CHAIRPERSON: Our next witness is Mr Moegamat Williams and I would like him to come up to the stage with his briefer please. Good afternoon Mr Williams. You are our second- last witness this afternoon and I know it has been a very long day. Thank you for your patience and your forbearance. I am going to ask Mary Burton to swear you in and then hand you over to Glenda who will help lead your evidence.

MS BURTON: Thank you. Are you willing to swear the oath?


MS BURTON: Please will you stand and raise your right hand.

MOEGAMAT QASIM WILLIAMS: (Duly sworn in, states).

MS WILDSCHUT: Moegamat, you have given us a written statement. I know that you will talk to your statement. You have had a very difficult, interesting, disturbing, all kinds of descriptions, youth, but it is not for me to talk about that, it is for you to tell us about your own story. I believe you want to do something before you tell your story.

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, the thing I would like to do is, okay, I would first like to introduce myself like to the children over there. I use to be Craig Williams running on the name Craig Botha. I later joined up with an organisation the BMW. It is, BMW stands for Bonteheuwel Military Wing and then at a later stage in life we joined up with the arms struggle, MK and especially to those children out there I just want to tell them, like, I do not think you will ever be able to understand our experiences that we had in life. There was good times, there was bad times, but one thing in particular, it was very difficult times for us. There are still a lot of people out there who does not understand what we went through. There is still a lot of people, I mean grown-ups and what I wanted to do is, like, I wanted to give some kind of demonstration of why we really went to prison and I wanted to sing a freedom song to you. I will interpret it myself into English after I am finished with the Xhosa version. (Singing Freedom Song). Thanks.

MS WILDSCHUT: I did not know you were such a good tenor. Alright, you want to start telling us about your statement and about your life both in the BMW and as you joined the military wing.

MR WILLIAMS: Yes. I started to get involved in politics at the age of 11 and a half. I was still then in standard four at Bergsig Primary School which is just opposite the high school that I attended as well and I had not even reached 12 yet, I was not even in standard five yet and it was when I became wanted by these people who called themselves the justice system, but we all know that they were the injustice system and I have sworn to myself that I will do it to the best of my capability to make the NP Government ungovernable. I swore that to myself and I swore as well, irrespective I must lose my life in the struggle, I will do it, because I want my children and their children's children to live in a better society. I mean, today we are in school, we fought against gutter education, but there is still gutter education in school. I mean, I would like to send my children to school one day knowing that they are going to learn the peoples' history and not the history that they are learning us in school at the moment.

At the age of 12 I had to leave my mother's nest, I had to leave the house, I had to fight to survive, because I was always on the run. My brother is also sitting in the audience, he was not that heavily involved, but he supported us a great deal. Then what happened, every second month the cops would have this, kind of like, idea, coming around to my mother's house to see if I was there and they would not get me there. They found my brother there and they said to my mother, if we are not going to find Botha, that is what they called me, you know, to release your other son and it went on, it went on, it went on and, like, they could not, like, caught me at first and then at a later stage the same thing happened. My brother was captured again by the security branch forces and they, calling themselves, the justice system. I mean I was hiding in the house and I had, like, to hear something being told to my mother. You say your son is only 12 years old, you are worse than a prostitute, you do not even know where he is, how do you care for your children and it affected me a great lot. Then I told myself to hell with these Boers, because we go to school, found there is a mass rally, we attend the mass rally, we did not want to do our school work, because we want to know what is happening and what is going on and now you become more like a target and in their eyes, the cops, was like if I cannot get you, I am going to kill you.

Then 1987, nearly the whole organisation that I represent here today was arrested. I was still on the run, they could not find me and then what happened was some Boers told people in my organisation they are not really looking for me, because I was their informer. These people came out knowing in their hearts and minds I have never been caught by these people. I mean I have been with them every day, believing what these people told them. What happened I was told, I was turned around on. I was told, listen, we are regrouping tonight at the church, also in Bonteheuwel, and when I came there, there was only three brothers there. I was the fourth one, not knowing what I was coming into.

The first thing that happened, my own brothers hit me over the head with a very heavy object. I still do not know what it was. I fell down to the ground, my clothes was ripped off, petrol were thrown over me and I was set alight by my own brothers who I believed in, but what this did inside of my heart, a build up, even a stronger grudge against the system, against the Boers and at that moment in time I forced myself, I told myself, this is my brothers that has done this to me. I am not going to leave them, I am going to stick like glue to their side, because I want to show them, I want to prove them I am not a traitor, I am still the same person who started out with them. Okay, the story went on.

