TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
DATE: 29 JULY 1997
NAME: LEPHINA ZODWA THOBELA
CHAIRPERSON: I will ask Lephina Zodwa Thobela to come forward please. I will, in welcoming you, I will also ask Commissioner Yasmin Sooka to assist you in presenting your statement. Thank you.
MS SOOKA: Mama Thobela, thank you for coming to the Commission. Could you tell me which language you will feel comfortable speaking?
MRS THOBELA: Zulu.
MS SOOKA: Zulu. Then will you place the earphones on your head. Mama, before you give evidence, can I ask you to stand so that you can take the oath please.
LEPHINA ZODWA THOBELA: (Duly sworn in, states).
MS SOOKA: Thank you. You may be seated. Mama, the Commission has received quite a number of statements on the men and boys, in fact, who died in the Duduza hand grenade incident, ...
MRS THOBELA: Yes.
MS SOOKA: ... but you, in fact, are coming to tell us about a story that we actually have not heard about your daughters who were, in fact, killed in this incident. Please feel comfortable to share your story with us please.
MRS THOBELA: The first thing I would like to give you my summary. That in 1976 my son was arrested at Thembeke High School in Nelspruit. That was when we started being enemies with the security police, because they arrested my son for three weeks. The Principal did not inform us. We had, we did not know what had happened until such time that the security police came to inform us. We did not even know that they were security police. They asked me where is the man of this family. They said who is Sipho and I said Sipho is my son and then they told me that he had been arrested in Nelspruit. During, it was during the uprisings in 1976.
And on that weekend of 1976 my husband and I took a car and went to Nelspruit and we found that my son, together with others, had been arrested. We tried to go to the police station where they had been arrested. We were informed that the Boers there would fight us and they wanted to beat us up. We went back to the Principal and we had to sleep over, because we could not go without having seen the Principal. One man who is a member of the School Committee, who had a hotel next to the school, he said are you the parents, have you also come about your children and we said, yes. He said please come to me, I will explain to you. I am a member of the School Committee. The Principal said when the students started uprising against him, he did not call the School Committee members, he just called upon the police. We have discussed this issue with him and he will allow the children to be released.
So he allowed us to sleep there on Sunday and Monday we went back to the school. We found that he had already gone to fetch the boys and all of them who had been arrested were 12, but the Principal had also, had a problem, because there was no school activities going on until after those other boys had been arrested. We discussed with our children and said please go back to school and then we went back home. At the end of the year my son passed and went to standard nine, but in January of that year. In December the father use to give them temporary jobs and my child did not go back to school and Crawston went back to Swaziland.
We stayed there as parents, because we were friends among these boys and we said what are we going to do about our children who cross the boundaries. Should we go to the police or should we keep quiet. Then we decided we were going to keep quiet, we were not going to report this to the police and in February the security forces came to us to ask from us where our child was and they asked me. I said I did not know. I said I think he has just left a few weeks ago. He said where is his school trunk, because there was also a Black cop among them. He asked me where were his clothes and I showed them his clothes in the bedroom, but they wanted his photographs and we told them we did not have his photographs.
Since then we were victims of the security police. They use to harass us in the morning, during the day or any day of the week. As we were preparing ourselves to go to church you would see the Boers suddenly invading our house. Sometimes they would even find me naked and the whole harassment continued up until 1984. 1984 There was no sewerage in Duduza. There was no water. We all use to queue in one tap of water. 30 Families would be sharing a tap of water. Eventually the Duduza people were very angry about this situation. They started saying Duduza has been here for 20 years, but there are no sewerage systems and the communities came together to fight for sewerage system. And the councils response to us was that each and every family had to contribute R9,00 so that they would install sewerage.
