PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
N E W C A S T L E
ON 12 SEPTEMBER 1996
[PAGES 1 - 116]
Index (Page 1)
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Case No MR/146
Leonard Veenendal................................................. 1 - 19
2. Case No FS/211
Mzothuli Maphumulo.............................................. 20 - 28
3. Case No MDU/003
Mandla Douglas Buthelezi......................................... 29 - 38
4. Case No FS/205
Mduduzi Masondo.................................................. 39 - 52
5. Case No MR/162
Jabulisile Mhlungu.................................................. 53 - 62
6. Case No MR/164
Johannes Hadebe.................................................... 63 - 73
7. Case No MR/166
Sipho Zwane......................................................... 74 - 85
8. Case No FS/203
Sibusiso Mhlungu................................................... 86 - 101
9. Case No KM/618
Vusumuzi Makhanya................................................ 102 - 109
10. Case No FS/206
Dumisani Mbhense................................................... 110 - 112
11. Conclusion............................................................. 113 - 116
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... Newcastle, and you will be talking about your experiences at the hands of the Security Police, torture at the hands of the Security Police, in 1992 after your arrest.
MR VEENENDAL: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER: Before you give that evidence can you stand to take the oath?
LEONARD VEENENDAL (Sworn, States)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much. Mr Lax will assist you with your evidence. You're welcome to have your wife on stage with you if she wants to come.
MR LAX: Good afternoon, Mr Veenendal, welcome. --- Good afternoon. Thank you.
As you've heard it's customary for us to get a picture of you and your family, and before we start you - just for the record you are 30 years old. What is your date of birth please? Sorry, just if you press the red button. --- The 9th of April 1966.
Thank you. Is it correct that you are presently a Conservative Party councillor in Newcastle? --- That is correct.
Having been so elected just in the recent Local Government elections. --- That is correct.
Now, you are married, and you confirm that you're married, and your wife is also a councillor in the Newcastle Council? --- That's right.
Just for the record, you may speak in Afrikaans if you so wish. We do have an Afrikaans interpreter. I know you told us that you prefer to speak in English at this stage, but just for the record's sake we'd like you just
to be aware of that. --- Thank you.
Are your parents still alive? --- Only my mother.
Your mother. And do you have brothers and sisters? --- I have. I have a younger brother and a younger sister.
Do you have any children? --- Yes. I have three children, a daughter of 10 and a son of six and one of - turning four.
Thank you. Now, in July 1990, when these events commenced for you, you were in Johannesburg at that time, is that correct? --- That's right.
And will you just tell us what you were doing at that time which might have led to your arrest and so on. You were obviously involved in some political activities. What were those? --- I was involved in what is termed right-wing politics. I was involved in para-military - I was involved ... (intervention)
It will help you if you put the earphones on, then the translation won't interfere with your thinking and speaking. (Pause) All right, can you hear me now? --- Yes, now I can hear you.
Now you'll hear yourself, and what will happen is that the translation won't override your own voice because it's simultaneous, so it'll allow you to speak freely. Thank you, you may continue. --- I was involved in para-military groups, and the political objectives we wished to achieve - I don't think I at this stage want to elaborate on that. I would at a later stage elaborate more extensively on that in terms of indemnity or amnesty application.
Thanks. Now, if we can then move to July 1990. If I read correctly from your statement you were arrested in Rosettenville, which is a suburb of Johannesburg. --- That's right.
At that time - take us through what happened to you from there onwards please. --- I was staying at a friend's house, and at about 4 o'clock in the morning we noticed that the house was being surrounded by a large contingency of police, and we could also hear a helicopter. We rushed out of the back door and managed to get into the covers of the shadows and darkness, and we knew that the police were there to arrest us. We were both armed, and we were in two minds whether we should shoot and fight our way out, because we felt that we had managed to fast enough move into this shade. And in front of me there was one young policeman, and he was sitting looking in the wrong direction, pointing his rifle towards the house which we'd come out of. And I knew that the only way that we could get away was if this policeman had to be shot. But we were of the opinion - it was our belief that we were not at war with the police, that they were not part of the political structures, that they were supposed to be merely policemen. I could not be part of such a thing, so we surrendered and we threw out our weapons. We were then told to lie on the ground with our hands behind our heads, and I remember that as soon as we were on the ground the same policeman we had no intention of any form of aggression against viciously started to kick us while we were on the ground.
If I could just interrupt you there. Who is the other person that was with you? --- His name is Darryl
Thank you. Please continue. --- We were then arrested and told that we were being placed under section 29, the Internal Security Act, and we were then loaded into separate vehicles and taken to Sandton Police Station. They didn't really speak to us much. We were just held there until about 8 o'clock in the morning, or about half past eight in the morning, when we were taken to see a district surgeon. He examined us and we went back to Sandton.
Do you remember who the district surgeon was? Do you remember his name at all? --- No, I don't remember.
Where was his office? Do you have any idea? --- It was in Johannesburg, central Johannesburg.
Thank you. Carry on please. --- On arriving back at Sandton Police Station, at what they call the Security Branch, the whole situation changed. I was screamed at, verbally abused, I was slapped around, I was punched, I was told to shut up, sit in a chair, then I was questioned. When I answered the questions I was told that I was lying. I was smacked again. And this carried on to an extent where I actually jumped up off the chair and started fighting back. Four, maybe five policemen viciously knocked me down, and they put me back on the chair and handcuffed my hands through the chair, which resulting that I could not get up. I was then continuously smacked and punched, and despite the fact that I was co-operating, I did not have need to lie to them, this treatment carried on. Later during the day I was taken to a farm in Krugersdorp, where I had undertaken
to co-operate and point out where there were explosives. They loaded me into a vehicle with three Security Branch members and they tied a jacket over my face, smothering me, and over that they pulled a Balaclava which was the wrong way round. The whole time since that morning at 4 o'clock my hands were handcuffed behind my back and my feet were in leg irons. We went - in that condition we went to Krugersdorp, where they removed the things from my face and I showed them what I came to point out. When we were finished the policemen, two of them, proceeded - the one held me up and the other one proceeded hitting me in the stomach.
Who were these two policemen? --- The one's name was Sergeant Chris Lombard and the other one was Sergeant Eugene Pitout.
Where are they from? --- They're from - at that time they were stationed at Sandton Security Branch.
Please continue. Sorry, just before you do, what were the things that you pointed out to them at that stage? --- It was an arms cache, and despite the fact that I was co-operating with them they proceeded to assault me with my hands tied behind my back and my feet in irons. I couldn't understand this because I was co-operating. They loaded me back into the vehicle and took me back to Sandton Police Station. They again - on the way they put the Balaclava back over my face, and all the way back they would shout and scream and swear at me. They would tell me how they were going to kill me, they would tell me that they've killed many other prisoners like me, and that nobody would even miss me. They told me that they could explain it so easily. They would say I
tried to escape. But nothing came of it besides being punched a few times. We got back to Sandton and again I was put into a chair and chained to the chair, where the questioning continued, and irrelevant of what answer I gave I was smacked every time. I was punched every time, and my feet were chained and my hands were chained. And I asked them to release my hands and they said, "You are a brave man," and they smacked and punched me again. I had not had food that day, although I don't think I would have been able to eat. They then took me to a cell and left me there for a while, I don't know how long, still in leg irons and in handcuffs. Later that evening they came and fetched me from the cells and took me up to the Security Branch floor again. Nobody spoke to me. They took me into an empty office and there were three black policemen standing there. They were told to me - or it was said to me that they were askaris from Vlakplaas. They never spoke to me, they never greeted me, they showed no emotion, although I tried to - I greeted them, I tried to speak to them. And when the white policemen had left the room these three black policemen started assaulting me with their fists. They would knock me down numerous times, and it was hard to maintain my balance whilst my hands and feet were handcuffed. I don't know how long this went on, I just remember one would hit me, I would fall, another one would pick me up. A second one would hit me until I fell, and this would continue. I was left on the floor. I don't know if I was unconscious, or I fell asleep of tiredness there, and how long I was on that floor. My face was bleeding, my body was hurting all over. I was woken up by the Security Branch members, and
they removed the handcuffs for the first time from my hands. They told me that they cannot remove the leg irons because that is standard practice, and they took me to a small room where I could wash my face and my hands. Then I was taken back to another office, where I was told to sit. People started coming into the office, and yet nobody greeted me, nobody spoke to me. I could hear in the passage that there was laughter, and one of the members said to me that if I behaved myself I might even be able to join them in the bar afterwards. After a while these three askaris and the members of the Security Branch came into the office and they told me to remove my clothes. I refused, and I was again smacked around and assaulted. I took off my clothes and I stood there naked.
Who were these people that came into the room? Do you know any of them? --- I don't know all of them. There was a Major Johan Pretorius, there was a Chris Lombard, Sergeant Eugene Pitout, and then there was a man who was - he was a warrant-officer then, Nick Dieklifs(?). He still laughed and he introduced himself as "die swart kat."
What happened thereafter? --- When I was naked they pushed me into the chair and they tied me ankles to the legs of the chair with tube. They tied my arms to the arm rests. They put which looked like a wire - they put toilet paper around the end of the wire, they wet it, and they put it inside of the tube, one in my ankle, one underneath my armpit, and one they put between my genitals. They put a gas mask over my face which was painted black, and then they threw a bucket of water over me. I then experienced being shocked. Then the current
would come through my leg, then through my armpit, then through my genitals, sometimes they would come all three together. And this would carry on for quite a while. They would ask me questions. Despite the fact that I would answer the question they would still shock me. They would ask me if I would co-operate. I would say yes. They would torture me again. They later removed the gas mask, and the major said that I will sign an affidavit linking me to the assassination of Dr David Webster. I refused, and they carried on. I don't know how long this carried on, but suddenly the questioning and the pressure that they put on me ceased. This Warrant Nick Dieklifs went and sat in front of me on his hinges, and told me that I was a disgrace of a man, that I had never taught my wife and my family to respect a police officer, that they had phoned and were inquiring where I was and how I was, and that they had spoken to them in a way that not befitting a officer of the police, and because I cannot discipline and teach my wife manners and respect they will teach me. And he laughed and the proceeded with the electrical shocks. He told me - while this was going he shouted at me why don't I call my God to release me from the chair, and that I would see that they, the Security Branch, they are God, that not Mandela, not Treurnicht, Terre'Blanche or de Klerk ran this country, but that they ran the country. I could not speak, my mouth was very dry, my tongue was swollen, and they would give me little sips of water, and I would become unconscious. They would then throw water over me again and they would proceed with this shock treatment, although I was co-operating, although they weren't even asking me questions. They then
untied the tubes and told me to stand up, to put on my clothes. I tried to get up out of the chair but I couldn't. My legs could not hold me and I collapsed on the ground. They laughed at me and kicked me. The major put his foot on my head and he said he can squash me like a bug. He called them all around me, they stood in a circle around me, and they all proceeded to urinate over me because they said I am a dog, that is what you do to a dog. Major Pretorius was laughing at me, and he told one of the askaris, "Fetch a limpet mine, then we blow him away." He said to me that they could put me into a car and detonate the limpet and it would look like I had an accident. He took out his pistol and he cocked it, and he told me that he could shoot me right there and then. They brought in a black woman, and he put the gun in my mouth and he said to me I will have intercourse with this woman or he'll kill me, and then they just laughed at me. They took the woman away. I remember seeing the fear in her eyes. They told me to get dressed, and I sat in the room. The major, Nick Dieklifs, they were all consuming large amounts of alcohol. In fact the major said I must just wait, he's going to get himself a new drink. He came back and he told the members, the askari members, to return to Vlakplaas, and he told Eugene Pitout and Chris Lombard to take me - to transfer me to John Vorster Square. He also told me that I must - that I will be going to see the Magistrate the next day, and that when I go to the Magistrate I must not say anything because they have my friends and they know where my family is, and it doesn't matter what I say to the Magistrate I would still be in their custody. I don't think I went to the
Magistrate the next day. I remember staying in John Vorster Square a day, and then I went on the Sunday. (Inaudible - end of side A) ... police stations, and I was kept in solitary confinement in cold, wet cells. When I had asked for blankets they would say that they aren't available, and every day the questioning would carry on.
Can I just interrupt you there for a moment? You said that these - they were going to take you to the Magistrate, and you said you don't know if you went on the next day, but on the Sunday you went. Did you actually go before a Magistrate? --- I went before a Magistrate.
And what did you tell the Magistrate? --- They had briefed me in what to say, and they said it was merely formality. The Magistrate, he barely looked up at me. I don't think he was really impressed working on a Sunday.
Do you know who that Magistrate was? Do you remember his name at all? --- I can't remember him.
But was it a Johannesburg Magistrate, a Sandton Magistrate? --- A Johannesburg Magistrate.
You were obviously afraid, you didn't say anything about your assaults at that point? --- That's right.
Now, this questioning continued for quite some time as you've said. Approximately how long were you in detention for? --- I was in under article 29 for about three months. I did see a doctor in that time, who had treated me, and I told him what they had done to me. He just listened, he never answered me, and he said he would prescribe medicine, and that was it.
Where did you see this doctor? --- The first time I saw a doctor was very late in my detention. After they moved me around I eventually - the last place they
kept me was at Protea Police Station in Soweto.
Is that where you saw the doctor? --- Yes.
You don't know who the doctor was, do you, by any chance? --- No.
So that was at the Protea police cells. --- That's right.
Now, you said - is that the only time you saw a doctor during your whole detention, or did you see one later on again? --- No, I saw again afterwards, but prior to me getting to Protea I was held in Krugersdorp, I was held in Klerksdorp, in numerous places. I had never seen a doctor, I had never seen a Magistrate. I later found out that I was supposed to have seen a Magistrate, but I never saw a Magistrate.
Now, finally you appeared in court. --- I was taken to court. I did not mind. I was happy to go to court. It felt like you got your life back, some form of control of your own life. I appeared in Johannesburg Magistrate's Court and was then sent to Johannesburg Prison, or Diepkloof Prison.
Now, in your statement you say that when you got to court you told that Magistrate before whom you appeared of your treatment. You at that point felt confident enough to say what had happened to you. --- No, I did not tell the Magistrate.
Not at that stage? --- No.
So when did these rumours come out, or when did the story come out? --- When I was held in prison, and I realised that all my co-accused were in prison, and that we were basically not - that we could be article 29-d again, I informed my family and my political parties.
Okay, just for the record it's public knowledge that once you'd informed the CP and the HNP at that time the matter was taken up at the very highest level. --- That's right. F W de Klerk appointed a commission of inquiry, and there was a piece in The Sunday Times whereby a general said that he had visited me to take a statement, which was not true. The only time I ever saw a policeman was one day at prison. Two - I don't know who they were - policemen came there. They said that they were investigating this matter and they asked me to make a statement, which I did. They asked me to identify the members of the Security Branch. They had a large file. I paged through the file and identified each one of them. They asked me to identify the blacks. I could not because there were no photos of them. I asked them if this file was a Security Branch file or if it contained photos of askaris. They said no, only photographs of policemen. They told me that they would return with a file of askaris to continue the investigation, and then I could identify the three askaris. They never came back. I tried to inquire what happened to the case, and being in prison, or being detained in prison, it was very hard to follow up the case. Until today nothing has come from that investigation.
Mr Veenendal, we will obviously try and get details of General Joubert's report, and of his Commission and what actually happened with that. We will follow that up, so at least that can - you can know the outcome of that. Did you actually lay a charge in respect of the assaults that you suffered? --- I laid charges. I tried to follow it up.
Where were those charges laid? --- I was in prison. The police came to me in prison. From where they were I am not sure.
So that was in Diepkloof? --- That was in Diepkloof Prison. I was detained for I think about two years, which - when I got to prison I discovered I had a problem with my vision, especially when I tried to read or concentrate for a while, and I was referred to a optometrist. When he investigated me he said that my eyes had gone through some or the other form of shock, and he made a report available. The Security Branch was kind as to give me these glasses I have today.
Now, you - well, did you ever appear in court and get charged and convicted for any offences relating to the stuff they were questioning you about? --- The case was at various times postponed. It was then at the turmoil of the political events at that time, and I was never - I was actually indemnified on those specific charges. But remembering that two years in prison, and they would confiscate our letters. We would go and visit our family behind glass. My second son was just born when I was detained. He was almost two when I came home. I could never see him or touch him. Constantly our cells were being searched for no reason. We were woken up at night, our cells searched. When we'd come back from visits we were told to strip down, and they would body search us. We were degraded, humiliated, and from time to time the members of the Security Branch would visit us at prison and they would sarcastically ask if we were enjoying our stay in Sun City.
