DATE: 29 JULY 1997



DAY: 2


CHAIRPERSON: Our last witness before we go out for lunch is Alli, Mr Alli Maziya. We invite you, Mr Maziya, to come forward and while Mr Maziya is coming forward I would like just to say much as he is bringing a painful story, but in terms of what we are talking about, it is also remarkable that a man is coming to talk on behalf of his wife and his family. Since we started it has been mainly women who have been talking about their husbands and sons experiences. So we really acknowledge what mr Maziya. Many men whose husbands ...

MS SOOKA: Wives.

CHAIRPERSON: ... whose wives in the process did not even think of coming forward so we thank you very much for coming forward. I would like to extend a special word of welcome to you and I will ask Commissioner Yasmin Sooka to assist you with your statement.

MS SOOKA: Mr Maziya, what language are you going to speak in?

MR MAZIYA: I think maybe it will be correct for me to use my home language, because I am not sure how emotions will carry me, but I am going to try to survive.

MS SOOKA: Alright, if you could then just put your headphones on for me please. Mr Maziya, we would like to thank you for coming today. Before you begin to tell us your story I am going to ask you to stand so that you can take the oath please.

ALLI MAZIYA: (Duly sworn in, states).

MS SOOKA: Thank you. You may be seated. Mr Maziya, I would just like you to tell us about the incident that took place in your life, where your lost your family, please, in your own words.

MR MAZIYA: I was arrested in Vosloorus and this was in 1990. When I arrived in Vosloorus I was coming from Tembisa. I am not going to relate the whole history about my life, but when I arrived in Vosloorus the first thing that I started doing, I tried to establish an organisation, but after about two or three years we eventually managed to establish an organisation which was Vosloorus Crisis Committee. That is where I was elected to be the first Chairperson of this organisation. That was in February 1990. We had a march, we held a march where we were expressing our concern that we were no longer going to pay for services and the second issue, we were not going to buy from councillors shop, but that we were also not going to buy from shops of the friends of the councillors and that we were also going to isolate the councillors' children, we are not going to talk to them.

So when this boycott started, it started very painfully, because we also did not know what this councillors are going to do. This boycott also effected the people who were aligned with the councillors. So within this area there was a conflict between the, among the students and pass, students organisation, PASO and COSAS. At the very same time there was also the taxi violence. So Vosloorus became a hot bed area, because many people were running towards Vosloorus whereas Vosloorus had also its own problems.

Let me first start by the 31st. On the 31st I had called a meeting where there were different organisations. We were the, were going to discuss about the conflict amongst students, but we were also going to discuss the taxi violence and the third issue we were going to discuss was to see if our boycott of councillors was it a successful, was it weak or was it strong enough and where we could strengthen it if it was weak. It was a holiday, it was on the 31st of May and our meeting dispersed at about seven in the evening. When I arrived at home I realised, I found that my mother was there. She was visiting for a weekend. When I arrived there my mother, I explained that my mother and my father should sleep with my mother in our room. My wife's name was Lindiwe. So they decided that they are going to sleep in the bedroom with my son who was nine months old.

I did not have any problem. I went to sleep in the other smaller room. I slept very late, because I had among, there were some young boys I had been with at the meeting, but as I was sitting there is, something told me I should not go to sleep. I had this premonition that I should not go to sleep, but I woke up at night. I left these other boys sitting in the diningroom and I went to sleep. At about one a.m. I heard noises as if there was rain outside. When I listened I then realised that it seems there is somebody crying outside. So I woke up and went to check what was happening outside. I heard a woman's voice crying outside and I thought maybe I could be of assistance to this woman.

When I got out of the blankets and got out of the bedroom I realised that this person was crying right inside my house. It was my mother's voice I heard inside the house and I went to check in my bedroom why my mother was crying. When I tried to get inside the door through the sittingroom I heard something hitting me on my feet and I feel down and it appeared in my mind that this noise that I am hearing, these are gun noises, but there were all the other noises, like there were explosive noises. So, I went back. I tried to stand up, but I was not able to stand up, because I had been injured on my feet, but eventually I did manage to stand up and I put the lights on.

