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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 28 April 1998
Location ALIWAL NORTH
Names LUYANDA GQOMFA
Case Number 0949/96
Matter Zastron Mayaphuthi bridge shooting
The appearances are as in the previous matter, except that Mr Mthembu is no longer appearing, Mr Mbandazayo appears for the applicant. He is the only applicant in this matter. Mr Chairman may the bundle that's been prepared be marked "A", and I have put up a second bundle of namely photographs as "B". They indicate the points of relevance in my view, relevant to this particular amnesty application, and my I place on record Mr Chairman, that I have conferred with my learned friend, Mr Mbandazayo, who has taken instructions on the bundles, particular bundle "B", and by consent the bundle "B" can go in as being an accurate reflection of the various points which are depicted on those photographs.
MR PRIOR: I omitted to say that. Yes, his affidavit will been "C". Mr Chairman, may I just for the record place the following on record, the notices were sent out, the section 19 notices, to victims. The deceased in this matter was a Mr Smit who died during this operation, during this attack. His widow was informed, and she obtained the services of Mr Jan Wagenaar, attorney with Wagenaar, Muller and Du Plessis of Pretoria. My I place on record, Mr Chairman, that Mr Wagenaar had certain difficulties. This matter was set down for hearing for last week, but we accommodated him and set it down for today onwards. I, he is not present and I phoned him at the luncheon adjournment and he indicated that he would not be appearing because of certain difficulties he had had in obtaining funding of his client through the Legal Aid. Mr Chairman, I don't think this is the time to go into the merits of what Mr Wagenaar told me, I accept what he has said to me there. I know that there was some difficulties that he had, or some objections that he had voiced to the TRC, and those were taken up with the relevant officers there. Suffice to say that he is not appearing. His client has been informed about the position and there is no appearance from the widow of Mr Smit. I indicated to him nevertheless that this matter as in the case of the other matters would be postponed to hear evidence from the PAC or APLA High Command, and he indicated that at that stage he my well have been properly instructed and my appear at that stage, but that decision would be made at a later time. The other victims that were involved was a Mr Deon Maartens who was in the vehicle driven by Mr Smit, unfortunately he has since passed away in a motor accident unrelated to this event. A Mr A Franzsen who is present today and a Mr B Maliehe, he has been given notice, but we've had no feed back from him as to whether he wants to appear in the matter or not. The implicated person is as in the other matter, Mr Mphahlele and he is present. Thank you Mr Chairman.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Chairman, I will leave the other paragraph, I'll start with paragraph 10 which read thus, "With regard to this incident, it was on the 18th of March 1992 during the white referendum. I was deployed in Sterkspruit by Letlapa Mphahlele and the late Temba Ntapayi. On this day Happy came to me with the ...(indistinct). They took me to a certain place in Sterkspruit where plans were made to get a car for an operation"
Now, just before I finish the paragraph I would like you to explain to the Committee what transpired when Happy Letlapa Mphahlele came to you and it was decided that you get a car for operation and what type of operation was that one?
MR GQOMFA: Shortly I can say, on that particular day, it was on the 18th of March 1992. It was a day of the referendum as Mr Mbandazayo had said. When this Comrade came, Comrade Happy, and the other two Comrades, he was the third one. There was another Comrade who was providing us with transport that was at Datsun. It was blueish in colour, greenish in colour.
We took the direction to Zastron, from Sterkspruit to Zastron. I think we took the right-hand route. We stopped at about 10 - 15 kilometres. We alighted from the Datsun, and the Datsun went back. After which a bakkie, Isuzu, came from the Biscuit Bakery. The colour was cream, the colour of the bakkie was off-white. There was only one occupant in that bakkie. We decided not to shoot the people who were in that car because we didn't have a reason, we didn't have a grudge, we didn't hold a grudge to other Africans but we wanted their car. We had no reason to shoot at that person. All we wanted from them was transport. We wanted to use their transport. We took the car from him. We gave him a R20 note. We told them to go to the Police Station to report that the APLA cadres took his car. We ensured him that he would get his car in the same condition. We left that Comrade there.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Can you, Mr Gqomfa, explain to the Committee how did you approach him? Were you having your firearms pointed at him, how, can you explain to the Committee the manner in which you managed to take the car from him?