Mr Veenendal, it's public record that you and other
prisoners went on a hunger strike thereafter. --- I went on numerous hunger strikes in prison. Some of them were for reasons of ill-treatment, of the way we were treated, of the exceptional rules that were given to us. There was one set of rules for us as detainees, and as awaiting-trial prisoners, compared to others, and only when we go on hunger strike were these things addressed. Then in 1991, when we were given indemnity, I had applied for bail on the second charge, which they did not give me indemnity, which was refused. We embarked on another hunger strike and bail was granted, and I was at home approximately eight months, maybe a year, and I was again brought before Court. And the ruling was that I was to stay in detention for the Minister to resolve the matter. He never resolved the matter. That was then Kobie Coetzee. I again embarked on a hunger strike, and during that hunger strike I was put into solitary confinement, I was harassed 24 hours a day by the prison warders. They would leave the lights on in the cells, they would keep me awake, they would chain me to the bed. Then they would unchain me from the bed. When I was later taken to hospital the Security Branch insisted that I was a high-risk prisoner, and that I should be treated as such. Despite the pleas from the medical people that were looking after me they never stopped harassing me, putting me under pressure, and after my release the harassment never stopped.
Mr Veenendal, when were you finally released? --- I think it was in September or October '92. Constantly I was under surveillance, and the effects it had on my family - I can still see those scars today, and it makes
me cross. In '94, I think it was in January, I was in Pretoria. I was with some friends. Suddenly we were surrounded by police. I was arrested, taken to - I think it was Sinoville Police Station. I was held there for a couple of hours, no explanation, no warrant, and then just released. In that same week later on I was - my wife and my family were still at home, and she came from home, from work the evening to find that somebody had broken into our house. She could not get into the house, and she went and fetched my uncle. They then went and laid a charge that somebody had broken into the house and literally plundered it. They were then informed that the Stability Unit had, as they termed it, penetrated my house. With nobody there they had searched the house without issuing or submitting a warrant to us. They then told my wife that she may not enter the house until they had instructed her. She had to get permission from the highest authority - I am not sure, I think she phoned the Minister's office, to get permission to get baby clothes for the children, and nappies, from the house. I was arrested in Pretoria, brought down to Newcastle. Never was a warrant given to me. And they said they were doing a routine investigation of my involvement in training members of Inkatha. I asked them if it was against the law, and they told me that the law has nothing to do with it. I was never charged, I was just taken back to Pretoria. Never was an excuse rendered, never was an apology rendered, and the charges we laid were never investigated. I later got to realise that the people we are dealing with is something I could not understand. It was in my opinion people with a barbaric, cowardly streak. And I started looking and
examining the situation. Things that bothered me were things like Steve Biko. He was arrested. His warrant said, "Arrest and detain." We can argue the merit of the political objectives, or whether he was right or whether he was wrong. The warrant said, "Arrest and detain," the warrant did not say, "Kick him to death," and I am sure on my warrant there was never said to teach me manners by torturing me, or any other detainee. I thought that maybe it's time for me to add a contribution to this. What actually brought me about was I one day visited the police station to get fingerprints for a job I was applying for, and there was a young policeman who was taking these fingerprints. He said to me that he is a supporter of mine, and then he said to me that he was - a few days prior to that him and a colleague had arrested a black man. They had handcuffed his hands through the bumper of the vehicle, and then they took wires from the alternator and shocked him. This is not my people. I told him, "My people have dignity, they have respect, and they have honour," and if he was any form of man he would remove those handcuffs if he wanted to be a sadistic and allow the man the chance to defend himself. I later was elected as deputy chairman of the Newcastle Policing Forum, and on a visit one day to the cells - and this is in 1995 - there was one prisoner short. When I inquired they said that it was a black woman that was out on investigation for shoplifting. Whilst standing in the charge office she came in, and I asked her if she had eaten and she said no. I asked the police official there to get her food. He told me that the kitchen was closed and that she'd have to wait until the next morning. This was not acceptable to
me. She had a human right. The attitude has never changed, and the shift has now become from the liberation movements of the left, they shifted these acts and they are starting to implement those procedures, that culture. Despite the efforts of trying to reform that they're just redirecting that. The Commission earlier said - referred to the Security Branch as the elite of the police. I call them cowards, Mr Commissioner. I call them scum of the police. They are responsible not only for what they have done to me and my family, they are responsible to that that's happened to the whole community. Nothing has changed.
Mr Veenendal, thank you for that story of yours that you've told us. You've sat here this morning and heard the stories of other people, and I know that you were moved by those stories and you could relate to what they experienced. I am going to hand back to the Chairperson.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you again, Mr Veenendal, for telling us that - having the courage to come forward and tell that story. You've made shocking allegations against the police, similar to many of those that we've heard this morning. Now, you know very well that many Security Branch policemen in the past, and perhaps even now, belonged - or were supporters of various so-called right-wing white organisations. Many were supporters of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, and in the past no one ever heard organisations like the AWB protesting against police torture which was being administered to black people. In fact many AWB supporters complained that the police were not being firm enough. So there is some irony that we now
hear a very sincere, a very passionate condemnation of police abuse, police excess, from you now that you have become a victim of that system. I am not saying this in any way to minimise the terrible things which happened to you over those two years. Whoever the police torture, whether it's opponents of the Government or opponents of apartheid, or supporters of the Government or supporters of apartheid - whoever they torture it's wrong. It destroys the credibility of the police, and it destroys any proper notions of what the rule of law is. Ordinary citizens who come into contact with that sort of policing experience will be justifiably mistrustful of the police. And, as you will have heard over the past few days, they will justifiably hate the police, as we heard from a young man who gave evidence this morning. You heard evidence this morning from those four people from Sibongile township in Dundee, who were detained also for two years, tortured by the police - not as badly as you were. Yesterday we had evidence from people who suffered at the hands of the KwaZulu Police, who supported one side in the social or physical conflicts, and often participated in the criminal acts which were being perpetrated by members of the IFP. Now, that is not proper policing, and if that sort of thing, that sort of policing persists in this country, we are going to continue down our present path towards lawlessness and chaos, and unless ordinary citizens trust the police, are prepared to work with the police, we will not see an end to what is happening in our country.
So it's important that you've come here and given us that perspective. It's very important, because we are
obliged to provide the fullest possible picture of human rights violations in this country when we report at the end of our period to the Government. And the things that you have told us certainly give a very new, quite dramatic perspective to human rights violations, and we thank you for that. And we are glad that you are now involved in some worthwhile pursuit such as Community Policing Forum, and we wish you well in that venture.
Is there anything else you wish to say before you leave the stage? We are running a little late, because there are other people to come onto the stage? --- Mr Chairman, the harassment and the spreading of mistrust, of suspicion, has not ended. You yourself ... (incomplete - tape damaged)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Maphumulo, we welcome you here this morning. Can you hear me? Can you understand me? Thank you. You have come today with your - is that your wife with you?
MR MAPHUMULO: Yes, that's my wife.
COMMISSIONER: From Blaauwbosch area, which is near Osizweni, and you've come to tell us about the killing of your children in 1992.
MR MAPHUMULO: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER: Before you give your evidence can you stand to take the oath.
MZOTHULI MAPHUMULO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Dlamini will now help you with your evidence.
MR DLAMINI: Mr Maphumulo and Mrs Maphumulo, I welcome you. Mr Maphumulo, you are here because three of your children were killed and one person who was a tenant at your house. You are staying in a township. Your case is one of the saddest cases we've heard, and people who are coming from townships and other settlements they know how you are feeling because some of them have experienced that. When I am looking at this testimony I realise that organisations were used just because people wanted to. We understand that your wife also got injured in this attack. You cannot answer because you haven't yet taken the oath. --- I would also like to point out one thing, that when I am here I am not someone from here, I am someone from Germiston. I put my statement here because I am scared to go to Gauteng. I am from Germiston. Here people don't
know me very well.
Don't worry about that. The President allows anyone to be anywhere. You can give your testimony anywhere. You are at home. You can give your testimony here. How are the children, the children that you left home? --- My children are well, but I only have one child and the other one is disabled. She had an operation and now she has got fits.
How old is your child? --- She is 16 years old.
Is she still at school? --- No, she is not at school.
After you've finished here I would like you to see the psychologist and the social workers that we have here so that they can refer you to the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee, so that you can get appropriate medication. You must explain to them everything after this. --- I'll also like to say I have three children who were left by my late children. I have three grandchildren who were left by my late children. One is in standard eight, the other two are in standard seven.
Are these grandchildren? --- Yes, they are my grandchildren.
We also read here that you ask the Government to help you in providing support for these children. How old are you? Are you well? --- I am well, but whatever happened keeps on coming. I relive the event. Maybe it's because I never cried. I am not well. I keep on thinking about whatever happened to me.
When you see these people after this you must talk about it so that they can be able to help you. Now you can please tell us what exactly happened that led to the
attack and the killing of your children. --- This is very difficult for me to explain. It's very difficult. I don't know how to relate this thing, because another thing, I am old. My neighbour, we've been neighbours for a long time. I was sick, and my wife was the only one who was working. I was with my children and they were working for me. I sold my old stove to my neighbour and she bought it. Her name is Nora.
What's her last name? --- I think her last name is Nora Ndebele. She is selling in her house, and my wife as well was selling. People used to come to my house and pee in my yard, and I used to tell my neighbour, Nora, that, "You must please tell your customers not to pee in my yard." After that we were not in good terms. She came to see me and said to me she is asking me to lend a pick. I gave her a pick. I left for work. When I was at work I heard a loud noise, and when I went back home in the morning I heard that Nora's son went to put off the main switch, electricity main switch at the street, and Nora accused me of bewitching her son. And I was confused, I didn't understand. And then she said I am just denying it because I am Inkatha member. I was surprised how come she is saying all these things, and my wife said to me we must go to see Nora. Things never got any better.
This Nora, is she also a member of any organisation? --- Yes, she is an ANC member. I have tenants in my yard. Now Nora was telling my tenants that they must leave my place because they are going to die. They are going to be burned because I am Inkatha. Then my tenants told me. Others didn't. I kept quiet. One day early in the morning, I think it was about 10 o'clock, I was
standing outside my yard. Two people came. They were wearing ANC T-shirts. One was tall, the other one was wearing a shirt. And they asked me if I am Mr Maphumulo and is this No 147, and I said to them yes, so they said they are looking for someone. And this person told them they must come to 147, that's where they'll find this person. I asked them what person. They said a Swazi person. So I told them that, "No, I don't have a Swazi tenant, I only have Zulu tenants." They said, "Okay, we will see." They left. On Sunday I left at 7 o'clock, I went to Mr Mhlongo's house to tell him that I was going to Newcastle. Before I could even finish telling Mr Mhlongo I heard gunfire. I said to Mhlongo, "Mhlongo, I heard gunfires coming from my house," so Mhlongo said, "No," but I insisted to Mhlongo that it's in my house. Mhlongo said, "You mustn't go to your house." I said, "No, I have to go and see. My children are dying." I didn't know what to do, and then eventually Mhlongo and Mrs Mhlongo let me, and then I went to my house. As I was going there my children were lying down, and the youths was coming out from my house. They went opposite my house, to the direction opposite my house, and I didn't know where to go. And I heard someone crying from my house. I didn't go to my house, I followed these people. At the corner one person by the name of Magubane told me I mustn't follow these people because they'll kill me. I was confused. When I arrived there I heard my wife calling me. I didn't say anything, and it was burning. I saw Dumalile, my child, lying down, and her child as well next to him. When I looked I saw a kombi taking them, two ladies and their mother.
Whose kombi was that? --- Zimani's kombi. It was a taxi. When I went inside Nzimande's room everything was messed up and electricity was ... (inaudible) ... I went outside. It was like I was dreaming. My neighbour said to me I must calm down, and I said to one of my neighbours we must take a car and go and fetch the person from the mortuary. They said "No, police are coming." Police came, came by Hippos. They came and searched our house. I stood there and I was looking at them. Then they left. They told me that the mortuary car is coming. They came and they took Nzimande's body and my child's body, and then we went to hospital. I found one still alive. Sizeni and Gushiwe were already dead, and she had a child. Her child didn't die even though she was shot. I was confused. I didn't know why my children were killed. Nora left, and the next day she wasn't there, and the next day as well she wasn't around. And then I asked neighbours why Nora left. They said no, they didn't know. And then one day - nothing came to help me. I heard people are being helped by Red Cross, but not with me. I went to the police station, and then that's when I discovered that people are harassing me because I am Inkatha member. Then I asked the police to come and guard us because I wanted to do a funeral for my children. I didn't get any assistance from them. People from the hostels, and neighbours who were Inkatha members, and neighbours who were ANC, came and assisted me, and they also came to the funeral. After that I left everything, everything in my house. I left as I am, and then I sent someone to go to my house and take my refrigerator and use it, because I didn't want to waste that refrigerator. But
Nora came and stopped that person from taking the refrigerator. So I left just like that as I am today.
Thank you, Mr Maphumulo. You have just told us a very sad story here. There's just one thing that I want to clarify. This child that you said he has fits, is there any pension that he is receiving? --- No.
Did you try to talk to the social welfares? --- No. I tried to send him to Johannesburg to some people who were helping him, and they sent him to hospital. And they said his mother must take him to police and to the social welfare. They also asked for my receipt, my pension receipt, but I couldn't give them because now I am receiving my pension at bank. I have to go back to Johannesburg to ask for it.
Maybe this thing can be fixed right here, there's no need for you to go to Johannesburg. If we can only try and talk to the social workers and social welfare people maybe they can try and do something rather than going to Johannesburg and waste money. Maybe people - social workers from Blaauwbosch can help you. Another thing that I'll like to know, where were this Nzimande family coming from? --- From Zakele, the wife from Nqutu.
You also said that your neighbour, Nora, said you were IFP member and this is what led to this attack. Are you an IFP? --- Yes, I am because I am a Zulu. They told me that I wasn't supposed to go to work, and I told them that I came to Johannesburg to work.
Let's just clarify one thing, Mr Maphumulo. To be a Zulu doesn't mean you are an Inkatha. You can be Zulu and not be Inkatha. You can be PAC, ANC, AZAPO, or even NP. What I want to know is that are you an IFP member?
/--- I am
--- I am because I am not affiliated in any party. I am an IFP member.
One other thing that I would like to find out from you is I want to get to the roots of what caused the fight between yourself and your neighbour. Is there anything which took place between the ANC and the IFP where you were staying? Maybe you got involved in those attacks. --- No, I was helping the ANC instead, because I would be taken by members of the ANC and they would say I should go and talk to the youth of the ANC, maybe they would understand me because I was an elderly person. And at times I would tell them that I should not be treated as if I was a member of IFP as well as the ANC. I was a member of the IFP, but I would go and sort their problems out for them.
As we've already said we've noted your request that, even though compensation will not bring back your children, but you would like to be helped with regard to your grandchildren who were left by your children, and that you need medical attention, as well as your wife, and that one of your children needs medical attention with regard to epileptic fits. We've noted these requests and we shall pass them over to the Government, who will make a final decision as to how you should be helped. And after we've done the work for the Commission we are going to file a report, as well as recommendations and suggestions to the Government. But what I can stress is that a fight between the neighbours ends up being a political issue and some lives are lost in the process. I think it was a good idea for you to be able to quell the violence between ANC as well as the IFP. --- I thank
you very much because it is true. I will not try to drag the ANC's name through the mud, because the President is not involved, he is not doing what the youth of the ANC is doing. He is preaching peace. And I cannot make ends meet with the money that I am getting for my pension. This country is being ruled by children, and Mandela does not approve of whatever they are doing.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Maphumulo ... (inaudible) --- Yes, I can hear you.
(Inaudible) ... on one aspect, and that was, was there ever a case or an inquest that you know about arising out of this killing? --- Yes, I did open a case. I went to report the matter to the police.
(Inaudible) ... was there any subsequent actual case that happened, or an inquiry of some kind? --- There was no inquest.
COMMISSIONER: Mr and Mrs Maphumulo, thank you both very much for coming in today. It's a terrible thing to have lost three children, especially in those tragic circumstances. In your statement you said that you do not have words to describe the pain and the sorrow of losing three children, and we sympathise with you and your wife very much.
This thing, this terrible incident, happened in Katlehong in Gauteng, where you were living, and we know the political intolerance between the IFP and the ANC was not limited to this place, but it spread, particularly to the East Rand. You said that after the death of your
children you were assisted by members of the IFP and the ANC, and that neighbours from both these parties attended your children's funeral. And it is ironic but encouraging that in that time of grief that people were able to come together.
We know that this incident will leave you sad, it will leave you with sadness that won't leave you, but we hope that you are able to progress, and to use your age and your stature and your maturity to continue working to bring both sides together, because, as you know, political violence of this nature brings nothing to people except misery and grief, and we hope that if anything is learnt from this that it is that people should - despite their differences they should live and work together.