I did exactly what I told myself to do. I kept on going out with my brothers, kept on doing things with them. I never pulled away from them once and today, still, whenever I hear a security branch officer's name being mentioned, I want to go out there and shoot to kill, because if it was not for that police on that particular Sunday night, I would not have been sitting here today. I would have died at the hands of my own brothers believing in what these security branch people, who was supposed to be part of the justice system then, told them. I was nearly killed. I could not believe it. My own brothers did this to me knowing I have not been arrested yet and what was more funny about it was, I have just been asked ...

MS WILDSCHUT: Maybe I should just explain what is happening, that George is actually just helping you compose yourself ...


MS WILDSCHUT: ... and not telling you what to say.


MS WILDSCHUT: So, we are aware of that.

MR WILLIAMS: I have not been told, I have been asked.

MS WILDSCHUT: Yes, so George is just giving you some support there.

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, the reason for why the people of the BMW did this to me, it was because these people who were looking for me, they told them I was their informer. That is why all of them has been captured at the same time, me being the only one not being arrested, still on the run.

MS WILDSCHUT: And Moegamat, sorry, you understood that as it happened and that is why you made the pledge to prove to them that you were not a spy?

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, I told myself over and over, I am not going to let this, like, part me from the rest of the BMW members. I mean, I am going to stick to them like glue. I mean, how am I going to prove to them now I am still the same person who I use to be, I am not the people, like, I am not the person, the type of person that you found out I am and, I mean, knowing that these people were against us. Still, yet, they believed them.

MS WILDSCHUT: But you were eventually detained?

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, and it happened in 1987 and on the sixth of January 1988 I was arrested together with my brother and another member of the BMW. They were taken to Bishop Lavis Police Station. I was held there for about half an hour, then I was taken away to Brackenfell. There is no way to describe this. I will say where my hell began, because each and every member of the security branch police, they never knew what I looked like, they knew me by name and my false surname, but they never knew what I looked like and then, they like come through to find out this is, like, the guy that gave them all the trouble and each and everyone was told, listen here, you must look properly at him. The next time he gives you trouble, shoot to kill. Kill him, because he is a danger not only to them. They labelled me as a threat to society as well and I was, like, first, say for, I did not have the time on me, but it was, say for, about two, three hours I was interrogated at Brackenfell Police Station whereafter I was placed under Section 29 and I was only 14 years old then.

I was placed under Section 29 and I had been threatened I am never going to see my family again. This one officer in particular, his name was Sergeant Pikke, he told me today is the day you are going to meet your maker, you are never going to see your family again and my direct words to him was, do whatever you want to and do what you have to do. I am not afraid of you and then I was, like, smacked around again and that type of thing and after ten days in Macassar police cells I tried to commit suicide by hanging myself with my tracksuit pants and then when the security branch came they were informed I nearly committed suicide and then I was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison together with another few of my brothers. Comrades like Adonis, Christopher Rutledge, Com Q, Christopher Tinto and our health Minister, Ebrahim Rasool, we were all held together. I was only with them for about four days and then I was charged.

Together with the rest of the BMW members we were charged with over 300 crimes. The then Minister of Defence, Adriaan Vlok, he did not say it was political motivated or anything, he said it was crimes and we are a danger to society and should be locked up and the keys should be thrown away. Then, like, I was released on the same day, R1 000,00 bail at the age of 14 and that was only where I could say my hell started, because I start having these nightmares, not knowing who to trust anymore, because of all these stories that I was told by them. I mean, I was told that my own brother informed me, I was told that my commander informed me. They mentioned nearly all the names, because on the morning when they arrested me they knew exactly where to come. I did not sleep at home. They knew exactly where to come and they came to fetch me out there, like, yes, I think that is about it.

If there is one thing that always gave me the strength and the courage to fight in the struggle, it was the points of the Freedom Charter and I would like to know, what I would like to know today is can anyone of the Commissioners explain to me what has happened to the Freedom Charter? The Freedom Charter was labelled the most precious document in the whole, wide world. I believe in the Freedom Charter, so did my brothers and sisters who fought together with me. We knew one day when we have power we are going to live according to the Freedom Charter. It has never happened. You do not ever hear about the Freedom Charter anymore. I would like to know was the Freedom Charter picked up, crumbled and thrown away. That is my pleas to you. I would like to know what has happened to the Freedom Charter. I believe in the document and I still believe in it.