MR GQOMFA: What happened is this, this car was approaching us. There were three or four of us. We had our pistols. There was only one person who was holding a pistol. It was Comrade Mphahlele. When they came he shot in the air, the Comrade shot in the air. As he was an elderly person he was shocked and he stopped. That's when we took his car.
CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on, I don't know, I would like some guidance from the Interpreters, but it seems to me it might be better if the microphone was a little bit further from the applicant. Thank you.
"After this incident we went through the bridge that borders Easter Cape and Orange Free State. When we were about 5 - 7 kilometres from the bridge, we took a U-turn facing the direction we were coming from. We climbed out of the bakkie, that is where Happy or Letlapa deployed us. I was having an R5 rifle. Letlapa a 3.8 special, then Wacumzi 9mm pistol and Monde 7.65 pistol. Happy was on my left-hand side at almost about ± 100 meters of me. On my right-hand side was Monde with 7.65 pistol. Wacumzi Ben Tambuza was with 9mm pistol on the far right with the car, as he was the driver of the car."
Now, you are explaining in this paragraph how you were deployed, how you were armed. Can you tell the Committee, at the time you were deployed, were you aware what type of operation are you going to embark on in that area when you went there?
MR GQOMFA: Before we could go to that place we didn't know where the operation was, but as cadres we knew that if we were deployed inside the country, we knew what type of job we would perform. I'm not sure if you're satisfied with my answer.
MR GQOMFA: When we took the transport, we didn't know what we were going to do, but we knew that there should be an operation and the details of the operation. We only knew that we were taking the arms where we alighted from the vehicle.
MR PRIOR: Sorry, you haven't answered the question. The question was, at what stage did you become aware of the target. It's really quite a simple question. Do you not understand the question? I'm just trying to help, because your own lawyer is asking you the question and you seem to have difficulty answering it.
MR MBANDAZAYO: My question is, at what stage did you become aware of the target. You have explained to the Committee that as a soldier you were aware that there is an operation which was going to take place. Now my question is, tell the Committee at what stage did you become aware of the target?
MR GQOMFA: It is like this, we got to know about the operation when we taking the guns. We were not told about the target, because according to the nature of the operation - as there were cars that were going up and down, he with was the one who would tell us about the ambush. He was the one that was going to shoot first and the car that he would be shot at that be the one that would be identified as the target.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Can I explain to the Committee, you talk about the arms, you became aware when you were taking the arms. Can you explain to the Committee this process, at what stage did you have to go and take arms, was before you took the vehicle, the bakkie, or after that? Can you explain to the Committee?
MR GQOMFA: When we were taking this gentleman's transport, as we came using this bakkie, we were approaching the road to Zastron - to Sterkspruit, but still in the Transkei area. It's where we met with this bakkie, the one that took us back to the place were we took the vehicle. That's where we got this ammunition from this bakkie taking them to another bakkie. It's where the briefing took place.
MR GQOMFA: As this Comrade was also the Commander of the unit and the Director of the operation that same time. We were on our way to perform an operation, that was going to be an ambush, that's the type of operation. As he would be the Commander of unit, he would be the one who would spring the attack. Automatically when he starts shooting we would follow
"When Letlapa shot we shot this car. It was a white Toyota Corolla 16V. There were four occupants in the car. This car stopped. Three of the occupants climbed out of the car and ran away. One did not survive. When came close to this target so we find this person. Van was pointing a firearm to him. Letlapa came and said we must shoot him and I shot him - Mr Chairman - I shot him with an R5 rifle in his chest. After that Letlapa shot him in the head with .38 pistol. After finishing we petrol-bombed the car with all it's contents, then we left the scene."
Now, you are saying in this affidavit there were four occupants of the car and they ran away. You also said in the affidavit one did not survive. Can you explain that to the Committee, what do you mean by that?
MR GQOMFA: What I mean is this. Our aim was to kill everybody in that car except the African who was there, but unfortunately the way they were doing these things they could - it shows they were trained people, more especially the two of them, the whites. That's the people I had my focus on, but they were so fortunate that they escaped. We didn't have a problem with the African, the third one was there, we got him there. There was no chance for him to survive, because that would be a clear betrayal. If we would let him live whereas we went there for a operation. That will mean taking our struggle two steps backwards.