So again thank you very much for coming in and sharing your story with us. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Buthelezi, we welcome you here today. Can you hear me? Can you understand me?
MR BUTHELEZI: Yes, I can hear you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... not able to come yesterday when many other people from Osizweni township came.
MR BUTHELEZI: Yes, I was at a meeting.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... to fit you in today.
MR BUTHELEZI: I appreciate the opportunity.
COMMISSIONER: You have come to tell us about the attack - burning of your house in April 1993.
MR BUTHELEZI: I can't hear.
COMMISSIONER: Can you hear me now? You have come to tell us about the attack on your house in April 1993, is that correct?
MR BUTHELEZI: That is correct.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... story do you want to stand please and take the oath.
MANDLA DOUGLAS BUTHELEZI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you. Mr Lax will assist you.
MR LAX: Good morning, Mr Buthelezi. Thank you for coming and welcome. Before we go into your story can you tell us a little bit about your family? Are you married? --- I have got a large family. I have got 12 children. I have a wife, as well as a mother. My mother is still alive. But I have not brought my family along because they are very emotional, and I did not bring them with because I do not cry when I speak.
We hear you. If I may say this it's not - there's nothing wrong with crying if the story is sad for you, so
just feel at ease and feel that if this thing gets tough for you it's quite all right for you to cry. We don't mind that in this place. At the time in April 1993 you were living at Ngagane in Newcastle, is that right? --- That is correct.
If I understand your statement correctly there was conflict between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Congress in that area at that time. --- That is correct.
If I can also assist you, it seems that the area that you were living in had people from both different groups living together. Is that right? --- That is correct.
Now, you yourself at that time, were you a member of any political party or involved in any political organisation? --- Yes, I was involved in politics, and I am still involved even now. I am a member of Inkatha.
(Inaudible) ... you were the branch chairperson at that time. --- That is correct.
Now, please tell us what happened on the 24th of April 1993, and in doing so if you can just give us some of the context that led to the attack on your house. --- In 1993 it was on the 24th of April. It was on a Friday when Dumisani Nyawose's house was attacked. I think it was at about 12 midnight, and as a man I went outside to investigate to see as to where the screams were coming from, and to see who was attacking. Then I saw Dumisani. He went past my yard, and I think he was going to my neighbour's place, that is Mr Mhlungu's place. When he went past he said my will had been done. I did not even pay much attention because I didn't know what he was
talking about. I had never sent anyone to attack members of the community. Then on Saturday, the following day, police were called, and that Saturday I came to town to buy some groceries. Then when I went back home in the afternoon I found that certain members of Inkatha were going to be attacked on that particular Saturday. And I went to contact some other members of Inkatha to tell them and warn them that we were going to be attacked that evening. And waited there, and then at about 12 midnight I was tired but I was not asleep because I could not sleep, and I heard some movement. I could hear sound of shattering glass outside as well as gunfire, and I just woke up and jumped out of bed. When I looked around I discovered that my house was on fire, and I woke my wife to take the child and run away with the child. I told the children to escape through the back door, and I was left all by myself with Rex, that is my dog. It was quite a vicious dog and it kept on barking, and they tried to shoot and throw stones at it. Luckily I never got injured even though they were shooting at me. I still don't have any telltales of what happened on that day. We phoned the police and they said they did not have any vans, they could not come to my place. When I went outside they ran away, and when they realised that I was not armed and I could not protect myself they came back and they went to my car. They set my car alight. They set my house alight as well, and they looted my groceries. And they said they got Gatsha's dogs. At about 2.00 am in the morning the police came, and when these police came a member of Inkatha was assaulted, and we did not talk much with the police. They went to Mr Xulu's place because it was at
night, and the members of the other group were running away and being chased by the van. They proceeded to another house, and each time the police were running around trying to save the people who were being attacked. The following day was a Sunday, and we got rumour that many Inkatha members' houses had been attacked and burned. That is the sort of harassment that I got and went through, and later on my dog was killed. And I opened up a case with regard to the killing of my dog. The case number is CR 12240/93, and I brought the matter to the Newcastle Police Station. It was the case of the burning of my car, the killing of my dog, but nothing was done. They can laugh if they want to, I do not care. I had saved my dog before, because the previous owner of that dog was going to kill the dog.
Please do not disturb the witness whilst he is rendering his testimony. There are certain things which may sound as jokes, but please these are very serious issues. Let's not make them trivial. --- They said they were killing a wizard's dog. I saved that dog because the previous owner was going to kill the dog because it was suffering from rabies. And the police, after I had saved that dog, wanted me to sell them this dog, and this dog was so close to me. We had a special relationship. Then on the 19th that is when I was attacked by the ANC early in the morning whilst I was on my way to work. Chris Hani was going to be buried on that day, and they had blocked the roads and they said we were not supposed to go to work. At that time I still had my car. I drove my car, and along the way when I was at Osizweni - because I saw the road was full of glass. As
I was still waiting there somebody threw a stone at me and I ducked. It broke the window. That was the day on which Hani was being buried. I was attacked by ANC members. We made attempts and we went to see some priests so that we could reach a resolution, leaders of the ANC as well as leaders of Inkatha. There was an ANC leader, Makhosini Hadebe. He was removed from his seat because they said he did not know how to lead people, so he will not be able to continue with his job. And we could not continue with the peace meeting because at night, just before we were going to go to the meeting, we heard the sound of gunfire and we decided that it was no longer safe to go to the meeting. We abandoned the plans of going to the meeting. At that time Inkatha was suspected of colluding with the police. We were in contrast with what the ANC was doing, boycotting classes as well as work, embarking on go-slows. We did not want to do the very same things that the ANC was doing because we wanted to go to work. They never asked us. They used to direct us and tell us that we are supposed to do this and that. So this is what caused the whole violence because we did not want to listen to them. We used to contact the police, and we told the superiors at the police station that we needed to be protected whenever the ANC was putting barricades on the roads so that we could not go to work. The police used to help us remove those barricades. These are the things that made people believe that police were colluding with us, because they were helping us remove the barricades so that we could go to work. Some of the things that disturbed me were that when we were told about the attack on Inkatha members, as Mr Twala, who was also attacked, and people
who attempted to bomb his house were arrested - VV Nkabinde, Ngubeni's house, Mthethwa's house. Makhosane Mdlalose's shop was burnt. Mr Mkhize was shot. The children of Inkatha members, Thulani Buthelezi from Osizweni, was killed because he was in the Inkatha Youth League, and they said they were killing Gatsha's dog. They were killed by members of the ANC. Mr Khubeka, who was next to Zenzele, was killed. These are the things that we wanted to prevent. But when we look at this critically, Dr T F Mdlalose came to my place after I had been attacked. I never heard him saying that I should retaliate, but he encouraged me to accept the situation as it was. Buthelezi had told us that we were going to be attacked, and he told us that we were going to be killed for all those things that we were doing. And at that time we thought that he was joking, but when it happened in reality we realised that Buthelezi is a man of his words. Whatever he says does happen, because we were being killed. Even now the members of Inkatha are being killed at present. That is a very well known fact, but I am not going to delve on that at the moment. What I am saying is Gatsha Buthelezi has never encouraged us to be violent. I remember we were fighting with whites because we wanted Ingwavuma, and some people in Johannesburg said Buthelezi was delaying the progress because he wanted to negotiate most of the time. Now what I am saying, such a leader is a leader who is helping us. He is restraining us from doing bad things and encouraging violence.
(Inaudible) ... you've given us quite a picture of what things were like in your area. You're now moving on to broader political issues, and I have certainly given
you enough of a platform so far to say some of those issues, but if you could tell us a little bit about what you lost. You said you had a vehicle. What vehicle was that? --- It was a Toyota Corolla. The registration number was NN 17074.
What model, what year? --- It was a 1984 model.
In terms of your house, did you lose everything in the house? --- I lost blankets, as well as children's clothes.
(Inaudible) ... list there with you of people that you know about who had their homes destroyed, or who were burnt, or lost people and so on. Can you make that list available to us so we can follow up? --- No, I do not have the list, but I can try to get hold of it. I do not have the list at present.
(Inaudible) ... appreciate if you could please let us have a copy of that list so we could follow up some of those instances. Since this attack on your house have you been back to your home that you were living in? Have you been back there? Where are you living at the moment? --- I am staying at house No 8.
(Inaudible) ... back there? Is this a different house from that? --- I am staying to where I got refuge.
(Inaudible) ... you old house that was destroyed? --- No, I never went back to my previous house.
Did you own that house? --- It was not mine, it was Mr Mthethwa's house.
(Inaudible) ... opened a case at Newcastle Police Station, and you gave us the CR number. Was there ever any court case to follow up on that? --- No, there was /no case.
(Inaudible) ... prosecuted for that? --- No, nobody was prosecuted.
Did you recognise any of the people who were attacking your home or burning your vehicle? --- It was at night and I could not see any of them. It was a group of youths, so I could not identify them.
I hear you. You've said that this has affected your family very badly, and your family are very emotional about this issue. --- Yes, it did traumatise my family, because when they went to my mother's place they did not get me. They went there at night and I wasn't there, and I was coming back from Johannesburg because we had organised a rally in Pretoria. At that time when I came back my mother cried when she heard gunfire, and that I was being attacked. They went to house No 8, that is my house, and when I came back I saw a number of people, white people as well as black people, who told me that there was a lot of gunfire there. And there is a certain policeman who saved my life, because he never pointed my house as to where my house - or which one was my house. And I thanked him for having saved my life. But my family was severely traumatised, and they asked me what I was getting from Inkatha, because I was busy with Inkatha and I was being attacked day in and day out. I said to her, "Inkatha to me is like going to church and being a member of the parish."
Have your family had any counselling, have you had any counselling to try and help you deal with these issues? --- No, I never got any counselling.
Do you think you would benefit from some help, some
counselling of that description? --- I think that can
help if we can be compensated. Even if we are not compensated it doesn't really matter. God will answer.
Thank you, Mr Buthelezi, I hand back to the Chair.
Thank you. Mr Buthelezi, when you were relating you also pointed out that you have tried to get together with the ANC and to talk and reach one conclusion. I would like you to tell me if you've started something like that now, or you haven't? --- No, we haven't. After we failed we never sat with the ANC. I only heard the Newcastle community had tried, but we haven't. It's quiet, no one is standing up and trying to negotiate with each other.
I would like to say this to the community, to the Reverends, and to the community in general, and ANC and IFP people, that this was a good thing for them to do. They can still do it. They can sit back and try to have peace and put their past behind and sit down and talk. In that way they can reconcile. I will also like to mention one thing. When people are fighting they need someone to stand up and talk about it with them. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... as I said to IFP members who came to the Commission yesterday and the day before, people like Mrs Rita Nkabinde, I said that violence is wrong from whichever side it comes. It is counter productive. It divides and it often destroys communities, and it affects people's lives for many, many years. Communities like Osizweni, Madadeni experienced years of violence, and both sides, ANC and the IFP, suffered
extensively. One would expect people to shy away or to
shrink away from violence because of the destructive and the misery that it brought to their communities, but the thing about violence is that it is self-perpetuating and it sets up cycles of revenge and counter attacks. And we hope very much that we are now reaching a time where people are making a commitment to live together, and that we can start the slow process of reconciliation which is so badly needed, especially in this part of the world.
So thank you for coming in and giving us the other side of the story, which we don't hear often enough. The party of which you are a member has not openly encouraged its members to come to this Commission, and we are glad that you had the courage to come forward and tell us your story. Thank you very much indeed.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Masondo, can you hear me, can you understand me?
MR MASONDO: Yes, I can hear you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... are also from Sibongile township. In fact you are the fourth and last person who will be giving evidence about your detention by the Security Branch in 1986, along with the other three witnesses.
MR MASONDO: That is correct. I would request you to give me some more time because I was the most tortured and harassed person in Sibongile.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... take the oath please.
MDUDUZI MASONDO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... also want you when telling your story to bear in mind that there are many people who will be coming after you, and so we don't want you to take too long and to use their time, because they will then feel unfairly treated. Okay? Mr Lax will help you.
MR LAX: Thank you. Good morning, Mr Masondo. --- I also greet you.
(Inaudible) ... your wife sitting next to you. --- That is correct.
MRS MASONDO: I also greet you.
MR LAX: Before we start with your story proper, just for the record you were born on the 28th of November 1938, is that correct? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... that your wife is with you. How many children do you have? --- I have three children.
And what do your children do? --- The other one finished school whilst I was in custody. In actual fact
it's two, and the other one is still at school.
What do you yourself do? Are you working at present? --- I am not working presently.
At the time of this incident were you working? --- I was working at that time, yes.
(Inaudible) ... work, please? --- I was working at the hospital from 1971, and then in July 1979 I was transferred to the NPA regional laundry in Dundee. That is where they arrested me and detained me later on.
So at the time of your detention you had worked for the NPA and for the hospital since 1976. --- That is correct.
What was your role in the Sibongile community? Were you involved in the civic? --- I was involved in the civic organisation. It was for the community of Dundee which was fighting the oppression of the residents. For instance I would recount one of the incidents. We were using the bucket system at Dundee, which used to be taken only twice a week, and on holidays they would not come to fetch the buckets, and ... (intervention)
If I could cut you there. We've heard about the bucket system from a previous witness, so we've heard all the problems about it. Let's rather focus on some of the other issues that you dealt with. One of the other things that came up was increased rentals with no services, poor roads, things of that nature. Is that right? --- That is true. There is something that they left out. It was the taps. There were only two taps for the whole street.
(Inaudible) ... very helpful to have that extra. Now, you've told us that you were detained on the 17th of June 1986. --- That is correct.
Please tell us about that. --- On the 17th of June 1986 I was fetched from work. Even before then Mr D A Mann, who was the manager where I was working, when it was at about quarter to five he came straight to me and he told me that I was going to work overtime on that particular day, and I wasn't going to knock off at the usual time. That quite surprised me because I had never worked overtime. And he also told some other workers that we were going to work overtime all of us.
(Inaudible) ... this man's name again please. I didn't catch it clearly. The man who told you to work overtime. --- It's the manager. It's Mr D A Mann.
Please continue. --- Just immediately after he told me that I saw Security Branch from Newcastle. It was three white policemen as well as two blacks. They were in two cars. When they got to my work place they went straight to Mr Dunn, and Mr Dunn called me to him. Then he pointed me out to the police. I did not know what was going on. Then I realised that he was actually delaying me so that they could arrest me. As they were still talking to me he told the other workers that the overtime is no longer there, they could go home. Then the Security Branch took me. They handcuffed my hands to my back and they took me into their car. They went home with me and they searched my place. I was in the van at that time and I was pointed with guns. They were following me behind, having their guns. It was a white policeman as well as Zwane. They were standing outside whilst the other policemen were searching my house.