The ANC has taken over, they have got power, but all I can say, I have never once heard anyone of the Ministers nor the President mention the Freedom Charter or any particular points of the Freedom Charter and then I would also like to say today, as I am sitting here, I am a little bit cracked up. It might not look that way, but I am. I have brothers who was with me together in the BMW who operated me for so many years with me. I am still seeing them today. I am still seeing them today. Now the only point is the places where I see them it hurts me most. There are a few of my brothers, their expectations was so high with the new Government take over. Obviously, they were so overlooked, forgotten, they decided to become vagrants walking around the streets of town. I found them in the docks, waterfront and Woodstock.

I mean, like one of the brothers earlier asked, I mean, we were, like, labelled as one of the most dangerous organisations in the whole of the Western Cape. I, myself, I was labelled as one of the most wanted activists only at the age of 12. I am not worried about me having been overlooked, because I was a little bit fortunate, because I tried to fit myself into society again knowing that people are going to ask questions like why did you fight in the struggle, what have you gained out of the struggle. Sometimes there is an answer to these questions, sometimes there is not an answer, because, you know, sometimes you have, like, four, five people asking the same question and they do not expect the same answer. They want different answers. So I am saying sometimes there is an answer, sometimes there is not an answer for these types of questions people are asking and my biggest pledge to you is I would like, I would like whether now or at a later stage, but somewhere in the near future, I would like to meet up with these security branch people.

I want them to personally apologise for the statements that they have laid against us in the newspapers. I mean, people, it was very hard for people, like, to accept a terrorist back into society, because we were labelled terrorist. We formed this group the BMW, because we knew about this harassment and the arrest and all these kind of threats that the cops laid against us and that type of thing. I mean, we had to defend ourselves. We could not just sit and wait for a kind of bomb to blast them, there we go. We had to defend ourselves. So we did what we did in order to win our struggle. We did not do it out of selfishness or out of saying, ag, this is "lekker", I want to do it. We knew what we did then, but we do not know where we stand now. Thank you.

MS WILDSCHUT: Moegamat, you really put a very impassioned plea before this panel and before the Commission to really look very carefully at our present state of affairs and how we can deal with those of your Comrades and others who are feeling so disillusioned today. I just wanted to ask you one or two small questions and then, perhaps, the other panellists might want to ask you some questions. The time you were detained in, on the sixth of January 87, you tell us that you were 14 then.


MS WILDSCHUT: 14 Years old. What were the, apart from beating you and isolating you from others, what were, are you able to tell us what other methods were used when they were interrogating you?

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, I had it on two occasions where or one occasion where I was hung up by my feet and beaten and then ...

MS WILDSCHUT: Sorry, Moegamat, can I just ask you a bit more slowly. Are you saying that your feet were put together ...

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, I was ...

MS WILDSCHUT: ... and then you were ...

MR WILLIAMS: ... hung up. I was hung up in the air.

MS WILDSCHUT: hung up upside down.



MR WILLIAMS: Upside down and then I was beaten all over my shoulders and my back and on the other occasion I was, like, widely spread, my legs widely spread, my arms widely spread, tied in four different directions and I had grass thrown between my hair and my private parts and had a turtle walking over it, pulling for the grass, obviously pulling my hair with. Yes, that was two of the other experiences and the one with the black bag was put over my head and a rope was put, I do not know exactly where I was, because I was taken away from Macassar Police Station and I was hung up with the rope around here, my arms and then I was airborne. I did not know where I was and today I still do not know where I was then, but I was told this is the highest building in Cape Town and if I am not prepared to talk, they are going to drop me and I told them, I already told you, do what you want to do. If you want to charge me, charge me. If you are not going to charge me, let me go. I am not prepared to work with you, because I have some responsibilities towards my brothers and sisters being held there.

MS WILDSCHUT: That time you were airborne, as you say, they actually let you out of the building with the rope around your chest. Is that what happened?

