PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
17 APRIL 1997
[PAGES 1 - 104]
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Opening......................................................... 1 - 3
2. Harriet Mcetywa.............................................. 4 - 20
3. Bongani Buthelezi............................................. 21 - 35
4. Jabulani Buthelezi............................................. 36 - 43
5. Elphas Molefe................................................. 44 - 53
6. Announcements............................................... 53 - 54
7. Albert Mhande Nsibande.................................... 55 - 63
8. Andreas Mphani Sithole..................................... 64 - 68
9. Solomon Tshakala............................................ 69 - 74
10. Greta Mthethwa.............................................. 75 - 84
11. Makemiso Molefe and Lydia Molesfe................... 85 - 92
12. Dinah Mbuthu................................................ 93 - 101
13. Conclusion.................................................... 102 - 104
PROCEEDINGS RESUMED ON 1997/04/17
CHAIRPERSON: Good morning to you today. We would like to apologise. As you have noticed that we are just sitting and no one is talking to each other I am sure you are surprised what's going on. We are waiting for the witnesses. Seemingly they aren't here. The only witness which is around is Mr Buthelezi, and that's why we're still waiting. We're waiting for at least two more witnesses to come, therefore we ask you to be please patient. Thank you.
MACHINE SWITCHED OFF
CHAIRPERSON: (Inaudible) ... here with us who are taking statements, and we will request that those who are here and who want to give their statements in, they can see our statement-takers at that side where I am pointing. That's where they can be seated. If you are here and you want to give in your statement you can go there so that you can give your statement, and then come back and sit down and listen to the witnesses who've already gave their statements. Thank you. We came to a conclusion that we will go for a tea, and then when we come back we don't have to go for a tea until lunch time. We're trying to save time because we've wasted time already. Then we will go for a tea now, and then we will go on - after the tea we will go on until lunch time, until 1 o'clock. We all agree that this is the best solution we can come up with. It's better that we go for a tea. It's now 10 to 10. I hope that at about 10 past 10 we will come back, or five past 10 we will be back, and then we will continue from there until 1 o'clock, until lunch time.
As we've apologised yesterday that the tea has been prepared for the witnesses and their families. The tea has been prepared for the witnesses and their families and the TRC staff members, and those who are here to help, like the counsellors and the briefers. Those are the only people who can have tea. We would like to apologise to those who cannot get the tea. Thanks a lot. 10 past 10 we will be back. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Please be seated. We are about to begin. We will ask Pastor Zama to open this meeting by word of prayer.
MEETING OPENS WITH SINGING AND PRAYERS
CHAIRPERSON: We have already said good morning to you. Maybe we should apologise for the delay. We know our places are far apart, and we don't have our private transport, we rely largely on the public transport. I would like to apologise on that note. We have already started late and therefore we won't adjourn for tea break, we will only adjourn for lunch. I am sure this will suit all of us.
There is one aspect that we would like to pay attention to. We would ask for each and every one of you in this hall to pay full attention, listen properly to the names, to the areas which they refer to, so that when we leave this place we do not at all distort any message. Yesterday it has so happened that one of the witnesses who came up to render his or her testimony, and at the time one name was implicated, Siphiwe Nxumalo, and it happened
that that very name was similar to the name of one of our prominent figures here in Mondlo, and he got a telephone call that his name was implicated at the Commission by one of the witnesses who was rendering his or her testimony. He was very offended. I am sure you understand that when you receive anonymous calls one gets offended. Fortunately we managed to sort that one out. We managed to locate the person who took the message to Siphiwe, and we had to rectify that error and we were able to. The Siphiwe that was referred to is not the one of Mondlo. Please pay full attention, and if there is anything that you do not understand at all do not go around and say your own version and give a fabricated one. Please pay attention to names and attention to details at the same time that you may not distort any message and give a fabricated version.
Without much waste of time we will call upon our first witness to come up and occupy the witness stand by the name of Harriet Jabulile Mcetywa.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mrs Harriet Mcetywa, for coming. Maybe we should first thank you for coming forward to this Commission and render your own testimony with regard to Michael Zolani Mcetywa, and which affects you directly. Before we get started we will kindly ask you to stand up so you may take the oath.
HARRIET MCETYWA (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: The one who is going to lead your evidence is Mr Ilan Lax, and now I will hand over to Mr Ilan Lax.
MR LAX: Good morning Mrs Mcetywa. --- Good morning to you.
We thank you for coming. I know you've had to travel quite far to get here, and we're grateful for that. Now, just by way of family details, you have given us all the details of your children, and you have two daughters and a son, is that correct? Now, the incidents that you are going to tell us about happened in the Pongola area. INTERPRETER: The witness is not getting any interpretation at all. I don't think she hears whatever we say. --- When we got to Pongola - I was born in Soweto, and we left with my husband to Pongola, and that's where we built our home. We were there and the situation was stable, and after violence had erupted now chaos started. From there my husband was being hunted by the boers, white policemen, and boers from Piet Retief, Mahamba and Pongola were after my husband. We never had a pleasant stay at all. He was working at a cotton firm where he was a manager, and he resigned and started our own business. Because of the harassment due to the boers ... (intervention)
Please just stop for one second. Sorry, we ... (inaudible) ... because what you're saying has to be translated ... (inaudible) ... now if I can just take you back quickly. You said that this violence erupted. What violence was this and why did it erupt? --- This violence was caused by him, because he is the one who started the ANC in the area, and the area was predominantly IFP. And from there we experienced harsh life, and boers will come and raid our home, searching for weapons. And from there he was being followed by the boers, and the boers were forever after him, and therefore the customers, our customers, were affected. They could not come to our saloon, because we were owning a business saloon. In November 1993 there were rumours that he was going to be killed, and he was no longer free at all from that time. And one time when he was in town one man approached him and took a picture of him. He got back home very worried about that action, because the person who took the picture of him ran away soon after that. After a few days being harassed, and police searching our home now and again, and scared for our lives, on the 20th, 1993, November, one person who was working hand in hand with him as a secretary came to our home to tell us that some men came to the business and told her that they were looking for my husband and he will be killed. And we were frightened in that fashion often, and on the 5th - I am sorry, on the 19th November he went to visit the children in Swaziland. He felt so much in miss of them, and he went to Swaziland and back on Sunday. And the bus strike erupted and there was a bus boycott, and it was alleged that he was the one behind that. And they alleged as well
that it was ANC behind that. I told him that maybe we should go back home in Johannesburg because we are not at all at peace here, and he refused to listen to me. We continued living in this area. On the 20th November 1993 Krish Ndwandwe arrived, and he was relating his own story as well that there were people trying to attack him, and he went to town. No, they both went to town with Krish's wife as well, and when they got to town they left him at Ellerine's Furniture shop, only to find that the attacker was there, the perpetrator, following him. After a short distance he stopped to talk to someone there, and the killer came behind him. And he looked back and saw this man, and suddenly he shot, and shot the second time, and my husband fell right then. He was shot 10 times. That wasn't the end of the story. After that I saw a crowd of people running, coming to my house, and yet in the morning he had told me that he wasn't feeling so well, he was feeling depressed. And when he left, going now by the gate, he stopped and waved at me, and little did I know that that was the last wave. I went to town, because I saw people running, coming to my house, and I was surprised what was happening. I wasn't too sure what was happening, and I didn't know that that was the time when he will die. I saw a crowd of people coming to my house, and they got in. I asked what had happened. No one responded, but they told me that something of this sort has happened. I left, I went to town, and he was lying down dead, and the boers refused me to come anywhere close to him. He was shot at 11 in the morning right in front of the Protea Furniture shop's personnel. I couldn't come any closer to get close to him. I went back home and
there was a crowd of people in my premises. I didn't know what to do. At about 11 - no, at 11 he was shot, and was left like that up until 6.00 pm. In the afternoon I tried to go to the police station, the mortuary, but still they refused me. And after that I consulted the family to let them know of the tragedy. From that point we - he died on Monday, and on Wednesday there were Comrades all over singing, and there was a white policeman that drove by and shot at the Comrades using rubber bullets. At that time some of my relatives had already arrived, but not all of them, and they took two of those Comrades who were shot by the police. It was on Wednesday the 23rd. The two Comrades were taken to Juba Hospital and were given preliminary treatment. We made preparations for the funeral, and there were rumours that he was going to be burned, his corpse will be burned and won't be buried the proper way, the right way. Before the funeral IFP people slaughtered cattle in town, and were so excited about his death, but I did say that God is alive, and one day it will hit back on them. We went on ahead with the funeral preparations, and people were not so free to come to my house to help us as we were preparing for the funeral. However, some did come. On Saturday at about nine I asked the ANC people, Senzo Mchunu, to provide security because I did anticipate trouble on that day. On Saturday security indeed arrived, and they only had one gun. And at the same time the relatives and the neighbours were busy peeling the vegetables, preparing lunch for that day, and there were a few men who came in wearing jackets, and there were five of them. They shot people, and people - some of them ran away. And there was a police vehicle
parked by, and what amazed us was that the vehicle took off before the shooting spree, and got back after that. I still thanked my God because no one died on that day. After that the station commander of Pongola Police Station, Meiring, came and was complimenting us about the house, our beautiful house we have. And I was worried and concerned about the safety of the people outside, but he wasn't worried about the safety of the people, which was a cause for concern. Nothing happened anyways. On Sunday morning - because I decided that as early as eight we will have the funeral so people will be free to leave earlier -we saw three people approaching to our house, coming from a forest, and they were driving a Ford Sierra with registration NO. And that car was driving up and down, threatening to shoot, and there were helicopters and soldiers patrolling the area and fortunately they were arrested, those guys. We therefore went on with our funeral arrangements and we buried my husband. Relatives left and went back to their respective places and I remained with my children and with the three of us.
(Inaudible) ... you can continue. (Pause) You've told us about the funeral and what happened. Now, after that we understand there were some problems. --- When my husband was still alive he refused to give land to - or premises to the boers for ANC offices, and he met with the ANC people ... (incomplete)
INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not get that.
MR LAX: Sorry, there's some confusion in the way what you've said has been interpreted. Now, what I understand you to be saying is that your husband had a problem getting premises for the ANC, and so he decided to use
your garage for that purpose. Is that correct? --- That is correct.
Please continue from there. --- They used the garage for the ANC and in preparation of the elections. Soon after that there were still rumours about me, that I should be burnt in the house because I had turned my house into an ANC nest. I survived still with my three children and one lady who was my helper. Those days were bitter to me, and I do trust and hope that if I still had parents I would have moved back in with my parents. The office went on and continued, and they were driving their cars, passing by, and ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 1) ... children, and I called Senzo Mchunu in Empangeni and told him that I was not happy at all, I would appreciate if he could make arrangements for the security. Fortunately Senzo sent two boys by the name of Sbu Shandu and the other one was Stanley Gcwabe. The third one was Simelane, who was the one heading the office. The office carried on in spite of those difficulties, and when the case was to be ... (inaudible) ... in March 1994, when I arrived I parked my car in the garage as usual. I offloaded the stock which I have bought for the saloon and I put the stock inside the house. The next day I went to the case. It was in Pongola Court. When I arrived ... (intervention)
(Inaudible) --- That's correct.
The person who was charged was Emmanuel Nkosinathi Mavuso, is that right? --- That is correct.
Just for the record at this stage, is it correct that he was sentenced to 25 years in gaol? --- That is correct.
For the murder of your husband. --- That is correct.
Is it also correct that at present - he escaped while on bail? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) --- I never heard anything after that. The last time I heard is that police were looking for him because he had escaped bail. In June last year I met him in Vryheid in OK, and he saw me, I was with my child, and then he followed me. I went to the police station and I parked my car there, and then he passed. After he passed me I drove home. I went to the ANC offices, I reported the matter, and I told them I wasn't satisfied about this case because I am still feeling bad, it's still sad to me. From there I never heard anything up until today. I don't even know where the murderer is.