(Inaudible) ... there. You've said there were three whites and two blacks. You've given us the name of one of
the black policemen, who were the rest? Do you know the other names at all? --- It was Zwane, Gama, van Huyssteen, Olivier. I don't remember the last one, but he was a white person. They never got anything. They said they were looking for guns because they had got some information that I had some bombs with me, explosives, as well as guns. They took me out and they manhandled me to the van. We drove to Newcastle and I was put there. We were made to sit at the top of the building, and they were talking over the phone as well as using - there came a certain Mr de Kock, who said, "Ja, I've got you now. You are going to speak the truth here in Newcastle. We don't take shit." We did not know what he was referring to. He showed us a window, a certain window, and said we were going to go up to that window and we were going to be interrogated, and he showed us this window. He said could we see down there, and if we did not speak the truth he was going to throw us down there, and there were many who had been thrown down there and killed. He further told the other policemen to take us to the police cells. We were given two blankets as well as little mats, which were dirty and full of lice. And at that time it was cold because it was winter. We had not eaten. Even the following day we were not given food up until the second day. The food that we were given was porridge, very light porridge. I think it was about four spoons. That's what we had for breakfast, as well as for lunch, and there was no supper at that time. I even fell ill, I had gastric problems as well kidneys, and I was passing on blood. I told them that I was sick and the police at that time - there were SAP police as well as the Security Branch, and
we would report to the SAP, Mr Makhubu. He was the prison warder. And he would go to tell Major de Kock, and Major de Kock came to see us on the first day. He said he didn't care, he wanted me to die, and I was not going to see a doctor. And there is another black one who was called Sithebe. Sithebe also reiterated de Kock's words that he wanted us to die in prison. That's the life we lived for quite some time. I never saw any doctor. We were not allowed visitors. We became filthy, as well as our clothes, because we were not allowed a change of clothes. We became filthy and we were now smelly, we did not have soap to wash ourselves. Thereafter we heard that there were certain attorneys who had come, but we were quite confused because we never consulted with any attorneys. And we were told that our attorneys were present and we were introduced to our respective attorneys. And they had come to take our grievances. There was absolutely no change at that stage. And I was still sick. The attorneys went away. A number of months passed by, then there came a Judge called Justice Cumleben. He is the one who brought about change to the conditions in which we were living. We were allowed to buy books as well as newspapers, and we were allowed visitors to bring us a change of clothes, and we were able to buy our own food. This went on and on, and we could buy bread if we wanted to, and buy anything that we wanted to. I hadn't yet seen a doctor by then. Then one time I was taken to a certain doctor called Dr Wait next to Checkers Stores. I will never forget the torture and the ridicule that went on at that time. We were handcuffed. Our feet were handcuffed, we were put in chains, our hands /were
were handcuffed, and we would be made to parade, and people would laugh at us and they would push us when we were going to Dr Wait's surgery. The very ones who were called SAP police were putting us in the van. They would drive the van very roughly, in such a way that we would be falling all over the place, and we did not have any balance whatsoever because our hands were tied to our backs and our feet were also put in chains. We were being made to parade, and they showed people - we were being made some sort of a show of. Then in November 1986 we were transferred to the Waterval Prison. When we got to Waterval we were put in certain police cells, and I was put in a place called the hospital. At that time the condition was a little bit better, but the food itself in Waterval was so filthy and dirty. It had worms in it, and there were certain insects in the food, and you wouldn't know what method was used to cook the food. It looked like dog food, and we complained to Major Klein. Major Klein told us that we were going to eat the food whether we liked it or not, because this was prison, it was not a holiday resort. We ended up eating that type of food. Then came a certain Judge called Judge Nienaber. That was in 1987, though I don't remember the month quite well. And when Judge Nienaber came we were just about to have our meals, and we called Judge Nienaber to come and see the food that we were eating. He saw the worms, the insects, as well as the mould that was on the food. Our attorneys also came and we showed the attorneys the food. Our attorneys instituted some claims against the prison, but I don't know where the matter ended. But I was later told that the Judge, as well as Bhekashezi Mlaba and
Advocate Derek were fighting that I should be taken to
some specialist for medical attention because I was very sick at that time. I was taken to 'Maritzburg Medical Centre. It was on a Sunday that day, and I was taken from Waterval by Gama, van Huyssteen, as well as Major de Kock. As we were driving they were threatening me in all sorts of ways, and abusing me verbally. When you go to 'Maritzburg you via Colenso, but they did not take that route, they took the route to Winterton. And it had rained at that time, the rivers were full. And we saw Spioenkop Dam, it was full and overflowing, and they were threatening me that they could possibly put me in that dam. But it did not happen, we got to 'Maritzburg quite safely, and I was taken to the police cells in Alexandra Police Station and I was put in solitary confinement. I could not sleep that day because there was a ghost which was assaulting me. I could not sleep. The following day I complained that I had not slept the previous day, and they just laughed at me and I was taken to Dr Schoeman at the Medical Centre. And Dr Schoeman asked them as to why they had kept me for quite a long time until my condition deteriorated in that manner. They could not answer him, and I was taken back to Waterval. And I was supposed to be taken back to that doctor the following week, but they never did. The attorneys kept on coming, as well as the Judges, until they were forced to take me to a certain medical practitioner. That is Dr Breytenbach.
(Inaudible) ... show us the medical report from Dr Breytenbach. We do have a copy of that already. He conducted - he was a radiologist doctor, in other words he took x-rays of you, is that right? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... on you. --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... happened after that please. --- Thereafter they were forced to take me to a hospital in St Augustine in Durban. Let me just retrace my steps with your permission. When I was sick in Waterval, and when I had gone to the hospital to ask the doctor to examine me, I was always chased away by a certain Mr Vilakazi, who told me that I was not sick, I was just pretending to be sick, I was afraid of being a prisoner. Up until such time that I was taken to St Augustine, because it's Mpunzulu who made attempts to get me sent to St Augustine, and he would steal medicine and give medicine to me because Vilakazi did not allow me to be seen by a practitioner. I was taken to St Augustine. It was on the 17th of the 6th month in 1987, and I had gone to undergo an operation. I don't know whether I can show you this operation with your permission. Am I allowed to show you the operation?
(Inaudible) ... just tell us about it rather than show it to us please. --- It's the operation from the small of the back up to the front just below the tummy. They took out some kidney stones. And it was discovered that I was already suffering from ulcers, as well as throat ulcers. There were a lot of diseases that I got whilst I was in prison, and I am still suffering from these illnesses even now. And a person who's been detained before is not acceptable at work. When I came back from St Augustine I was taken back to Waterval, and Dr Naude, who had operated upon me, had written a letter to the Waterval Prison so that they should give me a certain type of food, or a prescribed diet. And I gave
them the letter from the doctor and they told me that I wasn't going to get any special diet. They phoned Major de Kock, and de Kock came to the prison and said I was going to eat the very same food that I was eating before, and I drew his attention to the letters that were written by the doctor and he said I will die if I have to. I stayed for 11 days without food, drinking only water, and the prison officials did not want to give me the food or the diet that the doctor had prescribed. I stayed for 11 full days without any meals. And later on a certain Judge, Justice Louw, came. I also reported the matter to him that it was 11 days now without me having any food. I was changed, I was taken from Waterval back to the Newcastle Prison. Even before I got transferred from Waterval the prison officials in Waterval came together and discussed the situation, because they said they did not have facilities to cook for me alone, so I should buy my own food. I started buying myself some food for some time. It was about two months when I was buying my own food, and they allowed me that I should have food from my family, and my family was permitted to bring me food, but they will not be able to prepare me the special diet. And my wife was now moving up and down from Dundee to Waterval bringing me food. And at some stage she got involved in a car accident whilst on her way to Waterval, and she got injured on the neck because of that accident. I was then transferred from Waterval to Newcastle Prison. When I arrived in Newcastle the official in charge was Captain Westrand. He treated me quite well. The situation was quite different from Waterval Prison, and whenever there was any mischief he would call the policemen to order.
Except for Chief Mthethwa, who was an informer, and whenever anything happened he was informing de Kock as to what was happening inside the prison. And in 1988 de Kock came and revived the state of emergency. I asked de Kock to charge me formally and make me appear in court, and he told me that he would not charge me formally. We got arrested because our community wanted us to get arrested, and he was not going to charge us formally. We were going to be kept in prison. I don't know whether I'll be allowed to speak the same words that Zwane said. He said to me I should undress and show him my genitals, and he asked me as to when last did I see a naked woman. And if I could be his informer and arrest Mrs Mhlungu, as well as Sithebe, he would take me in his car and I would live in the way that he lives, because he had a wife and he had children. And he was saying this in some rude language. I told him that I would not be an informer. I would rather die in prison rather than be an informer. But what traumatised me even more was that my father died, and I never saw my father because he died whilst I was in prison. He came to see me thrice and he was chased away. He tried by all means to organise that I should see him, because he was very ill at that time and he wanted to see me before he died. De Kock refused me that permission. Then he died in May 1988, and he was buried on the 12th. But they did allow me to go to the funeral, and I buried my father and went back to the prison.
From Newcastle where were you taken? Did you stay in Newcastle until you were released? --- I stayed in Newcastle police cells, and then in November 1986 I was transferred to Waterval.
You've already told us all of this. You then were
taken back to Newcastle Prison from Waterval, where Captain Westrand looked after you quite well, you said. So I am saying once you were at Newcastle were you transferred after that to another prison, or did you stay there until the end of your time when they released you in November '88? --- I stayed there in Newcastle until I was released.
(Inaudible) ... what happened? Were you put in house arrest like the rest of them that we've heard so far, or were you charged? --- I was also put in house arrest. I was not allowed to be outside my yard after 6 o'clock. Even during the day time I wasn't allowed to have four visitors. If I wanted to go to town from Dundee I needed permission from them.
Did they also restrict you - you've just said they restricted the number of visitors you were allowed as well. Did you have that problem as well? --- Yes.
Now, I just thought I would, for the sake of the record, read a letter which you've given us a copy of, which is a letter addressed by the then Minister of Justice, or in fact they went by a different name at that time, the Minister of Law & Order, Mr Vlok. Your lawyers had written to say why were you being detained, and in reply to that he said that you were, amongst other things, responsible for the breakdown in law and order in the communities in which you were living, and that - I'll quote here,
"He and the committee, that is the Sibongile Civic Association, exercised pressure on the Sibongile Community
"Council for the abolition of higher house rentals. He and the committee was also responsible for the dissolution of the aforesaid community council by means of intimidation."
Were you ever charged for intimidation? --- This is not true. Whatever Adriaan Vlok has written down it's not true. No one was intimidated by us, not a single person. That's why I can say that if I can have an opportunity and see Mr Adriaan Vlok I'll be very happy, because I will want to fight him.
I think if I could say this to you, that the reasons given in these letters for your detention have never been followed up with any legal action in terms of which evidence is brought in a court of law to convict you of those things. Is that right? --- That's correct.
Now, you've said that since and as a result of this detention your life has changed. Do you confirm that? --- My life has changed a lot. Before I was arrested I used to go to church every Sunday. Now I am scared because I think that the community - people are looking at me as a criminal. Now how can I go to church?
You've also said that you've not been physically well as a result of this. --- That's correct.
You can't work and you've been dependent on your wife to help support your children. --- That's correct.
You said that you've been assisted by an Indian friend who's paying for school fees and helps you a bit. --- That's correct. He is the one who made it possible that my two kids can finish school. And this other one my /wife is
wife is taking care of.
Now, just to confirm this, you've said that you would like some compensation from the previous Government for the job that you lost and for securing a pension and so on, is that right? --- (Inaudible - end of side A)
There were two medical orderlies in the prison. You mentioned a Vilakazi, and the other one I didn't catch his name, the one who helped you by stealing medicines for you. --- (Inaudible)
And the other one who helped you, what was his name? --- Mpunzulu.
I hand back to the Chairperson. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Masondo, thank you very much for coming here to tell us your story. You, as I said before, are the fourth person who came from Sibongile township today. We also had another person who came yesterday, Mr Mzwakhe Sithebe, who told us - I think you know him, who told us a long story, very detailed, articulate story, about what life was like in Sibongile in those days. And when we hear from all four of you that the demands that were being put forward were about normal civic responsibilities, like taps, roads, the state of the houses, toilets, this is evidence of a community that is making responsible, very ordinary demands, and it is a sign of the Government's deep insecurity, and in fact immaturity, that these sorts of responsible civic demands led to people being tortured and detained for up to two and a half years without trial, in fact without even being charged with any sort of offence at all. And it's very sad to hear that your
parents, just like Mr Hadebe's parents, visited you on
three occasions, and on each occasion they were chased away, I think you said by Major de Kock, and that ultimately your father died while you were in detention. You also lost your job of many, many years' standing. And it's quite clear to us that this two years that you spent in detention did, as you say, change your life completely.
You've heard me say to the other witnesses that we will be making recommendations to the Government, and it is up to them to make a decision as to how people like you should be assisted. So we want to thank you very much for coming in and telling us your story, and to your wife as well, and we hope that you are able to find employment and to go forward in life. Thank you very much. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Good morning, Mrs Mhlungu, we welcome you here today. Can you hear me properly? That's good. You, like the other two witnesses, Mr Zwane and Mr Hadebe, you are also from Sibongile township in Dundee, and like them you were detained and tortured under the state of emergency in 1986. Can you stand up and take the oath before you tell us your story.
JABULISILE MHLUNGU (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Is this members of your family who you've got here with you on stage? Is that your daughter? --- My niece.
Now, just before we hear your story, Mrs Mhlungu, have you got children - to get an idea of who you are and who are your family. --- Seven children.
Is your husband still alive? --- Yes, he is still alive.
And are your children schooling, or have they left school? Are you still supporting them? --- They are still at school. Two of them finished school last year, the other five are still at school.
Now, you said in your statement that you were a member of SAAWU, which is South African Allied Workers Union, from 1983. --- Yes, that's correct.
You were still a member of SAAWU when you were detained in 1986, is that right? --- That's correct.
Tell us the what happened to you. Just tell us. I think you said you were detained on the 11th of June, is that right, '86? Were you working at the time? Were you employed? --- Yes, I was working at Lewis Furnishers.
(Inaudible) ... Dundee? --- Yes.
Right. And did they come to arrest you at your work or at your home? --- At home, late at night. We were asleep. We were asleep. It was late at night, though it was before 12 o'clock. We saw a light, a bright light. I think seven cars were in my yard. A lot of police were there. Sergeant van Huyssteen and Sergeant Gama were there from Newcastle. When they arrested me in front of my children they went right inside my bedroom while I was sleeping with my husband. They said to me I mustn't move. They started searching my house. Me and my husband we were in my bedroom. It was cold because that year it was real cold. After they were satisfied searching my house they even took my novels. Up until today they didn't bring them back. They told my husband that they were arresting me. My husband said, "If you're taking my wife she must take the child, because she is still breast-feeding." My child was one and a half years, and I knew it was my last-born. And usually when I was going to Durban for meetings I never used to take her along, so my husband said I must take my child with me. The child was crying. Van Huyssteen left my house and he was talking on a radio with other police from Newcastle Police Station, asking them if they are allowing me to come with my child. He came back in the dining-room. My house was full of police. I can't even tell how many there were. There were also policewomen. Van Huyssteen came inside and said they don't allow children who are above six months. My husband asked them, "How long are you going to arrest my wife?" Sergeant Gama told my husband that he won't tell how many. They handcuffed me. I couldn't even move. It
was painful, and it was also cold. One of my childs put a blanket over my shoulder. They handcuffed my hands very tight. They took me behind the van. I couldn't balance because my hands were handcuffed. We drove up until Newcastle Police Station. I didn't even know Newcastle that well. They took fingerprints. They made me to stand for the whole night. I think it was in an office. The next morning they took me to a cell. It was filthy and there was nothing I could do. I was never given any food. I had a headache. There was no tea. I wanted tea because I am used to drinking tea. The next day it was on Thursday. That's when they gave me food. After two days, if I am not mistaken, I was taken to a certain floor. That's when they started interrogating me, asking me who I was, what my position was, and what were we doing at Sibongile township. I couldn't hide anything. I told them the truth that we wanted decent place to stay, because they used to raise rent and they used to promise us they were going to do this and this, but nothing ever happened. So I told them the truth. On a certain day during the same week which they arrested me van Huyssteen used to interrogate me and harass me. I think he hated me. Even today if I can meet him I would like to ask him why he hated me that much. He told me that I will die like Mr Mxenge, Victoria Mxenge's husband. So I asked him, "Do you know how he died?" After two days after he told me that I had a stomach ache, and I started having a running stomach. I went to see Dr Wait and we also embarked on a hunger strike because it was difficult in those cells. And my tummy was still terrible painful, and the treatment that I received from Dr Wait I took it with
me to Utrecht Prison. It looked like an old yard belonged to a white man. I had pains on my throat because I wasn't talking to anyone. One child was brought to accompany me there. I stayed at Utrecht Prison. I persevered because I knew that I could die any time. In 1986, when they allowed people to come and visit us, my husband came with police from Utrecht. He was there listening to us as we were talking and checking the time. My husband realised that I was filthy. He cried when he realised that I was filthy. That's when he started bringing clothes for me to change. They would allow us only 15 minutes and once a month. As time goes on relatives and families were allowed now to come and visit us. I made an application to a Judge that I was old, and I was - I am a mother. If they can release me what bad can I do outside? Because all my life I knew that a prison is a place for criminals. I didn't know that me, being a non-criminal, I will end up in prison. I never killed, I never stole anything. I wanted him to tell me what actually wrong I did. My application went through. In 1986 I was told that my application went to Bloemfontein. I stayed there. In 1987, I think it was between January or February, my mother-in-law passed away. I wasn't told. I was in prison, and I didn't know why I was in prison. When my mother-in-law died I asked how come are the SB or the Security Branch telling me at that manner? When they arrived there two of them, Sergeant Gama, the other one I have forgotten his name, but both of them were black. They took me to the funeral. After the funeral they took me back to prison. After the funeral they told me that my ring had disappeared. I would like to go back a little
bit and clarify something. When they take you in prison they take everything, your belongings. They take your rings, your jacket, buttons, pins. They take everything -belts. From me they took my earrings. They took my earrings, my ID, my wedding ring, my pin which I had pinned my jacket. My wedding ring, of all the things that they kept there it was the only thing that was missing. I asked to see Mr Alison, Warrant-Officer Alison, and then he was surprised when I told him that it's missing. So he said - he asked me if I was sure. I told him yes, I was. Warrant Alison told me I must make a statement, which I did. He told me my lawyers will take one statement and he'll have one, and Sergeant de Kock will have one as well. Up until today my wedding ring never came back to me, and I was never told about it, and I can tell you it was a nine carat ring. The harassment which I received, and my losing the ring, made me to quarrel with Mrs Botha. What makes me so sad is that I meet her sometimes at Dundee. She is staying at an old age home somewhere in Dundee, and what makes me so sad is that I know she knows my ring. Her daughter was Sergeant Starrett's(?) wife. These are the people who were looking after me. That is the daughter as well as the mother. They know where my wedding ring is, but because it was that time they have never revealed the whereabouts of my ring. According to them they just took a wedding ring from an animal, but according to them animals are far better than us. I want to know where my wedding ring is. I am staying in Utrecht now, and white people were in good terms and they were supporting each other in oppressing us, and I was transferred from Utrecht because I had already opened a
case with regard to the loss of my ring. We were taken to Newcastle in 1987. I stayed in Newcastle Prison, and there was also torture and harassment there. They never allowed me to buy Vaseline at some times, because it was winter at that time and they told us that we were not allowed to have Vaseline Blue Seal in the prison. At times they would not allow my husband to bring me any food. There was a lot of torture, a lot of torment. I stayed in Newcastle in 1987, up until the end of 1987. Then at the beginning of 1988, I think it was in March, my application came back from Vlok, in which I had asked him to detail to me as to what I had done wrong. And then Mxenge attorneys were handling my case. They kept on postponing the matter up until September in 1988, and by then it had been transferred to 'Maritzburg at College Road. In October 1988 they were forced to release me because they had not formally charged me. The torture, the harassment, and the trauma that I went through in Newcastle was just tremendous. At some stage I had a cracked tooth and they wanted to extract it. And we had a fight about that because I did not want to have my tooth extracted, and they were forcing issues that I should extract my tooth, and I wanted them to be filled in, I did not want to extract my teeth. I was tortured, I was harassed under the state of emergency. As I am having seven children the eldest one decided that he should not go back to school, and after I had been released he decided that he would go to school. And that is a problem even now, because Lewis dismissed me and they never gave me my blue card. And I could not go and get my blue card, because when I was released I was put under house arrest.