MR GQOMFA: As the car was facing the Sterkspruit direction, this African was just across the road just between the transport and the fence, he was in a sitting position, he was sitting on his buttocks facing the car, because as we were approaching him he was looking at us, he was facing us.
MR GQOMFA: I'm not sure whether he was injured or not, but there was another African who was there, then Comrade Ben, the one who was pointing a gun at him, because when we saw him sitting down there he was with Ben pointing him with a gun.
MR GQOMFA: We could see his problem. Firstly he was not yet militarily trained, he was not yet used to the firearms and maybe as he was still fiddling with the gun, with the weapon. He didn't even know how to use it, maybe the cassette from the firearm fell. He was not in a position to shoot him at the time.
MR GQOMFA: Let me put it this way - can the speaker please repeat the first part of the answer? As there was a plenary session at Umtata for members of the High Command, we were told that we should make sure that our operations are different from those of criminals. That is why we decided to burn the car - it was not part and parcel of the plan that we should take their cars, but we were after there lives as they knew the nature of our battle from long ago, from the time of our ancestors. They knew that the enemy was powerful. That is why we were forced to take over in the battle, because our great grandparents were defeated. It is because their firearms were so powerful and there's were outdated. Irrespective of how armed are you, there is nothing that you cannot take away from the nation, it's the power to go on. The fire to go on in your battle, you can take the firearms, but you can not take the fire, the burning spirit from the person to go on, the fire.
MR PRIOR: But you could have left the car there and not taken it. Why was it necessary to burn it, that's what I'm trying to understand? You didn't have to steal it, but that would have shown that you weren't stealing anything. Why did you have to burn it, that's what I'm trying to understand?
MR PRIOR: I wouldn't be asking you if I did? So I really don't understand. You didn't have to steal the car, you didn't have to steal anything, you wouldn't have been seen as criminals, that's what you said. You wanted to distinguish between yourselves and criminals?
MR GQOMFA: I said to you white man, the directive that we got is that our operation should be unique, it should be different from purely a criminal, therefor if we involved the element of fire - and another thing is this, as we are fighting the powerful enemy as I have already referred you to the history of our great grandparents. If the nation can make fire it's automatically obvious that nation can liberate the country. That's why we decided to destroy everything that belongs to them.
MR GQOMFA: After we had finished, after we had accomplished your mission we went back driving in a car. We abandoned the car on the other side of the bridge. We went to the bus-stop, that's where we were waiting for the car. We had out debriefing there, because even this other Comrade was there because we were staying at different places.
"The transport we were using as a getaway car was a bottle-green Datsun 1600. In this attack one person died. The Commander of this operation was Letlapa."
Can you explain the transport you were using as a getaway car was a bottle-green Datsun. What do you mean by that? Did you have a getaway car? Can you explain this paragraph to the Committee, paragraph 14?
MR GQOMFA: It is like this, when we left the scene of the operation we moved to the bus-stop where we were going to meet. The other Comrades that I was not staying with, they were going to take the firearms with them. As I was staying alone I would take a taxi, that's why I am referring to a getaway car.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Gqomfa, what else do you want to tell this Committee? Anything that you have left out regarding this incident, what happened during this operation? Is there anything maybe you have left out, you want to mention it to the Committee?
MR GQOMFA: There's one thing I would like to clarify concerning this operation. I'm sure everybody knows the way we were oppressed as a nation, more especially the Africans. There are many things that took place, more especially the Africans at large, things that were ...(indistinct) by the Government of the day. If people can remember there were even laws that were passed where the Africans would be placed in the reserved areas, the remote areas. With the aim of surplus labour for the farmers and the other industries that were in there. And another purpose was to make sure that they subsidise the wages of the migrant workers. In order for them to control the influx of the Africans, as they made the Africans strangers in their own land, they were saying that the Africans cannot stay in this land because the land was too hot and they cannot go the Heaven, because Heaven is too far also. The industrial areas called BIC or RIC were established, Border Industrial Corporations or Reserved Industrial Corporations. There was a law that was passed that a white man will always be a manager and a black man will work under him, but when you look at this thing, this person was actually managing the oppression of the Africans, because the Africans, the aim was to keep the Africans away. We were doing those operations, my political understanding is that we were doing those operations due to those reasons, those factors. Concerning the families of the deceased, it would be painful if they are not here today. I sympathise with them because of such actions, because when a person dies, it's quite a big thing, and we know that it's very easy to destroy a life of a person. It's very difficult to bring the life of a person back. I would request the gentleman to pass that message to the families, the mother and the children and the relatives. I shall end there.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PRIOR: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Are you saying - I hear you saying now at the time that you killed Mr Smit there near the Mayaphuti Bridge that you have the same feelings for him, or did you have no feeling for him at that time - I just want to get this clear in my mind - at the time that you killed him, did you have those same feelings, but you were just carrying out our instructions, or did you have no feeling for him because of your political objectives, beliefs and your ideologies?