After I had switched the lights on I heard people running outside and I insisted on checking outside. I opened the door to and I heard the car starting on the high speed and I ran away and I was holding on the fence just to see what kind of a car was this and what direction was it running towards. I saw many Escorts and white mag wheels. From there I realised that there were lots of cars noise from all directions were also running away. It would seem that these cars had stopped here and it is as if they were waiting to help these people who were attacking us and I went, then went back to the house and I went back to my bedroom.

I found my mother had a gaping wound from the chest up until her stomach and her whole stomach flesh had been removed. The child was swollen as if something had gotten into her body and Lindiwe's body had been burned and she was already dead, but the child was crying and my mum was also crying. We also tried to assist them. We then realised that we were not able to lift my mum and there was nothing we could do to assist her, because had a heavy weight. So, I took the child and we ran towards the hospital, because my child was still alive, because we thought they would admit my child and manage to save my child.

Just as I entered the hospital my child died. They took the child from my hands and took the child away and they started treating me on my feet, because I had been injured on my leg, but others said, no, they should leave me where I was. They wanted to put me away in a safe place, because they did not know who were those people who were attacking us in the house. Those people might be at the hospital at that time. So they put me in a safe room somewhere and I did not feel I wanted to stay at the hospital and I told these people. I said, no, may I please go and check in my house what is happening. There is nobody else except the two young guys who were there.

What really alarmed me was that by the time I arrived home was about two a.m. when I arrived in my house. I found that Lindiwe's corpse was no longer at the house. My mum was also not in the house, but I tried to find out what happened to their corpse. I found the police in my house and the police wanted to search my house and they said they were looking for weapons. I asked them how could they actually come and look for weapons in my house, because I am the one who had been attacked, but they insisted on wanting to search my house and I started quarrelling and fighting with the police and there were lots of people in my house. The police chased away these people so that they should not come near our house.

From there the police left. I think they were about 30 minutes. About after 30 minutes these policemen came back and they asked me who was the owner of the house. I said I am the owner of this house and at that time there were other relatives who had arrived who were from outside of Vosloorus. At about six a.m. my mother-in-law and my father-in-law and my brother-in-law arrived at home and said there is something very strange as were the police. There is another policeman who had a gun, a huge gun and he showed that there was also another White policeman. The White policeman had this gun and looked in the book and said this, there is nothing written in this gun. There is no indication that this gun had been released from this police station and it would seem this is one of the guns that had been used on the house that has been attacked. How did this gun get out of the police station? So you must tell me how this gun got out of this police station.

While we were still listening at that the police came back and they wanted me to make a statement. The way the whole situation was confused, there was an urgent need that I should relate the story of what happened and how it happened, but I did not understand what was the need of this confused and urgent situation. So, I was, whilst I was still there I thought after the police had taken the statement they would come back to me and explain to me when would I appear in court or if they would come and report to me that they have arrested the people who had attacked us, but after eight or nine months there was a young chap that arrived to my place. He was among the members of COSAS.

He says he really could not keep this inside him, because he was very concerned about this thing, was knowing us. He then started to explain to me who were these people who planned the attack. The most painful thing is that I cannot relate this story, expose this story, because I think I do not have powers to reveal or expose peoples' names, because I have got no evidence that they know this issue, but what I do want to reflect here on is that PAC as well as our Mayor, during that time, Mr Senogela, they know what happened in my house. They also know who are the people who attacked my house, because this incident was committed by PAC together with Mr Senogela, as he was the Mayor of this place during that time.

Another issue that was related was Beckie Shelemba when he tried to relate this issue to us that he was prepared to expose this thing. I said to him he must go to the police, because even if he told me, there was nothing I would be able to do. I will just take what he has related to me and I will listen to what he has related, but I would be in no position to do anything about it. I will just know who are these people, but I cannot know exactly what happened, because there was a lot of confusion with the papers in which I had made a statement. I do not know if the person who took the statement from me, if he was able to look for this young chap and help this child to apply for amnesty or if he did not do that. I am not in a position to know that.

My heart would be very sore if this young chap can be arrested where, if the Commission was not able to assist him to get any assistance. I do not know if you have got any questions or any clarification. I think I have related what I think, what I feel is still a wound in my although I did accept what happened to me, because when this thing happened to me it would seem I was the person that the community was looking upon as a leadership and the people would provide any guidance and direction to the community and even the youth, even when the youth wanted to discuss issues on revenge to other people, I was the one who was involved in discussing the issue and that situation gave me strength of accepting that other people who have lost their loved ones under the same circumstances that I also lost my loved ones. People who are like me are not foolish, are not stupid people.