My husband said to them, but here we just are renting, we are not house owners. How can I say to a person they must pay for rents and for electricity if they are just renting here. After that the Duduza community decided to take the buckets of faeces and went to throw them at the council offices. That is when the whole conflicted started. Our house, office was near the hostel and the people who were carrying this night, were living at the hostel. And the police said to them, you see, these people are taking your jobs and the people started, police started shooting at us and the hostel inmates also started fighting us, but after a while this whole situation calmed down, but then again there was an issue at school and then we formed the Parents, Teachers Committee and my husband was chosen as the Chairman of Parents, Teachers Association.
But all the time we were being harassed by the security police. They kept coming to us to find out where my son was and we kept on telling them, well, we do not know where he is. We have not heard where he is. They say, but why do you not go look for him. Do you not want to go and look for him. They said come to Springs and fetch money and we will give you money to go and look for your son. I said what has he done? He did not kill anybody, he did not commit any crime. They said if you say that, then it means you do know where your son is and this child is going to come back and kill you.
But in that very Crisis Committee of Duduza in 1985, in January of 1985 my husband planned that there was going to be a parents meeting and teachers and students, because there was no schooling happening at that time. During, on that day when they were busy preparing the placards for the meeting the security forces came and arrested my husband and my girl, Sonto, and during that time Sonto was pregnant. They took her, I think there were about 12 of them who were arrested who were members of this Parents, Student, Teachers Organisation and the Chairman of COSAS was also arrested during that time. We use to go there. They tortured them, but they did not torture them much, but they kept on saying to my husband, they said to him they are going to torture him, they are going to kill them. He said these Boers told me that, Fourie told me that he was going to kill me. This happened in around February.
And during that time also there was no schooling happening. One boy at school, at high school in Sebone, they, pupils quarrelled with the Principal and police started chasing them. And they ran towards shopping centre and they shot a ten year old child who was with her granny. And from then on the students were very, very angry, because the police were still living in the community and these are the police who were with the Boers who were harassing us. And the children started burning the police homes and the police ran away and these are the people who are still in detention. The police ran away and they built tents for them in the offices. In Duduza there was no police. There was only one policeman, Mr Gumede, who did not leave Duduza. He is still there up until today.
After the funeral of that kid who had been killed by the police, these other people who had been detained were, who had been detained under Section 50, for 14 days then they came back and then there was a meeting that the schooling activities should resume. They wanted to discuss with the, between the Principal, the students and parents and on the Monday, that is when they bombed our home. In the morning we were working with my husband. We were working on one factory. When we came back there was the one who was pregnant here. Zanelie was at school, she was doing standard ten. When we came back from work she said to me there was an E20 of the Springs security police. We knew this, that transport they were travelling on. It was a regular transport. This transport was driving very slowly and then it made a U-turn and turned away.
The street I was living on was a very short street. They just looked at my house and made a U-turn and she said she locked herself inside. She did not know what to do when this police came. She thought this police would be getting off the combi, but then they just made a U-turn and drove back and then there was a Valiant. We knew the police who use to drive in this Valiant, Ms Malulekie, was an SB, but she was use to coming to our house to look for Sipho, but then she and two Boers came and they also did the same thing. They drove towards our house and looked around. I use to live in a big house with huge windows so we could see them and they just drove towards it and looked around and made a U-turn and then away.
We went to work the following day. I found that my husband was not happy about this situation. He thought this was a very strange situation. Why are they not coming in. They normally harass us. They would come and search inside, but on these occasions they just came and drove towards our house, looked around. That was a Monday when this incident happened. On Tuesday very early in the morning at about three a.m., three Boers came in and one of them was Fourie. I knew him that he was Fourie, because they use to come there. They knocked on the front door. My husband opened the door. They got in and came to our bedroom and she said, where is the, where they always use to come and ask where is the brief. And when you ask what is this brief about they did not answer.