MR PRIOR: At the time that you fired into his body with your R5, while he was sitting there, did you feel, well, look he's also a human-being, I sympathise with them, but I'm doing my job as a soldier, or did you have no feeling for the man when you shot him through the body? I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.
MR GQOMFA: Let me put it this way. My feeling was that I was very angry. How? First of all, is that the two people survived. If they can lead - I'm an African, my life had no value in this country. Anyway, that today, as an African, my life is in their destiny. What I had at that time, is what I'm telling you. That's what happened at that time.
MR LAX: Sorry, we're having great difficulty hearing the translation. There's a lot of feedback. Solly, I see you at the back there trying to sort something out. The feedback is really quite difficult to hear what the translator is saying.
I just want to know at that time, were you simply carrying out the orders of Letlapa Mphahlele when you shot this man sitting on the ground, or did you do so because you wanted to kill him, as a white man you saw him as the enemy, you had hatred towards him, you had no respect for him? That's what I am trying to distinguish - were you simply carrying out an order, or are you saying because of your political beliefs or feelings towards the white oppressor, those were the reason why you shot and killed him. Do you understand what I'm driving at?
MR GQOMFA: I ...(indistinct) problem about this white which you are using, but let my try and accommodate you as you understand the way you do. Firstly, there is a difference between hatred, killing a person because you hate him, because we hate him as he is. There's also a difference when you kill a person because you associate him and at the same time he takes part in the situation at the time. When I explain it further about your question whether a white, we were not killing this person because we hated him as a white person per se because the nature of our struggle was not a racial struggle, but the orientation of whites is that because they were the ones who were killed, they thought that it was a racial struggle, because we didn't define in any ...(indistinct) because her or his colour as it is written in our books that you do not hate the "sjambok", but you hate the man who is using it. You can't say that you are hating the "sjambok", not the person who is using the "sjambok", because if the "sjambok" is just laying down there, it is harmless, but the source of pain is the person who takes that "sjambok" and hits you with it.
On the question of obeying orders, in each and every operation - I'm sure Mr Lax is aware of this, because it seems as if he has a military background - that in each and every operation there should be an order. An element of order was there and also an element of commitment.
MR PRIOR: He was killed, Mr Smit was killed, are you saying because he represented the oppressor, or what the oppressor stood for, or is that not close? You say you never killed him because he was just a white man, you killed him because of something else, was he part of - did he represent the oppressor to you in that situation?
MR GQOMFA: Mr Chairperson, let us put it this way, I would like you to follow me in all these angles. I've given you the political background and the historical background, that firstly, politically, how was this person a victim, that he was the manager of the unjust laws.