I have to acknowledge and accept that those were the circumstances that prevailed at that time which propelled, which made me realise my loved ones, my mother, my child and my wife so that people in South Africa could also be liberated. I am happy today that we are liberated.

MS SOOKA: Thank you Mr Maziya. I am just going to ask you a few questions just to get clarity. You mentioned that your mother, in fact, when you came back to the house after the hospital, that you did not find her there. What actually did happen to your mother?

MR MAZIYA: My mother was still alive. They took her to Baragwaneth Hospital where she was admitted, but what I cannot clarify, I do not know if they first took her to Katlahong Hospital or they took her straight to Baragwaneth, but what I established later on was that she was at Baragwaneth Hospital. She was in Baragwaneth for about five days and thereafter she died, she passed away.

MS SOOKA: Did you ever hear anything from the police on their investigations into this matter?

MR MAZIYA: No, there is nothing I heard from the police, but thereafter the police use to come to my house to search my house, but with regard to the incident that happened to me, there was no progress. I have not heard anything up until today.

MS SOOKA: You, obviously, know in your own mind who actually is responsible for the attack and it is quite clear that you do hold the PAC responsible for this. Now, given the fact that you were trying to get all the different factions together, why do you think your house was targeted for this attack by a group with whom you were, actually, working to try and get peace in Vosloorus?

MR MAZIYA: As I have already indicated that Mayor was involved in this issue. I am relating this most of the time, Mayor was trying to show that he is a member of the PAC. When we started discussing this issue with councillors he would always try to show us that he is a member of the PAC and that we should not take him for being a person who betray a traitor. He was saying he had a mandate from the organisation that was a member of, but another issue. Why the police got involved was that Mayor, himself, he would not come and attack us without actually being involved in the COSAS issue and they mix up the COSAS issue with the Mayor and then PAC came as if they came to attack me, as if it was part of the whole conflict between COSAS and PACO, but PAC came there being involved with the police, because the police gun, how did the police gun get involved with the PAC people. When did PAC give them this gun to return it to the police station.

I think another thing that I did not relate here for and this is one of the issues that make me not to get any peace in me, because when they said I must take my statement to the Truth Commission I had some shells. I had some shells of the guns that were used in the house, but the police had the knob, had the knob of the hand grenade that had been used to attack my house, but at the moment I do not know what happened to these shells, because the statement has been lost. I really do not understand what eventually became of the shells. I think the Truth Commission can follow it up and realise that the person who took my statement can tell the TRC what happened to my statement. Why is my statement not in the data of the Truth Commission?

MS SOOKA: Okay, we certainly will check that Mr Maziya. You are, what you are actually saying is that the conflict between COSAS and the PAC also was exploited by the police at that time.

MR MAZIYA: I think so.

MS SOOKA: Because you certainly do have questions to ask about why the police were so quickly on the scene and how a police gun could actually have been used. We know that the conflict in Vosloorus, in fact, still continues. Do you have any suggestions to make about how this can be resolved?

MR MAZIYA: I think because of how the situation is, how the situation in South Africa is and the way we got our liberation, it will be very difficult. It will be difficult for me that I give you my views which, I think, will resolve the conflict in Vosloorus, because in Vosloorus there are different kinds of people. Maybe you need to understand Vosloorus before you can think of any solution to the problem. You need to understand Vosloorus, but I think Vosloorus, I remember one day Mr Mswaledi visited us and he was the first guest who came to address the ANC meeting in Vosloorus. The first thing that he said, he said he and other members of the African National Congress have tried their utmost best to see to it that there was an organisation in Vosloorus and eventually they came to the realisation that it will be very difficult to unite the residents of Vosloorus. It seems it is a very difficult area to achieve unity in Vosloorus.

He was very surprised today, on the day that he gave his speech, that there was an organisation. He was surprised what kind of an organisation eventually emerged. They wanted ANC to record the situation in Vosloorus and give an acknowledgement to the Vosloorus people that had worked very hard to have an organisation. I am giving this background so that you could understand that the situation of the residents of Vosloorus. Vosloorus use to be a very small township where people knew one another, where if you did, committed any crime or any wrong thing everybody would be knowing what you had committed the following day.

