PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
P O R T S H E P S T O N E
ON 13 AUGUST 1996
[PAGES 1 - 111]
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Case No NNN/110
Hilda Nonsikelelo Memela..................................... 1 - 12
2. Case No NN/015
Bashadile Agnes Vezi........................................... 13 - 22
3. Case No NN/028
Balinganisile Vezi................................................ 23 - 36
4. Case No KM/544
Felix Thulani Kheswa........................................... 37 - 44
5. Case No NNN/099
Gilford Mapumulo............................................... 45 - 54
6. Case No KM/543
Tokozile Dlamini................................................. 55 - 64
7. Case No KM/545
Dalimbi Simeon Linda.......................................... 65 - 70
8. Case No NNN/138
May-Rose Sindisiwe Shabalala................................ 71 - 82
9. Case No NNN/104
Sigoanya Sibusiso Sibiya....................................... 83 - 90
10. Case Nos NNN/107 and NNN/106 and NNN/105
Thembinkosi Dwayisa and Kakiya Boy Cele............... 91 - 107
Kakiya Boy Cele................................................. 108 - 111
Sithembiso Nzama............................................... 112 - 119
COMMISSIONER: Can you hear me and understand me, Mrs Memela?
MRS MEMELA: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: You have come - it says you came yesterday from the Murchison area, and, like those witnesses who told terrible stories and sad stories to us, you have come to tell us the story of the death of your husband, Elliot Memela.
MRS MEMELA: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: And your son, Nelson Memela, who were both killed in December 1991. Before you tell us that story can you please stand and take the oath.
HILDA NONSIKELELO MEMELA
DR MAGWAZA: I greet you, Mrs Memela. We are grateful for your presence here. I will say that you are one of the people who have lost so much. You have lost your husband, you've lost your son in one month. This is so bad. We know that you are going through hard times even as you are seated there. We will just ask for Almighty God to give you strength so you may relate to us your story. Before we get into the story I would like for you to tell us briefly and concisely about your family, and how old was your son and your husband when they died, and how many children do you have now. --- My husband died at 42 years old. I have one child by the name of Emmanuel Nkosinathi.
This means you had two children. Now is only one left? --- Yes.
I will just also want to ask that where you were residing it looks like it was a place where there were
some meetings or organisation going on. --- Yes, there were two meetings, two organisations, Macawu(?) and Inkatha.
Is that the area which had the combination of the two? --- Yes.
According to you were you also members? --- Yes, we eventually became members because of the circumstances.
Go on and tell us which organisation you belonged to. --- Because my son was Qabane we also as a result of that became Qabane members along with the father.
Thank you, Mrs Memela. Maybe you'll want to tell us what happened to your husband in December 1991. --- In December 1991 in the morning of that day he had already left on Thursday. It was the 5th. I was not feeling well that day. I was relaxing in my lounge. I was there, and we also had a helper who was working. She was just coming to help me in the fields at around 10 in the morning. I heard the telephone ring and I got hold of the telephone. I spoke through and those were the colleagues at work. They said they don't see him, where is he? The last time they saw him it was Thursday. I said to them they shall go and ask from the location where we used to reside in Ekwezi.
I will just want to say something. Were you not living together? --- No. He will just come to visit or something. He used to come because he had a car. One day he would go to the location where they were working. I received the telephone and they said he was not around. After a few minutes, as I was relaxing - I had said to those whom I said they shall go and look for him in the location, I asked them to call me back, but they never
called me back. After some time, after one, my sister, who was working at the hospital in Murchison came, and I told her the story and she said to me she will go and ask for permission from the hospital and go and look at the location, especially that Bhekani was also there. My sister left, went to the hospital and asked for permission to leave, and she went to Harding. When she got there she found Bhekani, and Bhekani apparently was coming back home to tell us, to give us the report that the father was missing. After quite some time they came, my sister and Bhekani. They told me that they cannot locate Memela. Even at work he's not known and he's not there. After some time my parents came, the Nzimande family, to find out what was happening. In the morning of Saturday we came back and hired a kombi and we went to Harding. When we got to Harding we went to the mortuary. We could not find him. We went to the courts, we could not find him. We went to the police, we could not find him, and they promised to help us search for him. On Sunday afternoon -because he went missing on Thursday, then on Sunday afternoon we had heard nothing. Bhekani said to me, "Mum, let's just go and find out from the people. The people in the neighbourhood probably could help us and tell us the whereabouts of my father." And as we were leaving the house the telephone rang, and we quickly ran back to get the telephone. The telephone message told us to go to Harding, and when we went to Harding, when we arrived in Harding they said, "Memela is in the mortuary, but you are not allowed to see him, the way he is so brutally injured." Truly we stayed in Harding, and after some time we left, we went back home and reported the matter that
Memela has left us, has died. And at Harding it was said that he cannot be kept for quite some time in the mortuary because he was brutally injured. (Pause)
Take your time. --- We went back home, and when we got home we waited for the funeral day. We were told that he will arrive at 12 and we won't be allowed to look at him because he was so brutally injured. Even when he got home we could not see him. This is a painful thing, you know, not to be allowed to look at your husband until he was buried without us seeing and looking at him.
It looks like this has left such a wound in your heart. --- Yes. yes, I have such a broken heart because I never saw him. We only heard that he was so injured we could not even see him.
Let me just go back. At the time when the telephone message came to tell you, who called you? --- It was one guy who was his co-worker at Port Shepstone.
Did you ever find out how he got to know about his death? I mean Mr Gary, the one who called. --- No, it was from the office, we got the message from the office when we were leaving on Monday.
Mr Gary called to tell you that Memela was not there. --- Yes.
And then from the office they also called you to tell you that he was dead. Would you happen to know who gave you that call? --- No, I don't know because I am not the one who received the message.
One other thing I would like to ask. Did you by any way get the idea of how he was killed or were there any people who witnessed his death? --- No one witnessed, especially from the family. Even his brothers never saw
him, because he just arrived in the coffin and that was it.
I mean regarding his death. How did he die? That's my question. Who killed him, if you happen to know? --- All right. The police said there were people who arrived in the morning and asked has Memela left. They said yes, and apparently those people waited there by the gate for Memela until late in the afternoon, because it looks like when he got there he got off the car and he met those people, and he went to them smiling and laughing because he knew those people apparently. And the police said, "I was going to tell him that don't go to those people," because when Memela was talking to those people the other person went to tell some others who were hiding in the bush to tell them that, "Here's Memela, he has arrived," Just when the police was going to tell Memela not to go he could not because the person was just there already to Memela to tell him.
Do you still remember the police? --- No. I just happened to - I just used to see the police, I don't know the police as such.
Did you ever gain any knowledge of some kind where he was found? --- Yes. He was recovered in the bush after four days at around four, half past four. He was found on the fourth day.
Let's go back also. It looks like there is some direction as to who killed your husband. Please, if you can, tell us who were the suspects, where are they? --- They are still around. They are still around and alive.
Do you know their whereabouts? --- Yes.
What surprises me is that these suspects it looks
like they attended the funeral. --- Yes, they did attend the funeral of the father. It's only the son that they did not attend his funeral.
When they came to the funeral did you know that they were suspects? --- No, we did not know, but we already heard from the hearsay.
The suspects, did you know the suspects very well? --- Yes.
And were they also used to your husband? --- Yes, because one of them is the brother-in-law.
After that, after all this happened, was there any case that was opened? --- No, there was no case that was conducted.
Did you report the matter to the police? --- Yes, we did report the matter to the police and nothing was done. It was just absolutely quiet.
The police that you reported the matter to, would you happen to recall them or one of them? --- No, I don't know those police, because Harding we went to Port Shepstone. But it was something that was to no avail, it was not taken serious.
Well, let's pass this one. Let's go back to when your husband was killed. It did not end there, and it also continued to your son right in December. How did that happen? Let's go to your son. Was your son someone who was involved in organisations? --- Yes, he was involved in the organisations. He was going to school to Gamalakhe, and he was being called to Qabane. Our neighbours were calling him Qabane, so that tells me and it's obvious to say he was a Qabane member. And the people around were not Qabane members.
How old was he? --- In December he was 21 years old the very year he died.
I would like for you to explain what happened. --- In 1991, on the 24th in the afternoon - I think it was about five - my son came and told me that there are some boys he was attending school with, because he could not see them, and said one other guy was taking some money to Madlala family, and he said he wanted to accompany them, and they left. He accompanied them to the house. After some time they have left the house we were just relaxing at home, because my mother-in-law was still at home since the funeral of my husband. Around seven my son, Nkosinathi, said, "Just turn on the TV, Mum, please." When I turned on the TV I just heard the gunshot. It was around seven. And I heard the gunshot three times. I ran, I went to my mother-in-law. We switched off the lights and we were in darkness. We were there up until around eight. We heard the knock suddenly. It was dark, and you can imagine one is knocking and we were there sitting. Yes it was my sister-in-law, and she came in and asked, "Where is Bhekani?" I said to him, "He had left with a group of young men, telling me that they were taking some money to Madlala." He said, "There were some shootings around that house, and it looks like Bhekani was also there. Some others ran away, but it looks like Bhekani was affected. Where is he?" Then one said, "Just call to Mbanjwa." We called Mbanjwa's place, asking where were the boys. Yes, the boys were there already. And we called Mbambo's place and they said Mbambo's boy was there already. And then I asked around, "What should I do now because Bhekani is not yet back, especially after those
three gunshots?" We were there up until the next morning. We could not sleep. As we were still there we just heard
a knock suddenly, and it was one of my sister-in-laws telling me that Bhekani was sleeping around somewhere in the neighbourhood, lying down. We went there. When we got there I found Bhekani lying there, and we sat down. We sat there for quite some time up until the police arrived, and the children said they can actually show us the perpetrators, those marauders, and the police said, "Where will you live after pointing those people, after identifying those people, because it won't be peaceful?" Then that was scary enough for the children not to identify those children. They were still around, the perpetrators. After some time the car that carries the corpse from the police station came and took the corpse, and there is nothing that we gave to the police. There was no statement whatsoever that was made to the police up until to this day.
Your story is pathetic and very sad. If I should ask, I know spiritually you are not feeling well, your soul is disturbed. Bhekani left with some boys. Were they belonging to one political organisation? --- Yes.
They went to Madlala. Was that a house or what? --- Yes, it was a house that also belonged to the same organisation.
At the time when you called to these houses to find out where was Bhekani did they have any knowledge as to what happened to your son? --- No, they did not have any knowledge or idea as to what happened to my son, because in the morning they were running, they came to tell us that something has happened around the ground.
It looks like there are some suspects here, those who shot Bhekani, and the surnames of the suspects are the same that shot your husband? --- Yes, they are the same.
And it also appears as if the one who shot Bhekani used others' cars, not his car, or what? --- I know the people who were in the car, and one of them since flee, and one of the children said he was going to identify the perpetrators and he flee, and up to this day we don't know where his whereabouts. There is one other, but he is not around.
But do you know his name? --- Yes, I know his name.
Maybe you should furnish us with the names. Those who said witnessed this, can you please tell us the names if there were any who witnessed this scene? --- Yes, there's one girl who was getting out, because those people were coming from Bhekani's place, where Bhekani's big brother was.
And that girl, tell us about that girl. Just explain clearly. Does that girl know the names? --- Yes, she knows the names.
We'll also like to have those names. One other thing you are saying is that during his funeral the police were there present, apparently watching and moving around. Why? --- No, it's because the situation was not stable at that time. We were sleeping at the hospital. That's where we were going all the time. Things were bad. That's why we were under the police security. We had actually asked the police to secure us.
Did you open any case or something? --- Yes, we did go to the police, but it was just to no avail. Up
until to this day we have heard nothing, because each time you say anything about ANC they will say, "No, don't say anything, just keep quiet." Nothing was ever done.
The police that you went to are the same police that you went to in Port Shepstone regarding your husband? --- We went to report in Port Shepstone, and Harding as well. It looked like in Harding the perpetrators are from Murchison. That's the picture we got. They left Murchison for Harding.
So it means even now no police that you know, or what? --- No.
Now, I would like to direct all this to you now, because it appears like you health condition is not good. What changed in your life after these events? --- In 1993 I was attacked by the sugar diabetes. I used to go to another doctor in Port Shepstone. He told me - he diagnosed me and told me that I have the sugar diabetes. After that I went to Murchison to some doctors, and they told me that I have BP. I am not so well, especially after this. Spiritually I am affected, and physically I am affected. There is just nothing good for me, because it was about the time when my child was going to complete, so all this affect me and I went through difficult times, especially that he was the eldest.
Are you working? Do you have any part-time jobs or what? --- No, I am not working. Even when my husband died at the time I was not working, I was a housewife. And now it's even worse because my health condition is not good. The Nzimande family is helping me.
Emmanuel is a student. In what standard is he? --- Standard three.
Thank you very much, Mrs Memela, for everything you have told us, and explaining this in such a difficult situation. We have heard and we have seen your requests in your statement, one regarding your health, one regarding the assistance for financially for Emmanuel's fees at school. As we always say to other witnesses, we gather all this information and we will forward it to the State President, and we will put forth the recommendations as well, and we will take it from there and see what happens and what assistance you get. Thank you very much. We'll give over to my next colleague.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Memela, it's difficult to know the words to say to you because of the terrible suffering that you have experienced. To lose your husband and your son, both of them brutally murdered, is a terrible thing, and we can only imagine how you must feel. We can also imagine how helpless and powerless you must feel when you know that the people who did this are still walking around freely, and there must be many other people in this country who feel that same sense of helplessness when they know that so many people who committed these terrible crimes are walking around free today. We will try to investigate why those people who killed your son and your husband were not charged, and we will request the police to investigate them. We note also from your statement that your husband was working at the time of his death, and he was the breadwinner of the family, and now you have lost his support as well as his companionship. And we will - as my colleague, Dr Magwaza, has said, we will be making recommendations to the Government as to how people
like you should be assisted. So we thank you very much again for coming in and telling us your story today. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome both of you here today, Mrs Bashadile Agnes Vezi and Mrs Balinganisile Vezi. You have come to the Commission today to tell us a story about the death of family members, and you are related I understand, and you will both be telling about different aspects of the same incident, where both of you lost members of your family.amily. The first person to give evidence then is Mrs Agnes Vezi, and before you tell us that story please could you stand and take the oath.
BASHADILE AGNES VEZI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MRS GCABASHE: I can see you well, Mrs Vezi. Good morning, Mrs Vezi. Can you hear me? --- Yes, I can hear you.
Firstly I would like to thank you, both of you, for having been able to come before the Commission to tell us about your painful experiences, especially you, Mrs Bashadile, because of the loss that you have suffered. Maybe before we get deep into the matter may you please tell us more about your family. Are you married, do you have children, and so on? Thank you. --- Firstly I would like to thank you for having given me a chance to come openly. I am Mrs Vezi from Jolvedi, at Hlatsuthankuku. I have five children. I am married in the Vezi family.
Can you tell us more about your children? --- The first one is Elizabeth Vezi. She is born in 1972. One passed away, I am not going to mention her. I am only going to mention the ones who are still alive.
What is Elizabeth doing at the moment? ---
Elizabeth is looking for work, and she is not working at the moment.
Who is the next one? --- The next one is Nhlaganipho Obed Vezi.
What is this one doing? --- He is studying. He is doing first year in management. He is studying through Damelin. The second one is doing standard 10.
I am sorry you said - you said the one was doing standard 10. He is the third one. What is his name? --- His name is Nhlaganipho.
The third one is doing standard 10. What is his name? --- His name is Thabani. The fourth one is Thandiswe Vezi. He is doing standard seven. The fifth one is doing standard four.
What is his name? --- It's Zanele.
Standard four, yes. She is doing standard four. Are you working? --- No.
Is your husband? --- Yes, he's working.
How old was Xolani at the time of the incident? --- He was 18 years old.
Can you explain to us exactly what preceded before the incident? Maybe I would like to ask what was happening at the community at that time? --- I can say that nothing was happening. It was during 1990, March the 6th. It was early in the morning, about half past five in the morning, and I was just preparing for the children to leave for school. We heard a woman shouting from a distance, just from a hill, above the hill.
But before we get into the story can you tell us more about Xolani, about his involvement up to the stage where you get the message that he was killed? --- The
previous day we were with him. It was on Monday and we were burying one of the members of our family.
Is it a relative? --- Yes, this is a relative. During the evening, at about half past two, after the funeral, Xolani came to me to tell me that he is going back home.
Where was this home? --- It was Hlatsuthankuku.
This funeral was not at Hlatsuthankuku? --- No, it was there, but it was a different place.