MR GQOMFA: Of unjust laws. I'll go back, I think I have explained that when you take this back from the forced removals when the land was taken from the Africans by people like you at the time, we were taken as people who did not belong here. We were Bantu's and we were taken to the Bantu areas or the so-called reserved areas. This South Africa was for the whites. Even if you stayed twenty or thirty years, or you were born in that area, you did not belong there. If you were Xhosa speaker you would go to Transkei or Ciskei, if you were Sotho speaker, you were taken to Qwa-Qwa. What happened is that the whites tried that they were - there was a competition at the time of black unskilled labourers, because they were also unskilled labourers. But because the capitalists who were building the factories, they found out that the pressure that was exerted by whites because these people were supposed to be given high wages, because of their status - there is something that they call the colour-bar. They say "my kleur is my val" - that my colour is my status. The African whether he is qualified, he will remain a Kaffir. They said that these people had to be taken to the reserved areas so that they cannot come to South Africa, so that they can build industries in the areas that these people are staying, or near to them, because there would be a surplus of a work force and they would get low wages. That is an exploitation, because the capitalist was more interested in profit. A white man was supposed to be in a managerial position. Even when a black person is educated, but a white man would be a manger. When I am saying that they were administering the unjust laws, they were administering the influx laws. The question would come now, that at the time the apartheid law was crashed, the law was crashed in the books, but practically it was not removed. As the Africans were not fighting against apartheid per se, but were fighting against our land for the whole nation. I don't know whether you understand it.
On a military point view, the time I was killing these people, these people were trained personnel, even though before the operation I did not have their profile, because it was not part and parcel of the recognisance of the target.
MR PRIOR: You say although you never saw the profile of the people in that car, you accept that your superiors who had done the intelligence work would have had that profile that Mr Smit and his colleagues in that vehicle were all militarily trained, is that what you're telling us?
MR PRIOR: Four, and one was an African man - a black man. So we're excluding him, because you excluded him. The three other occupants, the white people that were in that vehicle, are you saying you accepted that they were militarily trained?
MR LAX: It doesn't answer what Mr Prior was putting to him, and he himself in his earlier answer implied that the people who were his Commanders in the attack and who had done the reconnaissance would have been aware, that's how he put it, they would have been aware of the profile of these people, and that they were militarily trained, that's how he put it. So, that's why Mr Prior asked him did he know that that was their profile - he said "no". The next logical question was, did you assume that they were militarily trained, and that's the answer we're waiting for.
MR GQOMFA: I'm saying that I did not know the profile of these people. What I was telling you was my understanding. Before the operation I was not given the background of these people, and as I have already said, I was not part of the reconnaissance of the target, but when I was shooting them at that time it was when I took a conclusion that these people were trained because of the way they were manoeuvring from the fire that was directed to them.
MR PRIOR: Well, on your version as you've put out in your amnesty application, and your affidavit, and the affidavits of the occupants of the vehicle that survived, it seems to me that these people at some stage just got out of the vehicle and started to run away, isn't that the position? Getting away from the danger, the shooting, is that correct?
MR PRIOR: Alright. It would seem from the photographs Mr Smit had at some stage been shot at the back of the calf, at the back of the leg - I think if you look at photograph, in bundle "B", photograph 47. Do you see that?
MR PRIOR: If you turn to photograph 10, that is the vehicle in which he was a passenger and where the people in the foreground are foraging in the veld according to they key, which you've agreed to, that is the position in which they found Mr Smit's body after he had been killed.
MR PRIOR: Yes, Mr Chairman, if you'll just give me a moment. Sorry, I'm looking at the wrong photo. Sorry, I can't make out point "G". Oh yes, sorry, that's the person on the right-hand side ...(intervention)
Please look at photograph 10. I want to just try and sketch the position to you, can you see there are three people together, close together and somewhat to the right-hand side there's a single person, or solitary person sort of crouching down? That point has been given as "G", where the body was found of Mr Smith. And where these three people are, that point has been marked "H". The Police found five 5.65 cartridges in that position. Did you shoot Mr Smith at least five times from that position, or near that position?
MR PRIOR: It's just, Mr Chairman, I don't want to make the mistake again that we made in Heidelberg’s matter where we found that the trajectory of cartridges was between eight and sixteen or eighteen paces, so it would be difficult for me to draw any conclusions from that. Did you shoot at anyone else that Mr Smit who was in that position - that is now after the people had gotten out of the car and are running away?
MR LAX: Before you ask him to do that, isn't it worthwhile finding out where he was on this photograph first and where he shot from, and then we'll move to the next phase, which is the killing of Mr Smit.
MR GQOMFA: This is like this, when we first shooting, I was in this other side. I was shooting the car and the people when they were coming out of the car, when they were running out of the car I was running after them.
"Three of the occupants climbed out of the car and ran away. One did not survive. When we came close to this target, we found this person."
