DATE: 28 JULY 1997




DAY: 1


CHAIRPERSON: I am now going to call one more witness before we take the Fedtraw submission.

I'm going to call Deborah Jokazi to the witness stand please. Mrs Jokazi, thank you very much for coming to the Commission today to share your story. We're going to ask Joyce Seroke to assist you with the leading of your evidence. Joyce.

MS SEROKE: We greet you. I will request you to stand up and raise your right hand.

DEBORAH VUYELWA JOKAZI: (Duly sworn, states).

MS SEROKE: Thank you. Vuyelwa, you are coming to relate to us the story about FAWU and WARSA in your workplace, with regard to what happened thereafter; I would say just briefly explain to us what happened on the 28th of September 1992.

MS JOKAZI: On the 28th of September in 1992, we were FAWU members.

MS SEROKE: Can you actually explain to people what does FAWU stand for and what does WARSA stand for, because you might be familiar with FAWU, others may not know what this FAWU stands for.

MS JOKAZI: FAWU is Food Allied Workers Union. It represents the union FAWU, which is under COSATU. WARSA, it stands for IFP affiliated union.

On the 28th of September in 1992, we knocked off at five o'clock. We were on a bus. We were commuting on a bus from Escort bacon factory, which is in Heidelberg. We were going to Rutanda.

As we turned at the corner towards Rutanda, we saw two boys. They were waiting at a corner. One of these boys I know, but the other one I didn't know.

As the bus entered the township, they found that towards the - by the - around the hostel, they had remove the fence. There were a lot of us in the bus, the bus was full.

When we realised that the fence had been removed, we saw a fire and the bus was coming. We realised when we saw this bus was standing there, one of these boys, I saw him pointing and he was pointing at this bus. As we arrived towards the hostel, we realised that the fence had been removed by the hostel.

As the bus was approaching, there was something they took out of the fire. There were a lot of men there. They were wearing white overalls and red scarfs. And what they took out of this fire, they had put it under the fire and they pushed it and it was hot.

They kept on pushing it and as the bus was coming closer and this thing got under the bus and the bus exploded and there was a huge hole, a huge gap inside the bus.

The driver asked us should I stop or should I proceed? And other people were already shooting and inside the bus we are burning and we had already been injured.

Other people were throwing hand-grenades. We said, please, don't, stop! The bus driver turned the bus and pointed it towards the Rutanda cemetery and the police were following us and throwing teargas towards the bus and the bus kept on running and it proceeded in the - behind the street that's near Proti. So this bus, as it was running away; there were lots of men. They followed, they ran behind this bus. Some of them had sticks. Others had different kinds of weapons and others were throwing the hand-grenade and the bus driver managed to escape.

But at the time when he stopped, there was blood flowing from us who had been injured inside the bus. We were full of blood. One man, Mr Dadibad and Oman Simango had her legs cut off.

During at the time when the bus exploded, there were like wounds. We got injuries and wounds. Some of the bus metal stabbed us. Even today I still have got some metal on my feet. The doctors are not able to remove this shrapnel and metals that got into our legs and the doctors can't remove this.

And that's the end of my story.

MS SEROKE: Were you working at the bacon factory?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, even now I'm still working at this factory.

MS SEROKE: What was the conflict, what was the problem between FAWU and WORSA at your workplace then?

MS JOKAZI: The problem between FAWU and WORSA was that FAWU, FAWU wanted the huge increase and WORSA, they were accepting whatever the employers were offering us.

So then we started having a conflict. When this conflict started the WARSA people, in fact, the FAWU people started toyi-toying. We went to the toyi-toyi and the WORSA people went to fetch people at Thokoza, Vosloorus and arrived and they took them to Escort bacon factory and they put them on our bases.

That's how the problem started.

MS SEROKE: Where was this bus from as it was attacked?

MS JOKAZI: We were all from work, because we used to work at Escort bacon factory, but there were WORSA people who used to use a different transport and we FAWU were using a different transport.

MS SEROKE: Who was organising this transport? Was it organised by the employer or was it just a public transport?

MS JOKAZI: It was a public transport, but during that time, because there was a fight between FAWU, FAWU wanted their own transport and they were also using their own transport.

MS SEROKE: After this whole incident, was there a case laid by FAWU?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, we did lay a complaint.

MS SEROKE: Could you actually explain to us as to what happened?

MS JOKAZI: The case was being heard in Springs. It was proceeded by judges. They sentenced two boys, Msbona Gatebe and Senzi were convicted, I can't remember the surname. They were sentenced 30 years each, because they don't want to release others; they didn't want to reveal others. That was the end of the story.

MS SEROKE: You said you got injuries on your legs. Did you go to the hospital?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, I did go to the hospital, but they had to sew all this metal inside my legs.

MS SEROKE: Did they take any X-ray?

MS JOKAZI: No, they didn't take X-rays. I only went for an X-ray after, after they'd already closed in this metals inside my legs.

MS SEROKE: And now their telling you that they cannot take out this metal out of your legs.

MS JOKAZI: They're rusted metals inside my legs and the Rutanda doctor says if you try and rub off your legs, the metal comes out and they can just cut whilst you're looking, but there are others that are too deep. They said they're inside my body, attached to my bones and those ones they cannot remove.

MS SEROKE: Yes. Now you're saying you're still working in this factory. How do you feel? How is your health now?