And my father-in-law died in 1989 October. I still had
restrictions at that time and I was not allowed to go anywhere, not even to my father-in-law. I was not able to visit my father-in-law because they kept on coming to check as to whether I was still at 717. That is where I was staying. Even when a relative died I had to apply, to make an application and report that there was a death in the family, and I would be permitted to go to that place for the burial. When I put an application for my father-in-law they never gave me the reply, and I went there without getting the reply. When I was put under house arrest and given certain restrictions I reported twice a week to the police station. I had to report between nine and 10 in the morning. I had to go on a Saturday as well as on a Wednesday, and I was not permitted to go beyond the borders of Dundee, not even at Umzimkulu, not even to my mother, who was staying at Nqutu. I was very traumatised by this situation, because even if it was the Government that perpetrated this, but what do my children say about me as a parent? The first thing I was handcuffed, and my eldest son, his last words when I was put into the van, he said may the Lord guide me. I always remember those words whenever I think of the time that I went through. The torture, the trauma, the harassment did not only affect me, but it affected my children as well. My last-born is not attached to me, he is very attached to his father, because I left him at quite an early age, and he believes that I did not like him that's why I left him.
(Inaudible) ... for you to remember all these things. Not only to remember them, but also to still be living with some of the effects of that. Is there
anything else that you want to say, Mrs Mhlungu? When you came out of detention in October 1988 did you find that your services had been terminated at Lewis Stores? --- Yes, I had been dismissed, and they did not want to accept me back. And I am still angry at Lewis Furnishers, because each time van Huyssteen wanted to come and detain me my manager was always the one who knew first that they were going to come and detain me, and he used to say the SBs were my friends. And I realise that he was also involved and active in getting me detained because I was a member of SAAWU, and I was also active in the civic associations. But that did not give him the right to collude with the SBs to such an extent that he knew before I even knew that I was going to be detained. So I still have a grudge and I am still very angry at him. And at the time that I was under house arrest I was not allowed to go anywhere. I did not have a chance to go back to Lewis.
(Inaudible) ... that manager from Lewis? --- I don't remember his name, but he was Bischoff or Boschoff. It was Boschoff I think. I worked at Lewis, but I never bought anything. I worked for quite a long time for Lewis but I never got my blue card. And I had seven children. I have never even taken maternity leave. I would just be off sick. I never got my money. Maybe they can say I still owed the deep-freezer, but as a staff member I had a balance of R900,00 or R1 000,00. I had paid the better part of the amount. Even my salary was left behind. I could not get anything. I did not get any of the money that was due to me.
(Inaudible) ... ask my colleagues if there's
anything that they want to ask you. You've given us a very full story.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Mhlungu, we want to thank you very, very much for coming here and telling us that story. We can see that it's been painful for you to go through some of those things again, and also to have to tell us about what some of the effects of you being detained for two years and four months. You've said that you feel that you don't have a proper bond with your youngest child, and that's very sad, and we hope that over the years you will - you and he will manage to grow closer.
When I think back on the scene that you described to us on the day that you were arrested, or on the night that you were arrested, it really is - it's laughable in one way, and pathetic. Seven police cars full of armed policemen coming to arrest one woman and her one-and-a-half-year-old child. It really makes us want to laugh. But the sad part is that you were taken away from your family for two years and four months, and it had long-lasting consequences for you and your family, as you have told us, and your husband. You lost your job as well, and you said that you lost an item of great sentimental attachment to you, your wedding ring.
Now, the Commission, as I have said to the other witnesses, we will make recommendations to the Government as to how we think people like you should be assisted. I don't think that we will have the power to find your wedding ring. We will make inquiries, but this is a long time ago, as you know. It's 10 years ago. We can also make inquiries at Lewis Stores, but we can't guarantee
anything. But it's very important that you've come here and told us the story about your arrest and detention. In 1986 the police would have us believe that they were arresting and detaining dangerous people. The last three people that we've heard from, you, Mr Zwane, Mr Hadebe, don't sound to me to be dangerous people at all, and it's very important that you and the others have told your stories here today so that we get a full and a better understanding of what was going on in those days.
So we want to thank you again for coming here, you and your niece, and her little child. We're glad that they could be here to support you, and we wish you well as you leave us now. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Good morning, Mr Hadebe, and welcome. Can you hear me and understand me? You are also from Sibongile township in Dundee, and you have come to tell us about similar facts to what we've just heard about from Mr Zwane. You were also arrested, detained and tortured in June 1986, shortly after Mr Zwane was arrested. Can you stand to take the oath before you tell us that story.
JOHANNES HADEBE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much. Mr Dlamini will assist you now in giving your evidence.
MR DLAMINI: Welcome, Mr Hadebe. Must I call you Sikulu or Mr Hadebe? Oh, okay, I'll call you Sikulu. As Mr Chairman has just said that you are here to tell us your story about how you were detained and tortured. I would like us to start - the problem that we have here is that sometimes we forget to tell about families. Would you please tell us more about your family. Are you married? --- Yes, I am.
Is your wife here? --- Yes, she is here.
How come you didn't ask her to come with you here? --- I also wish that she was here next to me.
I'll ask Mr Chairman to allow us so that your wife comes. (Pause) In the name of this Commission, Mr Lyster, Mrs Hadebe, you are welcome. How many kids do you have? --- Five. I can't tell their ages.
It's a usual thing. Men don't usually know their children's age. --- The first-born was born in 1971.
Is he at school? --- No, he is at home. The second-born was born in 1974.
Is she at school? --- No, she's at home. The
third-born was born in 1976. He is in standard 10. The fourth-born was born in 1977. He was at school. Now he is at Technical College at Madadeni. The last-born is in standard eight.
Thank you very much. We also like to thank Mrs Hadebe as well, because she is the one who took care of these children while you were in detention. In 1986 I think you were 36 years old, because you were born in 1950. You were arrested. This Commission would like to hear what happened when they detained you. --- When they arrested me I was at work. It was on the 24th. I was working at Consol Company.
What were you doing there? --- I was sorting the bottles. They arrested me at work. Police came. They were two white police.
Do you still remember the names of these two white policemen? --- No, I don't remember their names. I don't even know their surnames. They didn't show me their identities. The people who made this possible that I must be arrested, it was Mr Stocks. They called me into his office. When I arrived in his office ... (intervention)
I would like to disturb you there. Who was Mr Stocks? --- Mr Stocks was the white guy who was working at Consol Company. I can't remember his position there, but he was a senior management. He's the one who called me to his office. When I arrived in his office behind his door there was a police, and he just handcuffed me. When I asked what was going on they told me they are taking me, they are arresting me under the state of emergency, and they told me it's only 14 days, and then afterwards I'll be released. My question was to
Mr Stocks, "How come that you are handing me over to the police, because this is against the rule of the company?" Mr Stocks said, "There's nothing that I can do. The Government has sent the police to come and arrest you. You will come back after 14 days and you will still have your job." Then they took me. When they left with me, when we arrived at the car - they were driving a van. They tied me in two irons at that van. They left with me to a certain farm. They were looking for someone. They took me at about 10 o'clock, and they were looking for someone whom they heard he had been hidden in a certain farm. They couldn't find that person so they came back with me, they locked me at Dundee Police Station. And then they left me there, they went for meal. I was there without meal. They came back at 2 o'clock, they took me to Newcastle Police Station. We stayed there. As we were staying there no food was given to me. They took me to Newcastle Prison. That's where they locked me up in that prison. I was wearing what I was wearing at work. My wife came the next day to visit me, so they chased her away. She couldn't see me. I think it took a month. When we left at work for home for them to search my house, because when we came from that farm they said we must go to my house, so they searched my house. They took T-shirts which were written USAWU, which was a union for employees. They took those T-shirts. Then they wanted to arrest my brother-in-law, and then I asked them that, "How can you arrest my brother-in-law and myself? Actually who were you looking for? Was it me or someone else? Then leave me and arrest him." They denied, and then they took me alone, they left my brother-in-law. After that while
/I was in
I was in Newcastle I stayed in that prison. I think three months passed, because after two months they allowed my wife to come and visit me, even to bring clothes for me to change. After three months I wasn't even sent to the court. We asked Mr de Kock or Sergeant de Kock that, "How come after three months we are still locked up, after we were promised that after 14 days we will be released? Are we will going to find our jobs back?" They just sweared at us. We tried to go on a hunger strike. De Kock came back and he said to us if we continue on a hunger strike he will distribute us. Others are going to go to Johannesburg Prison, others to Barberton Prison. So we discontinued our hunger strike because we wanted our families to come and visit us nearby. What was so sad is that my mother and my father came to visit me, but they were not allowed.
We understand, Mr Hadebe, that this was sad for you that your parents would be denied visiting time, because as a child you always want your parents to be there for you in times of troubles. --- It went on. I was detained until my parents died. They just wouldn't allow them to visit me.
They died while you were in detention? --- My parents died in 1988. My mother passed away in January 1988, my father died in 1988 on the 11th. That was the day I was released in prison. My father died at 5 o'clock after I was released in the morning. Even then my wife had called them to tell them that my father had died. They didn't tell me anything, because when I was released from Kandaspunt to Newcastle I went to the township. When I arrived there that's when I heard the news. I was just
released from prison. I was tortured in prison.
We would like you to tell us more about the torture and the harassment that you received in prison, because some of us thought that you were just being detained, and we only found out when people like you come back and tell us how you were tortured, harassed. And also tell us about the people that actually harassed and tortured you. --- The torture in prison was too much. I was tortured the first day when they started searching me or interrogating me. They asked me many questions. Some of the things I knew, but I just didn't want to tell them because I knew that they knew. I only told them that if they wished to know what was going on they would have came to meetings, because in those meetings which we used to held they were open. Everyone was allowed to come in.
What meetings were these? --- SAAWU at Blaauwbosch.
Did you have a position, or you played a certain role in those meetings? --- No, I didn't have any position, I was just a member.
Why then - why they arrested you? --- The reason they arrested me I think it's because I was a member of SAAWU, and they didn't like SAAWU because they said SAAWU is the reason people are going on strikes. And also SAAWU used to go for civic association meetings. That's why they were after us, because they wanted us to talk more about what was going on at Sibongile township. We were born there at Sibongile township, but we were not happy as the community of Sibongile because of the toilet system that we had, because other townships which were developed after Sibongile improved more. They got more improved
toilet system than ours. Our houses were bad, and rain could come inside the house, so we were not happy. We were not happy at all as residents from Sibongile township. The whites who were administrators they used to promise us, and they use to raise rents and they didn't do anything.
Would you please tell us more about what happened to you when you were detained. --- In detention they interrogated me. They didn't allow me to smoke. I am a smoker. For the whole day they didn't allow me. They were busy interrogating me. I was handcuffed the whole day. At about half past five they took me to prison, or to my custody. I was hungry. They didn't allow me to eat. When I was there when I tried to smoke I only pulled twice and I collapsed. That's when I realised that I am going to die, I am going to leave my children behind, because I lost conscious up until half past eight in the evening, and police were surrounding me, and the prison warders. The senior prison warder asked them what was going on, so I explained to him that they were interrogating me and they didn't allow me to smoke. He made me to make a statement. They gave me food. On the 24th they didn't give me food on that day. They arrested me and they didn't give me food. Another thing, on the day when they - my problems are dates, I can't remember the dates. On a certain day they took me from Newcastle to Waterval Prison. When I arrived there I found Mr Geldenhuys. When I arrived there he interrogated me, and when I asked him what wrong did I do to him for him to do this to me he told me, "Nothing happened to you. You were only interrogated. No one beat you. I want you when
you leave this place to know very well that you mustn't go to Vryheid because I am going to shoot you. I don't want to see you." I kept quiet those days. They put us in small cells in solitary confinement. I was in solitary confinement. While I was there I was thinking about Mr Geldenhuys, what actually did he mean when he said I mustn't go to Vryheid, and if I do he'll kill me. He came back the next day. He came there to harass us. They opened our cells, they told us to take off. We took off our clothes. They told us to go outside our cells. They searched the cells and they couldn't find anything. Our clothes, which were ironed, were thrown away. We were supposed to fix them afterwards. We didn't have the power to fight them. This is how they harassed us.
The time that you spent in detention, how long was it? --- It's from the 24th of June in 1986 up until 1988 on the 11th of November.
When you were released you were given a house arrest. --- Yes, and it was for a long time, because Sergeant Gama used to come and visit me at home, who was the one that I asked that I wanted to see my father. I used to write letters to Newcastle and they used to tell me that they my father is still alive, and my father died the next day after he said my father is alive. I can't even meet Mr Gama at street. I don't even know if I can meet him today what am I going to do because emotionally I am really disturbed.
If Sergeant Gama can come here and say to you, "Mr Hadebe, we were struggling. You were struggling for freedom or for rights, and I was also trying to have bread, I was struggling for the Government"? --- I can
forgive him if he can tell the truth, if he can tell me why he did what he did, because we know that other people were being used. Because of money people would do so many things, bad things.
Is Sergeant Gama still alive? --- I can't tell because I don't even meet him.
You also said you are no longer the very same who you were before. What can you tell us about you? --- Emotionally I am not happy at all. A lot of things happened to me. Police changed my life. Today I can't even stay at home being happy. My children aren't happy. I don't have money. My rights were taken away by the police, by oppressing me. Today my wife here next to me -as you can see she is still young - she is now having high blood pressure. My staying at home ... (incomplete)
Is your wife getting any treatment for her BP? --- Yes, she is. She does attend some treatments at the hospital, and she is taking some BP tablets. It is very well known that BP is not curable, but it's controllable, and she can die at any time. And if she can leave me in this condition that I am in I am not really sure about my children's future, as well as funeral expenses. Because the very same police destroyed my prospects of being a good worker, because I never got my money. I worked at Consol, and I started in 1969 up to the time that I got arrested in 1986.
Were you ever accepted back at work after you were released? --- No, I was never. They just sent me a cheque to the amount of R2 400,00.
Did they ever explain what that money was for? --- They said it was my money. That's all I was worth.
I am going to ask the Commission to write to Consol so that we can see whether there are any attempts that we can make in order to persuade the Consol employers, or your ex-employers. I can see that you are very traumatised. I'll give you an advice that there are people like psychologists, as well as briefers, who can advise you as to how to go about seeing psychologists. I will take you back to the Chairperson.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Hadebe, just two small questions for you please. Firstly, you've mentioned a policeman called van Huyssteen ... (inaudible - end of Side A) ... okay, we'll just wait a second while they correct that for you. Which police station was he from? --- He was from Newcastle Police Station.
(Inaudible) ... up on that. You've mentioned Sergeant Gama. What other policemen were involved in your interrogation and in your arrest? Do you know any of the other names at all? --- I don't remember quite well. There is another policeman who was involved at that time, but I don't know what his name is. I don't remember quite well.