You may continue. --- When I left the place for home I couldn't see that not all my children are at home. Besides I was tired, I just went into my bedroom. I couldn't even wash myself.
Early in the morning, as the children were preparing to go to school, I heard a shout from a mountain. They were asking whether Xolani is at home, and one of my children said, "I am still going to look for him," and then later he came back to say he is not around at home. And then they told us that we should go to the mountain to search. When I get out they told me that I should take a blanket, and then I went back to the house to get a blanket. And I thought maybe something bad has happened. I took out a bath and poured some water to wash. I took this blanket and followed the other people as they were running towards the mountain. When I arrived at the scene I realised that my son was lying on the ground and he was dead. I tried to turn him and took off his shoes. The others said I must sit down, and the people started arriving. While I was sitting on the ground my brother-in-law went to call the police. He was accompanied by other men whom I don't remember. People were crying, but
I was confused, I wasn't even crying. When the police arrived my brother-in-law was just walking around picking some cartridges on the ground where he was killed, and then he showed these cartridges to a policeman by the name of Khumalo, but he said these would not assist them because they don't have the numbers. The policeman called the young boys who were standing by and he asked them where were they from together with Xolani, and they told him that they went to attend a meeting, an ANC meeting in that area. They said while they were coming back from the meeting they were shot. It was becoming dark and they couldn't see the person who was shooting at them. They were just chanting and going home. "We scattered at the time of the shooting and we didn't know where the others ran to. We ran to our homes and we didn't know that Xolani has been shot dead. We just heard the next morning when he was found that he was shot dead." The police took the body away and we went back home. Then we started calling relatives to tell them about the death. The first one to call was Sipho Vezi and other people. Then they came back home and we started making preparations for the funeral. That was on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thursday my brother said they were going to the meeting with ANC where they will arrange for police to come and guard the house during the funeral because we are afraid. Then on the day of the funeral they brought the cops back. After the funeral there were many people. There were children from different schools. They came with buses. There were so many people. As I said, after the funeral my brother-in-law, Sipho, took his in-laws into a car to take them back home because it was late. He took his
child who was three years old. It took a long time and he didn't come back, and we were starting to worry as to what had happened to him. As we were sitting down confused, not knowing what was happening, some people came running to report that there had been some shooting. We get confused because he didn't come back. Then another person came to tell us Sipho has been shot, and we asked who shot him. They said he has been shot by Chief Kawulengweni Mkhize. He was accompanied by his brother and his son. We asked what happened when he was shot. He asked the attackers what he had done. They just followed him and shot him, and he fall on the road, and they came back and stabbed him with some spears. When we asked whether he was dead they refused to tell the truth, saying that he didn't did, but that was a lie because he really died. And we asked where is the little child. One of my brothers-in-law started running towards the place. We heard that Sipho's wife was travelling in another car. After Sipho's wife had arrived they just discovered that Sipho is dead and he was lying on the road. After that time we heard that the other one has been killed too.
Who is this one? --- This is Malachius Vezi. So many things happened at the same time. After we discovered that Malachius has been shot ... (intervention)
What happened to Malachius? Did he survive the shooting? --- We didn't know at that time whether he survived or not. After some time he came to be with us. The chief at that area said we have to leave the area because he's coming to burn down our houses. When Sipho's wife arrived we could not believe what had happened, and then we waited until the next morning. People arrived and
they were surprised that Sipho has been shot dead, and they said we mustn't go anywhere, and then we had to stay at home the whole day.
Who is this person having family at Umlazi? --- It's Sipho's wife. At about half past two in the evening we asked people to take us by their cars out of the place, and people refused to take us and they said we have to come to the road to get the car. But it was difficult to get there because we have to pass the place where Sipho was killed. While we were still sitting there we heard a group of people singing the Inkatha songs. This was an Inkatha stronghold, and we have already heard that they were coming to burn us. We got out of the house together with my mother-in-law and my husband, and my husband was very confused at the time, and we started running away. We couldn't even lock the houses, we were just holding a lamp and we were running away. We didn't know which way to take. We ran up the hill and we decided to go to my family where I were born. We didn't know how to reach the place, we just have to run up the hill, and these people could see us running. When they arrived at home they could see that there was no longer anybody there, they could only see the stock and the houses, and when they looked up the hill they could see us, and they were shouting, "There are the people we are looking for." And we continued to run. They ran so fast I got so tired I sit down. They waited for me, but I catch up with them. We started running and get into the bushes. We get inside, there was mud, and we hide there. Then we heard a car passing. We ran out of the bushes and went to another place. We were running through the bushes, we
couldn't use the roads or the paths. And then we ran to the family, where we didn't use the gate, we have to come from the back yard to get into the house and hide.
Did they follow you? Were they running after you? --- Yes, they were running after us. They were driving a car. We could only hear the sound of an engine, but we couldn't see the car. When we were in the house my mother came to greet us. They had already heard the news that we have been attacked. After some time people came to ask whether we were not in the home, and my mother refused, telling them that there were no people in this house. In the evening we were preparing to sleep. I was so tired myself. While we were still sitting there Malachius arrived. He had bandaged his hand. We didn't know whether he was still alive or not, but it happened that he arrived, and he said to us our house is burning. He said when he reached to a neighbour's house he was told that we ran away, and he was told that he must also run away because the people are coming to search for our relatives, so they might find him. Therefore he started running, following us. At home my father tried to arrange a transport for us to run away, but most of the people refused to give us their cars. Later the next morning we got a car and we ran to Umlazi location. And we stayed at Umlazi.
Are you still staying at Umlazi? --- Yes, we are still staying there.
Let's go back a bit. You said you find some cartridges which were used. Did you ever get an answer as to which kind of gun was used? --- No, we couldn't get any information. You said Xolani had his friends, one of
them was Thembelani. Do you still remember these friends? Are they still around? --- Yes, they are still around.
Do you know where Thembelani is? --- Yes, I know where he is. However, there is not a single one of his friends who could come out and tell us, because most of them have - after the incident they decided to join the Inkatha, so they never wanted to meet us again. They just didn't want to mix with us after the incident.
You said when you ran over the hill there were some people with you. Who were they? When you went to inspect the body. --- Malachius Vezi was one of them, and his sister, Albertina Vezi, and some other people. There were many, I can't count them.
Are these people still around? --- Yes, they are still around.
Did you ever reported the matter to the police? --- We couldn't go to police to report the matter. The last police we saw are those Khumalo, who came to pick the body after they found Thulani's body.
This Khumalo, is he the one who said these bullets cannot be identified because they don't have numbers? --- Yes, it's him.
From which police station was he? --- He was from Highflats. And he also told us that he is not going to handle the case, the case will be under Mr Mthembu. We don't even know this policeman, Mthembu.
Do you know where this Khumalo is at the moment? --- I don't know. I last saw him at that time.
Did this Mthembu came to see you? --- No, he didn't.
You said he was shot by the chief, Chief
Kawulengweni Mkhize. Is it the chief who shot him? What did he say? Is he still alive? --- No, he is still around. He's not around, but there are some people who are working with him.
Would you like to mention their names? If you don't feel like it, you don't want to mention their names, you don't have to. --- I'm afraid I can't mention their names.
Thank you, it's okay if you can't mention their names. --- The chief himself, when we were going to the court, he was harassing me.
Can you explain how he harassed you? --- Normally when he used to see me when we had to go to court about this case he used to say, "I am going to shoot you," and I used to ask him, "What have I done? Can you tell us why you are killing us?" He said, "I am still going to kill you because I now know where you are staying." He said, "I will search you until I find you, and I will kill the whole of your family because you are bad people." Therefore we couldn't attend Sipho's case.
May we just go back? Did you get a death certificate, Xolani's death certificate? --- Yes, but because we were running, always running on the move, it got lost. The police who helped me to acquire the death certificate was Mr Mlawu.
Do you remember what was written in the death certificate? --- I can't remember.
Was there any inquest conducted in relation to the case? --- They didn't conduct any inquest. I always wanted to know as to who killed my child and why he was killed, but I don't know at the moment as to what
You mentioned all the names of your children. How were they affected by the death of their brother? --- The children were greatly affected, especially his younger sister, Elizabeth. She was grown up at that time. She got confused at that time, and during that day she was doing standard 10, and she had to drop out from school the whole year. She have to leave the school and attend another school. Even there she couldn't go to school very well, and it was also difficult for me to send them to school because I wasn't working.
How is she at the moment? You said she is now working. How is she at the moment? --- Yes, she is not working. She would like to go back to school.
Mrs Bashadile Vezi, we have heard the evidence as to what happened during those days as you have suffered losses as a family. As we can see the person sitting next to you is coming to tell the same story I will take back everything to the Commissioner.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mrs Vezi. Is it your sister who will now continue with - sister-in-law will continue with her story. Before you give your evidence can you please stand and take the oath?
BALINGANISILE VEZI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MR LACKS: Good morning, Mrs Vezi. Thank you for coming. --- Good morning.
Can you hear me properly through that? --- Yes.
We've heard your sister-in-law tell a lot of the story so far, but there are some aspects that you know about that I'd like you to tell us about if that's possible. Before you start if you could just tell us a little bit about your family, your husband and your children and so on. Your husband was Sipho Chrisentos Vezi, your late husband. --- Yes. He was 30 years old.
How many children did you have together? --- One child.
How old is that child? --- He is nine years old.
What work was your husband doing at the time? --- He was studying at Ngoyi, doing his junior degree in social work. He was in the third year in 1990.
Your nine-year-old, is he at school at the moment? --- Yes, he is at school.
And what do you do? --- I am a teacher.
And you're presently working as a teacher? --- Yes, that's correct.
Now, we've heard the story about the sad death of Xolani, your nephew, and it was following on that, and
following after the funeral of Xolani, that your husband took some people to their homes. --- Yes.
And he went to a different area. Tell us where that place was that he was going to. --- At that evening after the funeral he has to take his mother back home. That was my mother, his mother-in-law. He said, "I am leaving," and I asked him, "Why don't you ask your brother to borrow you the bigger car so that you can carry all the people?" He said, "I am busy now, I am in a hurry. I will just take the small car." And then he took his car. And then the young child started crying, saying, "My daddy's coming," and then "I want to go with you, Daddy." And then my husband said, "Bring him in," and then they took the child with them. We sat at home waiting for him to come and pick the others back to their homes, but he never returned and we got so worried. Later one gentleman came - I don't remember his surname - and he said there has been some shooting up there. He said some went down the slopes. We were so confused because Sipho went to the same direction. After some few minutes someone again came to say that Sipho has been shot. They said he was shot next to the chief's place, and we asked who shot him. He said the chief was also there. I was so afraid and confused, then I started running towards the direction of the chief's place. When I arrived at the road I stand trying to stop the cars. The cars didn't stop and I started walking on foot. Another car came and I tried to stop it, and he asked me where I am going and I told the driver that, "I heard there's been some shooting, I am just going to investigate," and the man said, "No, go back. I will go and investigate myself." And I said to
him, "Look, there is my child in the car. I have to go." And he said to me, "Okay, you can come in." And I got into the car and we started moving. When we arrived at the scene there were so many people who were singing. There was noises, this kind of violent noises. When we were about to reach the chief's shop I said to the driver, "There is Sipho." I could see his body lying on the road. And then he said, "We mustn't stop then. We have to pass," and I said to him, "No, we have to. I have to go to him." And he said, "No, we have to go to the police first." We got off and there were police at the moment at the scene. There was an ambulance. People were moving up and down and everything. It was just confused situation. He insisted that we should first go to the police to escort us to this place. Then we went to the police. We asked them that, "We are looking for a gentleman who was driving on that car which have just overturned, it was the car that was overturned." And the police said, "No, okay, we'll try and look for you." They left the place. Just as they left we heard two gunshots. I became so afraid, and the driver said, "Don't be afraid. The police are around, they won't shoot us." We waited, and the police came back to say that there is no young child there. At that time we could see people running as if they were sort of running after someone, and they were coming towards our direction. They were making noise, someone saying like, "I have been defeated by someone. Someone has defeated me." It looked as if they were following someone, but we couldn't see the person. They passed us and the chief was in their company. This driver asked the chief's brother, and he asked them respectfully, "The Honourable, we would
like to ask you something," and he asked, "That car which you have overturned, there was a child inside. Do you know exactly where the child is?" They said to us, "Go and look for the child somewhere at the shop." Then we asked the police to escort us back to the crowd. It was becoming late and dark. We went to the direction of the shop, and when we arrived we stopped and parked the car. I got off the car. I knew the place because I was staying there, and I know most of the people who were at the shop, and one gentleman by the name of Cele came to me. He said, "You mustn't make noise," as I was shouting, asking for my child. And he said to me, "You keep quiet, shut up, you're making noise here." He pulled out something like a knobkerrie. He acted as if he wanted to hit me with this knobkerrie and I ran back to the car. And the driver of the car said, "No, what are we going to do?" and he started the engine of the car and we wanted to run away, and then someone advised us not to run away because they are going to shoot at us. And the chief came back and he asked us, "What's happening? What do you want here?" The driver explained that, "I am with my neighbour and we are looking for a child." The chief said, "Come and take the child." No, first he asked us where are we coming from, what's our surname, and we told him from the Vezi family, and he said, "Which Vezi?" I kept quiet, and he said, "Who is your father?" and I said, "My father is Mathewu," and he said, "Come." I told him, "I am afraid," and he said, "Come, they won't do anything to you," and in the company of the chief we went up the stairs in his shop. When I arrived I found my daughter, and she was asking, "Where is my father?" My child was in the company
of one lady, and I took my child from this lady. The chief accompanied us, and I said to the chief, "He was with his father. Where is his father?" and the chief said to me, "We have shot that one." Those are the words from the chief's mouth. We got out and he said to me, "Your child is clever." I said, "Thank you," and he said to me, "Then listen to me. You must go and tell your relatives that I don't want them in my place. If they don't go away I am going to burn them. They have to leave my place." I went back into the car and we drove back home. When I arrived at home I explained to them what happened. They couldn't believe it. They said, "This cannot happen." My brothers went to Highflats at that night. When they arrived there they were told that Sipho's body has been taken to the mortuary. We stayed at home and some relatives started arriving, and they couldn't believe the chief's words. They said, "They can't do such a thing. They can't burn these houses. They have already killed someone. How they come and burn our houses?" We stayed at our home until Sunday. The situation was bad. I told them, "I think we should go to Umlazi at my place." Unfortunately the elder people didn't believe that anything could happen so they insisted that we stay, and we stayed until the evening. In the evening then we got some messages that the chief is coming to kill us, and then we decided to look for a car to leave the place. We sat their waiting.
The story now is about how you were chased, and you ran and you went to another place. Just in the interests of time if you'd allow me to interrupt you so that we could move on to the story. Now, in your statement the
matter was reported to the Highflats Police Station, is that correct? In other words your husband's death. There was a case that was actually opened. It started at Highflats Police Station, and then at a later time they went to the Scottburgh Court. Is that correct? --- Yes, that is true. The case was opened at Highflats. Since we ran away we didn't even know where to bury the deceased, and we had to bury the deceased at Mariannhill. He spent about two weeks at the mortuary because we didn't have a place to bury him. All this troubled me. We started preparation for the funeral and we find a place at Mariannhill, and we had to go to Ixopo to fetch the deceased, and he was buried at Mariannhill, and a case was opened at Highflats. The first hearing of the case was at Ixopo. We went to Ixopo. The way the people in the company of the chief were treating us was so horrible. On the first hearing we were told that the case would be postponed and we would be told when to come back to court. During 1991, in that year, we didn't know what was happening, everything just got quiet, until 1993 January we got a message that the case will be heard at Scottburgh Court. We went to Scottburgh. At that time I was at school and studying. I was doing my final year doing a teaching diploma. I went to college during 1992. In 1993 I was doing my third year. And we were told that the first hearing will be on the 2nd of February. We attended the case. We were badly treated in court by the IFP people, and that is still something that I can't forget. And they insulted us and called us by different names, and they used to say I mustn't get into to court, I have to stay outside. And then the case just finished like that.
I didn't know what happened. And it was decided on the 17th of February. We used to go to court every day. Somewhere on the 8th - someone who was traumatised by this matter was Sipho's mother, and she died at the time at home, and there was nobody at the time of her death at home. We were not at home because we went to court for the hearing, and when we came back we were told that our mother has passed away.
We really do sympathise. If you could just help us, what was Sipho's mother's name? --- It was Valencia Mashezi Vezi. She died in our absence. We were at court. As I have explained when we arrived at home they told us she died at about two in the afternoon. The people, those who were in the chief's side, harassed us. We were seriously harassed. I don't know whether we also got psychologically affected, but it was a serious situation. When I had to go back to school I was confused, and the rector had to release me, saying I must go back home, I mustn't study during that year, and I have to stay for a year out of school. During 1993 I couldn't go to school and I couldn't work, and I had to go back to school during 1994. I can say that's the end of this traumatic story.