One of them went to the girl's bedroom. It was next to the diningroom. It was the other bedroom, the other girl's bedroom was on the other side. She was ten years old when this happened. We really did not take this seriously. They kept on saying where is the brief, where is the brief. That was on Tuesday. We slept on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it was during the night, we went to sleep, but on Wednesday night I got, I woke, I felt as if there was somebody walking around in our yard. We did not have electricity then. I tried to put on the match. I wanted to check the time and I heard this explosion in my, in the bedroom and I saw fire. In the sittingroom there was a big carpet, but there was a huge fireball.
After I heard this bang or explosion I still, it seemed like was a litre bottle, but there was a lid of this bottle. The lid of this bottle was still there. I kept it, but in the girl's bedroom the whole wall had fallen off. It came through the window and fell to the girl's bedroom. On our side there were two lids that were found in the debris after the burning. The whole house just burnt. I just fell off the bed, because there was a very heavy smoke. I got suffocated and I started crawling on my knees around the bed. My bedroom has got two windows. The other one that I went through which has been hit. So I hit the other window with my hand, because we only had burglar proof on the sides, but in the middle I hit the window with my hand and I managed to escape through the window and I shouted and the neighbours came to our aid. They also came to try and put down the fire, but everything burnt and I injured my hand and my husband came off and he trampled on the glasses on his bare feet and he got injured on his feet.
I went around, because I was looking for my girls. I was looking for my pregnant girl. When I kicked the door on the other side and I went inside, whereas the neighbours also came to come to our aid and they pulled me outside, because they seemed, they had realised that my child had, was burning in the livingroom as she was, and this whole huge fireball was burning. That was my girl burning the livingroom. The other one who was in the bedroom also had been badly burnt, but I managed to pull her out. I had been injured. The blood was, I had blood all over my body and I said please take this other one to the hospital, but another child said to me, gave us a combi and then we went to the hospital.
As we got out of the car the neighbours had just given us blankets, because I had been burnt. All my clothes had been burnt. There was just a dress which has also been burnt. A J Fourie arrived and they were driving in a caspar. They say, what family is that, where is the family and my husband said I am the owner of the house. I say are you Joseph. He said, do you have the insurance? I said, no, I do not have insurance. There were three of these Boers and these Boers just laughed very loudly and say the house has been nicely burnt.
So they took me to the hospital. They also took me with this other girl who had been pulled out of the window and the thing that was burning inside my house was a chemical. It was, has this heavy suffocating smoke, but they had managed to pull my girl out of the window, through the burglar proof and my, sorry, my other children's child was also there, but my husband stayed behind. She followed, he followed us at the hospital. One of the security police arrived there. We were just very familiar with him. He use to come and look for my son. He asked, he came to ask me what time was it when this thing happened, but my, before my husband answered, this cop said it was at one o' clock when this happened.
And he wrote down that and he said he was going to come back. We were all admitted in hospital. I was there for a day. They put a drip on me. On the following day, it was Friday, I said, no, I am going back to the township, because now I had nothing to wear and I had asked some other patients to phone my neighbours so that they could bring me some clothing. I went back home later on. I was with my other child at the hospital and the security branch arrived and one of the nursing sisters indicated to me that they wanted to talk to me and that I should say I did not want to talk to them. When we arrived at the hospital during the night we were only attended to during the morning, that is the following day.
They were not supportive at the hospital. They wanted to know as to whether we were councillors or my husband was a councillor and when I told them that he was not, they refused to treat us. I had to plead with them to treat my daughter, but they did not help my daughter until six o' clock the following morning. My hand is not functioning quite well, because it still has got a gauze inside. I buried my first daughter and one nursing sister who was nursing at Pollo Park came to me before the funeral of the first one and she said I should ask for a transfer for my other daughter so that she could be transferred to another hospital, that is Baragwaneth Hospital.
The ambulance arrived and she was transferred to Bara. That is where she died about, after about 17 days. My right hand does not function very well. I buried my children and I had to go back to work and the doctor who was attending to me said I should go back to work even though I protested and said that I could not function with my right hand. Even the nursing sisters said there was nothing wrong with me. They were the ones who were telling the doctor that there was nothing wrong with my arm as well as hand and he wrote a letter to my employer and said I should show it to my employer. And the employer looked at my hand, actually called the doctor and my hand was re-X-rayed, but I refused to go to Pollo Park Hospital.