I think these are the people who really cared about each other, but there are people who are very scared of White people here in Vosloorus. I have got no doubt that even today there are people who still cannot believe that they have been liberated. Well, we could make attempts of finding solutions in Vosloorus so that it could be like other townships, because today Vosloorus is united. It has got an organisation which, I think, the residents of Vosloorus suspect this organisation and this is the organisation, I think, that if it is utilised in an effective manner, will eventually bring about stability in Vosloorus.

All Vosloorus residents, even the unity of the taxi people, if the civic calls these people in the meeting they all attend this meeting although even some, although some of the things, even if they are agreed upon, they are never implemented as according to discussions, but they do go to meetings, they do argue and they do eventually agree and eventually they are able to manage all those things which could cause a lot of conflicts and the dying of many people. Therefore, I think that the civic that is there at the moment in Vosloorus could be a tool for bringing about unity and resolving the conflict and stability. If we make use of this civic and if it could also get the support of uniting all people in an effective manner. I think that will be the solution that I think I do have at the moment. This might not be an adequate solution and a proper solution for other people, but my experience of this place is that this could eventually be the solution that could help the Commission.

MS SOOKA: Just one last question Mr Maziya. How have you coped after the loss of almost all your entire family after what happened?

MR MAZIYA: That is a very difficult question for me to answer, but I will nevertheless do. A lot of things happened immediately after the death of some members of my family. My house was attacked on the first of June and on the 31st of June I lost my job. I was not even at work during that time, because I had sustained some injuries. As we all know that these were lone houses. It does not really matter that you paid your bond very well at some stage, but at a later date when you do not have any money, they chuck you out of the house. Because I had bought the house under somebody elses name, because I was running away from the police, that is why I had to go to Vosloorus. It came to a stage where I realised that there was a need for me to get a place of my own and I could not register the house under my name and that is when I bought this house in Vosloorus.

After a few months I had to sell my house. I did sell it and people never realised what was happening in my life up till such time that in 1992, if I am not mistaken, I was elected in SANCO as an organiser of the southern SANCO and that was the very first time that I got a salary after I had been, after I had lost my job. That is only then that I was able to earn a living.

MS SOOKA: Thank you. I have no further questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Joyce Seroke.

MS SEROKE: Mr Maziya, what I would like to know from you is with regard to the hand grenade. How did it come about that this hand grenade landed in your bedroom? Do you suspect, perhaps, that somebody knew as to which one was your bedroom, because according to what you have said it was thrown into your bedroom? Do you think the attack was mainly orchestrated on you or you were the target?

MR MAZIYA: I already mentioned that I am scared to tell you the names of the people, because during the course of the week, just before the attack, there is a lot of things that happened. On a particular Wednesday a PAC member came to visit me during the day. It was the very first time that this person had come into my house. Till today the person is not known, but his name is Oscar. When he came to my house on this particular Wednesday, according to the rumours that I heard was that it was himself, the Mayor, as well as two other males driving in a Skyline and the Skyline was parked in front of my yard. He got off the Skyline and got into my house and in the house there was Sipholo, a young man that I was staying with. Sipholo was in the children's bedroom, because my house was a four roomed house.

He got into the house and Sipholo asked him as to what he wanted. He said he had come to visit. Then he proceeded to the sittingroom and Sipholo went to sit with him to try and find out as to what he wanted. According to my own opinion, I think, it was on a Wednesday and my house was attacked on Friday and according to the way in which they shot my house, if you could look at the video, I believe that the SABC as well as the City Press still have the photos that were taken on the day of the attack and the way in which I was shot. It indicates that the person who was shooting from outside knew the house very well or knew the interior of the house very well and he knew as to where my bed was and how the furniture arrangement was inside the house. I could clearly say that it is Oscar.

CHAIRPERSON: Maziya, if I might just ask you one or two questions as well. At the time when this happened to your family you were a leader in your community. Can you tell us what position were you holding.

MR MAZIYA: I was the President of the SANCO organisation and I was heading the Social Welfare Department of the ANC and the other position I was holding was that I was within the committee that was welcoming some exiles who were coming from outside countries. I was also a shop steward at my work place, that is at Rickett.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. This is helpful for us to have a clear record about your involvement. Often a husband died because of their convictions. In this instance your wife, you lost your wife because of your convictions. How did your in-laws react to this? Were you blamed for this or what was their reaction?