Thank you, Mrs Vezi. Just if I could ask one or two other questions just to follow up on one or two issues please. The people that were accused ... (inaudible) --- Yes, that is true. We were trying to call the people at Ixopo to sort of give us a death certificate. Their reply was not good. They were saying to us that, "Go and fetch the death certificate at the Comrades." We didn't know who wrote the reply, but what we got is that we should go back to the Comrades to find a death
certificate. And we tried to ask them and kindly request them to give us the certificate. We only used the removal of a corpse to collect his body. The problem was we couldn't bury him without a death certificate. We used to phone, call them and try to get them to give us a certificate. They said, "We won't bring the certificate to you, you must come and pick it up." Unfortunately we are afraid to go because we have to go via the place where we were attacked, and we asked them to meet us halfway so that we can meet on the way so they can give us the certificate. Therefore we had to meet them at Umzinto. We were from Umlazi and they were from Highflats, and we met at Umzinto to collect the death certificate after the body had spent about two weeks at the mortuary.
You also told us that you had to get the assistance of the lawyer, Mlaba, to help you get that death certificate. Do you remember that? Do you confirm that? --- Yes, that is true. We went to the lawyers to ask for Xolani's certificate. That was - yes, that was Xolani's certificate.
Just one or two other small questions. You've indicated, and it's obvious to us, that you yourself have been quite affected about these deaths and about the burning of your homes, and having to go back to Umlazi and be chased away from that area. How has this affected your child, this nine-year-old? It must have been quite difficult for her to see what happened to her father. --- The child was still young at the moment, but now since he has grown up he said, "Now I am grown up I will take a gun and shoot the people who killed my dad." This shows that really it's in his mind that there are some
people who killed his dad. He always complained that, "Now that I am grown up, and I will do something, I will kill them."
Just for the record, what was the outcome of the court case? --- I will say that I couldn't even get into court. They were always saying things, saying like, "A Comrade cannot stand before us." And they said that Sipho was trying to shoot the chief and the chief's people shot him. And they were saying they were protecting themselves, that it was self-defence. Unfortunately I am afraid because I don't know why Sipho was - we heard that Sipho was shooting at them, but I wasn't satisfied because we didn't know that Sipho had a gun, and they just have to keep me outside of court. They said, "Since you are the one who instituted the case you have to stay outside of court," and then from the beginning until the 17th I was always outside the court.
Who was it at the court who told you to stay out? Was it the Magistrate or the prosecutor, or ... (incomplete) --- This was a policeman by the name of Dlamini from Ixopo.
Was he the investigating officer? --- I should say so, because he was the one who used to come, and every time we got to court he was always there.
You see, if I could just explain to you so you understand. Normally in court when a person is going to be a witness they usually wait outside so they don't hear the rest of the evidence and then can make up their story to suit that evidence. That's just a rule of the court. But it's sad that nobody sat down and explained this to you properly. --- What worried me a lot is that I
didn't even get a chance to get into court. I just stayed in court until the end of the case, and I was just told the case is over. They didn't even ask me a question. I couldn't answer anything. Even now it's still a question. I don't understand how that could happen. That worries me a lot. I still need an answer as to why they kept me outside of the court.
I am sorry the prosecutor didn't explain to you what he should have told you. I don't have any further questions, Chairperson, thank you.
DR MAGWAZA: I would like to ask Mrs Vezi, after you lost your son how were you affected by this? --- My health deteriorated because I couldn't do some of things that I used to do at home. I used to be a hawker, but because I was physically and psychologically affected I couldn't continue with the work. And I don't know how to support my children. They are going to school and my husband's pay is not enough.
Does it mean that you were so affected that you couldn't do anything to help yourself? --- Yes, I can't do anything, like my elder - my sister is the one who's helping me. I don't know what to do to help me to survive and continue with life.
What I would like to say to both of you is that as you are sitting there we all can see that you have been victimised and harassed, and we know that normally people like you who have through such difficulties are normally affected psychologically. There is a need therefore for you to get some medical help, either from psychologists or psychiatrists. One other thing is that we as parents we
normally don't see that also our children they get affected because we don't observe them at the early ages of their life. Therefore I would like to ask both the families to try and seek help to be treated psychologically. Thank you.
DR MGOJO: When you talk about the Nhlakuku place it's a place that I know personally. I also know the time. I know what happened at Ixopo. People were shot at Ixopo in town. I would like to go back to Xolani's incident. You said he was in the company of this young man, Thembelani. Where is this Thembelani? If we may like maybe to contact Thembelani where can we find him? --- He is at Umlazi.
Where in Umlazi? --- At G Section. He is working. He is working in town at Lake Victoria, Jabulani Security.
What is this Jabulani? --- This is a butchery.
Is this butchery at Umlazi? --- It's at Durban, at Victoria Street.
This woman - I am back now onto Balinganisile Vezi. Do you know this woman who was with your child? --- It was at night and I didn't recognise her looks, but she knows me. My child said she was always comforting the child, saying, "Thula," to this child, so that means that she knows me, but I didn't see her.
Does it mean that it's a woman who's staying just like in that place? --- Yes.
This gentleman who wanted to give you a clap. Where is he? --- Yes, he's at Jolivet. I think he's still staying there, but it's a place which we don't frequent, so I don't know.
Since Ixopo is a small place won't you be able to know the name of the Magistrate who was trying the case? --- I don't know the name.
Who is the chief in that place at the moment? --- I don't know, since the one that I know passed away.
You said your house was burned down. Who is staying in that place? --- I don't know, but there were some people staying there. We heard that some people had started building their houses in that place, but they haven't yet built anything where we were staying.
Was this garden yours? --- Yes, it was.
Bashadile said you would like some help to find a place to stay. Are you still prepared to go back to that place? --- No, I am not prepared to go back. I am afraid.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Vezi, just for the record, is it correct that after you had picked up your child from Chief Mkhize's house it was the next evening that your house was burnt down? --- The day in which Sipho was shot is the day I got my child. The house was burnt on the following day. It was Sunday. Sipho was killed on Saturday. The following day, as the chief had already said that he doesn't want us at his place, he's going to burn us, he burned the house on Sunday. And he took all the belongings which were in the house because we couldn't take anything while we were running away.
Were you in the house when it was attacked by the group of people who burnt it? --- No, we heard them coming. We heard the noises and then we ran out of the house. When they burnt the house at that time we were all
gone. There was no one in the house. There was only property and other belongings and some livestocks.
We want to thank you both very, very much for coming in today to tell us this very, very sad and tragic story about the death of your son and the death of your husband. It's a shocking thing that that happened, that after your son was killed that somebody who attended the funeral, somebody who was assisting with funeral-goers, should himself also have been shot. And this is a theme that we have seen all over this country, where people have died in political violence, or as a result of assassinations, and at their funeral, which should be a time for quietness and mourning, and for people to be together, a time when they should be respected, it often has happened that they have been attacked at those funerals, and even the funeral-goers themselves have been killed. And this is what happened to your husband, and it's a terrible thing that people are able to do this to each other, that there is such disrespect for human life, and such hate, and that there are such high levels of political intolerance in our community. And in many parts of this province, of course, that has not changed, and we think of the victims of the Shobani massacre, who cannot come to this Commission because that happened beyond 1993. And we think of the people who died in massacres recently in Donnybrook, and we realise that there are still very powerful forces in this province of people do not want reconciliation at all, but people who want total political domination. And when we hear stories like yours it should make us all the more determined that these sorts of things should never ever happen again. So you have both given us a very clear picture of what life was like in those days, and we hope that you have got some strength and support from each other by the fact that you have been able to give your story together on the stage. You've heard my colleague, Dr Magwaza, saying that people like you really should seek psychological assistance, and if you want assistance in that regard you can contact the Commission, and we will be able to point you in the right direction and to assist you with that. So once again we thank you very, very much for coming and having the courage to share your story with us today. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: You are Felix Thulani Kheswa, is that right?
MR KHESWA: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: Can you hear me? Who is with you on the stage today, Mr Kheswa?
MR KHESWA: My mother.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome and greet you both. You have also come to tell us more details about this terrible story which we have heard from Mrs Dlamini. Mrs Dlamini, as you heard, lost her daughter in that incident. You were lucky enough not to lose your life, and you can tell us some of the terrible things which you experienced on that day. Before you tell us that can you stand and take the oath please, or if you find it difficult to stand - I see that - can you manage to stand? Or please be seated. ---------------------
FELIX THULANI KHESWA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MRS GCABASHE: Good afternoon my son, Thulani, and your mother. It's difficult to keep listening to such sad stories, but we would like to thank you for, after having gone through this, still you are brave enough to come forth to tell the truth, and open up and ventilate. We consider very brave. Because Thulani is the one who will be testifying I would ask you, Thulani, to tell me concisely about your family. I have already seen your mum, but please tell us briefly about your family. --- I don't have a father, I only have a mother, and I have my sisters and brothers, and also nephews and cousins.
How many are you in your family? Let's first begin with your brothers and sisters. How many are you? ---
/If I am
If I am not mistaken ... (intervention)
No, in your family, just your family, not remote. --- We are eight.
How many are the boys? --- Three.
Girls? --- Five.
Are there any who still attend school? --- Yes, my one sister is attending school, and she is in standard seven.
Is she the youngest? --- Yes.
What about others, what are they doing? Are they working or ... (incomplete) --- Yes, one is working and others are no longer working.
One is working and others are no longer working. Oh, so that it's one who's working? What about mother? --- No, my mum is on pension, is no longer working.
Thulani, we've already heard briefly about what happened that day when preparing to go to Ulundi. Now I will ask you to tell us about what concerns you. Tell us what concerns you about that day. Where were you coming from that day, and how did you get there to Dlamini, where you were injured? --- You know, there was going to be a trip to Ulundi, a youth trip, and I also left home and I went to where the youth was gathered so we could board the bus.
Were you alone? --- Yes, I was alone. When I got there I found that they were singing, the youth was singing, but I was not singing for the choir, I was just standing outside the yard. Others were singing inside. When they were singing we heard gunshots.
Where were you at that time when you heard the sound of a gun? --- I was outside, as I have said, because
part of that house was completely built and the other was not, so I was outside. So as they were still singing we just heard the gunshots. When we heard that as I was outside we just saw people approaching running, storming in from corners, shooting already, coming to us from the house that was not completely built.
Did you see those people? How were those people? --- No, I did not see those people exactly because they had the uniforms on, the camouflage sort of thing on. When they approached they were already shooting. Those who were outside ran, and it was difficult for me run because I was going to be so obvious that I am running, especially as I was standing under the light, electricity light. So one of those who were shooting followed me, just approached, came to me, and shot me - and shot me at my foot. Suddenly I could not use my foot, it was numb. I went to my sisters, the other girls who were sleeping already, they were lying down there, and I went to join them, and I just knelt. I knelt and I tried to crawl to the bedroom inside the house to hide.
Where were you hit? --- No, I was shot on my right foot.
Down or upper? --- No, just down, lower.
And what happened after that? --- This went on. They were shooting for quite some time, and now there was just confusion and we were running around, and they were also running away.
According to you how long did it take for these shootings? How long did they go on? --- I think five minutes went on as they were going on shooting. They were already running away, and after they had left I tried to
stand up. I could not stand up properly because my other foot was already injured. And one boy came by who was my neighbour by the name Sikelu Mkhize, who came to me to give me some assistance, to just try and hug me and try and let me walk slowly towards the passage, the hallway. These shots just went on. You know, we heard a lot of them going on, and he finally left as well.
Sikelu, was he one of you who were - one of your group who was going to go to Ulundi? --- No, he was not going to go with us to Ulundi.
He left you there? --- Yes, he left me there and he flee. After some time the community members came. After all that incident they came to help. The first boy who came there was Bheki Mbele. He is the one, and Mr Mkhize.
This Bheki Mbele and Mr Mkhize, are they still around? --- Yes. The other one is Mr Mkhize.
I mean the very Mr Mkhize. Is he still around? --- Yes, he is still around.
Are they available? Can we get hold of them? --- Yes.
Go on. --- They are the ones who took me, who helped me, and they took me to the clinic.
When you got to the clinic? --- When I got to the clinic I received the first aid from the nurses, and they called the ambulance and we were waiting for the ambulance. And my mum already had come, because she had already got the message that I was in the clinic. I was the first one to be taken by the ambulance, and Linda as well. My mum was there.
Who is Linda? Was she injured as well? --- Yes, /She was
she was injured.
When you say it's your sister, is she your sister or is she just ... (intervention) --- No, she is not my sister, I am just saying. We were the first ones who were taken to the hospital, Port Shepstone Hospital.
When you got to Port Shepstone what happened? --- When we got to Port Shepstone I don't recall. I just remember entering the casualty, looking at the doctor, but I don't remember very well. I was injected, and after that I was under the state of drowsiness. I don't know what happened.
Did they operate on you at the hospital to extract the bullet from the body? --- Yes, they did, and my foot was badly injured. They operated me more than six times.
Can you say how long were you in the hospital? Three months? --- Yes.
They operated you at that time during that duration? --- Yes. But after three months they kept calling me. After discharging me they still kept calling me to visit the hospital.
Even now are you still going on with your treatment? --- Yes, I am.
Where? --- In Port Shepstone Hospital.
What did they do now, your treatment? --- They usually give me pills, painkillers, and they take me to the x-ray to check on my bone. It's going to take some time, so they say, because it was badly injured.
How old were you when this took place? --- I was 20 years old.
Were you still a student? --- Yes.
Now are you still a student? --- Yes.
What standard are you in? --- Standard nine.
Where? --- At Ngwemabala School.
Where? --- Ngwemabala School.
Besides that injury how do you feel physically? Is there anything that probably is a problem? --- No, that's about it. I was just hurt there. I am not free. I am no longer as comfortable as I used to be because I wish to know who the perpetrators were, those marauders.
But at school are you faring well? --- Yes, I am faring well.
In other words this did not disturb you academically at school and so forth, you just feel good about your school work? --- Yes, I am just fine mentally.
Was there any case that was conducted inasfar as those is concerned as to who were the perpetrators and something? --- No, there was no case as such. The last time I remember giving the statement is in the hospital.
Who did you give the statement? --- One sergeant came to the hospital. I don't quite remember his name. He said he was working for Commission of Goldstone. He came to the hospital to take my statement, and that was it. That was the last time. I had never heard anything from that time.
Besides that one of Goldstone was there any other who came to you? --- No. No.
You have already said here that you do wish that you can get some assistance of some kind. Are you still saying that? You also said you wish that there could be a community centre built in the neighbourhood. Is that
your wish? Are those your wishes? --- Yes.
Do you have any other wishes besides this? --- I just want to be assisted financially, because there is nothing I can do. I am just - I cannot do any other kind of labour in my life because I was injured.
You know, I like your idea because you still want to go to school. This is quite rare. Now you always use that stick when you walk. Did they ever try to tell you about other means of walking better than that? --- No, before I was using crutches, but now I am using just this stick, walking stick.
Thank you very much, Thulani. As I have already said you are not the only who got injured. You are just one of those who were fortunate. Maybe the reason why you survived this is because you were not inside, you were outside the yard, but it's bad that you have lost friends and colleagues in that incident. Maybe you still miss them. But we will promise that we as the Truth Commission we've heard what you have said, and your request that you still want to further your studies, you need some assistance, and finally we will gather all this information and forward it to the State President, who will take decisions and he will see how you get out of this predicament. Thank you. I will hand over to the Chairperson.
I have just one thing that I want to explain to you because you are still young, and you are so ambitious, you are such an ambitious young man. As you go for your treatment at hospital do you pay? Do you pay, or you are just treated free of charge? --- No, before I used to
pay, but since it's the new South Africa I am no longer
paying. I just go, I don't pay.
Secondly you've already made mention of the fact that you cannot do any hard labour now because of your state. Do you at times think - what is it that you want to do exactly? Tell us what do you envisage to do? --- What I usually think I want to do is work that I could do using my hands, but not hard labour as such. Something like computer.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... more witnesses will be coming to tell us today more details about this massacre, about the loss of their children and grandchildren, and when they have given their evidence then I will make some remarks to all the people who suffered as a result of that massacre. So thank you very much for coming to share your story with us today, for having the courage to do that. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: You are from Gamalakhe township here in Port Shepstone, and you have come to tell us today about the death of your son, Nthokozize Mapumulo.
MR MAPUMULO: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER: In 1991.
MR MAPUMULO: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER: Before you tell us that sad story please can you stand and take the oath?