MR GQOMFA: When they got out of the car, one of them got out and he was bread-falling and he met another one. I didn't see them when they were crossing the fence, jumping over the fence, but I saw them while they were on the other side of the fence, but at the distance they then ran away.
MR PRIOR: May I be of some assistance, Mr Chairman. In terms of bundle "B" at page - on the second page, page 2 of bundle "B", there's a measurement which says "from the burned out motor vehicle to the furthest cartridges". If one looks at photograph one, I think the further cartridge is marked exhibit - at "Z", that whole area, the distance is 1,76 metres. That may just give an idea the distance over which the incidence took place.
Can I move on, Mr Chairman. Mr Gqomfa, let me just try and understand, from the time that you started firing at this vehicle, had the vehicle got past your position, in other words, were you firing at it as it was moving away from you?
MR PRIOR: I'm just trying to understand you. Then people got out of the car, three people on your version, got out of the vehicle and then moved towards the fence and got through the fence, and ran away, is that correct?
MR PRIOR: Were you shooting out of the hip, or not aiming in particular at any specific point, or just shooting in their general direction - I'm just trying to establish that - as you were moving forward? Or did you stop, take aim and fire in their direction?
MR PRIOR: From what I understand, as you were moving forward, you changed your magazine, people were running away from the car that had come to a standstill. Did you continue -you said the black man was apart from the two white people, and you shot in their direction. Did you simply take aim at them as they were running, or did you just fire in their general direction, without particularly aiming at anyone specifically?
MR GQOMFA: Let me put it this way. It's not that I was aiming, because I could not aim at that position, I was changing a position. I was either in a hip or shoulder position. I was shooting as I was moving.
MR PRIOR: When you saw him for the first time, or when you got close to him, was he in the position "G" on photograph 10, that is where the Policeman, or the person is crouching to the right of the photograph? Or was he closer to the car when you first saw him?
If you can indicate to us and be of assistance, can you maybe mark on photograph 10 on your copy, where you found the deceased, or Mr Smit - I'm referring to him by that name, because he's the person that died - in relation to the burned out car. Are you able to do so?
MR PRIOR: Yes, I hear that answer, and the reason why I asked that question is that because we've seen the 15 points of attention that have been brought to our attention by APLA, that have been submitted in many of these hearings, and are you familiar as a trained soldier of APLA, with the 15 points of attention?
MR PRIOR: ...(inaudible) analyse that, Mr Smit as he was there, he had been shot, or injured, he wasn't going anywhere. You said he may well have had his hands up, in that circumstance was he not your captive or in your charge?
MR GQOMFA: My answer is that you must look at who wrote the 15 points of attention, under which conditions how are we adopting this, because the 15 points of attention are referring to the people in liberated areas.
"We found this guy sitting. Letlapa asked us why it seems as if we do not want to kill these people. I was ordered to shoot him. As the first clause in APLA code of conduct states, obey orders in all your actions. Honourable Commissioners, I regret to say that I shot the person and Letlapa finished him with a 38 pistol, shooting him in the head."
CHAIRPERSON: Would you say that you're being a pacifist and this act, you had to do it, as you had no alternative as the situation prevailed at that time. If you did not, you hope anything would have been possible.
MR GQOMFA: Everybody if you kill a person you do have that feeling that you have killed a person. And firstly the thing that we have killed people, we were not born as killers, but the oppressors forced us to do these acts and all of us, the Africans, we are a very peaceful nation. But these people forced us and we ended up being killers. When I'm saying that the consequence, I'm referring to the fact that this thing will torment me for the rest of my life, because I would have betrayed my conscience and my protocol confession.
MR PRIOR: We know now that Mr Smit worked at Frasers at that time, it now became Score Furnishers, but he was the manager of the furniture store in Sterkspruit and the other two gentlemen were also working there, Mr Franzsen and Mr Maartens. Mr Franzsen also worked at the furniture's and Mr Ben Maliehe was also working at the furniture's. You never knew that?
MR PRIOR: Sorry, just before that, before that incident when you shot at the Corolla 16 valve, I seem to recall you saying there were other vehicles that had - one vehicle or more vehicles had gone past before the shooting had occurred. Is that correct?