The second question was which other people were detained with you at that time? --- My wife says the other policeman was Sibisi. He was also from Newcastle.
Who else was detained with you at that time? Which other people that you can remember? --- Some were from Glencoe and others were from Sibongile, as well as Reginald Zwane. I was with Reginald Zwane and Masondo, and Oscar, as well as Professor. We were together at Waterval. Mandla Cele was also with me. Mzwakhe Sithebe.
(Inaudible) ... do you remember? --- It's Zulu. Zwane.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr Hadebe. You heard the remarks which I made to Mr Zwane, who came before you on the stage, and these remarks also apply to you. The decisions that were made to arrest people like you, they rested with the local Security Branch people, people like Major de Kock. We know that from that time. And we wonder how these people feel knowing that the - knowing of the sadness and the hurt and the misery and the pain which they caused to people like yourself, who were in detention for two years and eight months, and you lost your job which you had held for 17 years before that. The behaviour of the police during those days has left a lasting impression on thousands of people, and it has undermined their view of authority. Policemen who behave brutally and unlawfully don't deserve respect, and in places like Newcastle, where some of these policemen still hold senior positions in the SAP, it is not surprising that the relationship between the police and the community is not what it should be, and we hope very much that we are now entering an era when that relationship can be slowly changed, and that people can start again to trust the police. But I know that for many people that will be a long journey.
As Mr Dlamini has said we will try and get in touch with the people at Consol. We also have the power to make recommendations to the Government as to how people like
you might be assisted, and we will be making those recommendations. So we thank you very much for coming in
and telling us your story today, and we are glad that your wife could be here to assist you. Thank you very much. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... we welcome you here today. Can you hear me and understand me through the earphones?
MR ZWANE: Yes, I can hear you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... from Sibongile township in Dundee, and you have come to tell us about your assault, torture, whilst you were in detention in 1986. Before you give that evidence can you please stand to take the oath?
SIPHO ZWANE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Lax will now assist you.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good morning, Mr Zwane, welcome. Thank you for coming once again. Before we start with your arrest and your detention and the things that happened to you during that time can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Just for the record, you were born on 18 August 1944, is that right? These events happened to you during and after 1986. --- That is correct. Can I go on? Thank you very much for the opportunity that I have got today to speak. This opportunity I got ... (intervention)
(Inaudible) ... carry on let me just ask you one or two small questions. Are you married? --- Yes, I am married.
And how many children do you have? --- I have got three children.
What are your children's ages, just for the record? --- The first-born is about 22, but I am not sure, I am not exactly sure.
(Inaudible) ... younger than that? --- The other one is 13 years old, a daughter. My other one is eight years old. It's a son.
What do your children do? Are they schooling? --- Yes, they are all schooling.
Thank you. Are you working at present? --- I am no longer working.
And your wife, is she working at all? --- Yes, she is working.
Thank you very much. Now, you've told us that round about 16 June 1986 at that time you were employed by the Blood Transfusion Centre in Dundee as a clinic operator, is that right? --- That is correct.
Please tell us what happened on that day. --- When I started working - on the 16th of June 1986 we were under a state of emergency at that time. That was in 1986, June. There's something that I want to explain. I don't know whether I am making a mistake. That is the date on which I was arrested. I think I said on the 18th. It was on the 17th of June 1986.
That's not a problem. We can correct the record for that purpose. Thank you. --- I will start relating on the very first day that I got arrested. I was at work and I was from Khombe Hospital. Khombe is next to Nqutu on the way to Nkandla. On our way back from Khombe Hospital - and I was a driver at that time, I was driving one of the cars from the Blood Transfusion Services - just as we were passing by Nqutu Hospital, we were between Nqutu as well as Nzinyathi, and we saw a roadblock which was made by the security forces. They were in two cars. They stopped me at that time and I stopped the vehicle. And Mr van Huyssteen, who was leading the team of the Security Police said to me he was arresting me under the state of emergency. As I was starting to explain he handcuffed me
on top of my watch. My other colleague was asked to take out the watch, the wristwatch, and that he should not talk, because he was going to be arrested if he talked. They took me out of my car and they put me into their own cars. And they had handcuffed me to the front, and they changed that and handcuffed me to the back. And we were on our way to Dundee. They asked me whether I wanted to go home or I wanted to proceed straight to Newcastle. They went along abusing me verbally and telling me that I was going to tell the truth, and they were threatening me at the same time. Along the way they asked me as to where Mr Masondo was working, and I told them that he was working at the laundry. They went to fetch him from the laundry, and it was in the afternoon now. He was also arrested. We were both detained, and we were handcuffed together. They asked us if we would like to go to our respective places so that we could report that we had been detained. They took us to our respective homes. They first started at Mr Masondo's place, and they handcuffed Masondo only and they took him inside his house. I was left inside the car. I don't know what happened inside Mr Masondo's house, but apparently they searched the house extensively. And we proceeded to my house. The very same thing happened to me. They took me inside my house and they started searching the house. They threatened my wife and asked her as to why she did not restrain me when I was getting involved in politics. My children were so traumatised by the situation, as well as my wife. They took me to the head office in Newcastle. Along the way they were threatening us and verbally abusing us, and there were also black policemen at that time. When we got
to the head office in Newcastle we were asked whether we wanted to be kept in one cell, and we agreed that we would like to be kept in one cell. They took our possessions, as well as belts and wristwatches. There was a major now, Major Eugene de Kock. He is the one who was verbally abusing us and showing us blood on the walls, splattered on the walls, and telling us that if we did not speak the truth our blood would also be on the wall. From there we were taken to the cells. We slept in the prison cells. The blankets had lice, they were dirty, and we slept on the floor. There was a small little mat that they gave us to sleep on that mat. We slept without food on that night, and they told us it was none of their concern that we were hungry. On the following day we started getting interrogated. They interrogate Masondo as well as myself. At times they would interrogate us during the night, and they would show us down there. They put us at a top level of the floor, showing us down that if we do not want to speak the truth they were going to throw us down. We stayed there without food. All the food that we had was porridge. And we would have that porridge twice a day, that is in the morning as well as during the day, and in the evening there would be no food at all. We were not allowed to speak to each other as detainees. We were told to keep quiet just like corpses. During the interrogation they would fetch you in the evening, very late in the evening, and they would interrogate you whilst you were standing, and you were not allowed to sit, move or balance yourself. At times we would say that we want to go to the toilet even though we didn't want to because we wanted to get some rest. We would stand until we get dizzy and
fall. Whenever you had fallen you would be kicked. We were being interrogated whilst we were handcuffed.
What were they interrogating you about? What were they asking you, what sort of questions? --- During the interrogation they were asking me as to what I was, what position I had in the location Sibongile. I told them that I was a member of the Civic Association and I was a secretary there. And they asked me as to whether this bucket system that we throw, why do we throw the buckets. We told them that we do not do that, but we ask certain members of the community to take out this bucket system because we wanted a better system of toilets. Because at times they would not come to fetch the buckets for weeks on end. Especially during the holidays they would not come to fetch the buckets, and we would spend the weekend with these buckets until we dug holes. And we were fighting as a civic association to get a better system of toilets, as well as better roads and water facilities. And we wanted them to fix our roads, put tar. That is all that we were fighting for. And de Kock did not like this idea of fighting for our rights. He said he was the one who was supposed to fix those things, we were not the ones who were going to tell him what to do. That is what got us arrested. And we were put in solitary confinement.
(Inaudible) --- I stayed for six months.
(Inaudible) ... confinement? --- We were at Waterval Prison.
(Inaudible) ... statement you said that you moved to Waterval on about the 23rd of June as far as you could remember then. --- I was moved from Newcastle to
Right. That's where I stayed at Waterval, and I was released on the 11th of November 1988 since I had been in Waterval.
(Inaudible) ... November 1988, and you were arrested on the 17th of June 1986. Were you in detention for that whole time? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... charged or brought to court at any time during that period? --- No, I never appeared in court. I was never charged formally.
Now, you've told us - just to go back a little bit, you said when van Huyssteen arrested you you said they eventually took you home, they searched your house, and so on, and then you returned to Newcastle, and you said there were some black policemen with you at that stage. Do you know any of those people? --- Yes, I do.
(Inaudible) ... please. --- It was Sergeant Gama, Sergeant Zwane.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, the black ones.
(Inaudible) --- It was Olivier, van Huyssteen. I have forgotten the other one's name.
(Inaudible) ... while you were being interrogated that happened at the Newcastle Police Station, is that right? --- They interrogated me at Waterval and not in Newcastle.
Thank you, just to clear that up. Who was involved in your interrogation, which policemen? --- It was Sergeant Gama as well as Olivier.
Now, you ... (intervention) --- And Vorster.
You've told us that a Major de Kock, and you said his name was Eugene de Kock - is this the same Eugene
de Kock that's been in the newspapers? Have you seen his picture? --- I think that's the one.
Could you describe him to us? --- At that time he used to change. A times he would come with blonde hair and at times he would come with dark hair, looking like an Indian. You wouldn't really know what sort of a person he was. He changed his identity from time to time.
(Inaudible) ... person, a short person? --- He is tall, very tall.
(Inaudible) ... glasses or not? --- Yes, at that time he did, but at times he would appear without glasses.
Okay. Now, you've told us that while you were in detention you were visited by various people round about September 1986. Do you remember that? --- Yes. De Kock came to see me, but I don't remember the date very well. He had come to ask me to be his informer. He was with two white men, and he said to me he would release me if I would be his informer. He would build me a house, buy me a beautiful car. And he would allow me to go back to my workplace, and he would also give me a salary. And I told him that I would not be able to do that, I need some time to think it over. And after I had gone he told me that as soon as I have decided I must contact Major Klein from Waterval and speak to him. Then he would come see me whenever he had come to do some inspection, and I would confirm that I wanted to be his informer. Two weeks lapsed without me responding. Then he came personally to me to ask me as to what my decision was with regard to what we discussed beforehand. I told him that I was not going to be able to be his informer. He said he regretted ever having released me, and he regretted ever
having taken me back to my place because he would have killed me, because he used to kill people who were like me. When he said that he said I would never ever be released, I would die in custody. I said that would be fine as long as I was not an informer. And he told me that I would not be buried at my place or my home, I will be buried with other detainees. And I told him I did not care, because if I had died I would have died. And he said to me I will only be released when the state of emergency came to an end. There were so many ways in which he threatened me, verbally abused me and traumatised me. And he is the one who was traumatising me, and he was telling me that my wife was sleeping around. He was telling me that we are sitting there in gaol and our wives were being used an abused by other men. That is what traumatised me, because I thought he knew something about my wife sleeping around. Even the food that we were given, he told the controllers to change the food. They used to give us cobs, mealie cobs, so that we could eat those mealie cobs. At time we would eat some pork, as well as intestines. We never got any meat.
Mr Zwane ... (inaudible) ... stated in your statement that at some point during September 1986 you were visited by your lawyers, and you mentioned the name of those lawyers. Do you remember their names? --- Yes, I do remember. Our attorneys were initially not allowed to come and see us, but they fought their way through and they were ultimately allowed to come and see us, because even our families could not see us. Our attorneys advised us that they had fought for our families to come and see us in custody, and that our families would
be coming to see us. We were further told that certain Judges would be coming, and we should reveal everything to the Judges, and we should tell the Judges about the lives that we were living in custody. The Judges came, and as well as the Mxenge attorneys and Bheka Shezi from Durban, as well as Mlaba. The first Judge who came was Judge Konenberg. He is the one who got us out of solitary confinement, and he gave us some right to read and visit the libraries and get some physical exercise, and we were allowed visitors in, and that the visitors should be able to bring us food from our places. All those rights we got through those judges, and even the ones who wanted to further their education in custody, they were allowed to further their education. I am one of the people who took that opportunity, and I studied my matric through Damelin. Other attorneys also came, as Mr Lyster. I think he can remember coming there, because we were under him. There were other attorneys as well. These were the attorneys who fought for our rights.
(Inaudible) ... 1988, is that right? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... happened once you were released? --- Ever since I had been detained I have got these panic attacks, I've got anger, I've got intolerance, I am very insensitive. I am very angry inside and I fight. I like fighting because I also fought with the boers when I was in custody. And I still have that within me, I still have that anger. Whenever a person speaks to me in a certain manner I still feel I am a laughing stock, I am still being laughed at, because I lost my job and I could not go back to my job, and we struggled thereafter. We
had been dismissed from our workplaces, and when we asked de Kock to assist us in getting our blue cards, because we were no longer employed, he told us that we knew nothing about the blue cards. As I was a member of the unions I knew that I was supposed to get my blue card. We were stripped of our rights. Even after the Judges had requested that we should write some letters to our former employers de Kock refused us that permission.
(Inaudible) ... told us in your statement that when you came out of prison they put you under house arrest for a while, where you had to do reporting every day. Do you remember that? --- That is correct. They put me under house arrest. I was not allowed to go anywhere, and I had to report twice a week that I was still around Dundee.
(Inaudible) --- It was almost three months, if I am not mistaken, but I don't remember quite well. One other thing that disturbed me was that after I had got a job at Consol they went to Consol and they smeared and spoiled my name that I should not be hired because I was a troublemaker.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, it's Major de Kock.
(Inaudible) ... job at Consol? --- Luckily I was dismissed for only one day, and the following day I was called once more to come and work.
(Inaudible) ... working at Consol? --- I started working in 1989, that is June 1989, and I stopped this year in April.
(Inaudible) ... or anything like that? --- Yes, I did get my pension.
In your statement you said that you were paid R3 000,00, and you felt that that wasn't enough. What was
that about? Where did that money come from? --- Where I was working before, that is where I got dismissed whilst I was in prison. I was given R3 000,00. They said that was my pension money, and I had worked there for 18 years. That also troubled me, that after working for 18 years, getting dismissed and getting R3 000,00 after so many years of working.
Mr Zwane, thank you very much for telling us your story. You have given us a picture of what it was like to be detained during the state of emergency, and of the kinds of things which the police would do to people like yourself, who were activists and working for human rights in the townships at that time. I am going to hand you back to the Chairperson to see whether any of my colleagues want to ask any questions.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr Zwane. If I remember correctly the last time I saw you was when I came to see you in detention at Waterval Prison, where you were being held with Mandla Chelae and Professor Sibankhulu from Newcastle. The story which you have been told could have been told my thousands of people around this country around those years, 1986/87, after the declaration of the state of emergency. Thousands of people were detained for lengthy periods, and in many areas it was standard practice for people to be assaulted and tortured, sometimes even before they were interrogated. If we think of a place like St Alban's Prison in Port Elizabeth, it was revealed in that place in a Supreme Court interdict which was brought with the assistance of a district surgeon, Dr Wendy Orr, that several hundred detainees were
routinely assaulted and tortured on entering the prison, even before they were interrogated. And when we think of senior members of the police force, the so-called elite Security Branch, armed policemen, detaining people like yourself because they wanted the Town Council of Dundee to change from an old fashioned bucket toilet system to a more modern system, it's so ridiculous that it's almost laughable. But what is not laughable is that people like yourself were detained, interrogated and tortured, locked up for six months, and you lost your job.
So, as Mr Lax has said, you have given us a very clear picture of what those times were like in places like Dundee, Newcastle, Waterval, and we will be hearing evidence from other people today who were detained and tortured in the same way as you were, and the remarks that I have made now to you also apply very much to them. We don't have the power to give you compensation as a Commission, but we have the power to make recommendations to the Government, and they will decide whether people like you should be assisted.
So thank you very much for coming in and talking to us today, giving us that clear story. Thank you. --- I also thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Sibusiso, welcome here today. Can you hear me and understand me okay?
MR MHLUNGU: Yes, I can hear you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... Osizweni, and you have come to tell us about the time in 1987/1988 when you were arrested, detained, tortured by the South African Police. You have come with someone today. Who is that who is with you?
MR MHLUNGU: It's my mother.
COMMISSIONER: That's your mother. Welcome to her. Before you tell us your story can you take the oath, can you stand up and take the oath.
SIBUSISO MHLUNGU (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Now, you've said in your statement, just by way of background, that you were politically active here in Newcastle from in the late 80s, 1988. --- That is correct.
At that stage, during the time of your arrest, were you working, or were you a scholar, or what were you doing? --- I had finished school.
And you said that because of your political activism here, and the arrest of some of your friends, that you decided to leave Newcastle, is that right? You went to Utrecht. --- That is correct. It was in 1986.
Okay. Do you want to tell us the story from that time? --- Yes, I can start from that time.