Just for the record, the police are still looking for this man, and - it's not clear how hard they're actually looking for him at this stage because he has been seen in the area. Now you were telling us about having gone to the case. You then came back from the case. What happened after that? --- Which case are you referring to? Mavuso's case? When we were in court - we arrived there, and I had no one accompanying me because people were scared to accompany me, they feared their lives, and they thought that they were going to be killed because I was known as a woman of ANC. I was with my daughter, my first-born, who is 17 now. We arrived there and we found Inkatha people inside the court. Most people in there were Inkatha people, and they refused that ANC people should go inside. I was the only one allowed. Inside people were swearing at me. The case was remanded. I left the court. There were Comrades outside the court,
they were waiting there in cars, and there were also buses full of Inkatha members. There were many. There were buses from Dumbe, and vans. Outside the court one person known as Zanda Hlangamandla came to me, and then he spit at my face and he pointed his finger at me. I went back to the court because I was scared. Police were just watching and doing nothing. One white policeman came and he helped me. He pushed these people and I went to my car. I drove back home. It was on the 4th of March. It was about 10 o'clock. I decided to drive down to Swaziland to bring my children's clothes. I didn't sleep in Swaziland, I came back. At about 9 o'clock in border gate in Golela I phoned the security, I asked them how was it in the township, and they told me the situation was bad, I must be careful. God protected me until home. I parked my car in the garage. I went inside my bathroom and then I took a bath. After I finished taking a bath I served the guys I was staying with, I gave them food. One of them noticed me that I was troubled, and we all knew that Themba Khoza has just passed next to my house and pointed at my house. He was together with other IFP members. When I was inside my house these guys said to me, "Sister Jabu, you mustn't go outside. Outside the situation is real bad." Police cars were outside from Pongola Police Station, and kombis, about eight of them, with soldiers, Shangani soldiers, and boers, and Inkatha members as well. They were in uniform. I took a pillow, I went to my sitting-room. That's where I slept on my couch. I fell asleep and I heard a knock at the kitchen door. When I heard this knock these guys told me I mustn't go outside because the situation was real bad, and
all these people who came by kombis were surrounding my house. I went back to the lounge and they told me to turn off the lights. I turned off the lights and it was dark. Sbu Shandu got up the tree, climbed the tree, and the other one went and stood next to the bedroom, the other one next to the garage. When I was still lying on my couch I heard a gunfire hitting the front door. I got scared. I stood up. A big hole at that door. I went to the bedroom, I took a telephone and I made a call to the police, and the police told me there are no cars. That's because they were the ones who were surrounding my house. I heard gunfire. It was the guys whom I was staying with and the policemen. The gunfire went on until 4.00 am. Other shots were coming through the windows at my house. I lay down on my stomach and then they started throwing hand grenades inside my house. I saw a fire from the sitting-room and the dining-room, and then they went inside my child's bedroom. The house was on fire and I was inside the house, I couldn't run outside. I went to the main bedroom, I opened the wardrobe, I got inside. I heard footsteps and I could tell that they were coming towards the bedroom. There was a smoke, fire, I was dizzy. I couldn't do anything. And outside gunfire were still on. These guys were shooting the police and the police were shooting them. One policeman got injured, a black policeman. His name was Ndlovu. He is at Pongola Police Station. I went to the kitchen. I was trying to get out because I was scared that even if I am inside I am going to be burnt by the fire. When I got outside they heard that the door was being opened. They fired at the door. I went to the refrigerator, next to the
refrigerator. I could smell the gas from the refrigerator, and I suspected that it was going to explode. I went outside. When I was outside I was shot and God helped me, protected me, because I didn't get injured. I went to a neighbour's house. Outside my neighbour's house I hide myself on the grass. They tried to look for me, they couldn't find me. Before all these things happened I took my car keys with me inside my gown pocket. People stopped me in the morning to go inside my house, but I refused, I went on, I checked my house. They also burnt my saloon, my business, and it was the only income I was depending on. And what I had in the saloon, the stock was about amounting to R10 000,00. I found a tape in the yard, and boers were inside my house. They were about 20 of them. They refused me to go inside my house, so I told them, "I am going to get inside my house. This is my house." No one answered me. Senzo Mchunu came together with security from Empangeni. He talked with these boers, and my house was burnt and everything inside my house was damaged. I was left with the gown I was wearing. I asked them to accompany me to the bank so that I withdraw some money and buy something to wear. I decided to go back to Johannesburg. I went back to Johannesburg. After that these security guys stayed there in my house. When I was in Johannesburg I heard that they wanted to exhume my husband's body, and I tried to talk to these security guys to make sure that they don't do that. I stayed at home in 1994 after I left, because I left in 1994 April. I went back to Pongola again after they burnt my house because I couldn't stay nice in Johannesburg. My heart was back in Pongola. I decided to go back to
Pongola. I reported the matter to Senzo. I asked them to look for a place for me to stay. Then I decided to renovate two rooms of my house. I renovated that two rooms. One lawyer from Pongola, his name is Plant, he helped me. He bought paint and doors for me. I stayed there with my kids. Elections came and I was chosen as a councillor. After that what happened last year in December, the Truth Commission people came to take a statement. SABC people came to interview me about the violence in the area, because I was one of the members of the ANC there. After that I got threats that I was going to be shot and follow my husband, and even my children they still experience harassment from Inkatha Youth, and they still tell them that, "Who killed your father? You will follow your father." And this thing is really tormenting my children. Even today they aren't in a good situation. In December I went to Jozini. A 4x4, a certain 4x4, powder blue in colour, followed me, and then it overtaken me. I slowed down. It followed me until Jozini. At Jozini I drove to those people I was supposed to drop there. I was suspecting this 4x4. I went to the police station in Jozini. I noticed this van, and luckily enough when I went to make a call these people were coming to my direction, but the phones were not working so I couldn't make a phone call. Then I left. This very same 4x4 followed me, so they knew I was going to go back to Pongola. There's only one route from Jozini to Pongola. They followed me again, they tried to shoot me. They couldn't shoot me, they just shot my car. I accelerated. When I got into the T-junction I found a red car standing parked there and I couldn't overtake it, but I tried my
best, so I accelerated. When I got into the town I checked my car. I made a call to Durban to the ANC offices in Durban. I couldn't get any assistance. I was staying there unsafe. I continued staying under those difficult conditions, and then I decided to stay there and die there with my children. In December a certain guy, IFP member, was killed, and I wasn't there. When I came back I heard that there was a guy who was killed, an IFP member. So I stayed there, I didn't want to run back to Johannesburg. I said I was tired of running away. I was tired of sleeping in hotels, and I have been reporting all these matters to my own organisation, to other people, and I can't get any assistance, so I decided that I will rather die here. One night I was sleeping with my children. A kombi got there and they started firing. We woke up, me and my children. I took my children, I actually threw them out the window, and I saw the kombi driving back. And I took clothes and I took them to the boot of my car and then I drove back to Johannesburg. I reported this as well to my organisation, but there was no assistance.
Thank you, Mrs Mcetywa. A lot of the stuff you have been telling us about happened really after the time - well, some of the later stuff happened after the time that we can look at. We have allowed you to continue to tell that story because it is a continuation of the earlier story. I just want to take you back a little bit to clear up one or two things. Firstly with regard to the attack on your house, you've said that a policeman by the name of Ndlovu was injured in that attack. I can also tell you that from our investigations a white policeman, a white
defence force - or a soldier was also injured. Were the people who were defending your house - have they ever been charged in a court? --- No, they were not.
Do you know why the police launched this attack at your house? What were they wanting to do there? --- No, I don't know why they came to my house. They never answered me back when I asked them.
What they've told our investigators is that they were wanting to conduct a search for unlawful firearms. It seems a bit of a funny way to conduct a search, to attack your house. Now, I understand that you have made a case against the police through lawyers in Durban. --- That is correct.
Is that case for the death of your husband and the damage to your house, or what? --- It is for the damages of my house. For my husband I couldn't because the suspect or the person who killed my husband was sentenced.
Thank you. One other area I thought I would just clear up with you. When I asked you about the violence and how it had started what was interpreted was that the violence was started by your husband because he started an ANC branch in the area. --- That is correct. (Inaudible) --- According to my knowledge he never conducted any violence. He was always negotiating with people, and he couldn't suspect that he has got enemies.
(Inaudible) ... violence started in response to the ANC forming a branch in the area? --- That is correct, it was in response, because he was the one who was recruiting members for ANC.
Apart from the case against the murderer of your husband have you laid any other criminal charges against the police or any other people? --- No, because I used to report all matters to the people in Durban, and the Truth and Reconciliation people came and took a statement from me. I am still waiting to know what to do.
Okay. Our investigators are busy looking into the case, and we are making quite good progress in getting to the bottom of it. Thank you, Mrs Mcetywa, thank you, Chairperson. --- There is one thing I want to tell you about a policeman called Mkwanazi. He is the one who started these allegations that there were guns in my house, and I also suspected that he was the one that was driving that 4x4 which followed me and shot at my car. Even today I am not safe here in Natal. I am not going anywhere, I am scared to go out.
Mrs Mcetywa, we did give Mr Mkwanazi notice that you had accused him, and through his lawyers he has replied. He denies being involved in any conspiracy to kill your husband, and he denies being involved in any activities against you personally. However, his lawyers have asked us for more details, some of which we refused to give him because we wanted to protect your safety, and they have said that because we wouldn't give them more detail they could not answer the allegations, all of them. So I just place that on the record at this stage. --- I have to say this about Mr Mkwanazi because he is the one who usually came to my house with this white policeman, and when my husband died, even though he was working far from Piet Retief he was here all of a sudden. When my house was burnt he was there. That's why I am saying I am very
much sure that he is the one who was behind all this violence. And also Mr Mavuso said the gun that he used to kill my husband he got the gun from Mr Mkwanazi.
(Inaudible) ... further allegations about Mr Mkwanazi please. We are investigating this matter, and we will be discussing it further with his lawyers and with himself, and we want to give him an opportunity to respond to the allegations that you have made. So I will ask that you don't say anything further about him at this stage. --- Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Mrs Batshabulile(?), we compliment you for the courage that you have above everything what happened to you, and you still have the courage to come here and talk about these things. It's so sad to realise that before people who tried to stand for the truth, and people who fought for justice, were so unfortunate, were the ones who suffered most. At the time even the people we had our hopes on that will protect us they failed us, because the way they went on with things was not satisfactory to us. Even your children we do trust and hope that they will be fine, and we can tell that they are brave enough because they have stood all what has happened to you in the past. And we do trust and hope that as we are entering into this new era, or rather have entered into this era, the Commission will do its best to disclose of all what has happened, and tie the past with the present and the future, and see how we'll go on, how will we carry on in the new era. I would like for you to respond in as far as ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 1) --- Since their dad passed away they experience problems, especially that we are destitute, and
in the place where we reside we from time to time encounter problems. Even now this very term they are not back at school. I don't have money to pay for their fees. Only the last one is at school. And the other one who is suffering from asthma, each time he talks or thinks about his father he gets affected.
What about the one who is at school? How old is the child? --- She or he is 10 and he's in standard three. He or she is right here at Eshowe, and the other two are in Pretoria since this year. Those are the ones I am referring to when I say I could not pay for their fees. They are still at home and could not go back to school.
We have heard that you lost about R10 000,00 worth of stock and other harassment that you've made mention of. Tell us about you. How are you faring as far as your health is concerned? --- I have suffered a great deal in the past. I went to Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg and I got treatment from the doctors there. I am still hurt inside, and I have this wound right deep inside. However, I am faring better.
Have you tried to get in touch with the psychologists, those who look into the traumas that people suffered? --- I haven't gone to the psychologist because I have heard that I will have to have a certain amount of money, and money I don't have so that has discouraged me. As for now I can't afford to consult with the psychologist. I go to any general practitioner for a day's treatment and that's all.
We will kindly ask you to get in touch with the briefers. The lady seated right on your left will help you and advise you as to how to go about to receive help.
Even your children need attention, and we are concerned that you get in touch with the briefer so you get all that help. Thank you for your bravery, and also thank you for standing for the truth, and for being so determined and coming up to this Commission and render your testimony. Yes, these things did transpire. We know about those things and we do trust and hope that in the future things like that won't emanate again. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Our next witness is B J Buthelezi, and may he come to the witness stand. Good morning, Mr Buthelezi.
MR BUTHELEZI: Good morning to you.
CHAIRPERSON: You are here to tell us your story.
MR BUTHELEZI: Yes, that is true.
CHAIRPERSON: Maybe we should get started first with the oath.
BONGANI BUTHELEZI (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: We will ask Mr Mdu Dlamini to lead your evidence.
MR DLAMINI: Good morning, Mr Buthelezi. Mr Buthelezi, maybe we should start first about your family. Give us a picture of your family. We do have the names of the children that you have furnished us with, however we don't know anything about the mother, or perhaps the mothers, of the children. Maybe I should help you. Are you married? --- No, I am not married.
What about the kids, do you live with the kids or they live with their mothers? --- No, they are with their mothers.
Do you still have parents? --- Yes.
What about your mother and your father? --- I will say unfortunately they are separated, they do not stay together.
Please lift up your volume so you may be audible enough, especially that the people in this hall are listening to you, not to the translation. --- I would like to explain that unfortunately my parents have separated. My mum is in Coronation and my father is in Johannesburg.
Do you have brothers or sisters? --- Yes, I do. I will say I have eight sisters and brothers, but one died last year in September. Now we are seven left.
The one who died what happened? Was he sick, or perhaps killed in some attack? --- No, he was sick.
We are sorry to hear that, Mr Buthelezi, but we do say it's better to die from some kind of illness or sickness instead of being killed in attacks or in any violence of some kind. Your matter is with regard to yourself and the torture you received under the hands of the police, and arrested. Also you were given petrol to drink. --- Yes, that's correct.
And also the telephone calls that were threats to you. We will ask you to lay your story, starting from 1994 when you were residing here in Mondlo. I will keep interrupting, and by doing so that will be an effort of trying to explain a point or so. Go on ahead. I will keep interposing. --- I will apologise first. I had asked the Commission that I have three statements that I would like to represent. I would say I would like to explain about two statements before I go back to 1994. I have a 1995 statement and a 1993 statement, though I did not write those statements. I wrote one statement, not three different statements, but I explained that on the 15th, on Monday.
Before I answer you, you say you have three statements. Do you mean you have three different incidents that happened over and above your arrest, and the petrol bombs issues, and the threats, telephone calls that were threats? Over and above that do you still have any other incidents? --- Yes, I do.
Before us we only have the ones that appear - the incidents that appear in the statement. I will advise you to get in touch with the statement takers, who will connect and combine the two. As for today please talk about what we have here, because that will be difficult for us if you will talk about things that we don't have here in the statement, so stick to what we have here in the statement. --- I will like to apologise, I also have another question. Is it advisable that I should disclose of any names even when something is embarrassing? Am I allowed to disclose?
If that name appears in your statement you are free to mention any names, but the names that you shouldn't even touch are the names that don't appear in your statement. However, whatever is in the statement you are free to make mention of it at any time whilst rendering your testimony. --- Thank you. I will first start in 1994, on the 13th March 1994. I was here in this very hall at night, and there was a wedding. One of my uncles has a wedding band, and he plays that band, and that band plays for different weddings, and we were in this very hall in that night on Friday. That was Friday evening on the 13th March 1994. It was about 2.00 to 3.00 am and we left, we went to Mondlo. I slept in the car. I didn't get inside the house and I didn't even go home. We were at my uncle's place or area. Around eight in the morning I had to leave after I have packed the instruments of the band. I was an observer of the ANC.
INTERPRETER: The interpreter was left behind.
MR DLAMINI: Please repeat right there. You say you were an observer. --- Yes, I was a member of the ANC Youth,
and I was an observer.
Go on ahead. --- It so happened that on that day, on the 13th in the morning around eight, I left my uncle's place and went home after offloading the instruments. When I got to this section at B I saw a crowd of people coming from Mlaba, approaching to the new supermarket at B Section. There was a flag, an IFP flag, hanging, and I did not pay any attention to that because I knew that different organisations would have general meetings and rallies and marches. So that didn't bother me at all. I went on ahead, I went to my house, and when I got home the first thing I heard was that I should leave and - leave completely Mondlo, the area. It wasn't as easy as that for me to leave the area because I had no place to run to and to go to to seek refuge. Now, that group went to section A, and there was an ANC office that had just been opened in March. That was the office that we are going to support in campaigning. We could not campaign with Vryheid branch, we had to campaign on our own as uMondlo group. As I was home hardly 30 minutes I heard that the ANC office had been destroyed by IFP members. We left with my brother, Moli, who was the treasurer of the youth organisation, and tried to go and see as to what happened and find out the details. We didn't have any weapons with us at that time, we were just going there. The first thing we got from the group that was running from A to B, section A to B, was that the IFP group intended to kill every boy, and they alleged that they were born of bitches. The first boy who was killed was found at a corner by a super. They shoved the spears through. I am sorry, I don't know the name of the boy.
He was 14 years old. They carried on killing people at that time until we met, the five of us. It was myself, Moli Mkwanazi, Vusi Khumalo, Victor Mdlalose and Phumzile Dlamini. We gathered at some place next to the office that we had just opened in uMondlo, started operating in. We saw a police vehicle approaching with police inside. At that time the IFP group was marching along the street heading to the church. When they got to us they said they will only give us five minutes, and after five minutes had lapsed we should disperse, and after that they will shoot. And they did shoot, and we ran to Mseleku's building at the store. That's where we hid. The police vehicle drove on ahead.