I was duly taken to a private doctor who examined my hand and said that I should go to the Natalspruit Hospital. That is when I underwent a second operation. That is when they removed a gauze that was inside my hand. I got discharged from the hospital. After about a week the security branch came to pick my husband up. He was detained and after the death of my daughters he got very sickly. He was attacked by his throat at Modderbee Prison, but they did not take him to the hospital. They even refused me permission to see him and the fellow detainees told me that he was not there and they said that I should go and look for Priscilla, who was going to help me with regard to taking my husband to the doctor.
And Priscilla accompanied me in her car. We went to Modderbee and took my husband to the Boksburg Benoni Hospital. He was admitted there up till after the end of the State of Emergency and he was charged with high treason together with 19 others. And at the time he was at the hospital when the trial was continuing. At times my employer would transport me to BBH to, to go and visit my husband. Then I would go back home. At times I would use public transport up till December 1985. We closed at work in December and I went to the hospital to go see my husband. When I got there I saw a note. There were about ten other patients there. I saw them getting in there, bringing in food, but when I got there it was if they were waiting for me and there was one SAP Boer who asked me as to whether as I was Joe's wife. Then he referred me to the note.
And when I looked at the note it was written in Afrikaans. I told them that I do not know the shit language and he told me that I should go to Delmas, seek a permit to come back and see my husband. I told him that I had been coming to visit my husband for the past six months and I did not understand as to why I had to go to Delmas to seek permit to see my husband who was there. I protested against that and we fought verbally. We also attacked each other with hands and my husband urged me to go back home and they called the Flying Squad. He said I had fought him and the Flying Squad people came and asked as to what was happening. And when they looked at me they just said to him he must leave me alone.
And the other one who was reading a newspaper kept on saying that I must be left to go and see my husband, but this other one was adamant that I not be allowed to see my husband. On that particular day I went to Springs, that is the office of the security forces, and I wanted to know as to who wrote that note, because I was not prepared to abide by whatever was written on the note. When I got to Springs they referred me to the ninth floor. I duly went there and when I got there I heard a female voice that kept on saying I must come in and I must press a button and come in. I went to her and I told her the story as to what happened at the hospital and that I had been referred to Delmas.
She told me that I should go to Brakpan and ask to speak to Tolken. I went to Brakpan Police Station which is very far away and I asked as to where the security forces offices were. As I was going I could hear some screams, lots and lots of screams, quite a number of people were screaming, they were being assaulted. I went round the passage and I knocked at that particular door where I heard some screams and nobody said I should come in, but I through myself into that room and I saw Tolken. Tolken is quite a young fellow and he was assaulting certain youths. I was so angry I did not recognise any of them, but at a later stage I was told by the youths that they saw me getting in there on that particular day.
When I got next to the table he had a donkey pill and he was standing on the other side of the table. He tried to assault me with this donkey pill and we started fighting. He said to me that bitch Indian, Priscilla, my husband as well as I, he was going to kill us. I challenged him to kill me at that very same moment and at that time we were grabbing each other by the throats and I wanted to die at that moment, because I felt that I could not take the treatment that they were meting out to me. And I went out through the same passage and I think at some stage he was trying to push me down the stairs and one security policeman came and shouted that he should leave me.
Then he called me into another office. There were two people wearing fawn safari suits. They offered me a seat and they asked me as to what was happening. I related my story to them once more and he said he did remember that I was the mother to the kids who died during the attack and he also said that he heard that these were the police from Dunwater who killed my children. I asked him as to what he did in order to try and help me. He said the matter was still under investigation and he phoned the other people in the other police station to leave me to be able to visit my husband and thereafter I was left to see my husband in peace and whenever I wanted to see him.