(Inaudible) ... tell us something about your family. You're here today with your mother. Do you have brothers and sisters? --- I do have a mother, she is sitting right next to me. Her name is Lindiwe. I have two
brothers who come after me. I am the first-born. The second-born is Thulani, and the third one is Caspian. We are all members of the African National Congress at home. I am also one of the prominent members in the African National Congress, as well as in the South African Communist Party, and I was involved in peace as well as crisis committees, and I was one of the founder members. I was also sent by the South African Communist party to go and represent it in the Peace Committee in Newcastle. Presently I am working at the Osizweni Development Forum, and I am sitting as the head of opportunity for job opportunities. From 1991, when I came back to Newcastle, I got involved in a workers union known as NAAWU. That's where I worked as a volunteer from 1991 up to 1993.
(Inaudible) ... picture of your life, and who you are and what you have been doing. Now, this incident which you talk about in your statement happened in 1987, was it, when you were arrested? --- 27 April 1988.
All right. Can you tell us what happened on that day? --- It was on a Wednesday on the 27th of April 1988. The Security Police came to my place. They were wearing Balaclavas and they had disguised themselves. They were wearing gloves as well, but they were speaking Afrikaans and I could not identify them whether they were white or they were black. The cars in which they were driving - I still remember the car in which I was put. That is an white Ford Sierra. And there was another one, a kombi, which I could not see the colour but it was a Ford Husky. I was taken from home on that particular day, and it was just after 10.00 pm. I think it was 20 past 10. I was taken to the Newcastle Police Station, and just
before we got there I was made to take off my coat, the coat that they said I should wear earlier on because it was cold. They had told my parents that they would bring me back. They wanted me to show them something and they were going to take me back home. What happened in that night was that when I got to the police station I was told to take off this coat and cover my face, and I was taken out of the car. I had to go and follow them as they were going, because I could hear their footsteps. But what I did not notice was what sort of a place that I was walking on, because it was for the first time for me to be in that place. I did not know whether it was a flat place or there were a flight of stairs, because I would go up a flight of stairs, and the next moment I was on a flat surface. And at some stage I fell, and after falling I was manhandled and kicked, and I was told that I could see that I was walking on a flight of stairs. But I do not know how they expected me to see the way because my face was covered. That's then that I noticed that the place had a flight of stairs. I was put in a certain room which I do not know whether it was an office, and I was blindfolded with a damp cloth on the eyes and I was taken to another place. When I got there I was told to kneel down on my knees, and when I knelt on my knees that's when I felt something hitting me on the chest. I thought it could probably be a shoe, somebody was kicking me, but I could not really detect what it was. And some people were speaking at that time and I could hear their voices when they were assaulting me. And they were saying that they had found the problem. And they asked me as to what I knew about the death of a certain Sergeant Mazibuko, and
what part I was playing in these political organisations. I would like to retrace my steps and tell you about the Osizweni Youth Organisation. We were three when we founded this organisation, but some of the people who were involved in fighting for the freedom of a black man, who were Thembinkosi and Basil, and at that time they had been arrested. We made contact. We wrote letters to each other. That is how I got information as to how we could form certain organisations. That is how we founded or started the Osizweni Organisation, and it was known as OYO by the community. And OYO was a very powerful organisation which threatened the Government at that time. When I was at the police station they wanted me to tell them as to what I knew about the death of that policeman. It was very clear to me that there were a lot of things that were needed, because what they told me at that time was that as from 1986, when Thembinkosi and Basil were arrested, they were trying to follow me up. They even got rumour that I was detained in Swaziland for public violence, because I was trying to skip the country. And I did not know how they got that information because it was some secret information between us as members. I went on to explain to them that I did not have any knowledge as to the death of that policeman, and who killed the policeman. I was tortured even further when I denied any knowledge. I was tortured and interrogated up until the following morning when the new shift, that is the morning shift, was coming to work. I had not seen some of them, but I could hear their names when they were calling each other. Basson was one of them, also Venter, and I could hear them calling Simelane. On the following day, that
was now on the 28th, that's when the situation started changing, and I was forced to talk and interrogated. I was forced to fabricate a statement with regard to the death of the policeman. That is during that night when I was given something. I don't know what it was, it was an equipment or an apparatus which was used to electrocute me, and it electrocuted me. I fell down, and I was manhandled, kicked and assaulted a that time. And during the day I was handcuffed. My feet were put on chains and I was taken back home. I was told that I should show them the weapons with which I had killed the policeman. I was being threatened that even though my colleagues were arrested I was going to be taken in also, and I was going to be hung by the neck. They started searching my place extensively, looking for certain weapons which they did not get. They also took some of my important documents, as well as my matric certificate as well as birth certificate, which were never recovered up until now. They took me back to the police station and they told me that they were going to arrest me. When we got to the police station all of the people who were in that office went outside and left me all by myself in that office, and they came back. They said I should tell them as to how I had killed Mazibuko, and at that time I did not even know Mazibuko. I don't even know Mazibuko today. I continued being harassed, and when they realised that I knew nothing about the death of Mazibuko they said to me I should tell them about the organisation, as well as the strategies employed by Osizweni Youth Organisation. And I could not disclose such information because I knew that the objectives, as well as the strategies upon which this
organisation was based - our main objective was that we wanted to achieve national democracy, and we were busy with all the communities, white as well as black communities. And I could not understand as to why they felt threatened by this organisation, and I declined to disclose any further information, and that's what led to my torture. I was asked as to how I was feeling physically. I told them that I was not feeling fine. I was further asked whether I wanted to see a doctor. I told them that if they wanted to take me to a doctor they could, and if they didn't want to they might as well not do it. I was taken from that place on that particular day and I was abandoned next to Public Works. And I think the distance could be about two kilometres from that place to my place, and I could not walk because I had been severely beaten. Luckily I arrived at my place and I collapsed thereafter. The following day I was taken by my mother, as well as my brother, Oliver. They took me to the doctor, and when I got to the doctor the doctor said there was nothing he could do, he could not help me, and he referred me to the hospital. I collapsed thereafter, I lost my consciousness. I was discharged from the hospital. I don't know even remember how many days I stayed at the hospital. And they came once more to my place and they asked me what my intentions were with regard to politics, whether I wanted to work with them as an informer or I wanted to continue with my political organisation. And they said to me they had the powers to influence my comrades to turn against me and be State witnesses. And I could see that that was a threat, and I was not going to be intimidated. After some days
Mr Simelane came, and I was with Comrade Thulani at that time. And he was the one who used to come to my place, because my other comrades were scared to associate with me because they feared being arrested, and they could not talk to me because they were scared that they would be victimised also. When Simelane came to my place for the second time that's when I realised that as they were doing this I was going to end up getting annoyed, because they never got the weapons that they were looking for. Now I was living like at animal which was hunted by the predators, and I felt fed up and I screamed at them, and they said they were going to laugh last. Quite a few days thereafter I could feel that I was physically not well. I went twice to the hospital to tell them that there was something wrong. The doctor on duty on that particular day took me and eh examined me. He said there was nothing wrong with me, and even on the second occasion he told me there was nothing that he could see wrong with me. The only doctor who helped me was Dr Denis, and presently I still go to Dr Denis, but now he is on pension, he has retired. But due to the changes that took place in my body I realised that I could no longer stay in Newcastle because my condition was deteriorating. I told my mother to phone my father so that he could come and see what he could do with the situation, and he took me with. (Pause) He was from Johannesburg. That's where he stays. He came and he took me with to Johannesburg, and he tried to get me some medical attention. I was taken to the Baragwanath Hospital, and I couldn't relieve myself. And I don't remember what happened thereafter, but I regained my consciousness at the ICU. There is a tube that was
inserted and it was full of blood. I think that's the tube they used for me to relieve myself. But the most traumatising experience that made me to come before this Commission is that - it is not important that I was tortured, or how I was tortured, but what I want to put before this Commission is that this harassment resulted from the fight for freedom. We wanted our people to be liberated from the oppressors, and my friends were also fighting to protect whatever they had. That is not very important also, but I want to point out that thereafter I saw human rights attorneys, that is Priscilla Jana & Attorneys. They are also based in Johannesburg. They are the ones who continued with the case, and the case was taken to the Attorney-General, and the Attorney-General said the case may be prosecuted. The case went on for a year. It started in 1990, but I don't remember the date very well. The case went on, but the judicial system in Newcastle, as well as the judicial system in South Africa as a whole, was corrupt, because when the case was supposed to be finalised I was never contacted so that I could institute civil proceedings thereafter, and I was never told about the outcome of the case. This is what traumatised me even more. If I had the means or the money I would have instituted the proceedings in a Supreme Court, but because I do not have money I did not continue with the case. I shall request this honourable Commission to find out from the Magistrate, Mr Bruwer, as to how he reached the final decision or finalised the case without ever having told me, and without me appearing before the Court, because I later on received a certain document that the police did not give enough evidence that I was
injured, and I also did not give satisfactory testimony
that I had been injured by the police. But what surprises me in this whole matter is that this sounds as a joke, because I have never heard of a case where it is said there is a draw in a case. Because different testimonies were given by psychiatrists as well as doctors who treated me at that time when I was injured, but despite all the evidence that was given they said it was not sufficient.
(Inaudible) ... have any medical documents from that case which describe the condition that you developed following your torture? Do you have any documents that can give us a better understanding of what happened? You said that there was evidence from psychiatrists. --- If I remember quite well I do have certain documents, but they are with my attorneys, because most of the documents were taken by the attorneys except for the Madadeni Hospital, where I was sent by my attorneys to ask for the documents. I was told that the documents had been lost, and I still wish to know as to whether the records of the hospital do get lost whenever there's an investigation.
(Inaudible) ... your attorney we would very much like to see those, you see. As you probably heard me saying to other witnesses, it's our job to make recommendations to the Government about how people like you, who get affected in this way, should be assisted, and it would help us very much if we were able to have access to those documents so that we know how you have been affected by this torture, and we can then make recommendations as to how you should be assisted. So if you can get those documents to us, you know where we are, you know our address, we would like you very much to send
us those documents. Now, are you - you said earlier on
when you started your evidence that you were working in Osizweni for the Development Forum, and you were represented on the local Peace Forum. Are you able to function properly from day to day? Do you find that you are still affected in your daily life? How are you at the moment? --- What I can say is most of the things that happened I try to forget them in order to be able to cope with my daily duties. As I have said before, it was not because we were in good terms, or asking for something, we were demanding our freedom. That's why I am saying I am trying to forget in order to heal myself, but it's not easy for me, so it still traumatises me. I was advised by the psychiatrist that I should keep myself busy so that I could not think or occupy myself with the thoughts of the torture. Maybe these are the reasons that help me cope.
Just to get some details of that torture itself, was - the main part of the torture was it electric shocks? Was that what it was as far as you can remember? You mentioned here that throughout the night while you were handcuffed they beat you, the kicked you, and the electrocuted you. Is that correct? --- They electrocuted me, and it was not clearly written in that statement because the electrocution started on the following day. On the first day they were just assaulting me, kicking me and hitting me with their fists.
The electrocution started on the second day, is that right? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... the names of any of the policemen who were involved in that? --- I did give a list of the policemen that I still remember.
Is that Simelane, Captain Pelser, Basson, Nkosi, and
then there's a name - is it Ndlamenzi? --- Ndlamalenzi.
(Inaudible) --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... Sibusiso, to what you've already said? --- Yes, there is something that I would like to add. After we had started arranging meetings for Peace Accord at Osizweni I was the one who was harassed at that time. I think that emanates from that time that ... (inaudible - end of side A) ... follow this up I could not get an explanation as to how the case was finalised. Nobody told me anything about the case. Now this is another thing that disturbs me, because I was looked upon as a criminal by the community for having killed certain policemen, because I was taken to be a very violent person, and a killer as well. But I don't know what made them keep on coming to me whenever there was a policeman who was killed or who was injured. I think this emanates from my past that they kept on accusing me, and it's still continued.
MR DLAMINI: Sibusiso, you have requested to be assisted with regard to your education. What standard did you leave school? --- I got my matriculation certificate.
Did you undertake any studies? --- Yes, I am doing some courses. I am doing computerised business management.
Is it this course that you are requesting to be assisted? --- Yes, I do have some other courses in which I would like to be assisted. I would like to do a Bachelor in Business Administration.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... to add to what you have said? She doesn't have to at all. If she says something she must take the oath. Mrs Mhlungu, do you want to say something?
MRS MHLUNGU: Yes, I would like to say something.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... to add something to what Sibusiso has said. Can you stand to take the oath?
LINDIWE MHLUNGU (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Okay, thank you. --- What I want to say is from the time that Nthokozo is referring to life was never quite the same, and I started developing high blood pressure, and before then I was quite healthy. The life that we live changed very drastically for the whole family, and he does not have a clear recollection, he does not know what happened after he had been detained, because I was always harassed by the police on a daily basis, up until such time that I also had to be rude in order to protect myself. After they had taken him in, and after he came back I took him to the doctor, and the doctor said his condition was beyond him, and that I should take him to the hospital. This is one of the reasons that when I went to the court they asked me as to why I stayed with my son when he was so ill. And I was earning so little money, and I did not even have money, and I had to hire cars. I was earning R152,00 per month at that time. And what traumatised the family was that my mother was also admitted because of the trauma that we went through as a family. And when I went into the hospital he was shivering as if he was getting cold. The following day when I went back to the hospital my mother was going to
undergo the operation, and Nthokozo was also in the same hospital and he could not eat. Now I think this is the cause that led to my mother's death due to a heart failure. She had to go and see Nthokozo and feed him because he could not eat at that time. And I contacted his father and told him about his son's condition. And at that time Nthokozo had changed drastically. His condition had deteriorated, and he cannot sit up straight. He says he has got a kidney problem. And at that time his legs as well as feet were swollen, and when you press him there would be a hole in his flesh. I think when his father came to take him to Baragwanath was in June 16, and one of the incidents which disturbed me was when he was left at Baragwanath Hospital. The police kept on harassing me even when he was not at home. They would come looking for him even though they knew that he was not there, and I ended up telling them that he was at the hospital, and they said I should submit a statement to them. I don't remember whether it's Mbuthu who came to my place. I went to submit the statement on that particular day, and it's this statement where I was told that I had fabricated the statement. They changed the statement which I had written and put in their own information, and towards the finalisation of the case I was told that I was going to wait for Swanepoel's decision, and I don't know what Swanepoel was in the equation. That was the end of the case. I only started getting some rest when Priscilla Jana came into the picture. And in 1990 some other things started now, and it was as if some people were informing the police about us. We were now trying to protect ourselves from the police, from the KwaZulu Police, from
the Inkatha, and I was in quite a predicament at that time, but I realised that this originated from Nthokozo's past. I think it was June 1990 when a certain man who said he was a councillor at that time, that is Mr Nxumalo, who encountered a problem. But I think the problem was actually Nthokozo, because each time they sang their songs they were saying they wanted Nthokozo's head. And I did not know who to run to for help, because whenever I went to the police - one time I came to my place and I got some information that we were being threatened, and I went to report this matter to the police station. And I came across certain police and they were - as I was stopping the van to tell them that I had a problem, I was being attacked - and when I went to the police station the warrant-officer took me to the police station and he said he wanted me to tell him all about the fight. When we got to the police station I realised that we were not the ones, but my name, as well as my children's names, were listed there. When I got into the police station a certain station commander who had been assigned to come and quell the violence at Osizweni, which was allegedly started by the ANC - when I got there to seek some help the station commander who got in told me that, "We thought that this country was a prisoners' country." He said that he had come especially for us. He asked me as to what I was. I did not know what to say because I did not understand his question. I told him that I was a woman, and the other one said they wanted to know my political affiliation, as well as my children's political affiliation. From that time onwards I started being harassed, and they said I should go to the councillors to
tell them. And I told them that I was not in good terms with the councillors because the councillor had told me that he was going to attack my house. I told the councillors that I was - that were present at that time, I told him about my problems. Now I am relating this from 1988 up to now how we were harassed. Each and every moment we could not sleep because the policemen used to come at that time, and they used to threaten us, telling us that we were not going to rest until they got what they wanted. And when we asked them what they wanted they did not know, they said we should go and ask Venter. I don't know what they wanted even today. And I went to report the matter, thinking that there would be a case. That was in 1990. And this man had told us that he was going to kill us. Then in 1991 certain youths who were in Robben Island came back, and that's when the problems started. Whenever the police came they would ask me even for information that I did not know anything about. They would ask me about certain Mrs Mhlungu, and I would tell them that I knew nothing, and they said the Mhlungu family was a family of troublemakers. And we experienced some problems. Up until now Nthokozo has got a big problem. He is so forgetful. He has got a constant headache.
(Inaudible) ... according to the documents that we have Nthokozo is suffering from what is called post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a disorder or a syndrome which is brought on after exposure to a very traumatic event. It's something that some people are susceptible to. Not all people who have undergone a traumatic event develop this, or they develop it in varying degrees, and it seems as though Nthokozo is still
suffering after these many years from this emotional problem, post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact he is not well at the moment, and there is a doctor seeing him. So I think that's a good time for us to end, and to take a lunch break.