In that shooting did anyone sustain injuries? --- No. Then the IFP group went back, making a U-turn by Lutheran Church. There was a funeral from Bekkersdal, and the IFP member was to be buried in uMondlo. We had heard that that was coming, and two buses arrived and had supporters of IFP from Bekkersdal. What I will say is that those who were taking the forefront in the whole thing were the members in uMondlo. IFP went back to where the funeral was and took the casket and they went to bury their member.
The one who was killed, how was he killed? --- Maybe I should go back and say we had heard that a member of IFP who was shot in Bekkersdal, residing at a hotel, will be buried. He was an IFP member, and I wouldn't know the details of the shooting and so forth. And also we heard from the people who would come and contact us that they were harassed at night, Friday night. There was a shooting spree in uMondlo streets. The funeral went on
ahead, and after that, the IFP funeral, now they started calling us names. The person who was in the forefront was Jerome Buthelezi. And one other that I would like to disclose his name although I did not make mention of his name in the statement is Nkomondo. I don't know his role in the IFP, however the leaders of IFP then were Jerome Buthelezi and Nkomondo. We did try to monitor the situation, and they went to bury and they carried their member to the graveside, and they had with them spears. And we tried to hide and keep a distance from them, about 900 metres away from them, and we were following them. There were those who had black guns, and one had a sack full of guns, and there was a police vehicle following them at the same time. Inside there was Mr Mdluli, the assistant of Mondlo station commander. They were free and they went on ahead and carried their member to the graveside. They stopped at Mondlo in a gas station. That's where they started attacking us in public, and others were happy about that action, IFP attacking us. The police were watching and doing nothing to rescue us. After we had tried to run away we got to the riverside and we found there was an ANC group still there awaiting. We ran back and got to the post office, and we saw a police vehicle, green in colour, and they started shooting at us for no apparent reason. They never said a thing, but they started shooting. And we tried another route. We ran through Inanda and we got section B. I am sorry, on our way to B we saw a house that was burning. At A section when you pass Super Garage there was a house whose owner was with them, their supporter. We found out that the house that was being occupied by ANC Comrades who were
destitute, were the ANC members, and they did not have any place so they had to go to Mondlo and occupy houses there as ANC members. And one other member who was killed was Mike Mthethwa. We ran and we got to B section, and in the afternoon we gathered as the youth of ANC and we headed to our office, which was destroyed at the time, and we said, "Better still we should be killed jointly like this," because we didn't know who was behind this, whether ZP or IFP. Now we were chanting our songs and singing our freedom songs and five vans came. I won't disclose one of the police names, but there was a supervisor with them who said, "Let them be shot." They started shooting indeed, and there was a van that was driving behind me as I was running away, and they tried to shoot, and I was shot right on my right hand - no, on my left hand, by these people in the van. This is when I was shot as I was trying to escape, trying to jump the fence, the wall fence. As I managed to jump I fell down on the other side now.
I am sorry, Mr Buthelezi, is that the very night of the funeral, the very day? --- Yes. During the day we were harassed, and in the evening this took place and we decided to gather at some place.
There are incidents here that follow. Please be brief so we may listen to the other incidents as well. Try to be brief. --- Maybe I should try. From what IFP was doing at Mondlo in that time there were sergeants that came to take statements about what was happening in uMondlo, and the City Press members, who took statements. And they took all of that to the Mondlo Police Station, but after that there were rumours that I was an informer,
police informer. And one of the persons who was saying that, those rumours, I know him, he's a police, and I know his name. The following day on Monday I was standing by the office in uMondlo and the police approached uMondlo, KwaZulu Police, and they were pointing guns at me and said I should get into the car. And I asked them as to where they were taking me to and they said I have with me a weapon, an axe, so I should get into the car. Yes, I did get into the car and we went to Mondlo Police Station. I asked the station commander, Mr Mxinga. Mr Mxinga did come to me with Mr Ndlovu, and I asked them as to why I was arrested, why were they arresting me. They said this was due to the axe that I had. I asked Mr Mdluli that the previous day we were together monitoring the IFP funeral, "And before you there were two boys who carried black guns, with axes as well. Did you arrest those or did you bother yourself to ask them as to why they had those things in their possession? But you did not. However, you do find it easy to ask me. Is it because I am not an IFP?" He did not respond. Shortly after that Mr Thompkin arrived, who was a member of a police committee, and there was a meeting that convened as well with the IFP followers, and ANC followers were present in the meeting. And Mr Thompkin wanted to know why and what was the problem of what was happening, but it was said that I have kept hostage of the IFP members in the ANC office. And I repudiated all of that.
Let me disturb you and interpose right there. That was on the 21st of March on Monday? --- Yes.
Now, what happened subsequently after your arrest and Mr Thompkin came? What was the end of the whole
thing? --- They released me.
Now, take us to the next incident of the 24th of March where the Stability Unit arrived. --- On the 24th of March we as ANC Youth had no place to stay. We kept hearing news that somebody has died, the other has died, and I was now staying at Dlamini's home in Mondlo. At about seven I was outside. I saw a big green police vehicle, followed by a van, and they parked in front of the house and the Stability Unit, the police, got out and they were wearing copper hats. We could not see their faces, their faces were covered. We were many in the yard, but we kept quiet and we watched as to what was going to be done by the Stability Unit. They asked for Bongani Buthelezi and they also asked for the guns. And I told them I am the one, and there were no questions thereafter. Suddenly I was assaulted, and they were using guns assaulting me, and I fell down and four boys were taken. There at home we're quite numerous, and they took four boys with me into the van, police van. And at the back there were people in police uniforms, but they had covered their faces. I could not tell who were they. And they had knives, Okapis, right inside the police van. From the time it left my home it went to Hulyard(?) and they were assaulting me, stabbing me. I was confused because I told myself that I am with the police but all of this occurred still. And let me back-track, let me also say something about when I was still at home. They asked for weapons, guns, and also they asked for bombs. They searched the whole house and the whole yard outside, but they could gain anything. And one police came with a plastic full of petrol bombs and asked me as to who those
petrol bombs were and belonged. I said I did not know, and we asked him where did he get those bombs and he started assaulting us for asking merely why and where were the bombs coming from. I was taken and they alleged that the petrol bombs belonged to me. They took me into the van, and that's when they were assaulting me, as they were assaulting me and crying, shouting that, "You are hurting me," and they said - they gave me some beer and they said I should use that as medication. And lo and behold that was not beer, it was petrol. And I was still saying to them, "I am hurt," and please they should leave me alone. And they kept - and they were adamant, saying, "This is medication," and that was petrol that they were giving me. They were using spears in the van, assaulting me. The police said nothing to that effect. This is where they stabbed me.
Mr Buthelezi, you have suffered this ordeal, and what was the end? Did they take you to the police station and did they lay any charges against you? --- Yes, I was taken to the police station, and before any charges were laid against me I was assaulted up until four in the morning. I wasn't given any food, and I couldn't do anything, I was not functional. I was assaulted and they made me drink petrol, and they insisted that I should drink. I couldn't swallow that petrol, but they went on ahead assaulting me. They told me I should ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 2) ... the ANC things, and the ANC recitations, or whatsoever. And the following day I appeared in front of the Magistrate and I was taken to the gaol, to the prison, and the case was postponed for the 18th of the next month.
Mr Buthelezi, I am left behind. When you went to appear in front of the Magistrate what was the charge? --- They said I was found in possession of bombs and - well, 11 explosions.
Is that the case that went on to the 18th of July 1995, and ended by the fact that there was not enough evidence? --- Yes, that's the one.
According to your statement you also tell us about the threatening calls that you will be killed. Now tell us precisely about that. --- Yes, after I had seen the Magistrate I was sent to prison. The following day I got the telephone call, and the person was anonymous and told me that if I don't change my mind and join IFP I will be killed. Well, fine, I did not pay any attention then. I went to the head of the prison and reported that to him. And I told him that I receive a call at nine, and if I did not receive any call at nine I will receive the call at night. And I will be told to join the IFP, if I don't I will be killed. On Sunday of that week I got a telephone call from my auntie and I was told that my house was set alight and burnt down. I don't know why that was done.
How long were you Ganders Bend(?)? --- I was there since March and April, and was released on the 27th of May. After being - I was released on bail. I had no place to stay, and I knew that I had a home in Mondlo. I went to Vryheid to the Comrades that I won't disclose their names.
Even now you are still with your Comrades? --- No.
Are you back at home at Mondlo? --- No. On that evening I tried to go to Mondlo because I wanted to see
what was happening. I had no clothes. The only clothes I had were the ones I had in prison. I tried my best to go home. When I got off the taxi, tried to go around the school, I met two people who were approaching me from the opposite direction. The third one I met was headed to the same direction, and I was standing by smoking. And they go to different directions, and the other one suddenly shot, and I tried to run and I went to - I tried to rescue myself by crawling along the river, trying to go to section A. And there was a police by the name of Fanta, who was known as Fanta. I didn't know the police in person, but I had heard that there's a police by the name of Fanta.
Sorry, excuse us. Please give us the surname of Fanta because we had a problem, we wanted to send Fanta the notice, but we couldn't. --- He is Constable Malinga. When Constable Malinga, known as Fanta, shot, according to you did he intend to kill you, or he was simply threatening you? --- He intended to kill me. If I did not try to retreat I would have been killed.
Let me go back to those who assaulted you? --- Where is Constable Malinga, Fanta? --- Since I left Mondlo that day I had never seen him. I do hear that he is around, but I haven't seen him.
And the next person I would like to touch here is - or I wanted to know about Constable Malinga, I wasn't clear about him. One other thing I would like to ask, did you lay any charges against - with regards to this torture and harassment by the police in the van? --- I did try, but I was told that they could not do anything in as far as that was concerned. There was no place I could
open this case, because when I was arrested I was already under oppression of ZP. And also I heard that ZP was against me and they intended killing me. Now, when I was - when I left I went to Mondlo ... (inaudible) ... graveyard. That's where I slept that evening. There were two of us who tried to go to Mondlo. The following day in the morning I found out that Vusi Khumalo was shot, and the bullet was extracted however at the hospital.
Where is Vusi Khumalo? --- He is here in Vryheid.
Do you know if he has submitted any statement to the Commission? --- Yes, I do hope that he submitted a statement to the Commission.
Mr Buthelezi, let me thank you before I hand you over to the Chairlady. We've heard your grievances, and also that you are destitute, and also that you want that Constable Malinga should be investigated, and the treatment he gave you. We will try our best to follow just that. With regard to your home or place to stay, we don't really have the prerogative. The only prerogative we have is that we will compile a recommendation and a report for the President, and the President will look into the Commission's report, and how people were tortured and harassed and their requests, and he will thereafter see what shall be done, and your recommendation as well will be forwarded to the President. The President will respond to all of these matters. And also about your view of uMondlo Police Station, that it should be newly managed or organised in a better way. That we will pay attention to. And one thing I would like to compliment about you. According to your statement you do say that in spite of
all this you still don't hate anyone, and you don't hold any grudges against anyone, and you are prepared to forgive everyone who comes to you. That we appreciate a great deal because only a few people think that way. After all the ordeal that you have gone through you are still prepared to shake hands and talk to people and look at things positively. I will now hand you over to the Chairlady.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Buthelezi, you said that there were people that alleged you are an informer. Do you know those people? --- Briefly I will say - although I am not certain about this I will say one of them who said that in a group, and I heard him - I know him, I won't disclose his name.
Now, that's what I wanted to hear. We've heard your story, and it's not different from all other stories we've heard, especially what the youth went through during those years. We just thank you for being such a hero, together with those who were working with you, your colleagues so to speak, to stand up for the truth even after all what you went through and the ordeal you've suffered. One other thing that I appreciate in your statement is where you say although you were harassed you don't have a place to stay right now, you are destitute, and you once was a civilian or a citizen in uMondlo, but you are prepared to reconcile and tie the past with the present, and you hope for the best, that things will get better and so on. It's good to have hope because hope keeps one going. We thank you in that regard.
About the other statements you wanted to refer to, we will gladly tell you that there are statement-takers
that you could contact, and we will emphasise that you see the statement-takers and lay your story as well. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: The next witness who will come forward to the witness stand is Jabulani Buthelezi. We will afford him an opportunity to render his testimony. Good morning, Jabulani Buthelezi. You are with somebody there. Would you tell us her name.
MR BUTHELEZI: This is my sister. I am with my sister.
CHAIRPERSON: Will she say something or she is simply accompanying you?
MR BUTHELEZI: Yes, she will like to say something, a word or two.
CHAIRPERSON: Did she submit any statement at all?
MR BUTHELEZI: Yes, she has submitted a statement.
CHAIRPERSON: What's your name?
MS BUTHELEZI: My name is Monica. Monica is my name.
CHAIRPERSON: According to our procedure and programme you are not anywhere in our list. However, you will sit right next to Jabulani and give him moral support. At this point we'll kindly ask Jabulani to stand up and raise his right hand so he can take the oath
JABULANI BUTHELEZI (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: You are here about your story and what happened to you. You have two children. Is Nthobeko at school or what? --- Yes, Nthobeko is at school and she is in standard six.
What about Lindiwe? --- Yes, Lindiwe is at school as well and doing her first year.
Do you still have a wife? --- Yes, I do.
What about the parents, do you have your parents still? --- Yes, I do.
How many are you in your family? We mean your
mother's children. --- We are five. There is five of us.
Are you all working? --- No, I am not working.
Who is not working? --- I am not working.
Oh, you are the one who isn't working. --- And also my younger brother isn't working. My younger brother isn't working.
You are here about an incident that took place in 1994. Would you kindly relate to this Commission as to what happened and what was happening at that point in time? --- In 1994 it was on the 20th April, it was in the morning around seven, I saw my neighbours. I was at the neighbour's house. I saw a group of people approaching, and my ... (intervention)
What is the bride's name? --- It's Thembi. Oh, my wife is Thembi Gloria. She is also here.
What is Gloria's surname? --- Her surname is Ndlovu. She woke me and I woke up, and I saw the school children running and I went to the door to see as to what was happening. I realised that those were not school children, they were elderly people, and the neighbours said, "We don't know what will happen to those that we leave behind. We are heading forward and we are going to fight and we are going to the battle." I was surprised, and especially I didn't know - I was in the dark, I didn't know what was happening. I didn't know whether it was a fight, a battle, or what. I went to ask as to what was happening and tried to inquire. I thought probably they were running after some animal, or perhaps they were running after a thief. I went to inquire as to what was happening, and some said, "Come here. Come here, we will
tell you." Some said this, and the other said some other things, and they all had weapons. I didn't have one. I asked as to why they were calling me to join them because I wasn't armed. They were divided. Some went across the river and others now they tried - they were now forming a circle of some kind. I tried to move back and they started right away hitting me, assaulting me, using the traditional weapons, the knobkerries as well. I tried to run as fast as my feet could carry me. I saw the other group of people approaching suddenly. They were attracted by what was happening there. The other group from the other side had guns, and the other group of the other side said they were not fighting, but there were only two people that were after this. I don't know if I should say this or disclose this, especially the names. I don't think I am safe if I do that.