Then now Tolken, at some stage, went to my place whilst I was not there and asked my son as to where my husband was and I directed my son to tell him that they had taken my husband. And at round about eight that evening we were together with David, who was staying with us, together with my granddaughter. The house was dark, there were no windows and some of the walls had fallen, but we had no place to stay and Tolken knocked and said he is Tolken and that I should open the door. I was reluctant to do so, but David said I should open the door and Tolken came in together with another man from Sakane. They said I should chase the children away, because they wanted to talk to me.
And Tolken said he had come to apologise with regard to what he did to me at Brakpan. I said I did not need his apologies. Then he took out a card and he showed it to me and said that he will do anything that I demanded. I told him that you have killed my children and you have arrested my husband and now what do you want to do for me? And the children were at the sittingroom or where there was a sittingroom. They heard some movements from the back and when they tried to open the door they saw a man who was wearing a balaclava, takkies, as well as a denim and he was asked as to what he wanted. He said he was together with the other policemen. And the other one said he was trying to help me and now that I did not need his help, there was nothing he could do. I further told him that I do not need his help and I will never ever need his help, even in future.
I was not able to sleep in that house. I ended up having had to leave the house. My husband had to attend trial in Heidelberg. He was charged with high treason, subversion, murder, because a White woman was killed during my daughter's funeral, because there is a certain White woman who was killed, because the community in Duduza was angry after my daughters had been killed. My husband was accused number two and Alexander Montwede was accused number one. And at that time my husband's health had deteriorated. He could not speak, he was stammering and he use to cry a lot, but he was charged despite his state of health.
The first time that they stood trial I was not present, but I heard that he collapsed in court. Their attorneys demanded that he be taken to the hospital, because he was very sick. He was taken to the Hillbrow Hospital and when they phoned Priscilla Jana they informed her that he was at BBH. He had collapsed during his trial and I knocked off and went to BBH. When I got to BBH I was told that he was not there and I phoned Priscilla the following morning, telling her that my husband was not at BBH. She promised to phone and find out as to where my husband. Then later that afternoon she phoned me, telling me that my husband was in Hillbrow Hospital. He was admitted there for two weeks and the case had to be halted until his return.
I went to see him on a Sunday and he was supposed to appear in court on Monday. I went to work and I came back round about half past six and I got home at quarter to seven. I got my husband at home and I asked as to what had happened. And he told me that the Hillbrow Police came and asked me as to whether I had money and he told them that he had money. They came with a nursing sister who had his clothes. They said he must go home, the matter has been cancelled or the case had been withdrawn. They put him into the train and he went to Springs. He was in and out of hospital up till the 20th of August 1989 when he died.
Even after he had died they continued harassing me and they asked as to why we had not told them that my husband had died. They started harassing the nursing sister and according to our culture we sit on a mattress during a time of mourning and I was phoned by this nursing sister who told me that the Boers were harassing him, were harassing her trying to find out as to why they were not told that my husband had died, but she explained to them that the wife knew, that is myself, and that she knew nothing of that sort. That was on a Saturday evening when I was at the hospital. And the following day at about six we received a telephone call that he had died.
Then Tuesday they came, that is Beegde together with a Black guy. They said they wanted to talk to me and they said they had come to pay condolences that my husband had died, but they had not been notified. I wanted to stand up from the mattress and strangle him, but I was restrained by my relatives and they went out. Tolken was present during my husband's funeral and he was assaulting people, actually sjambokking them. My husband's funeral had absolutely no dignity, because they assaulted the people who had come to attend the funeral. As a result the people could not go back to my place to have the meals after the funeral.