MR PRIOR: So, you've said to us that you were staying alone at this house, at Jozannas Neck, but you still haven't answered the question about whose house it was. Whose house was it that you were staying in - whose woozy or kraal or whatever?
MR PRIOR: I just want to - did you have any knowledge at that time that there was a unit in Jozannas Hoek? We heard evidence last week and earlier on that Martin Phila Dolo had a unit in Jozannas Hoek. Were you aware that close by to you there was a APLA unit?
MR GQOMFA: As I've already said one African, his rule was to drive. He was not trained to use a weapon. The other Comrade was internally trained. I was given an R5 because I was familiar with it, because I was coming from outside.
MR PRIOR: I just want to know I maybe used the wrong word "expert", but were you fairly competent at using that R5 rifle? I mean were you able to shoot accurately, was that - I mean there must have been a reason why Mr Letlapa gave you the R5, and not anyone else.
MR GQOMFA: The reason is what I've already told you, that one Comrade was internally trained. As I was familiar, because I was coming from outside, maybe that was the reason for them to give me this weapon because it was a powerful weapon.
MR PRIOR: I want to put to you finally as a proposition, that you had successfully launched this attack, this operation. You had managed to shoot up the vehicle, could have still burned the vehicle, you had injured Mr Smit. I want to suggest to you that you could have made the same political statement by leaving him alive that by killing him, because he could have conveyed the message to those authorities, to the people that - the political party to which he belonged. Do you agree with that, he could have given a more powerful message to them having survived this attack than being killed, as you killed him? In other words, I'm suggesting to you that you had an alternative, you had an option open to you, and it wasn't necessary to kill this person to achieve your political objective.
CHAIRPERSON: I think that I should make it clear that on each occasion when I have said today, "is that the applicant's case" and the applicant's attorney has agreed, it is subject to the reservation that if the further information becomes available, he will be entitled to re-open this case.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, may I likewise indicate that this matter also falls within the same areas as the broader allegation which has been investigated, and should anything be forthcoming, it would be presented.
CHAIRPERSON: It will be dealt with in the same way. It does appear that although we had what was treated as separate matters last week, it may well be that the same principle is involved in all of them.
MR PRIOR: You've now listened to the application of Mr Gqomfa in this matter, you followed the evidence that he has given. Is there anything that you wish to say, or any remarks or comments you wish to add to, or to say in respect of what he has told this Committee, regarding the incident that has ...(intervention)
MR FRANZSEN: Well, what I can say is, if we also had the same weapons to defend ourselves, then I think it should have been a different ball-game, but that was not the case at that time, and I can only say we were very shocked and devastated by what had happened on that specific day.
MR FRANZSEN: Okay. Okay, right, what happened was that we were on our way to Sterkspruit. We were approaching this junction where, Mayaphuti junction, and then we - from the position I was sitting, I saw the two people at the Mayaphuti junction, and as we went past, I just heard the gunshots and I ducked down below - onto the seat. And then from - I could hear there was something wrong with the vehicle ...(intervention)
MR FRANZSEN: That was the driver, Mr Maarten. And then we - as I said, well, we'll have to keep on. He said to us that he can't, he can't go further, the car's engine has been shot, and we pulled over behind the bakkie that was parked about 400 metres from the junction, on the left-hand side of the road.
MR PRIOR: In paragraph 4 of your affidavit to the Police which appears at page 26 of bundle "A", you said that you fell flat on the seat. Mr Marten reduced speed. You said something that you thought it was a Police roadblock. You said because you saw one black man in a Police uniform, it was like a camouflage type uniform.
MR FRANZSEN: And then we just moved up to the - where the car went slower, and we moved off the road on the right-hand side, and then I was looking to the back to see what was going on, and I saw the two people coming - running towards the vehicle from the bottom side, from the junction.
MR FRANZSEN: There were more shooting, yes, as they were running towards the vehicle. As I was looking in front of me, I saw the one black man in front of the car, standing right in the front of the - at the bonnet of our vehicle, pointing a 9mm pistol at us, and at that junction I was - I ducked again onto the seat when I heard the shot went off, and that is when Mr Maarten was shot through the finger. And then he said we had better run, we must get out and we must run away. So from there he went out of the car, went around the vehicle, I didn't know he was shot at that point, and then I followed him, left the door open to keep the door between me and the guy with the pistol, so I went on my - on my hands and feet, I went around the vehicle to keep the vehicle between me and the guy that was shooting, and I went for the fence and went over the fence and then we just ran off into the field. As the shots were firing, I was just rolling and going off like we were trained in the Army.