Do you know their names? --- Yes, I know their names. And some could be present here, and I am afraid, I don't think it's ideal for me to disclose of any names.
Well, if you are not free to disclose the names just tell the lady who is sitting right next to you, but not now, the names. --- Right then I tried to go to the house, and I managed to do that, and there was - now the place had turned into a battlefield. People were running to and fro, and even in the house where I was people had left. It was myself and my wife and the rest had gone. We did not even know which direction to head to because the place had turned some kind of turmoil. I saw the house was burning, my house was burning, and I wasn't too sure whether my parents were in the house as the house was burning. It was set alight, we don't know by who. And my
father-in-law said to me, "Well, let's do trust and hope that everything is fine. Though the house was burning perhaps your parents are safe." The following day I met my cousin and my cousin tried to console me and told me that my aunt and my father were safe, they were not affected at all by what happened. Then that consoled me a great deal. And still the battle was going on even to date. I never took part, especially that I did not know what was happening or what was the gist of the matter. I will say this. I went to the ANC. Somebody said to me, "He is the one who started the fight," and that disturbed me a lot because I now was destitute, I had no place to stay, no clothes, and I had lost my beloved ones. I am not the one who started the fight. Somebody else did that, and was telling the community that, "He started the fight," and I know the person who started the fight, and he was counted as one behind this whole thing. I can't mention his name.
Can you mention it? --- I can't disclose any names. I don't think that will be ideal thing to do. After that I don't know what happened for I didn't see what happened. According to your statement you make mention of Nquthu Hospital, you went to the hospital. --- Yes, I did go to Nquthu Hospital, and still I did not see those who assaulted me. I was hurt here. I sustained injuries on my forehead. I was bleeding profusely through my mouth, and even here on my forehead I sustained fatal injuries. My jaws as well sustained injuries.
Who did you see in the hospital? Do you have any records from the hospital? --- Yes.
What about the Nquthu Hospital? Tell us is it Charles Dot Memorial Hospital, or what? --- Oh, those are two different hospitals.
Explain which hospital you went to? --- It's Johanson(?).
Can you explain precisely about the issue between ANC and Inkatha? What was happening at the time, because you say you did not know as to what was happening? What was the essence of the whole thing? --- I wouldn't say there wasn't anything happening, because I know that ANC was doing its own things and playing around with its flag. And I couldn't understand as to whether the fight was on or what was happening. I was lost.
Did you lay any charges? --- No, I did not lay any charges.
Explain to the Commission about your injuries. How do you feel now? How do you fare? --- Since then I am not as healthy as I used to be. I can't lift heavy things any more.
You mean you can't use both your hands to lift up heavy stuff, or one? --- I can't lift, especially using my right hand. And when it's hot in the day my sight is not good. And I do get dizzy spells at the same time.
You have made mention of Gloria Ndlovu. You told us that Gloria Ndlovu is a wife. Whose wife is Gloria Ndlovu? --- She is my wife.
Do you think there were people who witnessed this incident? --- I may ask Gloria Ndlovu because she witnessed all this, especially that she is here.
No, we cannot let that happen. Only you have taken
the oath, and only you can render any testimony and say anything even though Gloria has seen that. But we will also ask you if there were any other people who saw this? --- That much I wouldn't know because I had lost consciousness. I did not see many things that happened, only afterwards, so I wouldn't know who else witnessed that.
Would you put your request forward to the Commission? What would you like this Commission to do for you? --- I would appreciate anything that the Commission could do for you.
Give us the full names of the witness, the one who -Gloria, we referred to Gloria - her full names. --- She is Thembilihle.
You mean that's your wife, isn't it? --- Yes. She is the one who witnessed this incident. --- Yes.
Was she with you during that time? --- Yes, she was with me.
Is there anything that you will want to say? --- No, I think that is it.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Just two short questions please. I am not clear if I wasn't listening properly, but I heard you say that you had lost your loved ones, you had lost your house. Which loved ones did you lose? --- What I said was that many lost their houses and their loved ones, and that hurt me afterwards when I discovered that there was someone who was behind that.
You haven't explained to us how this violence actually started, and in your statement you've said that somebody had spread a rumour that the IFP were going to
attack, and that therefore in response to that rumour the
ANC counter-attacked first. --- Yes, there was something like that. These two people will get to the IFP and leave the IFP, go to the IFP and say, "The ANC had said this. They will come today," and leave the IFP and go back to the ANC and say, "The IFP is going to attack, is coming to attack. Run away." So there was that kind of thing going on.
CHAIRPERSON: Jabulani, we thank you for taking this opportunity of coming in front of this Commission. As we have listened to your story it goes to show that that was the time when there was confusion in the area, especially in the community, as you have explicitly explained that there were people who were trying to get the two groups to fight. And we will not even know whether those people were members of ANC or IFP, but they were strongly behind this confusion. And you have sustained injuries, and for no apparent reason because you did not even know what was happening. But it goes to show that we are coming from a terrible time, and you have mentioned that there are names that you won't disclose, and we don't want to put you in that difficult situation. However, we have our own way of investigating, and we will find out those names, and if need be we will get in touch with them. As for your injuries and as for your health, there is nothing much that we may promise you now, but there is little that we could offer you, maybe like seeing if you could be taken to hospital in one way or the other, especially that your hands have been strongly affected, you can't lose them and lift any heavy things. You would need to see the
physiotherapist at the hospital. And also you get dizzy
things that we will attend to, and the lady sitting right next to you will help you. And there are people that we will leave behind that we hope will look into such issues and matters and see how they will enlist help to people like you. And we do thank the fact that your parents survived this. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: (Incomplete) ... Chief Elphas Molefe. We greet you, Chief Molefe. Would you prefer that you speak Sotho or Sesotho?
ELPHAS MOLEFE (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lax will be the one who is leading you into your evidence.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, Chief Molefe. --- Thank you.
You have very kindly given us the details of your relatives and your family, including your wife's details, and I won't - in the interests of not taking up too much time I won't go over them again. One aspect we haven't covered are just your brothers and sisters. How many are still alive? --- I have two sisters and I have one brother.
Now, the story that you're going to tell us about involves the area that you were chief of in the Nquthu district, and started in 1988. It is quite a long and detailed story, and I will ask you to try and be as brief as possible but without leaving essential details. Please continue.
INTERPRETER: We will request the channel to be tuned in, channel four, for the witness.
MR LAX: Okay, just one second please. Can you just make sure that your headphones are on channel four please. Can you hear properly now? --- Yes, I can hear you.
Maybe I can help you just by dealing with some of the early details. When did you become chief of the Molefe tribe? --- From 1967 I have been the chief of the Molefe tribe.
And that was after your father passed away. --- Yes, that is correct.
And these troubles started in 1988. --- Yes, that is so.
Just tell us how they commenced. Sorry, there seems to be a problem with the Zulu not coming through on the main system. (Pause) Sorry, can the audience hear the Zulu, or is it quiet?
CHAIRPERSON: We will ask the witness to render his testimony in Zulu.
MR LAX: What we'll do is we'll just start again, and I will just confirm that you became chief of Molefe tribe in 1967 after the death of your late father. These problems started in 1988 with the killing of your son, Sechaba Thobang Molefe --- That is correct.
Please will you continue and explain what happened and how it was that your son came to be killed. --- There were problems here in KwaZulu-Natal a long time. These problems started long before 1988. These problems started in 1967, but the real problems started in 1988. That's where I am going to start. Early in the morning I was woked up by a friend of my son from Nquthu at Mkonjani area. When he woked me up he told me that my son was killed at Nquthu, and he was killed by a policeman between the Nquthu Hospital and Mkhize Hotel, and these policemen were two. One of them I didn't mention on my statement, but he is a policeman from Vryheid and I am not willing to reveal his name at this moment. They shot my son. We went to hospital in the morning. We started in hospital and then we went on to the police station, and that's where we found his body. His corpse was in the
mortuary so we couldn't speak to him. What was said to me was that I had already depended on this boy of mine. I wanted to take him to university because he was my eldest son and he was my heir.
Chief, you mentioned that one of the policemen came from Vryheid. Where was the other policeman from? --- The other one was from Nquthu Police Station. His name is on the statement, B B Gunene.
Please continue. --- The post-mortem was conducted, and the result was that - I was still a chief at that time. The Government didn't come to me and talk to me as a chief after the policeman has done this. Even the Minister of the Police in KwaZulu-Natal didn't bother to come and talk to me concerning this issue. It was just over like that. That's when I realised that they killed my son because they suspected that he was an ANC or rather a UDF member.
Was there ever an inquest into your son's death? --- There was never any inquest. We were called though to come to court and the case was heard over three days, and then for the fourth time I didn't appear to court and I didn't know what was the decision of the Court, and I still don't know who was found guilty or who wasn't found guilty.
Which court was ... (inaudible) --- Nquthu Court.
Do you remember more or less the year that happened in? --- It was in 1988. It went on until 1989.
Thank you. Please continue. The next aspect of your statement refers to your suspension and removal as chief, which happened in September 1989. --- In
September 1989 I received a letter from the Government, KwaZulu Government, and I was told that I am supposed to leave my job. I was no longer a chief, I mustn't touch anything. I stopped working. On the 29th of November the very same year, in 1989, I went to see the lawyers, CLC lawyers or attorneys. We went to the court in Durban. I was never called to go on the witness stand. They kept on remanding the case, and my attorneys told me that the reason they are remanding my case it's because there is no investigation with regard to suspension as a chief. And then they referred the case back to Madadeni. In Madadeni they told me that the Magistrate - or the Magistrate from Madadeni told me that the decision will be taken at Ulundi. After that Ulundi never told me anything as to what decision they came to. I also asked my attorneys what was the decision. I was never told.
(Inaudible) ... understand you, you are unsure as to precisely why you've been suspended and what the status of that suspension is. --- That is correct. In 1992 I received a letter saying that I am being dismissed as a Molefe chief.
Is that the letter you gave us dated 15th of June 1992? --- That is correct, that's the very same letter.
Just for the record it's a letter signed by Dr Buthelezi as Chief Minister of KwaZulu. --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... in terms of the relevant legislation giving him power to do that. --- That is correct.
And since that time your appeal hasn't been followed through or anything of that nature? --- After my
appeal my family went to Ulundi and they tried to find out what was going on, and they were told that they will be told. Again my tribe went to Ulundi. They also gave them the same answer, that they will respond to them, they will write a letter. Councillors and indunas also went to Ulundi. Myself I went to Ulundi. I went to see Mr Nyanga Ngubane. I went there myself because I wanted to found out how long I am going to stay like this on suspension, and he also told me they will write a letter to me. And also Mr Ngubane never responded up until today.
Has anyone been appointed yet as chief in your place? --- No one has been appointed from 1989 to rule the Molefe tribe, and that's actually a problem because there is no tribe which can stay for seven years without a chief. Their grievances are not met. They can't go to anyone to ask for things like building roads, building schools, or whenever people are quarrelling to resolve those conflicts. People need a chief to do all these things, or to try to. The Molefe tribe doesn't have someone like that. They are still having a problem.
(Inaudible) ... move on next to the events that happened in November 1993, where your house was attacked, and if you can just give us a background to how that attack happened, what was going on at that time, and so on. --- It was on the 7th, 1993, November. Six men came and they approached to my gate. As they were entering the gate they surrounded my house. They didn't even greet anyone and then they started shooting. As they were shooting 10 - 14 kids were killed. Some of them died instantly and some of them died in hospital. These kids were supposed to go to a rally at Nquthu, and it was an
ANC rally. It was on the 7th of November. ANC people sent a message to these kids that they mustn't go to a rally because they've heard that they were going to be attacked if they go to a rally. Therefore these kids listened and they didn't go. So other youths from other places came to my place to collect my sons as well. Sepho was one of my sons. And then they stayed in my house, and when I came to my house I was from another house of mine. As I was trying to undress myself - I was in my bedroom - I heard gunfire outside. I would like to explain this to the Commission. As I am talking to you I am very grateful to come here and talk to you, because today might be my last day alive, because I also don't know how I escaped all these attacks. Kids surrounded my body. They grabbed me, they pushed me under the bed, they slept all on the bed because they didn't want me to get killed. And these people kept on firing guns. Because God was there with us, even though I was shot. Even though the boys tried to protect me I was shot on my left leg - or hand, and also on my right leg, under my feet. My shoes got off my feet.
(Inaudible) ... you mentioned a figure of 14 people that died, or let's say it was translated as 14. There appeared to be some hesitation in it. I just want to be clear. Exactly how many people died in that attack? If you're not sure just tell us you're not sure. --- 11.
11 people. And approximately six people were injured in that incident. --- That is correct.
And amongst those that died was your son, Sepho. --- That is correct.
Now, the next main incident that happened was in April 1994. It was round about the time of the elections. /--- During
--- During the elections I was in hospital. People from my house or back home reported to me that people have died at Xaladu. People had been shot. Who belonged to the IFP organisation were shot. Only five survived. And Chief Molefe also was shot.
Was this Alfred Molefe? --- Yes, this was Alfred Molefe.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, he was one of the chiefs - induna.
(Inaudible) ... in your statement that there were police involved in that shooting. --- That's very true. The ANC Comrades at Xaladu did say that the police were there present and shooting, and ZP. Even though they did not disclose the names, but that's the report I received.
The next incident you talk about was in July 1995, and then subsequent incidents in March 1996. As a result of all these incidents your house was destroyed, and the material stolen, and other things stolen, is that right? --- That is correct.
The reason I am going quickly over these things is they happened outside the time of our mandate. Our Commission's mandate stops in May 1994, but I am just mentioning this because these are things that are part of a continuing sequence of events. Now, in that attack in March Sibusiso Ndlovu was killed at your house. --- He was killed outside in the house while he was trying to escape. He was shot and burned and died on the spot.
This violence that has taken place at your area, would you characterise it as violence as a result of conflict between the ANC and the IFP? --- This
violence that erupted it's due to the fact that IFP dislike the presence of the ANC in the area. Even some of the IFP members do insist that if you are an ANC you are not allowed to walk around in the area.
At present you are not staying in the area. --- Yes, that's correct, I am not at my place. I reside here in Vryheid, and I am only renting a house. I move from one place to another with my children. I don't have a stable place where I reside.
Why don't you reside back in your area? --- I can't go back to my area to reside there because there are many occasions where attempted attacks took place, and if I insist to go there I may even lose my life. I will not for any reason go back there. It's hard for me to do. Also for the sake of the children, you want to consider that. And they have been psychologically affected as well, and I attribute all of this to the attacks.