But it's clear that what has happened to him was brought about a style of policing that was used by the South African Police which didn't involve real policing at all. It involved brutal assaults, torture, electric shocks on people, in the hope or the expectation that that person might give them some information. People frequently made false confessions in desperation, and Nthokozo said he too made a false confession about the death of a policeman that he'd never heard of, Mazibuko. And he was - it seems as though he's been permanently affected by that very traumatic event, and although he has suffered, he still is suffering, we do - we saw here today quite a positive young man, who gave us a very articulate and clear story about what happened to him, and it's wonderful to see that despite what happened to him, and despite the emotional problems that he is having, that he is able to function, that he is involved in two organisations which are aimed at uplifting the community, the Osizweni Development Forum as well as in the - his work with the peace office, and that is a credit to him, and to you as his mother.
So we thank you both very much for coming in today, and for telling us that story, and we will convey that to him when he is all right. Thank you very much, Mrs Mhlungu.
COMMISSIONER: Good afternoon, Mr Makhanya. Thank you, you also waited a long time to give your evidence. You are from Madadeni township, like so many other people who have been to this Commission, and your story is also about harassment and torture by the police in 1993. Before you - can you hear me now? Is the voice getting through to you now, can you hear me? Good, thank you. You have come to tell us about your torture - arrest and torture by the police in 1993. Can you stand to take the oath before you tell us that story?
VUSUMUZI MAKHANYA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Dlamini will help you.
MR DLAMINI: We thank you for your patience. Vusi, you look very young to have experienced so much harassment and torture. When were you born? --- In 1974.
So are you 22 now? --- Yes, I am 22 years old.
How many members of family? Do you have both your parents? --- Yes.
Are they here with you? --- No. I am the only child. I have no brothers and sisters.
Were you working or were you at school? --- Yes, I was at school. I was attending at section 4 at Madada. Before I went to Madada - I started school at Madada up until standard four, and Inkatha and ANC got involved into a conflict. I continued attending school, but I had problems because I had to fight every afternoon and every morning as I was going to school because we were fighting, ANC and Inkatha members. And then I realised as time goes on that it was difficult, I can't fight every day of my
life. I stopped attending school, I stayed at home together with my brothers. After that on a Thursday at about half past three ... (intervention)
Vusi, you said when you left school IFP and ANC were involved in a quarrel or a fight. --- I was an ANC member. So along the way every time when I was going to school I would fight with IFP members.
We would like you to continue and tell us about what happened on the 9th of July 1993. --- Before this what happened is that Inkatha came from section 5 to section 2. Section 5 and section 2 are nearby. We heard that Inkatha people were coming to attack on ANC people. We realised that it was true they were coming and we went to Ntuli's house, and ZP police came there. I know some of those ZP police who came to Ntuli's place. When they arrived there there were also women from section 2, and they were asking the police, "Why are you quiet when people are attacking on people's houses?" They didn't answer back. They started throwing tear-gas canisters and we ran away. Late at night we decided not to go and sleep at home because we were scared. We decided to go on camp because we wanted them to found us all together, because we were scared, we knew that they will come and attack us at night. At about half past three late at night I heard a knock. I fact I heard knocks from the windows, both doors, everywhere, and we were 18 inside that house.
This house where you were, whose house was it? --- It was Mr Ngwenya's house.
Who was Mr Ngwenya? Was he an ANC member as well? --- Yes, he was.
I woke these other guys with whom I was. I tried to
check if the doors were all locked, because we were scared. Sometimes Inkatha was accompanied by police. So as they were knocking I told them that they must come tomorrow morning. Eventually they kicked the door. I was at the kitchen that time. I ran to my bedroom. They came inside. They were white police. They were many. I think they were 14 to 15, because as they were inside it was full inside, and they were grabbing all of us and they were kicking at us. We were crying.
Vusi, I apologise, I just want you to clarify one thing. From where were these white policemen coming? --- From Newcastle Police Station. The continued kicking us and they searched the house. They asked us our names, and they had a list with house numbers. But we didn't tell them our real names. As they were kicking us other whites, Piet and Venter, came inside the bedroom. I don't know what was going on inside the bedroom because they were taking one by one. With me they just put a long tube inside my mouth, and they said to me if I want to say something I must shake my head and they will realise that I want to say something. They continued hitting me. I told them I don't know any guns, and they continued telling me that I will point the guns to them. Later I think they were going somewhere to pick other ANC members as well. They took the list. They asked my name and they looked at the list. I am not quite sure whether my name was on that list at that time, but I told them my name, and unfortunately my name was on the list even though they didn't tell me that my name was on the list. After that they realised that they can't find anything inside the house. Piet and Venter were left inside the house, the
others left. Others were wearing moon hats. I think they were wearing Balaclavas. They left the house with me. Outside they asked me if for real I don't know where are the guns. I told them no, I didn't know any guns. They left with me. I was unconscious, and the only time I regained consciousness is when I was behind the police van. And they put me inside a sack and they told me they were going to kill me if I don't point guns to them. Others were told to sleep. They went with me the whole location looking for others or other members, and they couldn't find other members of ANC. And then in the morning they took me to the police station, Madadeni Police Station. They took a statement, and they were busy hitting me. Everyone had a gun. And when we arrived at the police station that's when I realised that the driver of the car was a black policeman and the others were all whites. I was hurt. They looked me up. They took a statement and they didn't ask me anything. Piet and Venter just wrote that statement.
Who were beating you? Was it Piet and Venter, or others were beating you and then Piet and Venter were just there? --- I don't know these other policemen. I only heard Piet and Venter names, because these two were the bosses, they were calling them every time they were asking me a question. If I answered they were calling them. Even when we went to the police station, when they took a statement they were the ones who were writing that statement, not me. They didn't even ask me anything. I tried to ask this other black policeman to ask if - to explain to me what was the charge, and he couldn't explain. And they brought me back. They didn't want to
leave me at home. When I asked the policeman why I was at the police station he didn't tell me. The next day I was beaten by Piet and Venter. I don't know why. They didn't take me to court up until when they could tell that I was better. Then they took me to court, and the Magistrate didn't even ask me anything except to tell me that he is remanding the case and I'll be out on R1 000,00 bail. And I didn't have that kind of money because my granny receives pension. Later on my family raised this R1 000,00 for bail and then they bailed me out. It was on a Thursday.
How long were you in custody? --- I think one week. After I was released comrades came and fetched me here in town, and then I explained to my parents at home ... (inaudible) ... I went, I was scared to sleep at home. We changed the place because we were scared to go and sleep where I was arrested initially. At about 12 o'clock ZPs came. We refused to open the door, and then they told us if we don't want to open the door they'll force us to do so. They threw a tear-gas canister and we didn't want to open the door. They only broke one window. I realised that this tear-gas was now too much and it was getting worse. I opened the door. This other person ran and left. I couldn't run. They took us and I was arrested. I heard - because I asked them what was wrong, "Because I was arrested and I am only out on bail, and why are you arresting me again?" They said, "There are other members too who are arrested as well, so you are with them." So I told them I wasn't there when the policeman was killed, I was in custody. They said they needed R500,00 bail, and I also didn't have that money. Even then I couldn't go
to court because I was still sick after inhaling that tear-gas the previous night. They didn't want us to bathe, not even to wash our faces. All these cases I asked the prosecutor - in fact I explained to him that, "Police have assaulted me, and I also want to open a case for that," and he said, "Yes, it will." And these cases went on by just like that. They were final ... (inaudible) ... appearing in court and explaining.
You said you were prepared to file a case or to open a case. What happened? --- I went to Madadeni Police Station and I reported the matter, but because I was an ANC member they didn't take that. They used to take statements from Inkatha people. I told police from Newcastle Police Station. They sent me back to Madadeni Police Station, and Madadeni Police told me I must go back home, they will come and fetch me. After a week I realised that they were not coming, and I couldn't go because I was still sick, and again I was also scared because Inkatha people were all over the place.
When you went to Madadeni Police Station did they write anything down? Did they take a statement from you? --- No. I can't remember his name, but I know him. If I can see him I can identify him. He didn't write anything.
Venter and Piet, are they still in Newcastle? --- The last time I saw them it was in 1993.
We will try by all means and check if we can find these two policemen. Did you see a doctor after you were released? --- The only hospital I was supposed to go to it wasn't easy for me to go to that hospital because these Inkatha people were also there all the time, so I
was scared. I knew if I will go to the hospital they'll attack me. The only help I used to get was to buy tablets from chemists.
Are you still in pains? --- Yes, I am.
Can you please explain to us? --- Firstly I have a terrible headache because I was injured. I was also hit by a gun, and I got swollen even though I never bleed. And also my rib. I think one of my ribs is broken. I don't know what caused that. I think it was the kicking from the police. And I also am having these terrible headaches all the time, and also my arm gets tired more often.
We will try and see if maybe you can see doctors, and if they can find something and maybe if they can help. We will try and do that. --- I will be very much happy if you can do that for me, because I would also like to hear from these policemen why they did what they did to me.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr Makhanya, Vusumuzi, for coming in an telling us your story today. Like so many other people that we have heard from in the last three days you were assaulted by those people who were employed and trained by the Government to protect us and assist us, the police. But in fact, as we have heard from so many people during the life of this Commission, many police didn't do that. They did the opposite of protecting us and assisting us, they assaulted, harassed and tortured people. I don't know how many stories we've heard where the police in effect acted as prosecutors, judges and
executioners, where they tried people, convicted them and punished them, but in fact they didn't charge them at all, they just meted out their own punishment.
We hope very much that we are moving to a stage where we have a police force that we can respect and that we can trust, and this is something that we should strive for very, very much, because without a police force that we can trust, without a police force that we can turn to when we need to, we are going to continue seeing the lawlessness which we already see in this country.
So, as Mr Dlamini has said, we will try to carry out the investigations that you have asked us to, and we thank you very much for coming in and giving another perspective of what life was like in Madadeni township in 1993, and we hope that those things don't happen again. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: We greet you and welcome you here today, Mr Mbhense. We had hoped to hear your evidence yesterday, but in fact you couldn't make it. And you have come to tell us about the death of your brother, Elliot, who was killed by the police in 1987. Can you stand to take the oath before you tell us that story?
DUMISANI MBHENSE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you. Mr Dlamini will assist you.
MR DLAMINI: I greet you once more, Mr Mbhense. As the Chairman of the Commission has already said that the KwaZulu-Natal province, together with the Free State region, we were expecting you yesterday to come and give your testimony. Even though we are running out of time, but we appreciate the fact that you were able to come here before us. You have come to tell us about your brother, Elliot, who was shot by a certain policeman. In your statement that you submitted it was as if they were gambling, and then this policeman came to shoot your brother. According to the rules, as well as the law governing the Commission, this matter does not have anything to do with human rights violations, but we shall hear as time goes on whether it's got anything to do with politics. Was your brother involved in any politics? --- No, he was not a member of any political group. It was just a gambling thing, but he was shot by the policeman.
As I have already pointed out this matter does not fall within the ambit of the Truth Commission or the Act governing the Truth Commission, because this seems to just have been a gambling fight. What we shall advise
Mr Mbhense to do is that we sympathise very much with your family. This is a very sad and painful story. Nobody has got a right to take another person's life, and a policeman's duty is to arrest a citizen, but not to kill that particular person. We want you to take this matter to the attorneys so that they can follow this matter up. Is there anything that you wanted to say to the Chairman? --- I wanted to say - I wanted to explain to the Commission the manner in which this happened, because I had just arrived.
As I have already said, Mr Mbhense, we would be wasting your time because this is not within the ambit of the Truth Commission. You should seek some advice from attorneys. There are also human rights attorneys who deal with such matters. I think even here in Newcastle or in Durban you can be able to see the attorneys in order to be advised as to what steps to take thereafter. --- What I was explaining is that the person who was shot was not gambling, but the policeman wanted to shoot one of the people who were gambling. They had had clash before with the police, and now the one who was shot was not involved in gambling.
Yes, this is a matter for the attorneys as well as human rights lawyers.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... thank you for telling us that story. It was only through your explanation that we were able to ascertain, as Mr Dlamini has said, that the shooting of your brother did not arise from a political motive, and that is our work under this - the Act - the Act under which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is
constituted we have to look at deaths or assaults, torture, which arose from a political motive, and it's quite clear that the very sad death of your brother did not arise as a result of any political motive. And we hope that, with the assistance perhaps of an attorney, you may be able to get closer to what happened to your brother, and to perhaps see that the perpetrators face justice in some way. And if you like you can get an address from us afterwards and we will refer you to an attorney who may be able to help you. So again thank you for coming in and explaining to us.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... primary theme over the last three days has been very serious allegations made against the police. We heard from five civic leaders from Sibongile township in Dundee, people who had very reasonable and legitimate civic demands about the quality of life in their township, who were treated like dangerous terrorists. They were thrown into gaol, they were detained for up to two years - over two years, they were assaulted, they were tortured, and this was a virtual reign of terror by the Security Branch which seemed to centre here in Newcastle in the mid eighties, and the lives of thousands of people were affected, many of whom are still experiencing the effects of that even today, as we saw on stage. Many of the people we heard from this morning are still traumatised by what happened to them. And, as we heard from the second-last witness, Mr Veenendal, this sort if grossly unlawful activity was persisting even up until 1993, and the fact that he represents a white right-wing organisation indicates a subculture of unlawful behaviour by the police, particularly the Security Branch, irrespective of the political orientation of the victims.
We also heard allegations of widespread bias, political bias, by the KwaZulu Police in their support for certain members of Inkatha and, as I said a few minutes ago to Mr Veenendal, whether the issue is torture by the Security Branch, or whether it is bias and violence by the KwaZulu Police, neither of these things can be described as proper policing. They destroy the credibility of the police and they destroy any proper notion that we, as citizens, should have of law and order, and it is very,
very important that we strive to have a police force that we can trust and that we can work with, and we hope very much that we are moving towards that stage.
We also heard terrible stories of murder and arson arising out of political intolerance between the IFP and the ANC, and we saw people from both parties here today, sitting together, listening to each other's suffering. And we hope that those people, having listened to how each other's families suffered, we hope that it helps to bring realisation to people of the uselessness of violence.
Finally, we heard evidence yesterday from two people from Hlobane, from the Iscor mine in Hlobane, where there was a terrible massacre last year. We heard from Mr Ephraim Ngcobo and Mr Clifford Siyolo, both of whom are city councillors here in Newcastle. And the mine management and the police tried to describe that violence on the mine as Zulus fighting Xhosas, and the members of the trade union, of the National Union of Mineworkers, persistently denied that it was a case of Zulus against Xhosas. Mr Ngcobo himself is a Zulu-speaking person, Mr Siyolo is a Xhosa-speaking person, and they came up onto the stage here and they very eloquently said that there was never conflict between Zulu and Xhosa mineworkers. They said that they were friends, they had always been friends, and they would always be friends. And, as I said to them yesterday, they represented the best hope that we have in a new South Africa, because they are living proof that people of different languages and different cultures can live and work together.
We may - depending on the number of people from Newcastle who wish us to come back to Newcastle we may
come back next year, or later this year if you request us to. We know that we have only heard a fraction of the human rights abuses in this town, Madadeni, Osizweni and other places, and if there is a demand for the Truth Commission to come back to Newcastle we will certainly do so.
So, finally, I want to thank all the witnesses who gave evidence here today. Thank you for having the courage to have come forward to tell us your stories. We want to also thank the people provided support, voluntary support to the witnesses. We know that they need that support very much after they have gone through the quite traumatic event of reliving the stories that they have told. We want to thank the TRC staff, who also made this a very successful hearing, and others such as the police, who provided security for us, the interpreters, and the press.
And we also thank you very much for the very respectful and controlled way that the audience has - controlled behaviour by the audience over the last few days. It's the first time of any of the hearings we've been to where the audience has spontaneously stood up as the witnesses come onto the stage and depart from the stage, and that is a real indication to us of the respect that people have in this area for others who have suffered.
We also thank those members of the City Council of Newcastle who have found the time to come and be with us today and over the last couple of days.
Before you go can I please just ask you not to remove these items from the hall. They're expensive and
they don't work outside the hall, so please leave them on your seats or at the back of the hall.
And, if there are people who wish to make statements, there have been statement-takers here for the last three days, who will be leaving this afternoon, but if there people who want to make statements statement-takers can easily come up from Durban and spend a couple of days here in Newcastle taking more statements.
So I hope I haven't left anybody out. The volunteers, I think I have thanked the volunteer counsellors. If I haven't, again thank you very much to them for making themselves available to us and to the witnesses.
Finally we're going to ask Father Shange to close with a few words of a prayer.