MR WILLIAMS: I will tell it to be, like, kind of, like, direct with you. We were not far away from Macassar Police Station. I knew, I know we had a long, kind of, drive, but I was, like, something around my eyes, I mean I could not see before they put the bag over my head. I could not see where we were going, but I believe we just drove around there the whole time. They making me want to believe that we were in Cape Town, because my trip back to Macassar Police Station, it only took about ten minutes.

MS WILDSCHUT: Were you tied, they tried to drown you at some point?


MS WILDSCHUT: Were you tried, did they try to drown you at some point?


MS WILDSCHUT: In the toilet?

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, it was on the morning, the sixth of January, when I was arrested. I wanted to pee and my head was put down the toilet pot, the chain was pulled and I was told if you want to do anything, you must ask permission, because I wanted to go in there, go and pee. I did not even get the chance to do that and the same thing happened to my brother. He was also arrested with me, because they asked us this particular question where a friend of ours, also a member of the BMW, he was arrested and he was released again, but then they looked for him again, where he was and I told them, be realistic, how can I tell you where Roger are if I am here with you and then I turned around, I went to the toilet. I wanted to go and pee and that is when it happened.

MS WILDSCHUT: As a 14 year old and all of these things happening to you it must have been terrifying?

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, that is why, I will say once again, I will repeat what Riefaat Hattas said earlier. I want to urge these children who are sitting out here, even these parents, to, like, tell the children. The chances they are getting in life, they must grab it with both hands. I mean, we also had the chance, but instead we chose to fight a battle that we knew we were going to win some day, irrespective how long and how hard this battle is going to be for us. We knew one day we are going to overcome this battle and so we did. We won the battle, but in our hearts and minds we know there is still a struggle.

MS WILDSCHUT: Moegamat, thank you. Sorry, you were still busy talking.

MR WILLIAMS: No, it is okay.

MS WILDSCHUT: Thank you. I do not have anymore questions to ask you. I will hand over to the Chair.

MS GOBODO-MADIKIZELA: Madam Chair, thank you. Moegamat, I, just thinking as you were talking and wondering. You know you were 11 years, 12 years. As adults when we go through trauma we have some resources, we know how to defend against it, but somehow for you, as a child, being immature psychologically, but mature in your strength, you know, amazingly mature in your strength to be determined to do and engage what you chose to do is just most amazing and in a way that gave you strength, but at the same time there was a certain immaturity psychologically, just not having the strength developmentally at that time to know, to have resources built for yourself for your adulthood and I am wondering how has that experience effected you in your adulthood or how is it, how has it strengthened you?

MR WILLIAMS: Yes, I will say in my adulthood, thanks to my commander of the former BMW, Faried Farels, who is also sitting in the audience, I would like this chance and opportunity to, like, thank him again for, like, meeting up with some people, American people and they are offering these kind of courses and these people, to some extent, they helped me forgot about what has happened in the past and I how to, like, try and cope with the future. I mean, there is still a lot of things. As I said earlier, we won the battle, but there is still a struggle going on. I mean, some people ask, where is the struggle going on, but we know where the struggle is going on and what is happening and also, you know, as I said, thanks Faried. These American people have really helped me greatly with attending these courses. They have three courses, like, and that is one thing that I can, like, say I will, fitted myself into society again and, I mean, being able to do the things what I really wanted to do and, I mean, okay, I am unemployed, I do not have any income. I am doing community work and doing it voluntarily and, I mean, it is kind of, like, hard sometimes not being able to go back home. I mean, I am married, got one child, got married in 1995, 30th of September. I mean, I, to me sometimes it is, like, hard especially on a Friday night, because my wife is working, I am not. Sometimes on a Friday night she ask me to you want a packet of cigarettes and then I feel so bad, my direct answer is, no, I do not want anything and I would walk out, just turn around and walk out, not saying anything further. I mean, without explaining to her why my behaviour is like that and that type of thing.

MS WILDSCHUT: It is for me to thank you for coming today and for sharing this incredible story with us. It is really incredible to, for any of us to visualise what a young 12 and 13, 14 year old person has to go through, but thanks for giving us a glimpse of what that must have meant, it must have been like for you then and for me just to re-emphasise that many of the things that you did were not in self-interest, you did it because you felt you had a duty to perform, you felt that you were fighting for a just cause and I want to salute you for that, I want to honour you for that and hold you up as an example of how young people have been prepared to sacrifice their youth and their childhood for the struggle in this country. I honour you.