(Inaudible) ... return to the Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: We have heard, Chief Molefe, about the ordeal you have suffered. I hear you putting emphasis on the children, about the fact that you are destitute, you move from one place to another, you don't have a place to stay. What I what I would like to know is that are your children schooling? --- Yes, many of them are. The majority of my children are still at school. One is enrolled for marketing and computer ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 4) ... in Vryheid. And I want to tell the Commission that I won't disclose the place where they are here in Vryheid. They are at school though. And I don't have sufficient funds. I just get there and there, money from there and there, to put my children to school.
Don't you think your children are psychologically affected in one way or the other? --- Chairlady, some of my children have been traumatised, because this other one loses memory from one time to another.
Who is that one? --- It's Simo, Simo Mugalasa.
Is that the surname or the name? --- The name.
In what standard is she? --- He. He is in standard three. The other one is Thabelo.
What about Thabelo? Is she fine? --- No, she has a problem. She is not doing well at school. She keeps failing each standard, and also now he is above age.
We have heard your story, Mr Molefe. It's painful to realise that there is no respect in the community, and again what befell you, anyone could be the victim of the same fate that befell you in this community, as you have lost your two sons on top of the rest that happened to you. And one other aspect that's painful is the fact that we keep on hearing the fact that police were present and could not provide any security or safety for you. And some other times we do hear that police took part in these incidents. But we do trust and hope, and we have this hope, that in the future the situation will get better, and an effort is being put to reconcile and tie the past with the future. What we'll advise you about is that we will compile a report here as the Commission and forward it, as the other statements that will be forwarded to the President, and the President will see that people like you receive attention. It looks like the children have suffered this ordeal, and we would advise you to get in touch with the counsellors present here and see if the children won't receive any psychological help. Perhaps
all this - we could attribute all of this suffering to what you suffered. We do trust and hope that you'll be safe, and we thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Please, we are about to adjourn. May we be seated and let there be order in the hall. This disturbs us. We have just found out that amongst the children that were injured in this incident that Chief Molefe has just related it's that the parents of those children are present here, and we will request the parents of the children who were injured in this incident to stand up so we may see them. The parents of the children that were injured in this incident the chief has just related. You may be seated. We realise that you are hurt inside, and we await the time when your wounds will be healed. And we know that as the chief was relating you were taken back in time when all this happened, and also we'd like to thank you now for coming here, knowing very well that your story is part and parcel of what the chief has related, and you were still brave enough to be here and listen to the chief, and also give the chief the moral support which he needed the most as he rendered his testimony. We do believe that the Lord will be by your side and the wounds will be healed in no time, and we trust that even you will be able - or will plan to meet the counsellors, the Truth Commission counsellors that we'll also leave here in Vryheid. We do believe that you will be helped by getting in touch with them, and God will bless you.
Before we adjourn for lunch we have a few announcements here. On the 12th May, next month - we refer to next month - in Mondlo location we will be having
statement-takers who will be taking statements. We do request you that you send the word around so that people may prepare to go to Mondlo at 10.00 am to submit their statements. On the following day, on the 13th of May, the statements will be taken in Vryheid at the same time, that is 10.00 am. On the 12th it will be at Mondlo, and on the 13th May it will be here in Vryheid at 10.00 am. Now, the venues, the locations rather where the statements will be taken, will be announced in due time through the Radio Zulu. Now, please pay attention to every detail from Radio Zulu so you may know when and where especially the statements will be taken. We do request that you send the word around and people get to know about this, even those who did attend, because we need to hear your views and your versions of the story.
We will adjourn for lunch now. It is 1 o'clock. We'll just have a short adjournment for lunch because our day - we are running behind time. We will be back here at half past one and continue with the programme of the day. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: (Incomplete) ... to each and every one of you. We'll carry on with our programme. We will be listening to Albert Mhande Nsibande. He is already seated on the witness stand. Good afternoon. You are here to relate about the murder and the shooting of Mr Mcetywa and yourself. We will ask you to stand up to take the oath.
ALBERT MHANDE NSIBANDE (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: The Commissioner who will lead you will be Mr Mdu Dlamini.
MR DLAMINI: Good afternoon, Albert. --- Good afternoon to you.
How are you feeling, how are you faring? Are you okay? --- I am not fine.
You have already given us the names of the children, Ndisi Mkwanazi. How old is Ndisi? Just a rough estimation. How old is Ndisi? --- Four to six years, just a rough estimation.
Don't you worry. I know men always have problems in knowing the ages of the children. Thanks for that estimation. What about Lindiwe Ngcube, her estimation? --- I think Lindiwe is six, around the same age.
What about Sepelele Ngcube? --- Sepelele is seven years old.
And Siyabonga? (Pause) I know men are like that. Don't you worry, I know that. --- Yes.
About the parents, do you still have your parents? --- I have one left and it's my mother.
How is your mother, how is she faring? --- Well,
she is struggling. She is not fairly well because she was injured on her leg.
What about your father, is he late? --- Yes, he is deceased.
Was he sick or he died from an attack or violence? --- No, he was sick and died.
Are you married? --- No.
What about the children, do they live with you or with their mother? --- I gave two to my sister, and the other two are with the mother.
Mr Nsibande, the story you are going to relate to the Commission is the incident that took place when you were going to - while awaiting the funeral of Mcetywa, who was the leader, and - the leader of ANC in Pongola. Mrs Mcetywa has already given us a clear picture with regard to the structure of ANC and its beginning in your area, and the duties and work of Mr Mcetywa up to the time when he was killed. I will therefore ask you - I know you would have loved to give us the whole story, but give us an abridged version, and start from November 1993 when you were at a night vigil when you were injured. --- On that day when we had the night vigil, a night before the funeral of Comrade Mcetywa, during the day of that day I was sitting under the tree alone watching, waiting for the right time to go to the night vigil. A car passed by, a three-litre Ford Sierra passed by, and I saw the people who were inside the car, as to who they were.
The people you saw are the ones you have in your statement, Police Nyuni Nyango and Police Maseka, and Gribond, who is a police? Gribond, is this a nickname or the real name? --- No, we used to call him Gribond. I think that's his real name. I don't know his surname,
but that's the name.
Would you be able to find out the surname after some time? --- Yes, because the girlfriend is somewhere nearby in the neighbourhood.
We will ask you to kindly find out the surname. We'll probably get back in touch with you telephonically. The registration of this car, what was it? --- If I am not mistaken it's ... (incomplete)
INTERPRETER: The interpreter could not catch that. The interpreter is asking for the witness to be audible. --- NO 1336, that was the car registration used by the ZP. 1336 car registration used by the ZP.
MR DLAMINI: Yes, I did interpose right there. Now, you saw that car and the people in the car. Now carry on. --- After that I went back home and took a shower and prepared myself to go. And I left, I met with other colleagues, and we went to Comrade Mcetywa's place. I think it was about half past eight when I said to one boy, "Hey, boy, let's get outside and just sit out there and chill and smoke." Yes, we did smoke, and it was beginning to be dark, and we saw the very same car. It came by still, coming to A section, and it take a U-turn under the light and I said to the boy, to Mfana, "We are not safe outside here. Maybe we have to get right inside the yard for protection." Indeed we crossed the street and went inside the premises, the yard. As we were approaching the house we heard that sound.
INTERPRETER: The interpreter could not get that.
MR DLAMINI: The interpreter could not get that. Please clarify what that is. --- I don't know. Oh, those are the guns that they carry with. That's how we got shot.
And I heard the sound of the gunshot and we lied down instantly so we could retreat, and that's how now I got shot as I tried to crawl to the safe place. They were able to see us because they were in the dark and we were right in the light. I fell, and remembered and thought that the person could see me, maybe I should just try crawl as fast as I could to hide away. And I managed to hide away, and I tried to call the others and warn them of the situation that was prevailing. And at the time they were trying to show how many of us were injured.
Where were you injured? --- I sustained injuries on my right leg, up of the thigh, and at the hospital I was operated on the left side, appendix I think. And I could not go to the toilet and had no appetite at all. However, gradually I managed to get back. My heart was torn apart, because each time I looked at this operation I felt like crying.
Were you at Ngwelezana Hospital? --- Yes, I was there.
And according to our records you were there almost one full year. --- Yes.
Do you still have the hospital records with you? --- Yes, I have IP numbers of the Ngwelezana file, the hospital file. I have them at home.
Do you have them with you right there or they are at home? --- No, they are at home, I don't have them with me.
We'll make means to get those files so we can get in touch with the hospital personnel to gather full information and be furnished with all the details. Right now I have seen that you are not walking properly. Where
else have you been injured? --- This is the leg that was fatally injured, and I could not even show my parent how brutal the wound is, because I know that after that she won't cope with that, my parent won't cope with that. To date I am suffering from that wound of the gunshot. Even psychologically when I think - you know, there are times when I sit alone and think, and I will cry, I will cry bitterly.
We'll wait for the witness to regain composure. Take your time, Mr Nsibande. (Pause) You were still explaining how the wound is, and you are even sceptical of showing it to your parent. And we are aware that even psychologically, even mentally, you are highly affected, that there are things you cannot carry on with now. And have you been in touch with the doctors or something? --- I think I am not a male any more. I can't have children since the attack.
Maybe you should contact the - did you ever think of contacting the doctors in this regard? --- I don't have money to pay the doctors.
Even the pension is not sufficient? --- I am not getting any pension fund even now.
One other thing. Maybe have you tried to receive psychological help to face the situation that you are faced with at the time? --- No, I did not receive any such help.
Would you appreciate such help? --- Yes.
There are people who will talk to you after this, and open up to them and do make mention of the fact that you need psychological help. And I think also you need to get the doctor's view with the fact that you are now
unable to have children. The doctors will give you their views in that perspective. How many people were injured on that day? --- We were eight.
What about the other seven, how is their condition? Did they go to the hospital? --- We were all taken to the hospital.
How are they faring now? --- Some are better, and there is this one other, Xolani, the bullet penetrated through his knee and it was never extracted, and to date his knee is not functional. And there was one who was shot from the back, from behind, and I think he is much better now because he even drives his car. And the girl that was with us - we were seven, and we had a girl with us, and was shot right on her feet. Others were shot in such a way that they were able to receive preliminary medical attention, and they responded to that quite well. I was the worst because I was in the hospital for a long time.
Would you perhaps know if the others did submit the statements to the Commission? --- Thetelele, who was one of us, did submit his statement, and we submitted our statements at the same time.
Thank you. Did you lay any charges? --- It wasn't as easy, because when we were taken to Ngwelezana it was as a result of the police. One of the sergeants, SAP sergeants, said - and he wasn't aware that I was there - that he was saying, "We are looking for them. We went to Nongoma, we went to the hospital because we wanted to kill them right inside the hospital." That was the sergeant saying that, the SAP, and he was not aware that I am around. We could not lay any charges due to that,
because the police station commander was collaborating with the Inkatha people and the ZP.
The police in the car, the car that was shooting, where are they, the police that shot from the car? --- One of them I just heard that he is a sergeant in the Stability Unit.
Who is that? --- That is Nyuni Nyango.
Where is Nyango located, in which police station? --- I don't know.
But you just heard that he is with the Stability Unit? What about Maseka? --- I wouldn't know where -well, he is located in KwaKeza.
What about Gribond? --- Gribond has been since deceased.
What killed him? --- That much I wouldn't know and wouldn't explain, because he collapsed in front of the office where he was working from and that was it.
As you were injured were you able to work, and where were you working? --- I was working at one building contract.
What is the name? --- It's WJ Construction.
Did they give you any compensation as a result of your injuries? --- No.
Did you get any green card? --- Nothing.
Where is this construction office based? Do you have the work records? What about the pay slip? Do you have any? --- No, I don't.
What were you, were you a part-time worker, or were you a full-time? --- No, I was a part-time worker. I was working temporarily.
How long did you work there? --- I worked there
for five months.
Mr Nsibande, we do empathise with you, with what you went through, especially what you were facing, with a future to face on top of that. There are requests that you've made mention of in your statement, some of which we've already addressed. As we have said to others, likewise we will say it to you, that your requests will be compiled in a report and be forwarded right to the Cabinet and the President of the country. We will recommend on your behalf as to what will be helpful to you, and we want to assure you as well that a report will be compiled and be forwarded to the Cabinet and the State President, and it is their prerogative to see what to do after that. And the other things that we've already addressed, like your psychological problems, to contact the doctors, and the like, we will pay attention to that with immediate effect. Thank you very much. But don't leave yet, the Chairlady has a word or two too.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nsibande, I think I heard you saying you have children with your sister and some with their mother. Did I hear you right? --- There are two with my sister, and the other two are with their respective mothers.
Now, you don't have any child with you? --- No, I would not afford to support any child at this stage.
We have heard in the morning when Mrs Mcetywa rendered her testimony with regard to what happened in your area at this given time. We are sorry and sad that when you did not even intend to do any harm, but only supporting what happened, and subsequent to that you found yourself in this ordeal. It is sad that that happened to
you, and especially it shows that our very own people, I mean police, did take part, and they are our hope. Now that they fight against us it's a wonder. However, we thank you because you were heroes in one way or the other, and you stood very firm on what you believed so that everyone could benefit in the country. Mr Dlamini has already made mention of the fact that - as for your recommendations will be compiled, and a report will be forwarded to the State President, and he will see how you should be helped. What I would like to know is that as you are still attending, going to see the doctor at the hospital, what happens? --- No, I do wish to go to the hospital so they may extract the iron inside that was inserted in me. And it's been time since I have seen the doctor.
But it is imperative that you see the doctor, are you aware? --- Yes. I don't have money. Money is the centre of my problem.
Don't you have hospitals around? --- Yes, there are hospitals, but I will prefer to go to the hospital that I first went to. In that way they have the history of my injuries and stuff.
Maybe it will be necessary for you to say everything to the counsellors, our counsellors, so they may advise you better, because it is dangerous for you not to see any doctor or receive any medical attention at this stage. You have to receive medical attention in whatever way. On top of that I would like to thank you for coming to the commission and disclose of your story. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Our next witness who will be afforded opportunity to relate his story will be Andreas Mphani Sithole. We greet you, Mr Sithole. You came here to relate to us about your story of how your house was burnt. Before you start relating your testimony to us we would like you to stand up and raise your right hand.
ANDREAS MPHANI SITHOLE (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: We will ask Mr Dlamini to lead you in giving your testimony.
MR DLAMINI: I greet you, Mr Sithole. Mr Sithole, according to our records you are staying in Haladu in Nquthu. --- Yes, that's where I was staying, but I am no longer staying there.
Where are you staying now? --- I am now staying at eMadwaleni.
I would like to rectify that area. Do you have a house at Madaleni or you're renting a place? --- No, I am still renting.
Where is eMadwaleni? Is it at Nquthu? --- No, it's at Nqeni, next to Mdlalose's area.
Another thing, Mr Sithole, you didn't give us information about your family background. Do you still have your wife? --- Yes, she is still alive. I have two wives.
Are they around today? --- No, they aren't here, they are at home.
How many children? --- I have four children.