MS JOKAZI: I do not feel very happy and healthy, because the brothers of this people who attacked us, I'm still working with them and as we're working here together, they harass me and intimidate me. They say I must release their brothers. We're not happy, but we can't do otherwise. We're suffering. We have to work there.

MS SEROKE: Is there no way that the FAWU leadership and WORSA have met to discuss to resolve this matter until it's finalised so that thes people stop following you around and harassing you?

MS JOKAZI: No, it hasn't happened, but it's only now we have heard that FAWU and WORSA are in agreement now. But during that time, they didn't bring us together to try and resolve the issue after we had been injured.

MS SEROKE: Now, these threats that you are getting from the relatives of these people who are convicted; are they still there?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, these threats we're still having them now.

MS SEROKE: Then it means the issue has not yet been resolved completely although you say things are all right now?

MS JOKAZI: I think as far as the leader, the employers are concerned, they are understanding us. If we need an increase, we all get an equal increase across the board. If management wants to give us R200,00, WORSA is no longer opposing any increase we are calling for, because they're also scared of this. So you agree on demands, on your financial demands, but as far as working together and having a normal relationship, we do not agree.

MS SEROKE: How do you think this whole conflict could be resolved?

MS JOKAZI: I really do not know how this conflict could be resolved, because we just keep quiet, even if they provoke us. We've got nothing to say.

MS SEROKE: Did FAWU have both men and women membership? Who were in the majority? Were they FAWU members or WARSA?

MS JOKAZI: The majority of members they were FAWU. WARSA membership is composed mainly of men, but in FAWU there are fewer men, there are more women in FAWU.

MS SEROKE: How were you treated in FAWU, I mean just within FAWU itself, between men and women?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, the condition was similar for both men and women and your rights are the same between men and women within FAWU.

MS SEROKE: And there wouldn't be any discrimination amongst yourself?

MS JOKAZI: No, the rights are similar. We all have similar rights within FAWU. Things were equal.

MS SEROKE: Were there women who used to get positions, leadership positions within FAWU, so that they could be leaders?

MS JOKAZI: No, there are not. Only men got leadership positions.

MS SEROKE: Were you happy about that kind of a situation?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, we were happy, because they didn't want to put women in the leadership positions.

MS SEROKE: Why didn't they want to put women in leadership positions?

MS JOKAZI: I really do not know, I am not as position to say why.

MS SEROKE: You, as a woman, how could you be happy with that discriminatory situation, as you were working under similar condition with your male counterparts; were you not worried about this?

MS JOKAZI: It did worry me.

MS SEROKE: Were you able to speak and raise your views on these issues?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, I was in a position to, because even if you are a woman, you know your rights. But they would listen to us when we were raising our views.

CHAIRPERSON: I would just like to ask you a few questions. The bus, who actually owned the bus that was in this attack? Was it the municipality or was it owned by your employers?

MS JOKAZI: It was a private bus. It wasn't a municipal bus and it wasn't a factory bus. It just was a private bus. It belonged to Mr Malinga.

CHAIRPERSON: How many of you were actually injured in the bus on that day?

MS JOKAZI: If I am not mistaken I think there were more than 20 people who got injured there.

CHAIRPERSON: Did any of, did either you or any of your workers; did they receive any kind of compensation from anybody for this attack?

MS JOKAZI: No, we didn't yet receive anything.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you people consult with any lawyer to try and get advice about what you could possibly do?

MS JOKAZI: No, we didn't have any lawyer. It was only one person who got compensation. It was Omar Simange, because both her legs were cut off, were amputated.

CHAIRPERSON: And who actually paid the compensation?

MS JOKAZI: I think it is the company.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything that you would like to tell us before you, we actually let go you today?

MS JOKAZI: Yes, there is something.


MS JOKAZI: I would like to request the Commission to assist me with regards to my legs, because I have got metal inside my legs. I would like to get metal get out of my legs, because I don't know what will eventually become of my legs when they're still there. That's the only thing I would like to request.

MS MKHIZE: If I may ask you, you seem scared. Could you actually explain to us what is it that you're scared of? We know that some other people when they are harassed or intimidate or tortured, they feel ashamed and awkward about the situation, but you should know this is not your fault.

MS JOKAZI: That is why I am scared. I am scared that if these people hear that I've been here at the TRC, they're going to kill me.

MS MKHIZE: Please excuse us. Why I am asking that, is that you said these people were charged and convicted and sentenced for many years. You think, I would imagine you've been freed from that fear, because these people were eventually sentenced and judged, and that lead me to think or feel that you should not be scared any more.

MS JOKAZI: I can never stop being scared, because I work with these people. I know how these people are.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mrs Jokazi. Can I say that if you feel that you may be intimidated or harassed because of the evidence that you have given us, please do make sure that you contact us, contact our briefer, so that we can actually do something about it. Because part of why we are here is so that people can actually come forward and speak freely and we would not like to feel that in fact your position is worse, because of what you have come today to say before us.

So if you do run into any problems, please make sure that you keep in contact with us, so that we can actually take the matter up.

Thank you for coming today and for sharing this with us. We have heard your request about the metal in your legs and we will certainly pass that on to the Reparation Committee, so that they can actually see if there is any way in which you can be helped almost immediately on your legs.

We know that it's not easy for you to come and share this story, but we are very glad that in fact you have taken the trouble to do so. Thank you very much for coming.