GILFORD MAPUMULO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Just before we start with your story, Mr Mapumulo, your son who died in 1991, did he have brothers and sisters? Do you have other children? --- Yes. There are five of them.
And are they all young, or are they working, or are they schooling? --- They are still at school, but one has completed.
And your wife, is she still alive, or are you still with your wife? --- Yes, my wife is still - but she is paralysed. She is still alive, though she is paralysed.
And are you working, or are you unemployed, or are you retired? --- (Inaudible)
(Inaudible) --- As a result of an illness.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, as a result of this event.
I see. Please extend our best wishes and our sympathies to your wife, who can't be here today. Now, Mr Mapumulo, can you tell us in - this incident took place in April 1991. Well, the first incident in your story, and your house was apparently burned down. How old was your son at the time of this incident? That was in 1991. That's five years ago. --- He was 19 years old.
Okay. Well, if you'd tell us what happened in April 1991. Where was that? Where was your house burned down? What area was that? --- It was at Thafeni, at Mzimbini, Greener Park(?).
All right, would you like to tell us the story in your own words from there, April '91. Just tell us also a little bit of background, what was happening in the area at that time, so we can understand what the circumstances were like in those days. --- I am so grateful that you have given me this opportunity to relate this story, because we were suffering so much. I was at home, and the ANC people were allowed to come to community, and we will have meetings, and the roads were under construction as well, fighting for the municipal issues. After some time, it was on Sunday when that day there was going to be a meeting, and the boys were told not to attend the meeting and they were told to go. Now I was at home with my wife, and with my kids as well, and they came at night with assegais and guns, and they will make me to stand up. One other will stand by the door and pointing the gun at me, and others will be carrying their assegais, threatening me, wanting to shove them through my legs. Some others will come and do exactly that. And my wife said, "I am not free here. I am not comfortable here." And then I said to my wife, "Well, I am a man. I will have to be here. I cannot run away from the situation." My wife cooked some food and took food with to Gamalakhe to hide. I was left at home. I could not even eat, my appetite was so much destructed because of not knowing, and could not anticipate what was next. I could not even go along with them, I had to be at home. And they told us - it looked
like we could not even get the pension as well, we had to get Inkatha tickets. I got Inkatha tickets. They came at night.
Sorry, just - sorry to interrupt you. When you say that you couldn't get your pension without - what do you mean? Was it an Inkatha card, an IFP card you had to carry before you got your pension? --- I am talking about the IFP ticket to join IFP, that when they come at night I could produce my ticket to show them that I am also one of the members so they could leave me alone. And I took those tickets and I produced them to them, and they said, "We don't want those tickets," but they wanted a person to take along with during the night and patrol. I am sick, I could not walk around. And one day they came back and they said they wanted my wife. My wife was not there. They said they wanted to take my wife. It was far away where they were supposed to be going and my wife was not at home. They wanted my wife. And they said now they'll have to get me. They were so numerous in number, so amazingly many. When they took me I had already put on my clothes. One came out shouting and screaming and saying, "I know this man. This man is not well. His health condition is not good," and they pointed at me with the assegai, they said, "Go back to the house." I went back to the house and I sat down. They left me alone. They kept coming back. They kept coming back, harassing me. One day, it was on a Friday, they passed by and we were seated by the door. They said, "This house, we need to torture this house and burn this house, because the people who belong here are sort of not going along with us." And I said to my wife, "Don't sleep here. We shall
go to Gamalakhe." And I said to my wife, "But I cannot
come with you." She begged me, "Come along with me to Gamalakhe. Leave the house." Well, truly I joined her. We went to Gamalakhe to sleep there. I said, "In the morning we will go back home." My wife said, "No, you need to rest because you are sick. You cannot keep walking around at night. You need to rest. We'll go with my children and look what's happening, and go have a look at home what's happening." And they left. They left, they went to check on what was happening. They discovered that everything was burnt down. We wouldn't know, we wouldn't be so for sure that everything was burnt or they took some stuff, our possessions. And the police came to ask me who burned my house. I said, "No, those are people who belong to IFP for sure," and they sort of argued with me, saying, "No, it could not be IFP." I said, "I know for a fact it should be IFP." They know much better. We looked around and we discovered a big torch. And the sergeant, the white sergeant, said, "We will take this torch with. We'll take it with. We'll get the fingerprints from the torch." I said, "Yes, that's fine with me." They looked around, they left finally. I remained at home. I waited to find out if there's any case that will be conducted. But I had nothing at that time. I was at the location, I never went back to clean up. I went to the location. 1990 went, left, and one day my son, unexpectedly they saw him going around the neighbourhood and they killed him. They stabbed my son everywhere, even in the eyes, everywhere you can imagine. Everywhere. The kids went to report the matter at home, saying he has died, and my wife said, "I'll go," and my
13-year-old boy left. He ran, and my wife was walking.
He saw the people who were just leaving the scene of crime. He saw the people. And I know those people. Even now they are still alive, healthy and going on. The van came and took the corpse and left with to the mortuary, and the police came and they took us with to the police station to give the statement. We gave the statement. I told them exactly and explicitly clear the names of the people who witnessed and who did this, and there it looked like they were going to be arrested from what I gathered from the police. It went on like that even up to this day. I left Greener Park I never - since 1990 I am a lodger. I rent some places. I have children that I have to educate at school. I cannot take a risk of going back to that area because I may be killed. Since then up to this day.
In your statement that you made, Mr Mapumulo, you said that your wife was the first person to arrive on the scene when your son had been stabbed, is that correct? --- That's correct.
Was he still alive when she arrived there? --- He was still alive then.
And did he die while your wife was with him, while she was holding him? Is that correct? --- Yes, he died on the spot, and they tried to see if they could rescue him, and the Indian said, "He has died."
Did your wife make a statement to the police as well? --- Yes, we did, and she did as well.
Now, do you know the names of the people who ... (incomplete) --- Yes.
Are these the names that you have given in the
statement? Is it Mzwandile, Mzwandile Shezi? ---
And Vusi Shezi? --- No, not Mzwandile Shezi. Vusi Shezi.
Are they still living at - or where do they live? --- They are still at Greener Park.
And you say that even though you gave statements to the police they were not charged? --- Absolutely nothing.
And since that day you have not gone back to that area, you are living in Gamalakhe township? --- No, I am afraid. I cannot go back because they may kill me.
And presently you are renting a house in Gamalakhe? --- That's correct. Since that time they burnt my house I have been a lodger. I cannot go to Greener Park. The situation there could get volatile.
And your state of health, Mr Mapumulo, has it deteriorated since your son's death? How were you physically at the time of your son's death? Were you working then? --- No, I was not working. I was already sick. We had broken hearts after that, because after that my wife got paralysed.
Was your son working at the time? --- Absolutely right, and he will give us monthly each time he gets paid.
Do you remember what he was doing then, where he was working, what he was doing? --- He was working for a security company in Margate at COSATU. What is it? I don't know. I think it's called Sal, ja. Ja.
And did he have any dependants. Was he married or did he have a girlfriend? Did he have any children? --- No, he was not married. He was still young, young. He
was working only.
And he was assisting you and your wife every month with money, was he? --- Yes, each time he gets paid he will assist us in the house.
Do you remember the name of the police at Port Shepstone who you made the statement to? Do you have any documents from that time? Do you have any reference number, a CR number, a CR crime report number, anything like that that you remember after you reported the case? --- They gave me nothing, not any number, but I know them. I know the police themselves, and there's one police that I have kept in my mind.
And who was this? Or do you just know him by sight? --- It's Ngakhe(?).
And did he ever explain to you why this case didn't come to court? Did he ever explain to you why the two people you have mentioned were not charged? Was he helpful to you or was he not helpful? Why do you remember him? --- He was not helpful at all. He just took the statement and we parted that day. That was it.
Mr Mapumulo, I will just ask my fellow commissioners and committee members whether there are any questions which they would like to ask you.
MRS GCABASHE: Mr Mapumulo, you've already explained about the harassment and what you went through. I just heard as if you said you are not employed and your wife as well is not working. How do you make it in life? --- Through pension.
Oh, you get pension? --- Yes, we get pension, we receive pension.
Do you still have children at school? Do you pay
their fees with your pension fund? --- Yes.
I see. Mr Mapumulo, I am asking regarding your health, because you have said already that your wife was so highly harassed, and also traumatised after this incident. Besides being paralysed do you think she also suffers from any kind of disease or something? --- Yes, she also has sugar diabetes and high blood pressure. She attends treatment at Gamalakhe.
Do you pay? Does she have to pay? --- No.
That means there's no cost really that you are facing inasfar as the doctors are concerned, or medical treatment. --- No, not so much.
COMMISSIONER: Just one last question, Mr Mapumulo. The people who came to your house telling you that you must go on patrol with them at night, did you ever go with them? --- No, I never joined them. I refused completely because I could not walk properly, especially as I was not feeling well.
Because we have heard many other witnesses tell the same sort of story yesterday, particularly in areas like Murchison, where people were forced to go on night camps, and if they did not go some of them were assaulted and even killed. And it seems as though that you were being forced into the same sort of thing, to go on an night camp, is that right? --- Yes, that's correct.
DR MGOJO: Mr Mapumulo, is Greener Park under some chief? Who is the chief? --- It's Samelo. Samelo is the chief. Samuel is the chief. Samuel Mavundla is the
Your place is still there? I've heard that your house got burnt, but you still have your area, some space there in Greener Park? --- Yes.
Are you prepared to go back some time? --- No, I am not prepared. I am not going to go back. I'll be taking a risk.
Is there any violence still going on in Greener Park? --- Maybe I shall say this. You know things now are - they are just - the situation has changed as such, but there are still those who are marauders.
As the chief, Samuel Mavundla, did he have any words after all what happened in Greener Park? --- Yes, he did have a word, especially he went on to say, "Anyone who is a coward must be left alone. You must not pursue any cowards. Just leave the cowards alone. Don't harass the cowards. Because this thing of IFP is not right to play around with people's feelings."
Did he put a stop on that? --- Yes, he did.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Mapumulo, we want to thank you very, very much for coming here today and telling us this very tragic story. It's very, very difficult for us to understand how people can do that, to attack elderly people in their house, to burn the house down, and to kill their child. It's very difficult for us to understand that, but we have heard so many stories like that. We express our deep sympathy to you and your wife. You have lost your greatest asset, your house, your greatest physical asset, and you have lost another asset in that your child has also been killed, has been taken from you,
and instead of being able to relax in your retirement in your home with your children around you you are now forced to rent a house. You said in your statement that you are paying R340,00 a month for the rent of the house out of a pension of R410,00 a month, and it's very sad that at this stage of your life you should be placed in that position. We will try and investigate why those people weren't charged, the two people that you have mentioned. We will try and follow that up, and we will also be making recommendations to the Government as to how you, and other people like you, who have been so badly dealt with, how you should be assisted, and we will be making those recommendations to the President. So we want to thank you again very much for coming in to talk to us today. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome you and greet you this morning, Mrs Dlamini. Can you hear me and understand me through the earphones?
MRS DLAMINI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you. I see that there's somebody else who's with you on the stage today. Who is that?
MRS DLAMINI: It's one of the family members.
COMMISSIONER: One of your family members?
MRS DLAMINI: This is Mrs Mavundla, Esther Mavundla. She is accompanying me.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much. Mrs Dlamini, you have come here today, along with several other people who are in the audience today, to tell us about a terrible incident which took place in Nsangweni near Port Shepstone.
MRS DLAMINI: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER: In April - sorry, in October - no, sorry, in September 1992. I apologise. It was a massacre which took place at Nsangweni, and 11 people were killed in that massacre, and you lost your daughter, Thandekile Goodness Dlamini.
MRS DLAMINI: That's true.
COMMISSIONER: Before you tell us that story can you please stand up and take the oath.
TOKOZILE DLAMINI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: I'd just like to mention that Mrs Mavundla, who is with you on the stage, is the mother of somebody who died, the mother of a child who died in that incident. --- Yes, that's true.
DR MGOJO: Good afternoon, ladies. Mrs Tokozile Dlamini, where do you stay? --- I am staying under Chief Samuel Mavundla at Zolwini.
With whom are you staying there? --- I am staying with my children.
How many are they? --- They are 10.
Are you saying they are 10 at the moment? --- yes, I mean the whole family we are 10. I am the 11th.
So it means you had 11 children and you were 12 in all? --- Yes, that is true.
Where are your children at the moment? These 10 children, are they schooling? --- Yes, four of them are schooling. Others don't go to school, and the other three are the children of my elder children.
Is your husband passed away? --- Yes, that's true.
How long since he passed away? --- It was 1985.
Was he sick? --- Yes, he was sick.
What kind of work are you doing? --- I am working as a temporary worker at St Michael's store.
At the time when all this happened did your family belong to any particular political organisation? --- yes.
Which organisation? --- It was IFP.
What form did you play in the organisation? --- I was the Women Brigade's leader within the IFP.
You mean at your area? --- Yes, at our area at Nsangweni.
And on 1992, September 1992, can you tell us briefly what happened? --- It was on the 4th of September 1992. We were to take a journey to a youth conference at
Ulundi. Before the 4th of September as a mother I had to accompany the youth. I organised the youth, telling them that they should form church choirs. And it happened like that, they used to come to sing these choruses. Then on Thursday it was the appointed day on which we had to leave to Ulundi. And the youth have to go back to their homes on Thursday, they had to come back on Friday. And they started preparing their song. This means that they were to leave the place to Ulundi on Friday, not Thursday. While the youth were busy rehearsing their songs one of my younger daughters - I think at that time she was about 12 years old - the others asked her, they wanted her to accompany them because she has a good voice, so they wanted to accompany her in the rehearsals. They continued their songs.
You said you were not happy about taking your young daughter with you. You said she might be killed. Do you have any experience of killings? --- Yes, I could feel it in my bones at the time before that happened. I wanted to sleep and wake up. I wasn't feeling well. After that a man came. He was also a leader of the Men's Brigade, and they had to go to the induna, the headman, to ask for an inthelezi in order to spread it on us before we go. This headman from whom you have to ask the inthelezi, was he the one who was using the inthelezi? --- No, he wasn't using it, but we used to think that he's the one who have this inthelezi.
Was it the normal thing that used to happen before you go? --- Yes, we used to go and get inthelezis before we go. My sons went to the headman to ask for inthelezi. Before they came back - at my home this house
is divided into two. There is one side which is completed, the other one is not yet complete. I was sitting in front of the complete building, opposite to the unfinished house, and the children were singing at that time. I heard a sound.
At what time did you hear the sound? --- It was about somewhere 7 to 8 o'clock. When I heard this sound I thought, "Oh, maybe it's one of these children are raising a home-made gun," but after that I heard a rumble of guns and there were gunshots all over. And the children started running, calling and saying, "Mum, we are dying." Some of them run on top of me, and they ran into the house. The other one was crying, and the child was trying to get through the window, but they couldn't. They all fall down, and everything was happening so fast, and it was as if I was dreaming. I didn't know what was happening. After that I was thinking. I thought, "Maybe they have thrown a bomb on us." I decided to creep on the floor and went to one of the bedrooms. I couldn't see the condition of the children at that time. The first boy I noticed that is injured is the Kheswa boy. His legs was seriously injured. After that I went up to see. The boy was trying to get out through the window. I took some water, trying to pour the water over him. I tried to do that, and I went out to investigate to see what was happening to the other children who were singing. And I could still hear these sounds. When I looked around the girls were lying all over the floor. One of my daughters was lying down and she was dead. The Mtolo girl too was lying there, the Linda girl was also lying there, the Zulu girl was also lying on the floor dead, and also the other
one from the Mbele family, and Ndlovu. And that one of mine had the very big wound, and I couldn't see very well.
Take your time. We understand the painful situation you are in. We can imagine those children lying down on the ground. (Pause) After you had seen these children lying what did you see? --- I wanted to look at the side of this man who was supposed to accompany us to the conference.
What is the name of this man you are talking about? --- His name is Steven Gcaba. I shouted, saying, "All the children are dead, they are finished."
You may take your time. We know that this affects you deeply. (Pause) --- When I came back the neighbours have already arrived. They tried to help us. We had to carry some of these children to the clinic. Some tried to contact police.
At the time when you saw them how many were they, those who were dead? --- It was the Mavundla child, one from Mtolo, the other one from Mbele, one from the Nyawusa family, one from the Zulu family. I can't remember well. I think they were about six, because my daughter died at the clinic. One died at the hospital.
The shooting, the sounds of guns, how long did it take to subside? --- I can't remember well. It was about five minutes, but it was just a rumbling of guns, and we could hear the groaning of the children, and they were shouting, "Yes, we are finished, we are dying."