How old are they? Are they still young? --- Yes, all four of them are still minors. In fact my kids -they are actually my grandchildren. Only one is mine. I
have three children, but they are already on their own dependent.
Are they working? --- One is working, the other one is not working.
And the third one? --- The third one is just getting babies at home. She is not working.
Mr Sithole, you are here because you want to relate to us as to how your house was burnt. This incident occurred in 1994. --- Yes, that's correct.
Would you please tell us what happened before? --- I don't know what happened, but there was a conflict between ANC and Inkatha, and then I ran away.
When you ran away is there anything that happened to cause this running away? Were you attacked first before you ran away, or you heard of a meeting for another organisation? Were there other people attacking other people? What happened? --- I can't tell because I ran away. The situation was so bad that I just ran away.
What happened, what caused this running away? --- We saw a group of people coming and they were shooting at each other, and then we ran away.
Were these people ANC people? --- I think so, but I am not sure.
Were they coming to your area, and your area is predominantly IFP area? --- Yes, that is correct.
The conflict between ANC and IFP in your area is caused by what? --- No, I can't tell that. I don't k now what actually causes this conflict.
I am asking this because we've discovered that in 1994 at Haladu the situation was terrible bad. People lost their stock, and some people lost their lives.
That's why I wanted you here today to tell us what happened, or how can we solve these problems. --- I don't know. I don't know how we can solve this and I don't know what causes this.
When you ran away with your children and your wife were there people who got injured in your family? --- No, no one. Everyone was safe, because my family ran away first and I followed afterwards, not knowing where they ran to.
Your stocks? --- No, I didn't lose any of my stock. I took it with me. Only my houses were burnt, but my stock was safe.
Did you report this matter to the police? --- Yes, I did.
Which police station did you report this matter? --- I went to Espicon, next to Mondlo, and then I went to Nquthu, because the police from Espicon Police Station couldn't help me. Then the police from Nquthu were the ones who helped me to gather whatever was remaining behind.
Did they give you your case number? --- No, they didn't.
I am asking this because our investigators went to Mondlo Police Station to gather the records as to what actions they've taken after this incident, and they found that in their records there was no evidence as to whether you did come to them and report the matter. --- No, they didn't give me any case number.
Mr Sithole, I would like to know if you are here because you want the Commission to ask something on your behalf with regard to what you've lost. --- Yes. I
would like the Commission to help me with regard to the damages I've suffered.
You mean your houses which were burnt? --- Yes, I would like the Commission to please rebuild those houses for me.
Did you manage to remove the goods inside your house? --- No, we didn't, because we were running away. We just ran.
Mr Sithole, this is very sad. According to our records you are 68 years, and someone who is as old as you to run away and not knowing what caused the violence, and I would like to express our sympathy to you, and I trust that you will be helped in somehow. As we have said to others that we are going to take all these statements and we are going to make recommendations to the President, and what I would like to tell you is that it will take time because everyone will be given a chance to come forward and ask for whatever he or she wants to ask. So it won't be something that will occur today or tomorrow, it will take time, like maybe next year. Don't stand up because the Chairlady will have a word with you.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Sithole, I am not quite sure whether I didn't hear this one correct. Are you receiving any pension? --- Yes, I do.
From these two wives of yours is there any of them who is getting pension? --- Yes, they are receiving pension.
It is very sad that the situation we've been through in our country didn't choose. It happened to many people. At your age it's nice and it feels good to know that when you look back you know you've worked all your life and
this is what you've worked for. It's very sad that someone at your age will look back and realise that he had lost everything he worked for when he was still young, and worse when you realise that these things have been taken away from you by people, just people who didn't really care about life or human life. You didn't even expect or anticipated that these things will happen to you. Maybe we can hope that our grandchildren won't experience what we've experienced. As you've heard my colleague telling you that we will make recommendations to the President, even though it will take time. Right now what we have, or what we can offer, is we do have our counsellors and psychologists who can help you. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr ... (inaudible) ... you have come to this Commission with regard to the shooting that took place and you were shot. Before you relate your story to the Commission we would kindly ask you to stand up, raise your right hand in preparation of taking the oath. And I also would like to thank you for the opportunity that you came to the Commission to relate your story.
SOLOMON TSHAKALA (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lax will be the one who will be helping you in relating your evidence.
MR LAX: (Inaudible) ... can you hear me now? --- Yes, I do.
Sorry, once again I just - good afternoon to you. We have had the details of your family with which you've kindly provided us. One aspect that wasn't covered was your parents. Are your parents still with us? --- No, they aren't.
Now, you are from the Highlands area in Pongola, is that correct? --- That is correct.
And you're going to tell us about the incident where you were shot. --- Yes, that's correct.
In 1989. I beg your pardon, 1991. --- That is correct.
Before we get to that incident, you mention in your statement that there was a dispute between two different chiefs in your area. --- That is correct.
Who were those chiefs? --- Chief Hlangamanza and Chief Ntshangase.
What was the dispute about? --- It was about the /area.
(Inaudible) ... the area? --- Hlangamanza was the one who said to Chief Ntshangase he was owning his area.
How did this dispute develop further? --- In 1988 - it started from 1988 to 1989. There was a dispute, and it led to court. And after the hearing of this dispute in court in 1989 there was peace. It so happened that people were relaxed, but they were not so relaxed because some people lost family members. There was peace though, even though people couldn't see eye to eye. It so happened that in 1991 in January my child came from Johannesburg. His name was Busanangu. I left home at about 11 o'clock, accompanying him to the station - bus stop. As we were heading towards the bus stop he boarded a taxi - or a bus. I returned back home. After my son had boarded the bus, as I was heading home, a certain car came belonging to Mr Ngwenya. There were five of them inside that car, and then I told myself, "Oh, there's a car," and I realised that it was Mr Ngwenya's car. He got off from his car and he opened the door for these four other people who were also inside the car. And then Mr Ngwenya said to me, "Ntshangase, here are these people," and I got confused and then I approached them. As I was approaching them one guy pointed a gun at me. He was from behind that car. And then I was still surprised and they started firing. One bullet shot got into my hand and the other one into my jaw. And Mr Ngwenya was now inside his car, at the back of his car. He knew all these people and he knew their mission. A second man came from the front of the car. He shot at me. And then I kept on
approaching them, and I held an umbrella in my hand. And then they shot at Mr Ngwenya's car. Four bullets got into Mr Ngwenya's car. And then this guy chased them away, and they got into a kombi and then they drove off. And Mr Ngwenya took us to hospital. I didn't know these people. I didn't know them at all. In hospital they referred me to Ngwelezana Hospital because the doctors from the first hospital said they couldn't help me. So also in Ngwelezana they referred me to King Edward. I was admitted there for two months. They stitched my jaws. I couldn't eat. I was drinking amahewu. I got better and I was discharged, I went back home. I arrived home on Monday. When I got home - on Wednesday I was supposed to go back to King Edward - I heard that Mr Ngwenya had been killed. He had been shot dead. I went back to hospital. I was treated and they told me I should come for check ups. I went back home. Police came to my house, and they had names of the people who shot at me. They told me that "The people who shot you were Jabulani Manana, Elliot Mkwanazi." And then I asked the police what was the reason. The police told me, "We don't know." We went to court, to Piet Retief Court, and the case was remanded. It was still in 1991. I think it was somewhere in May. The case was remanded to the 5th of June. We went back. After the 5th of May I got back home and there was no one who came back to me to explain, and I saw a policeman who took the statement from me. I asked the police, "What happened? How come I am not hearing anything about this case?" The police told me, "I was in Soweto." I asked the police, "If you are in Soweto you took all the papers or the statements with you?" The police said, "No, I left
them with other police." So I asked the police, "How come because there was no one who came back to me and told me as to when the case was going to be heard?" And later I learnt that the case had been heard and I wasn't supposed to be told about it. And there were lawyers there, and then I wanted to found out as to what was going to happen to me. I couldn't get any assistance and I was delayed that I came before the Commission today. I think I've got a chance. Maybe you can help me with this regard.
There are just some aspects I'd like to follow up. You - I am just concerned that I am not calling you by the right name. You mentioned that they spoke to you as Ntshangase. Is that your surname, or is that somebody else who was with you? --- Ntshangase is my son, the one I was accompanying to the bus stop.
Now, there were other people that were accompanying you. --- Those are the people who were in Mr Ngwenya's car. They were all going to the same area where I was going.
You mentioned the name Simon Ntshangase, Amos Ntshangase, Mapuzweni Ntshangase. --- Those are the people I was with.
(Inaudible) ... people who got out of the car and were talking to you when these people approached? --- Yes, those are the people we were shot with.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, with me.
(Inaudible) ... Amos Ntshangase was also shot, and that he later died of his injuries. --- Two of them died, Amos Ntshangase and Ngwenya. Those two died.
Now, was Ngwenya shot at that time or at a later time? --- Later time, after I left hospital.
Okay. Now, do you know anything about the people that shot you, what their motivation might have been? --- No, I don't have any idea. That's what I need to understand. I need to know what I have done. I still need to resolve this thing with these people.
Somewhere in your statement you mention that it was suspected that these people thought you might be ANC supporters. --- No, that's not correct.
(Inaudible) ... misunderstanding? --- Yes, that was a misunderstanding.
(Inaudible) ... that you were IFP members at that time. --- That is correct, I was an IFP member.
Was there political violence going on in your area at that time? That is in 1991. --- Yes, there was political violence, but one couldn't explain because ANC had no grudges with any other organisation, even Inkatha as well. But there was no violence as such as to killing people.
So you don't really know why these people shot you? --- No, I don't know.
I didn't hear very clearly the place where the court case was. --- Piet Retief.
And you've given us some dates which will help us trace the case. Now, which police station did you go to? Oh, here it is here - Mahamba Police Station. --- I went to Mahamba. I gave them my statement.
You said it was Sergeant Hlope that handled the case. --- That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Tshakala, we've heard your story and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming here. It is very disturbing to know or to realise
that many people have suffered in those days, yet they didn't know why they were suffering so much. This is reflecting to us how difficult it was for us in those days. I trust that as you came here before the Commission you will find a little bit of relief, and we're going to take this statement and we're going to make recommendations to the President. He's the one who will know what to do. We do have counsellors, and we would like you to get into contact with them, and you must tell them everything, every need, every grievances that you have, something that will help you in this situation. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for this opportunity that you have come forward to the Commission to relate your story. Before we get started listening to your evidence we will kindly ask you to stand up and take the oath.
GRETA MTHETHWA (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lax will lead you.
MR LAX: Good afternoon, Mrs Mthethwa. Welcome again. --- I greet you also.
We've got the details of your family, and from this we can see that you have a son and three grandchildren. --- Others are grown up now.
(Inaudible) ... just for the record can you tell us who the other children are that you haven't mentioned here. You mentioned ... (inaudible) ... I assume, or some other grandchildren. --- I am Sizagele.
Are you Sizagele? --- Yes.
Okay. You've mentioned Thelemuza. --- That is my son.
(Inaudible) --- Clarisse, Xolani, Windi, Sifiso.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, that's it.
(Inaudible) --- Yes.
Now, your troubles seem to have started in the Nquthu district when your late husband joined Contralesa. --- Not my late husband. I have my husband. He's alive.
(Inaudible) ... very confusing. Sorry. I apologise. --- What happened is this is my second husband. He joined Contralesa. My first husband died.
Okay. Thanks for clearing up the confusion. Please continue with the story and just tell us what happened
from 1985. --- My husband joined Contralesa, and then after he had joined Contralesa ... (incomplete)
Please continue. --- After he had joined Contralesa - Contralesa was pro-ANC - pro-Democratic Party in the area, and it was not favoured in Nquthu. People were very against Contralesa, and ... (inaudible)
Sorry, the - it's okay if you can speak in Zulu, that's also all right. You don't have to speak in English. --- I can speak in ... (inaudible)
Please continue. --- All right. And then there was ... (inaudible)
It may be helpful if you ... (incomplete)
INTERPRETER: What is happening here? Yes, all right, go on ahead in Zulu. I'll interpret. --- I would like to say that my husband joined Contralesa with Chief Molefe, Elphas Molefe of Nquthu. When he joined Contralesa that's where things began, when we got to be enemies in Nquthu. I tried my level best to show him and advise him of my background since I was an IFP member, and once was a member of Legislative Assembly, Inkatha Legislative. I withdrew my membership from IFP and stopped politics altogether before I got married to Mthethwa. Mthethwa himself joined Contralesa, and I pleaded with him not to join Contralesa because I knew very well what Inkatha and its members are. I know them very well. I was in the centre of IFP in the central committee. But he wouldn't listen to me. Things went on and now boycotts started, and I got married, and we had businesses that belonged to myself and my husband, and there were boycotts.
CHAIRPERSON: Tell us what kind of business? --- It was a supermarket, a restaurant, and a filling station as
well. And the fried chicken outlet. And there was a book shop and the butchery.
MR LAX: Please take your time. Take your time. (Pause) --- My boys from my first marriage were still very young then, and it was easy for people to say they were ANC boys, and they weren't. I never was a member of ANC even at once. I am a child of God, I am a brethren. At night I couldn't sleep peacefully because I had heard threats from people that my husband was in danger. In 1987 - I am sorry, in 1988 he left for Lusaka to meet ANC. That was before the ANC was unbanned, and he met the members of ANC and he was with the people of Contralesa. And when he got back that was known, and I was told that it was not acceptable what my husband was doing and into. I got a number of threats at work. It was in 1989. I was so scared. And in 1990 people boycotted, and I could see danger facing my children. I told my husband, and I was adamant, saying, "I know IFP very well. Please withdraw." He nevertheless went on, and I could see that my stay and everything wasn't safe. I therefore decided to sell some of my businesses and we flee. We left for Johannesburg, and my boys were attending high school. When I got to Johannesburg we bought a house in a boer suburb, and the boers came and stole money, close to R1 million, because at the time the boers were very racist and could not accept any black person living around their suburbs. We got back. I left my husband in Johannesburg and decided to go back to Nquthu, and I deemed it fit for him to just remain and I will leave and go back. Although I withdrew from Inkatha I have nothing against them, and they are no things that I do behind Inkatha's back, so I will go back
In 1991 you moved back to Nquthu. --- That is correct. There were some other properties that I never sold, and I used the supermarket, the small supermarket. It was no longer a big supermarket. And the fried chicken outlet and the filling station, as well as the restaurant where people will sit and dine in Nquthu, that's what was left. It went on. Please forgive me in case I make a mistake here. There were papers that were distributed in Nquthu that Winnie Mandela and Peter Mokaba will come and address in Nquthu, you know the prominent figures of ANC. I said to myself, "Oh my goodness, if my husband sees these papers Inkatha will kill me." He was the one arranging for the arrival of Winnie Mandela and Peter Mokaba, and it was bad, the situation was bad then. Some did not believe that I am not an ANC member. We were sort of harassed. People will come around to my house, and at the same time I wasn't at peace. I was forever alert of any situation that was happening, awaiting for my husband's return. There was this incident when Kizwe shot at Molefe's and 11 of them were shot. On that very day when Molefe's child was shot I was going to church in the morning. When we were approaching the corner next to Nquthu Hospital I saw the fellow church members. I do believe that God Almighty overcomes everything. I said to myself, "Well, they should join us, these other fellow members, church members." We gave them a ride to church, and in front there was a kombi awaiting to shoot at us, a yellow kombi, and the boy who was going to shoot at us was standing right outside the kombi. I left, pleading with my husband not to get off the car. Maybe I should drive
the vehicle because they wouldn't shoot me. We went to church that day, on that day that Molefe's children were killed, the 11 boys were shot. My husband took part in the preparation of the funeral. That's what reinforced the whole thing, and I could see that I will never have a peaceful stay here. From then I took my children with, because they will come for holidays, and went to Dundee. That's where I bought a house. No, I rented a house from an Indian man. I occupied that house, suffering of course, tremendously so. In 1994 - I went to Dundee in 1993 with my children, struggling, trying to hide every time, praying to God Almighty to protect us and keep us on His might hand. One time in the morning we went to church. We found out people are waiting for us along the roadside. And one time I told my husband not to go to church, I will go to church, and he said he wouldn't afford not to go to church. I pleaded with him that there are ANC members at the stadium together with one man who was Harry Gwala as well. I told him not to go to church but to go to the stadium. On that very day when I got to church at 12, when my husband had to preach, I preached on his behalf. And I saw the brethren looking back at the door, and the kombi came full of the boys with guns, ready to shoot at us. And I pleaded with the church members that we should pray, and I thanked God because they gave up, they never shot us. On that day I found those boys who were intending to shoot us with Chief Ngobese. They were standing with Chief Ngobese talking to him. Chief Ngobese - I had nothing against Chief Ngobese, but he had a problem with my husband and as a result of that that affected my relationship with him as well.