I stayed in that house up till such time that it was rebuilt with the help of the late Bishop Ngwane, who I should pay my gratitude to, because he use to encourage me very much. He use to come and visit me and I even stopped working overtime, because my safety was now in question, because whenever I came from work I would see them standing or parking in front of my yard and at times they would follow me slowly up to my place. And the Bishop advised me that they were going to kill me if I continued working overtime. I ended up having to knock from work round about 4:30 and the Bishop as well as the Council of Churches helped me to rebuild the house. And in 1993 I decided to leave the house and go get myself a smaller house, because I could not live in that house with such bad memories.
MS SOOKA: Thank you Mama.
MRS THOBELA: My request to the TRC. I want to know as to who killed my children, who actually threw the grenades, because when I went to the amnesty in Pretoria I heard somebody speaking that on the day or the night of the night vigil, that is Sonto's night vigil, I heard that Mamasela was present and I wish to see Mamasela, because I want him to tell me as to why he was present during that day and they are pointing accusing fingers to different directions and I request the TRC to facilitate that I meet Mamasela. Maybe if he wants to ask for forgiveness, but I want to know as to who killed my family. I want to sit down with Mamasela. I want him to explain as to what he was doing at the night vigil, because he was not a friend nor a relative.
MS SOOKA: Thank you Mama. Mama, I am going to just ask you a few questions. Firstly, your daughters, were they also members of a political organisation?
MRS THOBELA: Yes, they were members of COSAS.
MS SOOKA: They were both members of COSAS?
MRS THOBELA: Yes.
MS SOOKA: Did you ever see your son who went into exile again?
MRS THOBELA: Yes, he is in Pretoria. He is working. He came back in 1991.
MS SOOKA: And how long was the period between when your daughters died and the time your husband came out of jail, out of hospital?
MRS THOBELA: Sonto died at the scene of the crime. My husband was released in 1987, April, but I do not remember the date. It was in 1987. That is ever since he was arrested in 1985.
MS SOOKA: So, it is almost two years.
MRS THOBELA: Yes, almost two years.
MS SOOKA: And you managed to keep on working?
MRS THOBELA: Yes, I lost my job, because we were labelled as terrorists and at work I was called a terrorist. That is how I lost my job. That was in 1987 after my husband had come. The following week I lost my job.
MS SOOKA: Mama, the, you also mention that you heard that Mamasela was present at Sonto's night vigil. Where did you, you say you heard it at an amnesty hearing.
MRS THOBELA: Yes, I heard it from the amnesty, that is from Philip Lukela in Pretoria. He is one of the victims who survived from the hand grenade attack. He was also at the night vigil and he testified in Pretoria that Mamasela came and he took them out together with Valley to Freedom Square where they were to discuss certain things. I heard it in, during the amnesty hearings in Pretoria.
MS SOOKA: Mama, there, you also mention in your statement that when the police came to see you at home and they wanted a photograph of your son, that there was a Black policeman with the security branch. Do you know his name?
MRS THOBELA: Yes, I do know the policeman, but he has since died. His name was Templeton Sibaka. He was my neighbour. He also terrorised and harassed us and he use to tell me that he was going to kill me. And at times I would challenge him to kill him at that particular moment. That was before the bombing. And he is the one who came to us as to what time it was when the attack took place. Just before my husband answered him he said it was one o' clock and I have got some witnesses. A certain girl from the Transkei who had come in a taxi and they had come to deliver her at her place. That is, she was my neighbour's child. She said that the very same combi, that is the E20 from Springs, was driving in front of them and the combi proceeded towards the church and as she was getting off at her place, when she was calling out to her mother to open up for her, she saw a man wearing a police coat getting out of the car during the night of the attack. And she is the one who woke up the other neighbours to come and quell the fire and she appeared in court. We went to the inquest twice.
There was a policeman who was accused number one who said that during the detention of my husband that he was going to kill my husband together with his children. And my husband submitted a statement to Priscilla Jana. That was in February when he said that and I was at court with this person during the inquest and my husband was in detention at that time. When we went back for the second time the Magistrate took out some papers and said he was sending the papers to the Attorney-General. He put them in the, inside an envelope. He sent them off and three months lapsed without me getting any feedback until I had to go to Priscilla Jana to try and find out as to what the response of the Attorney-General was.