The people who were shooting, you couldn't see them, you could only hear the sound, is that true? --- No, we didn't see them.
The children said they have seen some shades of
people. They said they were wearing police uniform. Were they wearing police uniform? This is the people who shot. --- Yes, that is true. Yes, we see the children, lying there. Some are dead, some were injured.
What did you do to those who were injured? --- We took them to hospital. Some of them survived. some of them, a few of them, died. One of them who survived, the Kheswa child, is here. He was injured on the leg. And all those ones that I am just mentioning they just got injured on their legs. The Zulu child was injured on the hand. The Mkhize child was shot, he had to go to King Edward Hospital. And the other one from Mkhize had to go to hospital, and the other one from Nyawusa too had to be operated.
Who took these children to hospital? Were they taken on an ambulance? --- Yes, it was an ambulance, and also the police.
These police, where were they from? --- They were coming from Paddock.
Their uniform, was it similar to the ones that were seen by the children worn by the people who were shooting? --- No, the uniform was not the same, because the one that was weared by the attackers is the one which is the camouflage uniform.
Yes, they were wearing this camouflage uniform, and the others, what kind of uniform were they wearing? --- They were wearing a green uniform.
Does it mean that's an SAP? --- Yes, they were SAP Police.
Is it true that your daughter was pregnant at the time she was shot, was seven months pregnant? --- Yes,
During the funeral where did you bury all these children? --- One man from Mambilini gave us a place. He gave us this place, and then we got a graver to dig a big grave and we buried them in a mass funeral. And the others were buried - a few of them were buried at their homes. And those were - I am talking about those were the ones who were killed before they arrived at the scene where the shooting took place, those who were killed while they were going to board the bus which was coming to collect us. These killers, they killed us. After that they went towards the bus and they meet those who were coming to assist us and they also killed them.
Was there any investigation? --- There wasn't any investigation, because this happened on Friday, and then it was Saturday. A lot of police came, and also they came with a helicopter. And on Monday they said, "We have to go to site," and they took us to site on Monday on their cars, and they started taking statements, but I couldn't - I don't know the results of what had happened. And they were two investigators, a white and a black investigator.
Do you know their names? --- No, I don't know their names, because when we arrived at site they questioned me. I explained to them. They asked me about one child who was my neighbour. I tried to tell them about this boy and they took me to another investigator, who is now on pension. He was from Mvuchini. This investigator asked this boy exactly what causes all the problems in the area. They said it's because this is political affiliation. And this young man said, "I hate
this woman because she is an IFP," and he was asked to which organisation did he belong and he said, "I am an ANC member."
Was there any inquests? I am saying there has been an inquest concerning the death of your daughter. I have it in front of me that. Those police who were helping, where were they from? --- They were from Port Shepstone.
You said there were police from Paddock. --- Yes. Our place or area is under Paddock.
And thereafter you said like they went to - you went to Port Shepstone Police Station. --- Yes, that is true.
It is true that you developed hypertension? --- Yes, that is true. My health is not good. Even at work my madam advises me about my health because now I depend on tablets, pain tablets like Panado, and she advises me that I mustn't overuse them. I use at least three of them a day. I also have high blood pressure, and I think that is very dangerous.
Where are you staying at the moment? --- I am still staying at Nsangweni.
Is it true that when you look at your house or the graves all these sicknesses comes back to you? --- Yes, this is true. When I see this grave all the things that happened before comes back to me, and I could remember and thank God because I remember when I was in there one bullet passed in front of me and hit on the other side of the wall. When I see this grave I see the children who were left behind by their parents, some of them who died on that day. This Thandekile left a child
who was doing standard one, and the Linda girl also left a child. The one from - the girl from the Zingi family left two children behind. And because of all this my spirit is disturbed. Well I remember well this child from Zulu, the in-laws were coming from KwaNongoma to pay lobola and only discovered that she has died.
Which simply means that so many people were the victims of the day, and also parents were also affected by this incident. What would you like the Commission to do to help the community? You said you will need some counselling to help you to cope with the tragedy, and also that you would like to know who the perpetrators were. You also asked for the building of a community resource centre to be built in the community. --- Yes, that is true. I always have a question in my heart that during this time of development some children are grow up in warm families, while what about those who have lost their parents? Where are they going to get development, education? When their grandparents die where are they going to acquire education? When you look at them you can distinguish them that they don't look like those who are in happy families.
We would like to thank you, Tokozile Dlamini. We will try to take over your request to the President and his Government. Our job is to recommend. It might be possible that you might get some of the things that you would like to be done for you. However, that will come from above. We are also - we also pity you for all this what had happened, and believe that this will never happen again. Thank you.
I would like to say that this is not a question, but I would just like to pass a comment, because your situation is different to others who came because you witnessed the dying of many children at one incident. All this it's behind your shoulder. As I look at you you look like a person who is badly affected by this. Maybe it's time for you to tell us exactly how you can be helped personally. I would like to ask you that when you leave this place you must try to find some professional help. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Dlamini, I know that there will be other friends and colleagues of yours who will be testifying about this same massacre. Normally as the chairperson I make a few comments after each witness has given their evidence, but I will wait for the other three people who will be testifying about the same massacre before I make those comments. So thank you very, very much for being with us today, and I know that over the next hour or so we're going to hear more about this terrible incident which you have told us about. So thank you very much for coming in today, and we will now call the next witness who will come, and that is Mr Thulani Kheswa.
COMMISSIONER: I'd like to ask all the people who have given evidence, or certainly the last two people, not to leave before the other witnesses have given evidence. Thank you.
Mr Linda, thank you very much for coming in today. Can you hear me and can you understand me?
MR LINDA: Yes, I do.
COMMISSIONER: You are also from the Nsangweni area, and you lost your daughter, Sindisiwe Linda, in this terrible massacre in September 1992.
MR LINDA: That's very true.
COMMISSIONER: Before you tell us about what happened on that night can you please stand and take the oath.
DALIMBI SIMEON LINDA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MR LACKS: Good afternoon, Mr Linda. Thank you for coming. Before we start with you will you tell us who is sitting with you on the stage please. --- It's one of the parents who lost a child in this massacre.
What is her name please? --- It's Shayiwe Zulu.
We greet you as well, Mrs Zulu, and thank you for coming to be with us. Before we proceed, Mr Linda, will you just tell us a little bit about your family. --- We are 11 at home. The 12th one left us, died.
(Inaudible) ... yourself, your wife, and how many boys and girls? --- Yes, and also a daughter-in-law.
How many boys and girls do you have? --- I have six boys and I have two girls. No, it's one girl. It's one girl.
Thank you. You also have your late daughter's child
staying with you, is that right? --- Yes. She is among the ones I've already counted.
We heard that she is presently in standard five from Mrs Dlamini. --- No.
What standard is she in, if you could just help us there. --- She is in standard one.
Standard one, thank you. Now, we have heard what happened on that day, and you have told us in your statement that you were at home that night. You must have been close, because you said you had heard the gunshots when they were going off. Is that right? --- Yes.
And can you tell us a little bit about your daughter, Sindisiwe. What was she doing at that time? --- She was working at the time for Sweet(?) here at Marburg. Now this trip came up about Ulundi, and she heard about that and they gathered at one place, and as I was at home relaxing I just heard the gunshots suddenly, you know, things I have never heard before, horrifying noise. And I also went out, not knowing where I was going. I went. I just saw kids crying, and some were lying down. I didn't know what's happening.
You found your daughter inside that unfinished house when you got there. --- That's true, yes.
And at that time she was still alive. --- Yes, she was still moving. There was some vitality signs.
And what happened after that when you ... (incomplete) --- She died at the hospital. Behind the police took the other corpse. We could not sleep that evening because we did not know that those people who killed will still come back and kill us or what.
Now, you say that you are employed at the moment. /--- No,
--- No, I am not working. I was fired from work.
Are you getting any pension or unemployment? --- Nothing.
Okay, and your wife, is she working? --- Yes, she has part-time. You know, those unclear, part-time jobs that she gets from time to time.
And do any of your other children work, maybe help out at home? --- Only one is working. The other one she was shot and got injured. I cannot - she was operated at the hospital. Now she is that kind of a person who often visits the hospital more than any other thing.
This other child of yours that was shot, how was she shot? What was that? Was it in a different incident? --- No, at the very same place. He was outside together with Kheswa's boy.
What is this child's name, if you could just help us please? --- It's Raymond Linda.
How old is Raymond? --- 20 years old.
So in fact you had two children shot that night? --- That's correct. The other one died.
Now, do you know that there was an inquest that took place in relation to this case? --- No, the last time we were just supplying the - giving them the statements, but nothing was done.
So you were never informed that there was going to be an inquest held? --- No.
(Inaudible) --- They used to come at home as visitors, just spend some time with us asking us questions, and from there they will just leave peacefully and they will not take any initiative towards conducting any investigation regarding our children who died in that
If it's any help for you to know, on the 7th of July 1993 the Magistrate at Port Shepstone, a Mr Maharaj, held an inquest and made some findings. Unfortunately the perpetrators were unknown, but they did actually hold an inquest, so you can at least know that it happened.
Now, you have indicated to us that you would really like this case to be more fully investigated, and we will obviously try and see whether we can follow that up for you. It will be difficult because nobody can identify anybody, but we will see what we can do. --- We will be very happy if this can happen, you know, because we are still not comfortable, we are still not happy and peaceful about what happened.
I understand that. Mr Linda, how has this whole incident affected you personally, your health, your wellbeing, and so on? --- I got ill. I was admitted into hospital. The funeral was on Saturday, and on Sunday I was not feeling well. On Monday I went to the hospital at Murchison. My head was just mentally disturbed. Even to this day I am mentally disturbed.
Are you able to go for any counselling or get any help for that? --- At times I do go to the clinic, and they will give me painkillers, and I will go to the other one, the private doctor, and he will also give me some tablets. They think it looks like I have the high blood pressure. When it's cold, especially in winter, I sweat, and that is not normal.
You've also indicated in your statement that you would like some assistance with a pension, either a sick pension or an old age pension. --- That's true. I'll
be happy. I'll be highly excited if that can be done,
because even my child, my daughter's child, I can't help her any further. She has to go to school, and my other son who is working, the load is just too much for him. If I go to the pension to ask for some pension fund they tell me I am still young for that, so we do need some financial assistance.
Just bear with me one moment. (Pause) Sorry, Mr Linda, I just needed to check something with the Chairperson. Thank you very much for coming to tell us about your situation. We haven't gone over the story because, as you've heard, we've already heard it three times already, but is there anything you want to add about that situation that you might have wanted to tell us that I haven't asked you yet? --- No, I don't know what to say because there is nothing much to say. As I am here I am just a person. You know I have nothing. I don't even have five cents. You know, I have struggled to get to this place for the hearings. I will appreciate anything.
Just to finish up, when I was asking questions to Mrs Dlamini I talked about the women. We are talking here about Daleen Dlamini, but we've heard nothing about the mother of the children, about her state. How is she feeling? --- She is also concerned and bothered and worried, and she is in such a state. She is just like Mrs Dlamini.
Does she attend some treatment of some kind? --- Yes.
How is she faring mentally? --- Yes, this has
traumatised her so much as well. Each time she thinks
about this incident she gets all highly disturbed, just like Mrs Dlamini, the one who is seated right down there.
Is your wife here? --- No, she is at home.
Here we see your child was shot at 20 years. --- No, my son who usually gets part-time jobs, the one who's at 20 years here, he ... (incomplete)
Did he pass standard 10? --- Yes.
So does that mean he has a standard 10 certificate? --- Yes. Yes, he is still prepared to go back to school, but financially we cannot further his studies.
Don't you think you want to request that the Truth Commission should see that he furthers his studies? --- Yes, I so wish.
Yes, we'll make that part of your request as well as we forward them to the President. Because even though he was injured he can still do something. --- Yes, thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr Linda, very much for coming and telling us that story. We will be hearing after lunch one more witness who lost her granddaughter and her child in this massacre, and after she has given her - after she has told us her story I will make some comments to all the witnesses. So I want to thank you very much for coming in and telling us your story today.
COMMISSIONER: You have come along today to tell your part of the story that we have already heard, the story of the massacre of the 12 young people, and you lost your daughter, Nthombinkhulu Charity Mzindle, and your grand-daughter, Gimbi Mzindle, both of who died on the 4th of September 1992. Before you tell us that story please can you take the oath. I can see that you are having difficulty walking, so you don't have to stand. Don't stand if you don't want to.
PHOSIWE LINA MZINDLE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Now, from the statement that you have already given us you weren't actually present at the time. --- I was at home. I heard gunshots, shooting, and that noise of shooting, and the kids had already left. Then we left the house with the children and my husband. We were trying to run to the scene, and we found ... (intervention)
Sorry, let me just interrupt you there. Sorry, Mrs Mzindle. You lived with your husband and your daughter, is that right, and your grandchildren? How many other children did you have, or do you have? --- I have 10 grandchildren and three children.
And at that stage were you all living together in Nsangweni in the same house? --- Yes, we were living in the same house.
And so it was one of ... (intervention) --- Now, the grandchild was accompanying the aunt going to Ulundi, and their children. When they got there they were singing. The mood was so jubilant. After some time we
just heard gunshots. We left the house, we ran to the scene. By the time we arrived we found they were all lying in that house, Dlamini's house which was not built, completely built. They just died. My grandchild and my daughter they were not yet dead. They were taken by other children who rushed to the scene, and the neighbours, and they were taken to the clinic, and they died there. I never even went there. I had no strength to go there.
It must be very difficult for you, Mrs Mzindle, to remember these terrible things, so please take as much time as you need to recover yourself. We know that it must be very difficult for you. (Pause) I see from your statement that at least you were able to say a few words to your granddaughter and to your daughter before they died. And that must have been of some help to them. --- You know there were some others who were injured, but they made it, they survived this attack. And now they came back, the children, and that was it, and that was the end. We never heard anything from then except the two police who came, and we did not know them, they were unknown. They came and asked us questions, and they also asked the child, my other boy who was attending school, and the boy said, "I did not see anything. They were putting on the camouflage kind of uniform." I had no strength, no power as such, that day. I can't do anything even to this day. I am just hopeless.
Mrs Mzindle, how old was your daughter when she died? What age was she? --- You see, I am not learned. I am not educated. I will just bear children, and I don't know how old she was at the time.
I see from your statement you said that she was born
in 1969, so she was just a little over 20 years old. And your granddaughter must have been much younger than that. Mrs Mzindle, this happened in 1992, and you must have talked often about it. You must have talked with other people who lost children. --- You know, the children trouble me so much. Each time, you know, when I wake up even at night I think about them, and I feel so troubled. You know, this attacks me, this feeling keeps attacking me, and it leaves me so hopelessly.
We understand the terrible trauma that you've been through, Mrs Mzindle, and we would certainly recommend that you get some assistance. --- You know, I was attacked by these headaches since that day, and I still get the pain even now.
Have you been seeing a doctor, or have you been going to the clinic, or have you been going to the hospital for your health and for the way that you feel? --- I do go to the doctors, even the clinic, and they tell me I have sugar diabetes. And I also have the disease that ... (inaudible) ... disease.
Do you feel that you need to see another medical specialist, or a different doctor, or do you feel that the treatment that you're getting is sufficient? --- Yes, I would like to get proper treatment.
You're receiving a pension now, Mrs Mzindle? --- Yes, I do get pension, and that's the very one I use to educate and pay the fees of my children. I also clothe myself from the same pension. What bothers me most is that the other older child of mine was attacked by this trauma up to this day, you know, he's highly affected, and he's not functioning properly.
So are you saying that there was another child of yours who was present there and who was injured and did not die? --- One got injured and the other did not get injured, and it's the other boy who was injured on the ankle, and he is attending school. And at times this thing attacks him even highly, and he cannot walk properly and he's having problems, experiencing problems.
What is his name? --- Sibonelo.
How old is he? If you don't know ... (incomplete) --- He's the seventh one.
And is he at school or is he working? --- He is still young. He is in sub B.
And he was injured, he was shot in the leg, is that correct? --- Yes, he was one of those. Yes, he got injured. The ankle was ripped apart, but now he tries to walk. It's difficult though. At times it gets better, but at times it's worse. And the bullet went through the hip and got out the other side.
Mrs Mzindle, we'll get further details about him after you've given your evidence, because you didn't mention him in your statement. Mrs Mzindle, have you ever heard anybody expressing any views as to who did this, who attacked you? I know that you don't know, and nor do any of the other people know, but have you heard any of the other people who suffered the loss of their children - have you heard them giving their views or their opinions as to who did this? Do they think it was the police? Who do they think it was? You said the people ... (incomplete) --- I wouldn't know. I don't know really, except that the white police who came in a helicopter, on Friday came - that was on Saturday when
they came in a helicopter, and we just heard that one has been shot in Gamalakhe. So I don't know any further thing than this. I don't know how they even discovered that. I don't know those whites, what they were up to.