Just before you continue, there was something you mentioned in your statement which you've left out here, and that was about an attack on your house in 1993 after a big meeting at Nquthu. --- Oh yes, I remember that. I omitted that. Yes, there was a meeting and was addressed by Gideon Zulu. After that people ran to the store, and we tried to close the store but they were forcing to gain entry into the store, and that's when I realised how great God is, because they threw eight bombs right inside the store and not even one blasted. They took money, they filled their vehicles with petrol for free of charge, and I refused my husband to come to Nquthu. But as a man he would insist and be adamant that he will do what he wants to do. On that day the meeting was Nqabenyeni - the meeting. Those who attended said there was a child who said there are people who have just arrived. Gideon Zulu said that, and people ran and flee from the hall to the store in an attempt to kill us, but thanks God because they never managed.
(Inaudible) ... you living back in Nquthu now? --- Yes, but what I would like to say now is that they took my possessions, they took petrol, and they also took the goods as well, and I have nothing today. I am suffering. Even coming here I had to get ride from people. I have lost entirely everything. I was black-listed in the community, and I am black-listed as well. I can't do anything. Today Nquthu is back on its feet, but I am still suffering the ordeal. But thank God that not even one died in my family. I don't even know how that happened. That's a miracle. We went to Dundee and opened a shop. They threw bombs in the other store but nothing
happened. When I got to Dundee I opened a shop. That's where they will come, the police I mean, using ZP1271, looking for my husband, intending to shoot my husband right in the store. I will stand and look at them timidly, and they will surround my husband intending to shoot him. I reported it in every aspect of this matter to the police. I tried even to get the workers, the employees, to report their own version to the police station, but to no avail. One day when I was in Dundee on the 29th of December 1993, it was about three in the afternoon, I received a call from the ladies in the shop, the employees. The IFP people attacked us and wanted us to get out of the store, but Khoza came in to our rescue. He is the one who came to our rescue. He was with Buthelezi. I left, I went to the store, and I saw that the store was closed already. I prayed, didn't know what to do, and I pleaded with them to go back to work as well. They refused, and all ended on that note. I would try my best to sell so I could be able to support my family and pay my rent in Dundee, but to no avail.
(Inaudible) ... laid charges many many times with the police, and is it correct that nothing's ever happened? --- Nothing ever happened, completely nothing. And I owe many people because I had some loans from different people, and I borrowed some goods from other people, but I could not pay them - and companies as well.
(Inaudible) ... hand back to the Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Greta, we've heard your story. There's just one thing I would like to ask according to your statement. I am not too sure if it's right that after
you've laid the charges in Nquthu the damage was worth R50 000,00 or R5 000,00. What is the right amount? --- You mean the windows, the damage? No, I refer to my door. My door was a glass door and it was worth R5 000,00. And over and above that I had written down each and every damage, because they would try and break the till to reach and get money, but they failed however. Fortunately they did not kill anyone.
Where do your children go to school? --- They have stopped. Some were at Westville, University of Westville. My boy was at St Martin's. They had to stop schooling.
Now what are they doing? --- They did not complete their studies because I was in debts myself. They had to leave school.
One other last thing I would like to put to you and ask. The one person you talk about that you were together in Boksburg, what is his name? --- His name is Andy Smith.
What happened to the CC with Andy Smith that you formed? --- Andy Smith tried to commit suicide and he disappeared subsequently.
There are times when one wouldn't know what to say, especially to people who have suffered such great ordeals. It is clear to everyone that you have worked so hard, but all that took just a minute to get destructed. We do trust and hope that we will get to the time in the future where things will work out better than in the past. I see you are a woman of faith, and I have listened to you. Often times than not you keep mentioning God. That tells me a lot about your faith, and it goes without doubt that
you are a woman of faith. Do you suffer emotionally due to this? --- Yes, but God helped me. I suffered from high blood pressure. I was admitted at Newcastle. I also had sinusitis problem and I was drained in 1994 November, and again in 1995 November I was drained for sinusitis problem. I had tremendous stress due to the fact that I had lost all my possessions - cars, you name it. I have worked so hard as a nurse in 19 - I quite my job in 1969, and I was still young then, single still. I acquired all of this not easy. I passed my BA and UEd degrees and tried the businesses, and I was a successful entrepreneur up until the time when all this transpired, and as a result of that I am suffering.
But have you gotten in touch with the psychologists? --- I did psychiatry myself at school. You know, I think there are times when I just helped myself and decided no, I think I am insane now, and I have to help myself since I did psychiatry at school as well.
You know in Zulu we have this thing that - the saying that the doctor cannot heal himself. Perhaps it will be wise and advisable for you to get in touch with the psychologists. We even hope that the boys that are not at school right now will one day reach their goals and go as far as you have gone academically. --- I was hurt and I accused the boers so much that today I forgive them, because I was also forgiven. I lost so much due to the treatment of the boers. I am looking at the Government today. When we were at Dundee all the boys who were running from ANC from different areas will come to my husband, and each time I think of telling them to go back to their houses I will think of their mothers, parents,
what will they say? Now we would try our best to accommodate them. Some will be hurt brutally by Inkatha. We would try to accommodate and give them warmth. I went through ANC to enlist help, but I got nothing. I don't even know whether he is better than de Klerk. I mean Mandela. But what I will say is that as a Christian I do trust and hope that you know that some other things take time. God takes His own time, and the fact that people don't think the same, and also don't forget that the pressures you suffer are the pressures other people suffer as well.
It's a good thing that you are such a forgiving lady, and in whatever that we do we shall consider forgiving, even forgiving our very black people, fellow blacks, not only the boers. We are trying to reconcile the country. Please be patient, and perseverance pays as well, because one day you will knock at the door and the door will be opened. --- Chairlady, I am forever in the run, running from the sheriff. Can ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 6)
CHAIRPERSON: Who is Makemiso?
MRS MOLEFE: I am Makemiso.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you the one who is going to testify here today?
MRS MOLEFE: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Who is the lady accompanying you?
MRS MOLEFE: She is my daughter-in-law. I brought her here so that she can remind me as well, because I am old and other things have happened a long time ago and I can't remember everything. Like, for instance, I am having a problem remembering dates, months.
CHAIRPERSON: It's okay if she is just going to remind you. I would like you to stand up so that you take an oath. We would like to know the name of the lady next to you, or rather your daughter-in-law.
MR DLAMINI: What is your name?
MRS MOLEFE: Lydia Molefe.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you the daughter-in-law to Mrs Molefe? Because now you are going to assist Mrs Molefe we would request you to stand up and take an oath.
MAKEMISO MOLEFE and LYDIA MOLEFE (Sworn, State)
CHAIRPERSON: The person who will lead you whilst giving evidence will be Mr Mdu Dlamini. --- We greet you, Mr Dlamini.
MR DLAMINI: (Inaudible) ... share with us today two tragic incidents. One relates to your son who was killed in Johannesburg in 1993. --- That is correct.
As if that was not enough the other one relates to your husband, who was also killed in 1994. --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... by confirming the family details as I have them on my record. You have told us that you have got three children - Richard, you son, who is 24 years of age. --- That is correct.
What does Richard do? --- He is at school.
(Inaudible) ... doing? --- He is in standard six.
The next one is Wilbur, who is 16 years of age. --- That is correct. He is still at school. He is currently doing standard five.
(Inaudible) ... your daughter, Suzetta, who is 13 years of age. --- That is correct. She is in standard six.
And the deceased, did he have his - I mean your son who died, did he have family of his own? --- He didn't have a family of his own. He was not yet married then.
(Inaudible) --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... not have children outside marriage? --- He didn't have children. He does not have children. He was a worker then. He worked at Germiston.
(Inaudible) ... because I would prefer that I lead you by questions, especially in his case, because there is crucial information that we need. Before his death was he a member of any organisation? --- He was in Germiston. He boarded a train, then ... (intervention)
Mama, I know you would like to tell us that story, but it's important that I get this information correct. Was he a member of any organisation? --- He was not a member of any organisation, or political organisation.
(Inaudible) ... political organisation? --- He was an ANC member.
Are you sure that he was an ANC member? --- Yes, because his father was also an ANC member.
And he died - he was killed in Johannesburg. --- He was killed in Johannesburg at Thokoza location. His corpse was found by Mr Nthanzi's chauffeur. Mr Nthanzi's chauffeur reported that there's a child who died there in Thokoza.
I missed the name of the person who found the corpse. --- He is from Gauteng, but his name is Nthanzi.
(Inaudible) ... your son was staying as a tenant. --- Yes, that's the person I am referring to.
Do you have contact details of Mr Nthanzi? --- Are you referring to Mr Nthanzi? He stays at Moutong section.
(Inaudible) ... or telephone? --- Are you referring to his address?
Or the telephone number. --- Are you referring to the address at Moutong section?
INTERPRETER: If you could raise your voice please so that the interpreters could hear you. --- No 4587 Moutong Section. It is in Katlehong Location. 1832, I think that is the code.
MR DLAMINI: (Inaudible) --- Yes, I do. 909-2290.
I am surprised. You said earlier on that you are a forgetful lady, but you can remember everything. Did you get the death certificate in respect of Siphiwe, your son? --- Yes, I did receive the death certificate of my son -my husband.
(Inaudible) ... records. If it is available you can just give it to us afterwards. --- I do have the
certificate with me.
We'll get it from you afterwards. --- I want to request through you that I relate my husband's story.
(Inaudible) ... as I said that the reason for mentioning that it's very important that I get it. I'll definitely give you a chance, I promise. You earlier on mentioned that your son was employed. --- That is correct.
Did you get any benefits from his employers? --- I didn't receive anything from his employers.
Do you have the name and the contact address of the employers? --- No, we didn't receive anything from them.
Thank you. We tried to investigate the death of your son. The problem that we encountered is that we did not know exactly where the death took place. Subsequently ... (intervention) --- At Ekosini(?) where they shot him. Ekosini section, I believe it's Ekosini section, in Katlehong. He was on board the train to Ekosini from Germiston.
Were there any eye witnesses? --- They saw him only in the morning.
You don't have any other information that could help our investigators to find out the people who killed your son? --- I don't have it, Sir.
(Inaudible) ... ask that if you get any information at any stage please let us know, because we would like to investigate the death of your son. --- I will do so.
Now I'll move over to your husband. According to our records your husband was a member of the ANC. --- That is correct.
At the time of his death he was 72 years of age. --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... reported that one relative, close relative to yourself, attempted to recruit your husband to join IFP. --- That is correct. However, he joined the ANC.
Yes, we are aware of that, that he decided to join the ANC. Can I now allow you to tell us how your husband was killed? --- He was going towards the mountain to a function there. Then he also decided to go there to seek refuge, but however Inkatha was heading towards the mountain on the other side. He didn't observe that. They attacked him and stoned him, and then stabbed him with a spear. He fell down. That was it. I could not see because I was at hospital by then. I heard this from the children, who told me that my husband was stabbed by a spear that killed him. At the hospital they came to my place. They took our livestock, cows, and the furniture in the house. They broke the windows. They burned everything and took almost everything that we had in the house. We didn't even have anything to bury him in. Even the cows were taken. I was left desolate. I even asked a blanket to wrap him with from Agrippa Molefe's family. Beforehand his brother, Jomo, arrived at home. I thought he was going to assist, but I said to him let us go carrying our identity documents together down there. However, I didn't know what his intentions were. When he was killed by Inkatha it was because he refused to go there because Job wanted to seek assistance for him. I am referring to my husband. He didn't go there. Maybe he could be alive by now. Inkatha was from the direction of
Nkande, then he was proved to go there to get assistance. He refused and took his own way.
(Inaudible) ... a little bit. What assistance was that? --- I am referring to what led to my husband's death. This man intended to assist him trying to shield him from this attack. "Come and bring your identity document and join Inkatha so that you can survive." However, my husband refused. I was at hospital. I had suffered from sugar diabetes at that time. We slept in the veld, or rather at the mountain. We stay at Haladu.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, we did go back to our original home.
(Inaudible) ... our investigators in contact with the local police station. --- They didn't contact us because there was not good relations between police and the community. We could only see police Casspirs and soldiers. This was not discussed with anyone.
(Inaudible) ... and I am sure I did not come across clearly. What I was trying to say is that the investigators from the TRC, after having received your statement, have been to the local police station to find out the progress on the investigation, or the inquiry about the death of your husband. As a result of ... (intervention) --- There was no correspondence with regards to that.
Yes, I know. That's what I am trying to tell her, that this is what we have done from the TRC from the time she gave us her statement. We have managed to get a copy of the inquest finding and other documents technically known as J56. I promise that we will keep you informed of our investigations and findings. --- I thank you.
We have also noted the loss in the form of 10 heads of cattle, household contents, and of course the irrecoverable loss or your husband and your son. --- Yes, that is correct.
