from Johannesburg and he was going to get into the houses. I sent my daughter -my other son was working at Secunda at the mines, and I sent my daughter to go and ask for money, whatever amount of money, so that I can be able to move from that place.
Presently where are you staying? --- I have erected a shack at Blaauwbosch, and this shack was not properly built.
If we connect with the social workers how can we get in touch with you? --- They can get me if they can travel along the road to Osizweni. There's a certain
place called Itheku where it's a market, people are selling. They cross the railway station. There's a red house. It's just ... (intervention)
Who's the owner or the landlord there? --- I am not sure about his name, but I think it's Sonny Sibiya. We are staying at the Sibiya site. It's just in front of the bus stop. There's absolutely no life there. I am staying all by myself, and I have had so many diseases ever since these things happened. I am staying with the youngest child who got asthma after the violence took place at Mondlo. We were no longer sleeping inside the houses, we were sleeping in the gardens or outside, and that child was five months old at that time.
What about Themba Zulu, who hit Elliot? Was there any case that was held? --- We never reported the matter to the police because they said he had actually assaulted a comrade, so there was nothing that we could say to them.
The ones who assaulted him the second time, were they identified? --- By the time we got there they had already run away. He was on the floor and the Inkatha women were singing.
We've heard your story. This is a very terrible story that you've just told us. I do not say that there are words enough that we can comfort or console you, but what I can promise you is that we will get in touch with the social workers so that he can get a disability grant to meet the medical expenses for your son. What about yourself, how do you feel? You have obviously been traumatised, and all this that has happened has traumatised you emotionally. Are you going to any
psychological doctors? --- I do not have the money to visit psychologists or psychiatrists.
We shall try by our own means to see as to how we can help you so that you can be seen by social workers, psychiatrists, as well as psychologists. In certain places at the Free State the Minister of Health gave us permission that whenever there are people who need help, just like you, we should contact his department, and such people can be rendered help quite timeously. So you can be helped as far as psychologists are concerned. How did your husband die? --- No, he was sick. He had asthma.
There isn't much that we can say besides that whatever we have promised. We shall try to make a follow up and try to keep in touch with you. --- One other thing that I am leaving out is the destruction of my household contents.
We have already taken note of that, and that will take quite some time to be sorted out because we still have to file a report that is going to be submitted to the State President, Mr Mandela, together with his Cabinet. Then they are the ones who shall take a final decision as to how people like you are going to be helped and assisted. That is beyond our powers. We cannot grant you or promise you anything, but we do have that in our report that you need some help with regard to your possessions.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... you very much for waiting all day to tell us your story. It's a sad story that we've heard, and we've heard many, many stories like that from parents like you who have lost their children, or whose children have been disabled or assaulted, and you
are another one of those people. You have told us that as a parent you tried to do the best for your son, and you did take him to the clinic and to the hospital as soon as you could, but it seems that he was so badly injured that he became permanently disabled from the assault. And he was disabled as a result of ignorance and intolerance. He was assaulted because he held views which were different to the views of the person who assaulted him, and we really wonder how that person feels to know that he has ruined the life of another human being.
But we are glad that you are still strong enough now to come and talk to us today, and, as Mr Dlamini has said, we will be making recommendations to the Government to see how you can be assisted. So we thank you very much for coming in and telling us your story today. Thank you very much.