As my colleague Mr Lacks said, there was an inquest into this incident, but the Magistrate could not find out who was responsible. I don't know whether we on the Truth Commission will be able to find out who was responsible for this terrible thing, but we will certainly try to do that. And we have heard all the other requests from the other witnesses who have been here today about what they would like the Commission to help them with, and we will take all those requests to the Government, to the State President, and we will make recommendations as to how we think you and other people like you should be helped. Now, I am just going to ask my colleagues if they want to ask any questions about this case.
MR LACKS: Mrs Mzindle, you mentioned that there were two boys that were affected. You told us the name of the one who was shot, Sibonelo. Who was the other one that witnessed the event? --- The other one is the girl. The elder one is not doing fine healthwise. That bullet was extracted, but since then he's not so healthy. She does go to school.
What is her name please? --- Silindile.
Mrs Mzindle, I want to ask you something. I want you to explain a little bit about your family. You say Nthombinkhulu, the one who died, had children. How many children did she have? --- Two.
Those two were not affected? --- Yes, those two were affected, but they did not die, they made it.
And they are the children of Nthombinkhulu? --- Yes.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Mzindle, we want to thank you very, very much for having the courage to come here today and tell us about all these terrible memories, to relive these memories. Since the Truth Commission started holding hearings in KwaZulu-Natal we have heard many, many stories, dozens and dozens of stories of shooting and death and torture and the burning of houses, and almost all the people that have come to give evidence have been members of the ANC ... (intervention) --- That's true.
... or other organisations that existed in the 1980s, like the UDF. And you and the other people, Mrs Dlamini, Mr Kheswa, Mr Linda, you are the first large group of people from Inkatha who have come to the Truth Commission, and we want to welcome you here today. We know that many members of Inkatha, many ordinary people, suffered a lot over the past years, and that many of them have been killed, and have been affected in the way that you have been affected. The massacre that you have described to us is one of the horrifying events that we have had to listen to. Your descriptions of this happy group of young people, eagerly waiting to go on their journey, being killed by guns, those visions will live with us for a long time, and we should ask ourselves what did that violence achieve? What it achieved is that it destroyed at least 12 families, it made people bitter, it made them sad, and it left them with awful memories that
will never leave them. And the evidence that we have heard today from both members of the ANC and members of Inkatha has been very similar. It's been about the killing of innocent people. And we are very glad that you and the other people from the IFP were here today to listen to the members of the ANC and their families giving their stories about how they suffered, and we are very glad that they were here today to listen to how you suffered. Both of you, both groups, know that the only thing that this violence has brought to you is grief and tears and a sense of loss, and we hope that this experience of sitting here and sharing this together will bring about an understanding, a mutual understanding of how useless the violence is, and that this understanding will maybe bring you together, and that it will help to promote reconciliation in our province.
So I want to thank you, and to thank all the other people who came and told us this story today. I think that there are some other parents who lost children in that massacre at Nsangweni who we could not fit in today because there were so many people wanting to give evidence, and if they are here we also extend our sympathy to them. If they would like to stand up and be acknowledged they may do so, so that we know that although they did not give their evidence that we express our same sympathy to them. Would you like to stand up just so that we can see who you are? You don't have to if you don't want to.
INTERPRETER: Those who have children who were affected in this massacre who never came forward to give evidence, may they kindly stand up so we may also extend the words
of sympathy to them.
COMMISSIONER: We extend our deep sympathy to you all. Thank you for coming in today. Thank you.
INTERPRETER: We thank you for coming today.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you again, Mrs Mzindle, for coming in to tell us your story. --- Yes.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, we welcome you and greet you today, Mrs Shabalala. Can you tell me who you have come along with? There is somebody else on the stage with you.
MRS SHABALALA: It's my sister.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, you're welcome, and we greet you as well. Mrs Shabalala, you have come to tell us about the disappearance and the death of your husband, Mbuso Shabalala.
MRS SHABALALA: Yes, that's true.
COMMISSIONER: Before you tell us that story can you please stand and take the oath? I presume it will just be you who's going to give evidence today, not your sister as well.
MAY-ROSE SINDISIWE SHABALALA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
DR MGOJO: We would like to thank you, Mrs Shabalala. How long have you been staying at Gamalakhe? --- I started staying there in 1989, and after my husband disappeared I left the place.
Where were you staying before? --- I was staying at Umzumbe, at my home.
Can you tell us the history about the background of your family? --- You mean the people with me?
No, I mean about your family. How many children do you have? --- I have three children, two girls and one boy. The daughter is 12 years old, the second one is eight, the boy will be turning six on September. When I was pregnant by the third boy his father disappeared.
Are you working? --- Yes, I am working.
Where do you work? --- I am working at Gamalakhe
/as a teacher.
as a teacher.
At which school? --- (No reply interpreted)
At that time when your husband passed away did you belong to any political organisation? --- Yes.
Which organisation? --- ANC.
Can you explain before the Commission what happened to your family, starting from July 1990? --- It was during the June holidays, and we were off on holiday to Durban. One Sunday we decided to go to Port Shepstone, and at the family we didn't find anyone. We stayed there. My husband left, saying he's coming back to pick us at 4 o'clock. 4 o'clock struck and he didn't come back to pick us, therefore we went back to M Section.
Which township are you talking about? --- I am talking about KwaMashu township. Then he didn't arrive until the next morning.
This uncle, your husband's uncle, where was he staying? --- He was staying in G Section at KwaMashu.
What happened thereafter? --- On Monday I went back home because the schools were opening on Tuesday. I didn't tell them at home what happened because I was afraid. I thought maybe my husband had gone somewhere. I thought maybe if I say something I will be mentioning his secrets.
Where were you staying? --- We were staying at Umzumbe.
And then you arrived home and your husband didn't come back, and you were afraid to mention as to his whereabouts. --- I talked to my younger sister, trying to explain that I can't see him, I don't know what has happened to him. On Tuesday we went to KwaMashu Police
Station to report the matter. They tried to investigate, trying to look out at the mortuary whether he's not there. I tried to describe to them how he was dressed, but they couldn't find him, and thereafter we had to go back home. On Friday the 13th I was coming from school. I met about 10 cars driven by white people. I wasn't aware that these people were looking for me. When I arrived at home and alighted from the bus a car stopped just behind me. They greeted me. They greeted me as Mrs Shabalala. I was so surprised because I didn't know them, and I was afraid.
At what time was it? Was it in the evening or morning? --- It was in the afternoon. They asked me where was my husband. I told them, "He has disappeared on Sunday." They asked me to whom have I reported the matter. I told them I went to KwaMashu Police Station to report the matter. I thought maybe they're going to give me the message that he has died, because it has been sometimes a long time after he disappeared. They said to me they were looking for him. There was an accident that happened in 1983, and all the people who were in the accident are being sought to be given some compensation. What do you know about Mr Luthuli? --- I went to Mr Luthuli, it was on August, because the car which stopped behind me I just explained has a numberplate registration number of NPS. I will say that this Luthuli it's a police. Someone told me about this Luthuli, that I must go to Luthuli, I might get some leads. Yes, I know this person who told me this. He's staying in Gamalakhe.
Luthuli did came to you to ask the whereabouts of your husband, is that true? --- Yes, it's true.
Why was he looking for him? --- He said he was
looking for him in connection with the accident which happened in 1983.
And he found out that you didn't know where your husband was? --- Yes, that's true.
Can you tell us about the two policemen who arrived on the next day? At what time did they arrive at your place, and where were you at that time? --- Luthuli arrived on the 13th, Friday. The others arrived it was on the 20th early in the morning. I was lying on my bed. They knocked on the door. My dad asked them who was it and they said it was police, and we opened the door. They didn't say whom they were looking for. They get into the house. They found me sleeping in the bedroom. They said, "Here is the damn woman we're looking for."
Is it the police who were saying this? --- Yes, it were the police.
Where were they from? --- I don't remember where they were coming from. They said to me, "You don't have time to dress, but you have to take off this nightdress." I took the nightdress off and my mum went to fetch some clothes so that I can wear. When they were asked where they were taking us they said, "We are going somewhere far."
Where were they when you were dressing? --- They were in the dining-room.
Where were you dressing? --- I was dressing in front of them. They said there's no time for me to dress in the bedroom.
It means you changed your clothes in front of them? --- Yes, that's true.
Were they males? --- Yes, that's true.
Were your brothers at home at that time? --- When the police arrived we didn't see them, so my brothers saw the police arriving so they got out of our home in another car. When they see the police car coming in they came back. When they arrived the police pointed guns at them, telling them to lie down on the floor.
And they lay down on the floor? --- Yes, they did that.
After you were dressed what happened? --- They took us to C R Square.
Were you together with your brothers? --- Yes, together with my brothers. While we were on the way they were calling each other, calling the C R Swart, telling them they mustn't close the room where they're going to lock us in, telling that they are bringing us in.
At the time when they took you away did they explain exactly the reason why they were taking you away, because at the time you were the one who was grieving because you lost your husband? --- They didn't explain. They just said ... (inaudible)
What does that mean? --- I don't know what that means.
When you arrived at C R Swart what happened? --- One of my brother's friends came in and they started beating him, asking him the whereabouts of Mbuso. We couldn't hear exactly what they were asking him, and we were not allowed to talk where we were sitting. Then my chance came to come out and talk, because they were tired of listening to my brothers because they were telling them the same story. They talked to me and they got tired, they slept, and when they wake up they said, "We have to
go." They were talking to each other, thinking that we don't hear them, and saying, "These people don't know anything."
Didn't they harass you? --- They just told me that - they didn't harass me, they just told me that I will give birth in prison.
At KwaMashu did you visit ... (intervention) --- I didn't hear you.
Did they ever visit the KwaMashu place to break into some house? --- Yes, they did. They started at Gamalakhe.
What did they do at Gamalakhe? --- When we were coming back from C R Square they came. They normally used to come to our place at night. They found my younger brother and they asked where was Mbuso's room. He showed them the room and they asked for the key to open the door. He said the key is not there. They break the door open and came in. They turned the house upside-down and they left at about four in the morning.
Is there anything that they took from Gamalakhe? Did they take anything from the room? --- They didn't take anything from Gamalakhe, but they took some items at M Section in KwaMashu. They took some kitchenware at that time.
Did you ever reported the matter to police? --- I went to Hibberdene to report the matter. The police told me that I must go and search for my husband at a casino.
Was he used to casinos? --- No.
In your statement, Mrs Shabalala, you said you went to Port Shepstone Police Station to ask for help. Do you
still remember that? You said you met Luthuli Mthunjane. Do you still remember that? --- Yes, I still remember.
Who is Luthuli Mthunjane? --- This is the Luthuli who came to me and identified himself as Luthuli.
Why did they refer you to Luthuli Mthunjane? In your own opinion why do you think they referred you to him? --- The one person who I talked to said I can get some help from Luthuli.
Did this Luthuli help you? --- When I asked Luthuli he said he doesn't know the whereabouts of Mbuso. I just went to him just to find out what he can say. He said I must wait, he's going to talk to the captain. He talked to the captain, and they were laughing together with the captain. When he came back to me he said I must go to C R Swart to ask for a letter which gives me permission to go to the prison to see Mbuso. I didn't go to the C R Square because I was afraid that I could be arrested.
You mentioned the name of Mr Mkloli. --- I met him in 1994. It was a mistake, it was in 1992. I met him in 1994.
Who is this Mkloli? --- He was working for the Goldstone Commission.
Tell us the time when you arrived at him you were together with Mbuso's friend, Sandile Bulani? --- Sandile Bulani was my husband's friend. He was trying to help me to connect me to people who can give me some help. He was trying to trace the whereabouts of my husband. During December 1994 he came back to tell me that Mbuso has been killed by police, and that his car has been cut into pieces at Camperdown.
Who was saying this? It was Sandile? --- No, this was the Goldstone people.
Did they mention exactly where the police were from? --- No, they didn't.
In your statement you said Mkloli did investigate the police. Did they say they really killed your husband? --- Yes.
Do you remember who sent the police to kill your husband? --- What I have just discovered from my lawyer as to what had happened, it was that an answer from Pretoria was that de Kock has not been charged in connection with the death of my husband.
That he has not been charged. Does it mean that the police will stand by de Kock? --- I think so.
You also mention Charles Indaba. Can you tell us more about him? --- Charles Indaba was Mbuso's friend. He disappeared on Friday and Mbuso disappeared on Sunday.
You mention an amount that had been paid, an amount of R10 000,00. Who paid this money? --- This money was paid to the person who caught my husband.
Was he bought with this money? --- Yes.
Who was this person? --- No, they didn't tell me the name of the person.
You said you contacted some lawyers. Are they still around, those lawyers? --- Yes.
Do you know their names? --- The one I am using at the moment is Ndulwane.
Is it Nhlanhla? --- Yes.
Did you get a death certificate? --- No, I didn't. They didn't give me a death certificate.
Which means even at the moment I don't know where is
your husband? --- Yes, that is true.
You don't even know his grave? --- Yes, I don't know his grave, and I would like to know where it is.
You have done a good thing by coming before the Commission to come and explain to us about the disappearance of your husband. Can you summarise exactly what you expect from the Commission so that we can be able to write down your requests and send them over to the President? Is there anything that you would like to ask from the Commission to take over to the President? --- I would like them to give the death certificate, because they know, those who killed him. And I would also like them to show me his grave.
Is there anything else you would like to ask? --- And also that they help me with my children, because I want them to grow up like other children.
Wouldn't you like the Truth Commission to investigate as to who did this act? --- I would like them to do that.
We have heard you, Nonhlanhla, and we will try to take all your requests to the President, that you get a death certificate, and also that you be shown his grave. It is a painful experience to be married to someone and not even knowing where he was buried. The third thing is that you get some help with your children. And also for the Truth Commission to investigate as to who were the perpetrators of this crime. Is that true? --- Yes, it is.
And we will try, as I have already mentioned, to take over these requests to the President. Will you say the way you were affected by this. How do you feel at the
moment? Like your children don't know their father, they don't know his grave, and you as the wife you don't know. How are you and your children affected by this? --- Normally I have got problems with headache, and I normally forget things, and this started at the time when my husband disappeared. And normally when I pass graves my children will ask me, "Is our dad lying in graves like this?"
Did you get any help? --- Yes, we would like to get some help in this regard, thank you.
I think that can be done as soon as possible. We can get you some counsellors. We don't even have to take this to the President, and you can get that as soon as possible. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Shabalala, you said in your statement that your husband, Mbuso, was - you said that he was a member of Operation Vula, an operative in Operation Vula, which was an ANC underground initiative. Is that correct? --- That's true.
Had he been working inside the country or outside the country before he was part of Operation Vula? Was he in exile or has he been here during the years of the struggle? --- He was working within.
And what job was he doing at the time of his disappearance? --- He was a teacher.
And were you aware that he was part of Operation Vula? --- Yes, I was aware, but at the time he was hiding.
Now, the other person who you mentioned, Charles Indaba, where is he? --- He also went missing. The
police said he died.
So it's your husband, Mbuso Shabalala, and Charles Indaba were the two Operation Vula people who went missing? --- Yes.
And they've not been seen since. --- That's true.
I'll just ask the other commissioners if they have any questions to ask - committee members. (Pause) Mrs Shabalala, we have heard many stories similar to yours over the past month, in the sense that they have been made by people whose family members, or husbands, or children, have simply disappeared, and they have described to us the empty feeling that they have not knowing whether their child or their husband is alive or dead. So we do have some idea of what you are experiencing and what you are going through, and we will certainly do everything that we can to get the bottom of this. I recall the Operation Vula incident when it took place, and I recall the two people who disappeared, one of whom now we understand is your husband. And it is absolutely essential that we get to the bottom of what happened to these people and where they are buried, and I am sure once you know that you will have a sense of - some sense of relief, rather than not to know at all where he is and where he died and how he died. You heard my colleague, Dr Mgojo, say that our job is to make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted. You have lost your husband, who was the breadwinner, joint breadwinner of your family, and he has left behind you and three small children. And we will certainly be making recommendations to the State President as to how we thing you should be assisted. So
we want to thank you very much for coming in today and telling your story to us, and we are glad that you were able to share the platform together with your sister, and hope that she was able to give you some support. Thank you very much for coming in today. --- Thank you.
If there's anything else that you would like to say, please say it, but if you feel that you've said enough then you may go. --- There is nothing.