Mama, we have also noted your expectations, the things that you would like the TRC to do for you, and we have noted that your late son, Siphiwe, was the main breadwinner of the family. We really appreciate the predicament that you are in as a result of the two deaths. As I said to other witnesses before you that all these requests will be conveyed to the State President, and we hope that he will be able - together with his Cabinet he will be able to do something to show solidarity and support to you people. --- We are grateful for that.
As I said that we'll keep you informed, is there anything, additional information regarding the death of your son or your husband, that we think we must know which is going to help us with our investigations? --- I have no knowledge with regards to those two matters.
Thank you very much for the information you have given us, and also thank you for the time. As I promised that we will keep you informed of the developments. Can I hand you over to the Chairperson now.
CHAIRPERSON: Mrs Makemiso, are you working? --- I am not working. I am a labourer. I work on my small gardens. However, since I have lost my cattle I have got nothing that I live from. At the moment there's nothing that I am doing.
Are you presently receiving pension from the State? --- Yes, I do.
We have listened to your story. Chief Molefe was
also present, he presented his story to us. It is very problematic that during times that we live in we meet incidents like this. However, we believe that as time goes on most of the things will be stable in this new South Africa. As I have said previously, your story will also be included in the report that will be forwarded to the State President, and assistance that might be recommended by the President will come from him. However, you can consult the counsellors that we have here. They will try to assist you where they can. We thank you. --- I am grateful.
CHAIRPERSON: I greet you, Ma'am Mbuthu. We have heard that you aren't Constance, you are Dinah, and you will be giving testimony. Now we will ask you to stand up and take the oath.
DINAH MBUTHU (Sworn, States)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lax will be the one who will be helping you in giving your evidence.
MR LAX: (Inaudible) --- Good afternoon to you, Sir.
Just for the record, you have come to tell us the story of your son. --- That's very true.
(Inaudible) ... in-law could not be here this afternoon. --- That's true.
And you have actually made a statement to the Commission already. --- That is correct.
Now, could you just help us please with some details of your family? Is it correct that your son had six children? --- That is correct, he had six children.
Thandi, Sizwe, Thokozani, Siphiwe, Mlungisi and Zakele. --- That's Zanele.
(Inaudible) ... must have made a spelling mistake here. What are their approximate ages? --- I wouldn't know their ages because the first-born had just completed his standard 10. That is Sizwe, and the girl is still - could not complete as she suffered the death of her father. These others, the four, are at school, those who come after Sizwe and Thandi. Thokozani is at school. Siphiwe and Mlungisi are at school. Zanele is not yet at school.
(Inaudible) ... for us. Now, you're here to tell us
about the death of your son. --- Correct.
Which happened on the 14th of April 1994. --- That is correct.
Please go ahead. --- We were at Haladu. In that year I wasn't feeling well, I was ill, and swollen the whole body, and the children were out in the fields with the livestock. When they got back they talked about the battle and the fight, that when it gets here we will be the first victim, the Mbuthu family. Those were the neighbour's children. And I did not pay much attention to that. Late in the afternoon, as I was lying down sick, I saw the neighbours running. No, they came to my house to ask for refuge, and they were telling me there's a fight, and a fight coming in and going on. I could not function very well as I was sick, and in the morning still there was nothing, there was no fight, no battle at all. They went back to their respective homes, and the next time around they came again. You see as neighbours we know one another, and we are in good terms. They are my children as well. The neighbour's children are mine as well, and we are a praying home and we will pray together with these children. Nothing was funny about this.
Just one second, if I can interrupt you there please. What is the name of your neighbours? What is the family name of those people? --- It's Khanya family who used to come and sleep at my house, running away from the fight.
Please continue. --- One day - I have my boy, who was born in 1970, and had impregnated a girl in the neighbourhood, and I asked for the child, the grandchild, and he had to pay damages for that. They brought the child who is a grandchild and we saw fire and we saw smoke
right down the road, and we were surprised what was happening. And that day we had this function of accepting my daughter-in-law. We saw many neighbours and children running to my house. I asked, "What's happening?" They said, "There is a fight that's just erupted on the other side." People were sweating, running for their lives, and they alleged that the people were coming from eMondlo, and my son was forever in town, where he was selling, perhaps a vendor. He was a vendor here in town. And I asked him, "What are you going to be selling?" He said, "I will be selling meat," and I said to him, "No, only women sell meat, not men." As this went on he wasn't there. He had two children with a certain girl, and at times he could not come back to my house and would spend time with the other lady who has two children with him. And the situation was not stable at that time. We will see people running to and fro and claiming that there is a fight erupting.
(Inaudible) ... interrupt you again. You speak a lot about fighting. What was the fighting about? --- May you repeat your question.
You've told us about a number of instances where people were fighting with one another, some people running away, some people attacking, and so on. What was the fighting about? --- We didn't know. We just heard. It was something we heard, not knowing what was starting all that. I would accommodate these children and sleep in my house. And the mosquitoes in my house - or the area was infested with mosquitoes, which were troublesome to these children, and my son wasn't there, he was in town where he was selling. In the afternoon the following day
I heard that in Haladu the situation is not stable, and the message got to Mhlongo's house claiming that the situation is not stable at all at Haladu, and we therefore decided to go back to Haladu to see what was happening. And my son wasn't there at the time, he was with the mother of the two children. When we got there we did not find the people we wanted to see, and we found an old lady who told us that yes, it was bad, the situation was getting volatile. And we heard from this man, who was telling us that, "Mbuthu's boy was killed. We don't know whether this Mbuthu boy is the one who was working in town." And I could feel that I am losing strength as I suspected that that was my son. We did not know exactly as to who was killed, because he used to travel in a 5 o'clock bus coming back home, and it had become a custom that we expect him around five. And when five lapsed my daughter-in-law went to find out if he was coming or getting off the bus, but to no avail. And I got worried, continuously so, especially that I had heard already that Mbuthu's son had died in Haladu. I therefore decided to go to Mhlangeni, where I could receive my pension fund. I saw cars coming from Nquthu, going by Kelumusa School, and I was watching then. And those cars just passed right there, and they were so many, but still I hadn't heard the truth as to who exactly died because both of my sons were not home. I left there, I went to Mhlangeni. I saw Haladu residents there and I asked about this Mbuthu son who's been killed, and no one could open up and forthcoming to me. I asked Pastor Mchunu, and Pastor Mchunu said, "We've seen that Mbuthu boy lying down, and when I suggested that we have a look at him they
therefore decided that we shouldn't." As I was there, waiting in the queue for my pension fund, I conversed with somebody and said, "Mbuthu's son has died in Haladu," and they responded and said could he be my son. I was lost. I told them I did not know exactly what happened. "They said he was taken by the police vehicle to Mondlo. Quickly get done with this pension money and rush to the police station to have a view on the corpse." And I went home. When I got home there were tears, people were mourning.
(Inaudible) ... it's okay. (Pause) --- When I got home I found the children crying, saying he had been brought by the police. The police came and he was taken to Nquthu Mortuary. He had died.
(Inaudible) ... continue. (Pause) --- Only to find that the mother with whom - the mother of the two children got the message as well and went home, and when she got home - they were together at the time of the incident. And we decided we should go Nkatheni and run away, leave the area. Now, the children were attending at Nkatheni, living at Nkatheni and attending Kelumusa School. Now, my daughter-in-law was the one relating the whole story as she had witnessed it. We heard from her and she told us she was expecting him at three. He had left to go to school to leave a message there, and he never got to school, and he was killed right there before he could reach the school. And in the morning I saw the cars there exactly where the incident took place, and my daughter-in-law had arrived, explaining as to what had happened. It looked like as he left the house the people were following him with a gun. Just when he left home one
has a whistle, and blowing it, following him. Now, Mrs Khumalo, the younger wife, the second wife, was relating that. All what this will mean is that my son died. And we made arrangements for the funeral. We never buried him in Haladu, but we buried him where we were at the time. After that, when we tried to go back to find out as to what would happen to his possessions and stuff, we found out that everything was taken and the house was destroyed, the doors inside completely destroyed. The house was not in a good condition. We took whatever we could and left, and we therefore decided maybe we should go and get the bricks so we could build a shack. When we went to fetch the bricks that were remaining we first consulted with the police at Sipiko(?). They took us there and told us that they were rushing somewhere. After we had loaded the bricks in the tractor we saw the boys coming, approaching, using the other route, and other routes were closed. Right next to the wall, standing there, we saw the group of youths coming, approaching us, and we wondered as to what we should do at that point in time. I got off the tractor. I tried to go back to the tractor. I couldn't. I did not know what to do. People were surprised what I was up to. When I saw them coming close, nearby, I ran along the houses, going to the other side of the wall, and there was one girl I was with and my daughter-in-law. My daughter tried to go with my daughter-in-law and I said, "No, don't do that. Just follow me. Let's take the opposite direction." As you may be aware I was sick at that time, so you can imagine what I was facing and what I was in. These others were left in the tractor and tried to take off. Those who were
coming close by tried to approach them on the other side of the road. The tractor took off and they followed the tractor, hoping that the tractor will take a U-turn somewhere, but to no avail. The tractor went off. As I was trying to crawl there in the scene of this incident I managed to get to a certain spot, where I realised that there were bricks that were left there, and I was surprised how come because the bricks were supposed to be in the tractor. When these other two from the tractor got off and tried to run, and coming back, I heard my daughter shouting and screaming, crying about the fact that she was going to lose her children. Well, I enjoyed by stay in Haladu, in a nutshell. I saw the tractor far away, and suddenly I saw the tractor right next to me, and they said, "Are you the one?" I said, "Yes, I am the one," and we went on ahead. What can we therefore do, because there was a horse? They arrived, and then the bricks were taken one day. But this is such a pathetic story, the death of my son. You know, we have parents in church. We have parents in church. Last year in church we had some other parents and the other relatives as well. When they got home and found out that they were all there they said to themselves, "Give us money, let's just go back. We won't go to church with Khanyi. We can't stomach and stand Khanyi."
Did you ever recover all the things from the house, the one where you went to get bricks from? --- We never went back because they ran after us. The house was set alight by the way, and many houses were set alight - my house, the neighbours, and so forth.
(Inaudible) --- I am at Nxakeni.
That's the end of the questions. Sorry, just one aspect, auntie. Our investigators did go to Mondlo Police Station and they did find some reference to your son's case. The references confirm that there was political violence in the area between ANC and IFP. Now, your family were predominantly IFP, is that right? --- That is correct.
And as far as you know the people that killed your son were ANC people? --- Yes.
Now, your second daughter-in-law, Mrs Khumalo you've called her, what is her first name please? --- I know Ngehlana. She is Ngehlana Khumalo.
(Inaudible) ... at the moment? --- (Inaudible) CHAIRPERSON: Mrs Dinah, as we have been listening to your story we just lost - I lost strength, and as I look right deep into the matter I realise that you are now a pensioner and you were looking up to your children to provide you with food and support you, but the direct opposite is true. You've suffered this ordeal. As we look into our children's future we always think and hope that they will bury us one day, take care of us as we are growing old. But I do trust that as I talk to you, and addressing these people in the hall, everybody has listened to what has been said before the Commission, and I believe that even if there are some here who are still intending to do harm, after this they will repent, especially having listened to people like you. The situation should really change, and people should see that what happened in the past don't happen in the future. We will carry on and go on with our investigations, and see how we could enlist help to you and your daughter-in-law.
Thank you for taking your time to come here.
I would ask you to be patient. We've come to the end of our programme. The lady here was the last one, and I believe that we are all touched after this testimony that has been rendered by the old lady, old as she is, due to the fact that we were fighting each other as a black community.
MACHINE SWITCHED OFF
CHAIRPERSON: (Incomplete) ... recognise a stranger and a friend amongst us, Mr Edward Verster. Could you stand up so that we can recognise you. Thank you. Mr Verster is an attorney from the United States of America. It is very encouraging to us to see that the international community is taking an interest in what we as South Africans are trying to achieve through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. You have already said that some of your own colleagues have been to listen to what - the stories that are being related by the people who have undergone different kinds of suffering during the dark ages of apartheid. So we hope you will take our greetings back with you, and ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 8) ... I have your document with me. After we have closed then I'll be able to hand it over to you.
We have come to the end of the programme of the two days in Vryheid. The only thing that's left is to thank you and put forward as gratitude as the Truth Commission. First of all we would like to thank those who made it possible for the venue. It's not easy to get a venue here in Vryheid, but still we managed to get this venue to accommodate all of us. And I would still like to thank the community who took their time to come to the Commission and listen to each and everything that was said by the victims and their families, and the witnesses. And also thank you for your patience. We thank you, the community of Vryheid.
We will put it to you as a community that on the 12th we will be in Mondlo taking statements at 10.00 am, and on the 13th we will be in Vryheid taking statements at /the same
the same time, 10.00 am. We hope that you will pass the word on.
And also thank the counsellors who were present here and rendering their services to the victims. We do trust and hope that even after we have left Vryheid they will still be there and availing their services to these different victims and families. And also thank the interpreters. If they were not here this wouldn't be possible. However they manage to translate and interpret. And also thank those who have provided the equipment. I have such - I am not so audible when I speak, but I was able to be audible as a result of this equipment. And also thank the police. We are in the time when we are not so sure about our safety. The police have taken their time and made it a point that they are here for our safety. We would like to thank them in a special way. And also thank the catering services. We enjoyed the meals, no doubt about that. And I would like to apologise because I know that not all of you ate, but you know that's what goes on in the world. Some do get food, some don't, but you know the situation however. And also thank the staff of the TRC, the statement-takers. The statements are very important. And also thank every single person who's a staff personnel at the TRC office, left Durban to make sure that this is a success and that you are comfortable as you seem to be. Thank also my colleagues right in front. You have seen how much effort they've put in, the three of us here. Maybe the two of them they tried to push everything, and I do believe that you will support me in saying that everything went on smooth.
When people come to ventilate here some are healed
from that process - you know, coming out and ventilating the truth, because to bottle things inside you kills, but for the fact that the witnesses, the victims came forward to ventilate and take out what was eating them inside, that process itself alone is healing. And also I want to highlight the fact that we will never have a prosperous future if we are not united. Let us assure ourselves of a better future by way of working hand in hand together.
My colleague here is just mentioning that I have forgotten the media people. No, I did not forget them. I was about to address them. We would like to address them. We would like to thank them, and also the media people. I talked to them this morning that we did not see anything on the television, national television yesterday. Even during the news nothing was shown, but today we hope that we will have an opportunity and we will see the proceedings of the day.
I may be forgetting or omitting a few other things, but my colleagues will remind me, and I think we are all satisfied that we've heard and I have thanked everybody. There is a gentleman by the name of Mr Xulu that I will ask to come forward and close this programme in prayer. Oh, he is Pastor Xulu, not Mr Xulu. May you request Pastor Xulu. We will kindly ask the pastor to come forward.
HEARING CLOSES WITH A SONG AND A PRAYER