CHAIRPERSON: I now call Letshaba Thomas Abiel Mohande to the stand. I am sorry, Mr Mohande is not hear yet. If we could go to Nobelungu Leballo, please.

We would like to thank you for coming forward to tell your story to the Commission. We know that you are going to talk about your son, but before you begin your story, I would like to ask you to take the oath, please.

NOBELUNGU LEBALLO: (Duly sworn, states).

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, you may be seated. As is our custom, I have asked a Commissioner to assist you with the leading of your evidence. It is Mr Hugh Lewin on my right-hand side and I will now hand you over.

MR LEWIN: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good morning Mrs Leballo, it is nearly afternoon. We are very grateful for you for coming and we would like to hear the story about your son. Can I just ask one thing, that when you made your original statement, you talked immediately about the time that he left. Maybe you could begin today by just telling us a little bit about him before he left and when he was growing up, and then tell your story. Thank you.

MRS LEBALLO: Thank you very much for getting this opportunity, because my heart is bleeding when I came to the Commission. I thought it is my right to come and tell the



people about my pain. My son was coming from exile. It was only seven months, he was only seven months home. He was not working. As you know, the people that are coming from exile, they don't get employment.

I went to Mrs Winnie Mandela to talk to her about his employment. She said I must bring him. Then she was working for the ANC, he was Winnie's driver.

He was working there for Winnie, being Winnie Mandel's driver. In March 1992 it was on the 25th of March 1992, whereas initially he told me that they will be visiting Nelspruit, just before he was employed. But while he was already working, Winnie said that the Jenny that I told you about, she said the Jenny I told you about, must go there with my friend. I told him that now you are already working, just let her friends go to Nelspruit alone, because you are already working now. He said no, mamma, okay, mamma, I won't be going.

On the 25th I didn't see him. He didn't come home. We went to sleep. The following day I went to work and Tisetso didn't come back. When I came back Mrs Mandela phone me and asked me about Tisetso. I said he didn't come back home, he told me that he will be visiting Nelspruit. She said did you see the news on television. I said yes, I just saw something like an accident that took place in Nelspruit. I didn't think that maybe my son is also there. She said to me come here to the Shell House because I suspect that something has happened. I asked permission from my boss, I went to the Shell House. Mrs Mandela said to me let's try and phone Nelspruit, and ask about the people that are involved in this accident in this Kombi. Mrs Mandela phoned Nelspruit, Nelspruit police station. I didn't want to phone



because I knew very well that Mrs Mandela, if she is phoning, she is a person that people will listen to her. She asked them about the people who were involved in this accident in Nelspruit. She was told that their names are not yet published, but it was four young men. She asked if one of her chauffeurs was there. The answer was no, but they said but if you know his parents, they must not come here, the parents must not come here, because these young men were bombed. The police didn't say that they were bombed, they just said they had been in an accident and they are not in a good condition, parents must not come, only relatives who can come and identify the bodies, because they are not in such a good condition. Mrs Mandela told me so. I went back home. When I was home I told the mortuary. We made the arrangements with my elder son and my other daughter and their aunt, with the parents of the other young men who were also in the accident, because they were already told.

They went to Nelspruit. When they arrived there they were shown the corpses. My daughter saw the other one who looked like my son. There was an undertaker by the name of Sid. Their bodies were brought down here. The city funerals put them in their mortuaries.

We were preparing for the funeral now. We received a telephone message, somebody called. He was saying these other young men whom you claim is your son, he is actually our son, but we are so surprised. His father now and the other father who is claming that the body is his, they went to the City funeral. My son had false teeth. His father and the father of the other one, he put his hands inside his mouth. We discovered that this was not our son, it is



Gabela's son. It became clear that my son was not among the young men who were involved in that accident.

We had to rearrange ourselves, because as you know that it is our custom that if someone is passed away, the relatives will also come and stay there with you. We realised that Tisetso was not among the young men.

We started searching for him. As a parent I was very hurt because I had already told myself if he is dead, he is just dead, we must just prepare for the funeral. But if now he is not among the young men, I wonder what has happened to him. (PAUSE).

CHAIRPERSON: Mamma, take your time.

MRS LEBALLO: I started now, I had began with my journey to Botswana. I went to Swaziland, I went to Maputo. My son went to Lesotho. My other son went to Lesotho. My other son was in Nigeria. He also came back. He also went with his other brother to Nelspruit. They were searching for him in the hospitals. They were searching for him in the mortuaries. In that particular place of the accident, the police of that area, they told him that they didn't know anything about this person. My other son talked to the other police privately and asked what is it that they have seen. But the other police said they have seen something but don't tell the other police. The police left the place and told the other people that there are terrorists who are coming to cross this bridge, but these police were White police, there were no Blacks amongst them. They told my son, my elder son and my younger son who was coming from Nigeria back, there were no Blacks here. They were shot, they were bombed, they were burnt. But they have shown the other dead people to the others and the people who were in



the cells, Tisetso was not there. They came home. That was in 1992.