Thank you very much indeed.
COMMISSIONER: (Incomplete) ... Sibiya, which took place in 1991. Before you tell us that story can you please stand and take the oath?
SIGQANYA SIBUSISO SIBIYA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
DR MAGWAZA: We greet you, Sibusiso. We are happy to be with you today. Sibusiso, we know that it's not easy. We would like for you to explain the atrocities that you underwent. Before we get there just concisely tell us about your family. Where are you parents? --- My father has died, my mother has died. I don't have a mother, I don't have a father. It's me and my sisters. My elder sister is alive, and the others have died.
You parents have died, that's what you say? --- Yes.
And the ones who are still alive? --- I have one sister who is alive and myself. It's myself and my sister. And she also is - I may not say she is with me because she got married. I am alone. I live alone at home. I also am co-habiting as well.
You are at home with a girlfriend, cohabiting? Who is feeding you or supporting you? --- I used to receive pension, but that died off and my brother - I have a few brothers who help me, who see that I am helped and I have something to eat.
Are you related to the brothers you are talking about? --- No, we just belong to one organisation.
It's just your brothers in an organisation setting? --- Yes.
Just tell us now, Sibusiso, about that day which
changed your life. --- What I remember quite well, we were coming back from town. We were drinking up until late in the day, and I said, "I would like to sleep. I think it's late now." And I said, "Okay."
Sibusiso, your story is important. Won't you please raise your volume . --- You know, I can't raise my volume. He came back at 12 and he knocked at the door. He calls me Mthembu. He said, "Mthembu, are you sleeping already?" I said, "Yes, I am sleeping." I said, "We'll see what we haven't finished today tomorrow," and he said, "Well, I am also going to sleep." I said to him, "Oh, you go well, Kehla. Sleep well." He asked, "Are you going to sleep somewhere else, or here?" I said, "No, I will sleep here at home." And it looked like he had already left the place, and I slept with my girlfriend here. And the child woke up at night and was crying, and we attended to the child.
Let me just bother you, interrupt here. At the time when you were at home sleeping who were you with? --- I had Bhiyo, who was dating my sister, and my sister, and also my girlfriend whom I was dating at the time, and my child, and my brother who was in another bedroom. At about 20 to two we heard a knock, and I could not - it could not ring in me to ask who is it. And I said, "Well, let me ask who is it?" They said, "It's us. It's us, the guys." And the other one said, "Where is Msani?" And they said, "No, you are inside. You open the door. We want you. Don't disguise here," because I was trying to disguise. And I heard many movements, and I could tell from the movements that it's not one guy, there are many. Just when I tried to stand up, trying to peep from the
window, I found out that it's enormous people outside, numerous in number, many. And I was wondering where were they coming from.
Let's just stop there. Were you a Qabane? Did you belong to a Qabane organisation? --- Yes.
When they said there were some Qabane members wanting you what made you alert that they were lying? --- I knew. I could tell because there were people who were sleeping at - the Qabane members were sleeping in some bushes away from home, being scared, so I suspected. Just when I was trying to stand up to peep, and I just heard some voice suddenly, my brother who was the one, saying, "No, it's not the one. And then the other one said, "We have already assaulted that one. What should we do?" I did not know what went on from there, you know, because there was some shooting, heavy gunshots, and I was hit on - shot on my head and I was shot also in my body, and I was unconscious, and recovered consciousness -and recovered my conscious in the hospital. When I tried to remember what happened I cannot recall exactly what happened since I got unconscious.
Now, about your brother, were you the only one who got hurt? What happened to others like your brother? --- No, the one who said, "No, he is not the one we are looking for."
Who got hurt besides you? That's my question. --- No, there is no any other person who got hurt. One died and I got shot.
Your brother died on that day? --- Yes, he died in the hospital, because he got shot on his stomach and the intestines burst open.
You are talking about Makhotavane Cele here? Which organisation was this guy from? --- Well, as we were drinking and hanging together he was a guy who was just living his own life. I don't think he could have been the one who will betray me.
According to you in your own opinion you think he is the one who called people to come shoot you? --- Yes, now I begin to think so, because when - after those people left - after I had left my bedroom to the other one where I was going to peep I heard his voice. They were asking him, "Why were you joking, playing around with us?" He said, "No, he is inside. He is inside, because I left him. I know we were drinking together, he must be in. He is lying. And I confirmed that he was in there."
Out of the people who attacked you are there any that you can recall, probably that you remember? --- From amongst them, among the attackers? No. Because others - because we used to also sleep in the bush. He told me that it was Nkupugeni who was coming to shoot me, and I was wondering how he knew. He said, "No, I am always with them. We do these things together." So he never told me exactly where he got that story from.
You know, I want to ask you so many questions, because your voice is so low I can't hear some other things that you are saying. He told you that there were some others that he knew? --- No, he only said it's Nkupugeni.
He told you the name? --- Yes.
You left the hospital, you were discharged from the hospital, and what happened after you were discharged? --- You know I won't remember exactly what happened
after I was discharged from the hospital because I - somehow mentally I could not think right at that time, and there was no way also of going back to the hospital for treatment. Like even now I still have bullets in my head that haven't been extracted.
Let's go back. You said you've seen Xelisa, who had with him an assegai. --- Yes, I did see him. I saw him because it was bright outside and they had torches, and where we were - you know, when I was trying to go outside, you know, confused, and my girlfriend said, "Don't go out, because outside there are many people. There are police having guns."
Xelisa, tell us about Xelisa. Where is Xelisa? --- Yes, he is the one who's still alive.
Do you know his whereabouts? --- Yes, although I don't know his house, but I know he is in ... (inaudible)
Maybe you will give us more details inasfar as this subject is concerned afterwards. Let's go back now to your being attacked the second time. --- I was attacked at home. You see, with the second attack, although I don't remember very well even now. I get confused at times. I am in such a state that I lose memory, I can't recall properly events that happened in the past. I take lots of treatment, lots of tablets, and at times - often times I have to take rests and sleep. I have this severe headache, and I don't know - I cannot say whether it's because of the bullets that are in my head. It looks like the bullets are so much close to my brain.
It's clear that that was such a torture, your being shot at the head definitely has traumatised you a big
deal. But would you remember with the second attack where did they attack you and how? --- I won't remember, because yesterday I tried. You know, yesterday I was disturbed. The bullets disturbed me in my head, I could not - I was not feeling well, and I took some tablets. Even now my eyes feel bad, and I just don't feel well and I just don't feel good.
I hear you, Sibusiso, and I think I should not bother you with many questions that you definitely won't be able to answer my questions because of your state. But what I have already gathered from your statement is that the way you were attacked you were just a healthy man, a young, good man - young enough, and ambitious, so much ambitious, but after you've been attacked you became hopeless and also close to useless. When I look at the things that harassed your life and tortured your life - you say now you have fits? --- Yes. I feel numb at times, and especially where I got shot, in that area, and at times I will feel that there are veins which got disturbed so much and cannot function properly. I get that feeling often times. And at times when I try to turn my head I will feel my neck so much in pain. Again this attacked min the hospital. That's when I discovered and realised that, you know, I am not longer the man I used to be. Things have changed, my life has changed.
When I go back now to your life, your health, you can see properly now? --- Yes, I can see properly.
You get those pains from the neck? --- Yes, when I try to turn, turn my head, I can feel my neck, that pain in my neck.
You get that pain, severe pain? --- Yes.
You also say you cannot talk properly? --- Yes, at times, you know, when I try to talk I don't know suddenly what has happened. Suddenly the voice fails me and I will be speaking so low, like I am going right now, going on and on right now, and I wouldn't know what the cause of that is.
You lose memory? --- Yes, I can talk to you right now, but a few minutes later I have forgotten what I have said to you.
Also you say you get confused, you get mentally disturbed? --- Yes, especially when it's hot. Especially when it's hot I get more confused.
Of all the things that have happened, you have lost also your brother. --- Yes.
Today you are an orphan without parents. --- Yes, I am an orphan today.
What I am saying to you, Sibusiso, today is that as we are here as the Truth Commission we do see the pathetic situation that you are in. We will try all we can to see how we can help you, to appease you. We will forward all what we have gathered here to the State President, and of the things that we think we could do them immediately now, without even waiting to forward them to the President, maybe things that regard your life, your health, your state of health and how you go on with life as a pensioner, we will see how to help you. I thank you very much, Sibusiso. I will give over to the chairperson.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much, Sibusiso, for coming in to talk to us today. We have heard many other stories, particularly yesterday, from people from the Murchison
area, and, as I said to those people yesterday, Murchison - the people of Murchison suffered very, very badly over the past - particular 1989, 1990, 1991. We heard stories of people whose homes were burnt down, people who were driven out of their homes, people who were forced to go on night camps, and if they refused to go they were killed. And you were among those people who fled. Because of that political oppression in Murchison you were forced to flee from your home to KwaGcaba, where again you were attacked and assaulted by the police. So you have given us a clear picture of what life was like in those days in that part of Port Shepstone, and that is very useful for us because it helps us to write the report which we have to write for the Government. And when we write that report you can be sure that the stories that we have heard from the people of Murchison will feature very much in that report. As you have heard Dr Magwaza say, part of our job is to make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted, and we will be making those recommendations on your behalf to the Government so that you can be assisted. So we thank you again very much for coming in today and sharing your story with us. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Is that the one in the middle? Okay, and then who is Sithembiso Nzama? That's you. And you are Kayiya Cele on the left. Sorry, who is Mr Cele? Oh. And Thembinkosi Dwayisa? And who will be talking first? Dwayisa, okay, thank you. I think if you - and are you all going to be talking today? Are you all going to be giving evidence today, or is it just Mr Dwayisa? Dwayisa, okay. If there is anything that you want to add you are welcome to. If you do you'll have to take the oath, but if you're happy that Mr Dwayisa talks on your behalf that's fine. Okay. Mr Dwayisa, can you - okay, can you both stand to take the oath.
THEMBINKOSI DWAYISA and KAYIYA BOY CELE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: You are from the Murchison area again, like the witnesses before you, and like many other witnesses we have heard. You are from the Mbhayimbhayi area and Nkanyezini area, and you have come to tell us about a lengthy period of harassments, attacks, shootings which you and other members of your community suffered at the hands of the South African Police and the IFP, and this was in 1991. I am going to ask Mrs Gcabashe to assist you with your evidence.
MRS GCABASHE: I would like you to greet the three of you. Good afternoon. You have already explained that Thembinkosi will be speaking mostly on your behalf throughout the story, and I believe that if some few things - if there's something that's left out they can help. As you were sitting with us together since from the morning listening to other witnesses, all the big things
that happened before, as now is your time to come forward to tell more about what you experienced. It also affects us, and we also get upset to hear all the troubles and the problems that our people have gone through. I would like to start with you, Thembinkosi. Can you tell us more about the surrounding area where you come from, and also tell us more about your family. Tell us about your family first. --- I will say that there is only one person still alive at home.
May you please raise up your voice. --- I am only left with my dad and my mother, and I am the only child.
Are you just alone at home? Were you born alone? --- We were two. Another one passed away.
At the present moment what are you doing? --- I am not working.
When this happened I believe you were still young, still at school. Where were you schooling? --- I was schooling at a place called Elihlaze at Murchison.
Up to what standard did you study? --- I studied up to standard five.
How old were you at the time when you left school? --- I was 17 years old.
As we have already heard that the issue that brought you here before us is that there was violence in your place. Can you briefly tell exactly what happened. --- I will say my harassment started at 1987. During '87 there were some athletics at Murchison in one of the playing grounds. That's where the police started harassing us. There had been a problem at the playing grounds. During the athletics police started shooting at
us. They starting shooting, it was about from half past three until seven in the evening.
Where were you at that time as it's a long time they have been shooting? --- We were at our homes in Murchison.
Where they were shooting - they were shooting at the grounds, and what happened? --- Yes, they started shooting at us at the playing fields, and thereafter they followed us to our homes. Time went on until 1990. There was some change to us, and also other members of the UDF. That was the time Nelson Mandela was released. I think that was the time people began to realise the truth, and they all turned to become members of the UDF.
In your statement you mentioned that in 1991 you were harassed by IFP and police. Was it the correct time? --- Yes, that was the correct time. After the release of Nelson Mandela there has been some change. We stayed together all as comrades. In 1991 things started to change. Even somewhere in the middle of 1990 there was a spirit that we had was moving around that the IFP was preparing to attack us. We stayed on guard, waiting to see if every they're going to attack us. Most of the comrades decided to meet and go for camping because we didn't know what was going to happen at any minute.
You mentioned that it happened that you have to leave Ezikaleni. Did you get out of that place? --- Yes, we moved of Ezikaleni at that year. In January 1991, 27, there were some of our friends were sitting together. They used to call themselves UDF members. On that night of the 27th January we heard that people have died in a place called Madagala. Three people died at that place.
We tried to investigate as to the cause of their deaths. After their deaths we had a meeting where all the members of the congress in Murchison have to meet. Then the whole community went to that place to find out exactly what had happened as to how the three people were killed. When we arrived at the meeting there was no resolution, or we couldn't find out the reason why they were killed, and the meeting just dissolved like that. It happened and happened until 1991, and all those brothers who were attacked were attacked by the IFP.
You said ... (incomplete) --- I am saying they were attacked by the IFP. I mean those three brothers or comrades who died. It's then that we as comrades realised that there is no way out, we have to come together in unity and see what we can do to protect the people. They started - they continued to attack us in the company of police, and when they came to us they normally say that they were looking for young boys. We had meetings, trying to find out as to how we can solve the matter. On April somewhere the IFP attacked us. They were in the company of police. That was April the 10th 1991. After they have attacked us two people died. It was Mr Dladla and also -Mr Dladla Damkoka, and the other man was Mr Makhanya. This Mr Dladla and Makhanya, were they injured? Were they injured during the attack? --- Yes. I think they were attacked early in the morning.
Did they survive? --- No, they didn't. They died. The other one was Bhekithemba Radebe.
Was he also injured? --- He died.
You may continue. --- After that there had been some attacks from both sides.
When you say you were attacking each other, who was attacking who? --- They were attacking us. I am trying to say the IFP people were attacking us. They continued attacking us and harassing us, and people lost a lot of belongings, including furniture and livestock, because when they arrive when we run away they take anything that they could find. As we were sitting waiting to find a solution as to the problem we tried to call the police, the police from Shepstone Police Station. We talked to the station commander, telling him about our problem. He did come to our place.
Do you remember his name? --- Yes, I do remember.
What was his name? --- They used to call him Mr Fourie. After that Station Commander Fourie arrived we tried to explain to him our problem. We told him that the IFP is attacking us and harassing us, and they are also accompanied by the police and we don't know what's going on. And he asked us when did they attack us. We told him, "Here are the people who died, Bhekithemba and those I am mentioning, and this man from the Dladla family." He just kept quiet after that.
Do you remember you said - you mentioned a captain who was with him. Do you remember his name? --- No, I don't remember.
Was he a black man or a white man? --- He was a white man. He talked to us, trying to find out as to how he can help us. We explained to him what happened to us. He agreed as to what we were telling him. However, he asked us why don't we want to become IFP members. We told him we can't be IFP members because we are UDF members.
After that Mr Fourie said so many things, and we asked him as to why the police are always assisting the Inkatha in the attacks. He said we mustn't ask him that question. And he took off a shirt that he was wearing. He was wearing a white shirt. When he took off this shirt he showed us some wounds, showing how the comrades have injured, and we told him, "We don't know about your incidents, but we are trying to explain to you about the people who have died here." From that we differed in views. He took out his gun and R4 rifle. He cocked it and put it on top of his shoulder and started walking away. He was walking on foot, and the IFP members were standing somewhere from a distance and he went towards their position. We were so confused we didn't know what was happening. And he left us and said, "You can do whatever you want to do." After he left we were attacked and we didn't know what to do.
Did you see the people who attacked you? --- Yes, we used to see them, and we also know them. After that people attacked us, and the police were gone at that time. We used not to sleep at home. We used to go back to the forest at night and come back during the day. And it continued like that. On the 6th of May 1991 the IFP again, together with the police, attacked one family. That was the Ngcobo family. The father of the family was Ngcobu Ngcobo. On that day when this happened I was outside at the gate. We were just sitting with some of my friends. We were just smoking, sitting outside just watching exactly what was happening around us. It was about quarter to 10 or 10 o'clock in the evening. We saw a police car passing. It was from a place called
Crossing. It was going to Mtengwane. During the time we were watching this car as it was passing. After it had just passed it shined its green light on top of it. At about a few minutes, about 10 minutes the started attacking us. That's where we discovered that there were police in their company, because they were also accompanied by soldiers because they left their cars and came on foot from the other side.