MR MAZIYA: That is one of the most difficult aspects of my life that I have had to deal with, because at my place as well as at my wife's place they always had a problem with our relationship, because Lindiwe was also politically active and I was politically active too and whenever I had a problem in Tembisa, she would come to pick me up and take me to a place of refuge. And at times I would go and seek refuge at Lindiwe's place. I remember one day when my in-laws were telling her that she was going to die, because she did not realise that the police were always coming to her place looking for me and they were not looking for her.

And after the attack the only people who were able to accept the fact that it has happened. Though I do not know as to how they feel now, but I believe Lindiwe's mother as well as father did accept the fate and after they had accepted that we are husband and wife, they eventually accepted that whatever happens to me, happens to her and whatever happens to her, happens to me. And even this incident did not disturb them in such a manner that they blamed me, but I think they accepted it as it happened and I do believe that they are still very hurt, that as members of the family, that is a natural thing to happen especially with Black families or in Black culture.

We do point fingers at other people and blame other people for the deaths of others, but I believe that it was God's will that she died and I was saved. I am not proud of that, but I have come to accept it, because in our culture when a wife dies, she is being killed by the husband and when the husband dies, he is being killed by the wife. I do believe that her family might harbour these beliefs, but, anyway, I have come to accept it and I have told myself that it is a natural occurrence within our culture, because when it happened I thought that it was not Lindiwe only who died. My mother also died as well as my child. If it was my wish I would not have killed my mother as well as my child, but what I want to point out was that there was absolutely no reason for them to have killed so many members of my family. They would have done that straight to me and have left the rest of the family and I still say they are cowards, because they are not coming forward to tell us the reasons as to why they did this. I do not think forgiveness lies within me, that God will forgive them. Maybe if they can come forward and explain as to why they did it, they could be understood.

CHAIRPERSON: Another question which I would like to ask you is there any reason why she was not buried in Vosloorus? Lindiwe.

MR MAZIYA: Lindiwe was buried in Vosloorus.

CHAIRPERSON: Is she the same Lindiwe who is Dr Ndaba?

MR MAZIYA: No, Lindiwe is from the Matibela family.

CHAIRPERSON: Matibela. As other fellow Commissioners have said, this is one of those statements where, clearly, which is a window through which we look at our past and see how many families seemed to have lost out the most. In your case it is not only your wife, it is a mother, it is a child and, obviously, what happened to your family has effected many other people within your family besides yourself. We thank you very much for coming forward and we have heard your plea and also we hope people who were involved in this, in the planning of this massacre have heard your plea, that you are prepared to forgive them, because you know whatever you did was for a good cause and we hope that they will realise that if they come forward that will promote the healing of many survivors like yourself.

We have also heard how you lost your job which you link directly with this and we hope, at the time when we are looking at the assistance of those who lost out the most, that your family also will be looked at appropriately. We thank you very much for coming forward and we will also advise you, as a man, to be prepared, even, to seek help so that you, through counselling, you have ongoing support, even outside your political circles. It is very, very important for your healing. Thank you. Thank you.

We will now adjourn for lunch and we will come back at half past two. Half past two please.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Can I ask a question to the Commissioners, just a brief question before we go. May I talk? Can I come? In the case of Mr Maziya, as an example, where perpetrators are known and they are moving around at large and not volunteering to come forward, what powers does the Commission have to have them coming forward and volunteer.

MS SOOKA: The Commission does have the power to subpoena perpetrators and has, in fact, subpoenaed a large number of alleged perpetrators who have not come forward voluntarily. However, the Commission, once it receives these statements also investigates them and at the end of the process part of what the Commission has to do is, in most of the cases that come before the Commission, we, in fact, have to establish the identity of persons and institutions responsible for many of these gross human rights violations. We do, as a matter of cause, twice in the process we send notifications to alleged perpetrators. In hearings like this we normally send, what we call, a Section 30 notice asking them if they want to, if they have anything to say in the matter.

Then before the Commission makes a finding, the Commission also sends out a notice again to them calling upon them to give their version of the event and to put before the Commission whatever they would want to say about the particular incident. At the end of the work of the Commission we will, obviously, have to make a finding, not only that people are victims who are then eligible for reparation, but also findings about people responsible for these gross human rights violations. The Commission will probably make recommendations to Government in respect of those perpetrator findings as well.