In 1993 I started again. I went to Pretoria. He had a friend there who was also coming from exile, who I heard that he also paid him a visit. I went there six times. And his friend was arrested, he was sent to Central Prison. They made a plan for me to go and visit this friend. He was just confused. He said Tisetso is around, Tisetso is somewhere else. That wasn't clear to me. I came back home.

In 1994 as you know that a parent will never be satisfied if she hasn't buried the son. I was always looking at all the young men who were of his age; this one looks like my son. Even if someone is knocking I will say this is Tisetso.

In 1994, that was in October, on the 23rd of October 1994, when I was reading a newspaper, a City Press, Tisetso Leballo was blasted to pieces in Nelspruit. I collapsed ...


CHAIRPERSON: Mamma, take your time, and give her some water. "Blasted to pieces". Did they ever come to me and tell me about this thing? There was nobody to talk to. I was going to ask who did this, where. I really didn't read that newspapers, I had the people telling me because I couldn't continue, because I was not strong enough to continue reading the newspaper. "Blasted to pieces". He was among the young men in the Kombi. They said he must go and wait at a certain corner, where he was going to meet a certain person. There was this White man by the name of John who kept on phoning him. We are going to meet at such-and-such a place. They met there. When I heard, they said he was put inside the boot. They went to bomb him somewhere SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG


there in Nelspruit, I don't know the farm.

Now my request is only ... (END OF TAPE - SIDE B).

... this person was using, this White men, it was De Kock. I just ask them to take me there and show me where his pieces were cut up. There is nothing else that I am asking in this Commission.

MR LEWIN: Thank you very much, Mrs Leballo. I don't think there is anything that any of us can actually say to comfort you and we sympathise very much with you for the long terrible months that you have had, not knowing what happened. If I could just ask possibly for some clarity, some clarification, which you might be able to give us. In this terrible time between 1992 and October 1994, when this article came out about De Kock, and you were trying to find out, did anybody give you any more information?

MRS LEBALLO: Nobody came to me.

MR LEWIN: Did Mrs Winnie Mandela, who was, for whom your son was driving, was she able to find out anything more? No?

MR LEWIN: She couldn't, she couldn't find out anything.

MR LEWIN: Do you think yourself now that there was a connection between the Kombi crash in 1992 and the De Kock Kombi? Were they the same?

MRS LEBALLO: Can you repeat again, please.

MR LEWIN: In 1992 you heard that there had been the crash of the Kombi, going to Nelspruit. Then you discovered that it wasn't your son who was in that Kombi. Is there a connection between that Kombi and the Kombi mentioned in the De Kock story?

MRS LEBALLO: Yes, I think there is a connection.

MR LEWIN: So it would be the same vehicle?

MRS LEBALLO: The Kombi and my son, of course when I hear



now, it was - those are his friends, they were together, but I don't know how he was separated that he must go and stand at a certain corner and wait there, with the people who were in that Kombi. As we heard that it was a Kombi that was stolen. I don't know how does this happen. That is why, even when I saw this Kombi, I couldn't think it was the Kombi who would be there. It was just there. I never knew that he had any friend who was owning a Kombi.

MR LEWIN: Thank you. Could I ask another question. You mentioned right at the beginning that at the time your son left in 1987/1988, that you yourself were in detention, under section 29? Is that correct?

MRS LEBALLO: Yes, it is correct, I was detained for about a year.

MR LEWIN: Was there any reason given for your detention?

MRS LEBALLO: I was detained with my eldest son. He was not even staying at home at the time, he was around all over the place. Until he decided to leave the country.

MR LEWIN: Thank you. Can you - I know this must be very difficult, but you have obviously thought about it so much. Can you think of any reason why someone would want to execute your son in this way?

MRS LEBALLO: I don't know. I don't know, because just before, that was in 1991, the first ones were already released from jail. The police came. That was early in the morning, I can't remember the year, but I remember it was 1990. Because Tisetso came back in 1991. They said they want to know if Tisetso is already back. I told them how can you ask me that, because you are the people who must know before I know; how can you ask me that. That's what I think it was a follow-up, even when they came back.



MR LEWIN: Thank you. I will let the other Commissioners ask some other questions. Thank you very much.

MS MKHIZE: Thank you, Mamma. I am going to ask you two questions. From the time you say you were told to go to Shell House, because there are children who had been involved in a bomb explosion, is there anything that they did to help you when you found out that is not your son.

MRS LEBALLO: Yes, they helped me, yes, they did help me.

MS MKHIZE: Did you tell them that you discovered that you were going to bury a wrong person?

MRS LEBALLO: Yes, i went back to them and I asked them if I can give them back the money that they were helping me with, because my son is not dead. They said to me no problem, you don't have to bring it back.

MS MKHIZE: If am talking about this, I am thinking, did they make a follow-up of going on searching, searching for him?