Can you go back to the 22nd of November 1991 where Momomu Ndelwane, an IFP leader, was killed? Can you tell us something about it? --- On November the 22nd, it was 1991, one woman came shouting at this place, Ezikaleni. This woman stand on top of the hill and started shouting that the IFP together with the police they are coming to look for Momomu.
Do you still remember this mother? --- No, I don't remember. After that we sat together with my friends and we decided to go and investigate as to where were these people, the police together with the IFP were coming from which direction. We rushed towards the place to find out as to who were those people. We wanted to find out because the place they were coming in it was in our place, the comrades area, it was not an IFP area. We saw the car.
Are you still talking about what happened on the 22nd? --- Yes, I am talking about the 22nd. The car came. Some of our comrades went towards it to find out exactly as to what are they doing there. Before we arrived - as I have said there were some of my friends were in front - the people from the car started shooting, and some police alighted from the car and they started
shooting at us. They continued shooting, and those comrades tried to defend and protect themselves. Some ran to hide, some fired back. They continued shooting at us and we didn't know what was happening. And then so many people came out from the houses and we were becoming many in number. These police it was one white man and three black man.
You mean is it those people who shot Sifiso? --- Yes, they are the people who shot Sifiso.
Did you ever find out exactly who were in the car? --- Yes, we saw them when they were coming back for the second time.
Is it true that it was B P Cele? Do you remember their names? --- Yes, I do. The first one it was investigating officer B P Cele. It means ... (inaudible) ... and the others who were in his company, and also a white man. They left after shooting us on the first time they started shooting, and after some few minutes, about 20 minutes - after some few minutes, like 20 minutes, they came back with police, and some other police were at the back of the car, and they were holding their guns. Again people started shouting as they have seen them coming down, and they said, "There is the car that killed us." Since we were from the forest then we came out of the bushes to find out exactly why is the car back in our place. When we came out of the bushes they started the very same story that they did before. When we arrived at the scene they started shooting at us.
Is this the time where you got shot? --- Yes.
After you were shot what happened to you? Did you go to hospital, or what happened? --- I went to
Which hospital? --- I went to Shepstone Hospital.
What did they do to you in hospital? --- They treated me, and they told me that I was so badly injured and it will take a long time for me to recover. And I stayed for about three months in hospital and thereafter I was discharged. I went back to my place at Gamalakhe.
You said you were operated. Did they extract any bullet from your body, or what happened? --- I don't know, because I can't remember how I arrived at the hospital as to when and how.
Was there any case opened on this matter? --- No, there was no case.
Didn't you report the case to the police? --- The police came to me while I was in hospital.
Do you know those police who came to you while you were in hospital? --- I don't remember them well, but I can identify them if I see them.
In your statement you gave names, lists of people who harassed you. I am not going to mention them, but do you know them? --- Yes, I do know them.
You said you would like to know the perpetrators, and also that they must be brought to justice, and also that you would also like to be given a sick pension. Can't you work? --- Yes, I can't work.
Maybe your brother next to you would like to add something. --- I think he would like to say something because we are coming on the same issue.
KAYIYA BOY CELE (Previously Sworn, States) (Through interpreter)
MRS GCABASHE: Now, let's hear from you. What would you want to say, or probably add on top of what is already said, especially that you are relating one story. This is in line with what he was already saying, so please do not repeat what he has already said. Is there anything that you want to add? --- What I could add are the - I just want to fill in the places. It's that at Murchison we were still highly harassed, differently, because police were collaborating, especially with the IFP. We've heard that even somewhere were the UDF. I was also - at Murchison we were attacked. There were police - there was a time when the police came in with the IFP, and that place was UDF area. During the day we were assaulted.
Tell us about that place. What about that place? Tell us about that area. --- No, it's a place called Ndluthaweni in Murchison. That's where the police came with the IFP and the soldiers and the Stability - in the morning, if I am recalling right. We were assaulted and we were taken out, and we were also women and ladies there, and only IFP was left. Some of our brothers did attempt to fight the situation. When they went to the police it was of no use, because the police and the IFP were collaborating. So there was no use to go to the police because the police knew very well what Inkatha was doing.
No, just go on if there's anything new. --- In 1990, on the 5th of May, at home at the place called Mbhayimbhayi we had already heard that the IFP was going to attack. We were there with the neighbours. At 2.00 am /the IFP
the IFP came. They came in a gravel road, they were
driving through the gravel road, and they came into our house. They could not see that I was not at home, I was outside. When they got inside they found out that there were three people inside the house. It was my father and his brother - you know, please let me try to explain this way. You see the other one, so we just decided that he shall just die alone instead of the whole family to be killed. Now, they did not have a way of coming inside the house because this other one was coming out of the house. Then they were more focused and concentrating on this guy. It's Mazinio. At home there was my father, Samuel, and one other called Mkhonde. Well, we left the place and we could see that there's nothing else we could do because we were being so attacked so severely. In the afternoon there will be taxis who will pick us up to take us to Ngwojini. That's where we were putting up for the evening, and go back to Murchison at night. We will leave Murchison ... (incomplete - end of side A) ... stay in Murchison we will be there during the day. But one day in the morning - I think it was around four or six - we were coming back from where we were sleeping. Now, these two taxis got stopped by the IFP members, and they were shooting, and one brother of mine by the name of Zakhele got hurt in the thigh. He was shot in the thigh.
What is his name? --- It's Zakhele Xaba. He was hurt, he was injured in the thigh. You see the drivers did try so much to save us from the whole situation. When we arrived in Murchison we just said there's nothing we could do. Maybe we should just go our way. One should go his way, I shall go my way, and the others go their own
way. Now when they were - my other brothers left, these
other guys left, on the third day the IFP attacked their place where they were and two friends of ours died there.
Who were those who died? --- Like Mbambo.
And who else? --- And Majozi, Majozi Mthembu. We separated, we went on our own way. I said there was nothing that we could do. We were attacked even there in Malodi, and we tried to go our own way, every man for himself, God for us all. And some of our friends they went to Gamalakhe, others went to Durban. We went to different places. After some time we met again. As we separated in Malodi we met again. Still we were harassed in such a way, and the police of Stability and the soldiers made it a point that every day they were attacking. And we know very well that after seven they were coming. Once seven struck they will come.
Please, you've already said that. Why don't you say something that you haven't said? --- Well, if that is it I would like to go on then and take over.
We've already heard. --- One other thing that he has forgotten that I would like to put forward, and probably also ask for help from you. Those two taxis. Well, we've heard about those two taxis. They used to take you out of the town and back to town. --- You see now, I am talking about something different. Those two taxis were driven by police. Another one was red, another one was cream-white. You see those police they used to attack. They will not want any - they will attack the natives. We will go to Gamalakhe to meet and gather and the police will come and attack, killing our brothers, friends, colleagues. Many things were happening, taking /place
place there. And we were told in the morning that we
won't see the Christmas Day. The Christmas Day - we will have our Christmas Day in the bush. Those are the police telling us that. And then these other taxis, the red and the cream-white, were used by the camouflage and the Stability. And some other friend's brothers died, and some were coming from Murchison and they never got to go back to their places after that.
Well, we've heard already what you are saying, and well, we know that you have been harassed at this age especially. You are so young. Is there anything probably that you would like to put forward as a request to the Commission? I am asking the three of you now. Is there anything perhaps? You did not take the oath.
COMMISSIONER: Would you like to add something to what has been said? What are your full names please?
SITHEMBISO NZAMA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
MRS GCABASHE: I will also request you, Sithembiso, please, please, please don't talk about what already has been said. We will just ask you concisely to tell us about what they have not told us yet. --- See what happened is that I have a brother called Jeffrey Nzama.
Who is that? --- Jeffrey Nzama. He was a member of the SAP. I used to live with them. I was a refugee. I will leave and come back, and go and come back. It was 1983 at Zwikele.
Where is that? What is that? --- 1873. That's the house - the residential number, 1873.
Where is that location, residential area? --- Gamalakhe. I used to live there, and during the day I will go to the comrades and come back and go to his place, and I was staying with him. Now, one day Captain Fourie came. Now they call him differently. And when he got home he will ask Sergeant Nzama.
Who is that? What are you saying? Is that Sergeant Nzama? --- Yes. And they will talk, you know, go on talking, chatting, and I will not know what they were talking about. Now I hear that Captain Fourie was looking for me, he wanted to talk to me. I went to Captain Fourie. When I got to Captain Fourie he said he had already spoken to my other brother. Now he took me - he told me that he was taking me to some place. When we got to the police station at Port Shepstone there - you see, there are offices there of the police investigating unit. We went to the second floor with Mr Fourie, together with other three white men I did not know. They were driving a Cressida. When we got there he asked me that as I come
from Bhoboyi, and I am here in Gamalakhe, where are the guns that belong to the Qabane. I said, "I don't have any knowledge." Each time I go there I don't look for guns, I just go and visit. You see the comrades were residing at some church somewhere. The church that was occupied by these refugees it's in Gamalakhe.
What was the name of that church? --- I don't know the name of that church. You see all the refugees were residing and just staying there in that church. I don't know the name. I told that I don't know where the guns were, and he said, "You are going to tell the truth because you are also a Qabane, and my brother is the police but you are a Qabane." He took me into the car and we left. We passed by the bridge at Umzimkulu. When we passed that bridge at Umzimkulu we took a left turn at Gulf(?), and we passed Gulf and we went right into the bush. When we got to the bush they took out some tubes, you see those things that they used to cover our faces with. Then they put one on me, they covered my face. They asked me and they said, "Where are the guns? Did Mr Nzama give guns to the Qabane, and who did he give the guns to?" I said, "I don't know." They said, "Now you are going to tell the truth." Then they put the tube on me. You see I could not talk. If I was agreeing with them I should raise up my hand. I lifted up my hand. Then they set me free and they asked me again, they said, "Tell us the truth." I said, "I don't know." Again now they assaulted me from there. They took me back into the car and they took me back to the police station, and I was there for two days. The third day my brother came and he told me that according to his work there is nothing he
could do to those white guys, the policemen, because he will also get himself into trouble. That was detrimental for him. He told me also that the people who are leaders of ANC - he told me the names, Dr Kwele ... (intervention)
Who is that? --- Dr Kwele. He said he will try to get in touch with them and explain this problem. I don't know really how far he had gone with that. He came. Fourie came also, and I had ran away. I had ran away at that time. I escaped from the prison. No, I escaped and I just disappeared, because I knew that he was going to be running after me. I just disappeared. One day at night, when I was passing by from another house, I was shot suddenly. Being shot I was unconscious, and regained my conscious in the hospital the following day. When I looked at myself I could see my intestine. I saw my intestine.
What hospital was that? --- Port Shepstone Hospital.
Go on. --- When I asked - after regaining my consciousness I asked my wife and my mother - I asked my brother and my mother what has happened, because they were already there. They said, "You were trying to steal a car at Mr Nxamu," if I am not mistaken. I think it's Nxamu. Truly the police came and I was arrested. They put on handcuffs on me as I was lying in the hospital bed. Mr Nxamu had lost is car, or what? --- No, they said it was an attempt, trying to steal that car, otherwise the car was there.
In other words this means you were shot by the police claiming that you were attempting to steal the car? --- Yes, it was the police from Margate that I don't
know. After I was discharged from the hospital a case was opened, and on April 24 I was sentenced. I was sent to Simpson Prison for nine months.
At Mafusa? --- Yes, at Mafusa.
You were there for nine months? --- No, I spent six months and they sent me back to Shepstone.
And that's where you finished up your sentence? --- Yes. You see, there in prison the conditions were unacceptable, and I was discharged in October 23. It was 1992. I was released. I went back to Gamalakhe. When I got there I found out that the comrades had gone back to Murchison, and I also went back to Bhoboyi, because I was born in Bhoboyi. After that between IFP and the police who were attacking us, up until what my brothers have already said right now.
We have almost missed an important story from you. --- You see another thing, the way the police were so troublesome, irksome to us, one day we just told ourselves that we will go to the police, and we went to the police. That day it was in 1995, June, on the 5th.
When was it? --- 1995, on the 6th - on the 5th of June. We found ... (incomplete)
The violence was still going on in your area? --- Yes, it was not so much going on, but still the police were irksome, troubling us all the time.
According to this Commission we go as far as 1993, not beyond that. --- You see the letter is the one we received when we went to the police. The police we found there was Captain Cabiner. It was the first police we - and that is the police we saw when we took ourselves to the police, and he gave us this letter.
That letter, what does that letter say? Maybe we will get a copy of that letter later on. --- No, I think even if you can take this copy, because I have another copies. You can have it.
We have already heard the way you have been harassed, and what you have gone through, and the people who went through this with you. Maybe we should ask you this question. What is the - let me hand back to the chairperson. There would be questions, and then we could find out at the end what their wish would be from the Commission.
COMMISSIONER: Any other questions?
DR MGOJO: Sithembiso, I want you to explain this. You say you were shot because they thought you were attempting to steal Mr Nxamu's car. Who is this Nxamu? --- He is in Gamalakhe. I don't know his whereabouts now, but then he was residing in Gamalakhe.
What was he doing, this Nxamu? --- I don't know his work and I didn't know then. But he is holding some position in Zulu Government long back, but I don't know what that position was.
Now, do you think they had heard from him that you were attempting to steal his car, or where did they get that? --- I will say he is the one, because when I was in the court of law he was there with his family, and the other one was the police who shot me, so I think he's the one.
Even though you don't know where he was working where was he residing though, where was his house? --- His house is closer to a place called Sikhotipola in
Gamalakhe. You know it's those houses that are built recently with five rooms, not so far away from the clinic.
Do you think he's related to Inspector Nxamu? --- Yes, I think so.
Do you think he's the brother, or he's the one? --- No, I think he is the one with the bald head. Then he was driving a yellow Mercedes.
Did you ever have any altercations with him? --- No.
When you were sentenced to nine months' did you have any fine? --- No, I was not granted any fine.
Now I would like to ask you, the three of you, the last question. You are still very young, you are still young men. I have already heard from the other one, he said he wanted pension. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but you are still very young. If you were to be sent back to school, because you are still young, now there are many ways of going back to school, I mean many ways of learning. You cannot be going - I mean education is not the book, but you can also learn some skills. You are still very young for pension. Why don't you ask something in this regard? --- You see, I haven't got an opportunity yet to explain my position, but my request is that I would like to learn some skills, to know at least some skills for work. If the Commission would assist me in this regard I will appreciate, yes, to learn something I could do with hands.
And what about you? --- What I will request from the Commission, as my uncle has died, and he was the breadwinner at the same time, and helping my grandfather and the family at large.
I don't hear you. What are you saying? I am trying to put you in a condition where you will be helpful to your families, because you are very young, so be clear, talk out. What is it that you are saying? We do trust and hope that we could help you, and as you were harassed, and you are still very young at the same time. The other one already has asked for some help that he wants to go back and learn something, gain some skills, and what about you? That's the very question I am asking you. Then talk up. --- Well, I think I will also appreciate the very same thing he has said, because I am not working, I am just home.
And what about you? --- I wish the commission could help me in this problem because I can't get anything done myself. I just wish that the Commission could help me. I still want to go back to school.
COMMISSIONER: Sithembiso, Thembinkosi, Kayiya, we thank you very, very much for coming in today. We are glad that you could be here together. You suffered together, and it is very good that now that that period of harassment is over that you can share your experience here before the Truth Commission. You have been here today the whole day, and you will have heard most of the stories that have been told. Most of those stories have been about specific incidents which took place on a specific day, whereas you have all given us a description of life over a period of a year, or more than a year. 1991/1992. You have told us what it was like to live in that area of Murchison for a long, long time, and it's given us a very clear idea of what life was like there. You have also named the names
of a policeman whose name has come up many times from other witnesses, Major Fourie. His name has been mentioned by other people, and from what you have told us it seems that he, Major Fourie and his fellow officers, in co-operation with certain local IFP members, set out to destabilise that area of Murchison in order to prevent and discourage any political activity in that area which was critical of the Government or was opposed to the Government. And this action of theirs, this coalition between the police and certain Inkatha members, caused very extensive disruption in Murchison, as it did in many other areas, and it cause many hundreds of people to flee their homes. And, as we have heard, many people also lost their lives. And you are amongst those who had to flee from Murchison to other areas. So, as I have said, you have given us a very clear picture of what life was like in those days, and when we write our report, as I have said to earlier witnesses, you can be sure that the people of Murchison and their stories will feature in that report.
You have also made certain requests to us in response to Dr Mgojo's question, and we will be making recommendations to the Government as to how we think that you could be assisted. So again thank you very much for coming in and explaining your stories to us. Thank you very much.