MR FRANZSEN: Afterwards, when we - I just saw him behind me, but afterwards we, in the conversation he said he thought, okay the same thing is going to happen to him, he will also have to flee for his life, and then he followed exactly the same as what I did, he did the same thing.
MR FRANZSEN: Yes, as we were carrying on moving away from the scene we went below the dam that was just to the, also to the left of the road and we heard a final shooting going on, and then the car burning. Then we saw the smoke in the window just coming out in the sky.
MR FRANZSEN: No, we were not close to any farm, we were moving in the field and going up to where we could meet the road again. I was actually - we were thinking of going to the farmhouse there, but I said it was too close to the shooting and maybe there's some more members of whoever shot at us - maybe took over the farm and they were hiding there as well waiting for their buddies to come along.
MR FRANZSEN: No, we had no idea what's going to happen there, because everybody at the shop were very friendly and nobody had indicated anything that there is danger, or has pointed out anything out to us there, nothing.
MR PRIOR: Just generally, a general question, how was the relationship between Frasers - your staff at Frasers and the community there - I want to know was Frasers a well supported business, or was it - did it have difficulties in selling its stock, or what is the position?
MR FRANZSEN: No, we had no difficulty. It was a very friendly staff, we were very helpful. Our aim was to train these people to uplift them and uplift the standard of these people - to eventually get them into the Management position, because that was the aim of the whole Rusfurn group at that point in time, was to get the people trained.
MR FRANZSEN: No, I've got no knowledge of his side of the story, I just heard what he was saying today, and my opinion was that I think he had also a chance in life to say yes or no, he wants to do this or he wants to do that.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Just one question, but just before I - just for clarity - just before I ask that, I would like to say to you that accept my sympathy for what you went through during that day, the 18th of March 1992, but just a few - you said to the Committee that if you had similar weapons it would have been a different ball-game. Can you elaborate on that?
MR FRANZSEN: Okay, to elaborate on that, I mean, if you take war, the two sides are fighting and they've got equal weapons or some is maybe more sophisticated than the other one, but at least the ones who are attacked has also got a chance to the attacker, and I'm saying, I mean, if we also had the same kind of weapons then we could have - it should have been something different.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Okay, maybe just to add to that, may I say for instance different ...(indistinct) any other person possibly it would have not been a different ball-game if, even if he had weapons or because they don't know anything about weapons. Are you trying to tell the Committee that you have a knowledge of using a firearm, or you were trained in using firearms?
MR FRANZSEN: It's the same size, Mr Chairman. It's the same size as it is now at this point, we've got a few furniture shops there, and a few supermarkets, a hotel, grocery stores and so on. It's quite a big community.
MR FRANZSEN: We've got still a white Manager, still working there, and as the other furniture shop as well, they've got also white Managers, and then furniture shops from other companies, they've also got still white Managers there.
CHAIRPERSON: Is this matter also going to be adjourned now to a date to be arranged and a venue to be arranged, conditional upon receiving the representation which the PAC have undertaken to make and any further which we may obtain of the people - implicated parties. I would like to stress that we would be extremely grateful to the implicated parties if they are able to deal with the question of the positions they held and the instructions they gave to the applicants and other young people who might have been convicted of offences which they were - which they committed what they believed to be in the interests of the Party and the Country, and if that is the position, we would like to clarify that as soon as possible, so from that point of view we would like the implicated parties who have been mentioned to realise just how important their contribution can be towards ensuring that the process is carried out as quickly as possible. Thank you.
Sorry, before we leave, could I on behalf of the members of the Committee thank Solly for what he's done, the translators for what they have done, the attorneys who have appeared before us, and all those in Aliwal-North itself who have done so much to make the hearings proceed smoothly, and in that we obliged to the Police Force for having made their facilities available for us and to the Correctional Services for having ensured that the applicants are here when needed, that their attorneys have had a chance to consult with them in matters of that nature. We are very conscious of all that all of you have done, thank you.