And I came across Hanief at the office. I could not speak to Priscilla Jana and they said the matte was being investigated. And I asked as to who the investigator was, because the policeman who had killed my husband, who was going to investigate that policeman. This disturbs me, because I want to know as to who killed my family and my soul will never rest. I will never be at peace with myself if I do not know as to who killed my family. We had come to get use to the harassment by the police, but I do not believe that they had to go to an extent of killing members of my family.
MS SOOKA: Mama, at the time when the Magistrate at the Inquest Court told you he was sending the documents to the Attorney-General, did he tell you at that hearing whether he found anybody responsible for what had happened?
MRS THOBELA: No, he never addressed me in that respect. He just said he was sending the documents to the Attorney-General.
MS SOOKA: In the years that have passed since then you have heard nothing?
MRS THOBELA: Absolutely nothing.
MS SOOKA: How old were your daughters at the time?
MRS THOBELA: Sonto was 21 years old and Zanelie was 19 years old.
MS SOOKA: Mama, there, were these Duduza matters, besides Joe Mamasela, there has been sometimes stories that there was another man in Duduza as well, who was responsible, but people seem quite scared of naming him. Do you know of this person?
MRS THOBELA: That is a very difficult question, because I always do not want to mention that name, because the people do not come to me, but when they have a conflict or an argument amongst themselves they keep on doing some name dropping and they point fingers at each other, that you got Zanelie and Sonto killed. And there is a person whose identity is being hidden. As a result I am not satisfied, because Valley did allude to the fact that my Mamasela had come to bring some arms and ammunition. And Valley was the Chairman of the COSAS at that time. At the funeral, that is Sonto's funeral, he was the MC. We are not getting any truth from these people and I would like the Truth Commission to investigate the matter further, because I believe they should speak the truth. Where did the grenade come from?
MS SOOKA: I think you know that there has been one set of amnesty hearings, but there probably will be more and so, perhaps, when this whole matter is over, we will be able to give you some story of what actually did happen and who was responsible, but the matter is still being investigated, but if there is anything that you feel you can share with us perhaps not here in this hearing, but separately, I would appreciate hearing that, because we are also interested in getting to the full truth. I have no further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Joyce Seroke.
MS SEROKE: Mrs Thobela, this is a painful story that you have just related to us. What I would like to know is that you have moved from that house and you have gone to another house. How is life now besides the bad memories of the atrocities of the past? Just your social life or life in general.
MRS THOBELA: No, I have had peace and quiet and after the release of President Mandla they never came to harass me and when the exiles came back I was not harassed any further. I am not afraid to point out that the police at Dunwater as well as Springs, they know as to who killed my children. Maybe if you could start the investigation amongst them, Malulekas, as well as Fourie. I would not like to mention the other ones, because I have no clarity or certainty as to how involved were they, if they were at all involved.
MS SEROKE: We thank you very much for having come forward with this very painful story. As my colleagues have already mentioned, that the matter is still under investigation.
CHAIRPERSON: We thank you very much for having come before this Commission. This is a heart wrenching story, because it has affected so many people, but we do believe that with time you will heal though your children will not be brought back from the dead. As you rightly pointed out that it is quite disturbing that the people or the perpetrators were collaborating with the people that we trusted, that is our neighbours or fellow Comrades. We do hope that even when you do get some evidence to the effect that these people that you know were involved in the deaths of your children, we do believe that you will find it in your heart to come to terms with whatever has happened and you can find it in your heart to forgive them, because these are the times during which we lived. The Boers were using us to turn against each other. So we hope that you find it in your heart to forgive them and come to terms with whatever has happened in the past. We have been through difficult times. We thank you very much for having come before this Commission. We shall notify you in due course of any developments in the investigation.