MRS LEBALLO: After that, even when I went to the Shell House I wasn't get any assistance. I went to the welfare offices. I wasn't getting any help.

MS MKHIZE: How do you see this thing that a person who was their chauffeur, and he just disappears in such a manner and they are not even interested in helping you. How do you see this matter?

MRS LEBALLO: It was such a surprise. Because they sent me to a certain employer, I can't remember whether it was Zambesi House(?) and the lawyers sent me to the Shell House. I was referred to Mrs - I can't remember her name. I think it was Mrs Mashlajee. It was clear that there is nothing that is going to help me there. I was alone with my, at my own expense, no one was helping me.



MS MKHIZE: Maybe you can tell us briefly your opinion, what happened between you and them that made them to dump you, whereas they tried to help you?

MRS LEBALLO: I think that they take it as if as if the boers are saying, they went there to rob the bank. They concentrated on that, that they think that they thought, they talked that they were not going there locally. That is not true. There are no people that can just go and rob the bank three o'clock in the morning. Even if the people are going to rob the bank at that time, why don't you arrest them, why do you have to bomb them. Because if the people are breaking the law they must be arrested instead of being killed.

MS MKHIZE: In your statement, Mamma, you said you will find out from the Sowetan on the 7th of December, that your son was one of the victims of De Kock. Did you, was there any follow-up as you are now interested now that he wasn't there in that (indistinct). Did you go back to Shell House and ask the solicitor.

MRS LEBALLO: I went to the Sowetan and asked for the reporter who reported that article, and asked him about that how come that he has my picture on the Sowetan, without coming to me first. He was not there. I can't even remember his name.

MS MKHIZE: Thank you, Mamma.


MS WILDSCHUT: Mrs Leballo, can I ask you, you began to tell us that while you were searching for your son, during that time you were sleeping badly and you had dreams and so on. Has that gone away, how are you feeling now, what is your health like now?



MRS LEBALLO: Even today I am still looking for him, I am still seeing people whom I think they look like him. That is why I said I will come to the Commission to talk, maybe I will be better afterwards. Even now I am still bleeding inside.

MS WILDSCHUT: Have you ever had an opportunity to talk to anybody about this, maybe somebody in your community, somebody in your family, have you been able to have a place where you can talk about your heart is bleeding?

MRS LEBALLO: The very same people, the people who feel that the painful things, they must come forward. It is only the people of my church, only the people of my church. Otherwise the ordinary people, even if they want to ask me about the child, I just feel very bad.

MS WILDSCHUT: Thank you, Mamma.

CHAIRPERSON: Mamma, I would just like to ask you a few questions. Was your son a member of any political party?

MRS LEBALLO: Yes, he was a member.



CHAIRPERSON: During his employment with Mrs Mandela, was he a member of the football club?

MRS LEBALLO: Tisetso was not employed by Mrs Mandela, he was employed by the ANC. Make no mistake, he was not employed by Mrs Mandela.

CHAIRPERSON: But he was her driver.

MRS LEBALLO: Yes, he was her driver and that ended there. He was working under the ANC he was not working under Mrs Mandela, he wasn't getting paid by Mrs Mandela.

CHAIRPERSON: When he was in exile, do you know what he did in exile, was he a member of MK?



MRS LEBALLO: The exile story is very painful, I don't even want to talk about it. Because they were taken to Quattro. He didn't even want to tell me about that, about the Quattro camp. I don't even know what was happening in the Quattro camp.

CHAIRPERSON: When this story came out in the City Press, did you go to the ANC offices to ask them if they knew any more about it, did they have any more information on the fact that this report had appeared, which alleged that they had been blown up by De Kock?

MRS LEBALLO: I didn't go to the ANC. The officer who was in charge of De Kock's case, is the one who came to ask me to testify in Pretoria Supreme Court. I didn't go to the ANC.

CHAIRPERSON: Mamma, one more question. You say you were asked by the officer to go and testify at De Kock's trial. Could you tell me who the officer was?

MRS LEBALLO: It was Michael Holmes.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you go?

MRS LEBALLO: Yes, me and his father went there.

CHAIRPERSON: Could you tell me were you asked to testify?

MRS LEBALLO: They said I must tell them what I am telling you today.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you hear anything more about your son's death, from the evidence that was being presented at the trial?

MRS LEBALLO: The person who was giving evidence was a White man. He was testifying because he was nearer to the place of the accident. He was telling them whom he saw and what was happening. I didn't listen to further evidence because I wasn't there.



CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mamma. We are very sorry to hear about your story. I think that it is very difficutl when you lose a child and then you still have to live with the fact that you don't know exactly how he died, or why he died. We feel very sorry for you and we hope that through our investigation unit that we will be able to assist you in finding out what happened to him. Thank you very much for coming to share your story with us.




CHAIRPERSON: We will now break for lunch and I would appeal to people to leave behind ... (RECORDING SWITCHED OFF).