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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 14 June 2000
Names HUMPHREY LUYANDA GQOMFA
Case Number AM 0949/96
Matter ATTACK ON THE FAMR OF MR AND MRS MYBURG
CHAIRPERSON: We are continuing and we will now hear the application of Gqomfa, Kulman, Phila Dolo and Lerato Khotle and before I come to you Mr Mbandazayo, for the record I am Motata from the Transvaal Provincial Division, Gauteng and on my right is my brother, Judge de Jager, also from the Transvaal Provincial Division, Gauteng. On my left I have Adv Sandi from East London, Eastern Cape. Would the legal representatives put themselves on record?
MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson and Honourable Members of the Committee. My name is Lungelo Mbandazayo. I'm representing the applicant in this matter and I'm from Eastern Cape, East London, thank you.
MR COETZER: Mr Chairperson and Members of the Committee, it is the farm in Lady Grey, the name of the farm is Wilgerspruit. I apologise Mr Chairperson and Members of the Committee it seems as if it is the farm Fairview, Wilgerspruit and Moseley farm.
MR COETZER: As it pleases the Committee. I'll just get instructions from them. Honourable Members, Wilgerspruit was there personal property. The farm Fairview, a bakkie stood there that was burned. It was however not their personal property. If I can just address the Committee about the farm Moseley, I've got no instructions concerning that farm. I can therefore not tell the Committee where this fits in into the picture.
MS MTANGA: Chairperson, I'm Lulama Mtanga the Evidence Leader for the Amnesty Committee. I just want to add on what my Learned Friend has just elaborated on. According to our information, Wilgerspruit was owned by Mr Myburg and the farm Fairview was hired by Mr Fanie Schlebush, who's indicated as the second victim and he also owned the farm Moseley and in that farm, only a veld was burned, the property was not actually - the house was not actually burned and then in Fairview, a vehicle was burned and partially the house was also burned and both Fairview and Moseley were farms occupied by Mr Fanie Schlebush at that time. He was notified and the last time we contacted him, he indicated that he would be coming, but he had doubts and then we never communicated with him again, but he received a notification from us.
MS MTANGA: Chairperson these farms were initially categorised as chamber matters, but on the insistence of Adv Paddy Prior that these were and advice from some of the Committee members, that because the intention could have been to kill these people, because they attacked these farms at night not knowing whether there were people or not and on that basis they said these would constitute attempted murder if they were to be charged criminally and hence the decision was taken that they must be heard.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes, Chairperson there are four applicants but only three will be because Phila Dolo will not be featuring in this application because he was not involved in the farm attacks, he was involved in the Ficksburg area and they have already been heard, his application. What I think was somebody who was supposed to be here was Stephen Vusi Msidolo, who was involved with Gqomfa, but he has already been granted amnesty in chambers with regard to this matter.
MR GQOMFA: We were staying in Sterkspruit, our overall Commander was Mphahlele, since he was a Director of Operations, we were a unit that was based there. I think it was on the 18th of March, but I'm not sure about the date of this operation, but before this operation there was a township by the name of ...(indistinct) in Sterkspruit and what happened is, the whole week I was in Coville in this township and I would go to this farm to reconnoitre this farm to see what is happening, there were cars and the people that are staying there and about who was staying in the main house. On the day of the operation as there was an overall command, I was a Unit Commander - there was a Unit Commander by the name of Vusi Dolo. We went to this farm because we knew that there was nobody that day and the workers were going to be in the places where they were staying, so we attacked that farm on that day and then we went back to the base after attacking the farm.
MR GQOMFA: Our aim was to pressurise those people because we knew that the farmers were the backbone of the Government of that day, so they were supporting the Nationalist Government and they were not treating the Africans well, so we knew that the farmers were supporting that Government and there were farmers all over the country, so our aim was to pressurise those people in order for them to talk to their Government so that we can get what we wanted, that was our aim.
CHAIRPERSON: My question wasn't clear, I said - you said on this day you had petrol bombs, now I mean at this far what were you aiming? Were you aiming at the house or what were you wanting to throw the petrol bombs at?
MR GQOMFA: Our aim was to burn the house, the one that we burned, that was our main aim, to burn the house only, because we knew that there was nobody in the house, they would come back, the owners of the house would come back maybe during weekends but they were not sleeping there.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Now you have already indicated that you told the Committee why you attacked it, now you know that Mr Myburg would take it that, I don't know whether you knew who the owner is before you attacked the farm. Did you know the owner of the farm before you attacked it?
MR GQOMFA: I know that they worked very hard to reach at the point where they were. They tried by all means to have that house or to have their property, but what I can say is that out of all that happened, I would like to ask for forgiveness because we were doing that under the past situation, so I'd like them to forgive me, because I was not aiming at them personally because I did not even know them at the time but it was the situation of the time that led us to do what we did. So I'm asking for forgiveness.
MR GQOMFA: As I was able to go to that farm and to meet with the workers of the farm, I monitored the place. I knew that those people were not staying in that farm, maybe they would be there during weekends, but they were not spending the nights there, that is the information I got. We did not know where they were sleeping, but we knew they were not sleeping in that farm house.
MR GQOMFA: Yes, but we did not want them to be on those farms because when they came here they didn't have any farms, since we all knew the principles of the PAC, we wanted to get our land back. So we had to use force so that they can move from those farms because in those areas, it is where we were planning our attacks. So the principle of the PAC, we were putting it into practice so that we can get back our land, but not that we were attacking specific people, or them specifically, but we were looking at the farm in totality.
JUDGE DE JAGER: There was a bakkie or a motor vehicle burned at the farm Fairview. How far is Fairview from Wilgerspruit? I understand - if I heard correctly it's about 8 kilometres from the farm Wilgerspruit which you have testified about just now. Were you involved in another farm attack on a farm about 8 kilometres from there?
MR COETZER: Chairperson we would like to lead evidence regarding the extent of the damage. However I will leave it to the discretion of the Committee, if the Committee feels that this would be relevant to the proceedings.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Coetzer we've got a full statement by Mr Myburg. I don't know whether anybody would dispute it. It's part of the papers and if it's not disputed, we'll accept the facts set out in that full statement of his, so we wouldn't need oral evidence if nobody is disputing it.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. In that event Mr Coetzer, when we have the full statement and not disputed by anybody, we'll accept the statement and we would make our decision around the statement as well, having that statement in mind.
Mr Chairperson and Members of the Committee, I have just been informed that the Myburgs do not oppose the amnesty application and that from their side they forgive the applicant for the deeds that he committed. They understand that it was committed with an objective in mind and they also view it from that perspective, therefore there are no feelings of malice on their side toward the applicant.
CHAIRPERSON: This Committee is indebted to Mr and Mrs Myburg. The Committee had full sight of the statement. This is devastation to a family that has worked so hard in their lives and in the twilight of their lives they find that they have nothing. The Committee is indebted to them that they have big hearts that despite this, they have come to accept that this was not done against them personally, there was no malice and we say this is what we feel as a Committee, we are achieving something in this reconciliation and I could add to it that Mr Gqomfa also made a statement which was appealing to show the extent he would extend his hand towards the Myburgs. We are indebted to you. The Committee is grateful that at least in its lifespan they would find people who are as good-hearted as they are, even at this juncture when you look at them basically they have nothing. Thank you very much for that.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, it's not necessary. Just, I wanted to highlight just a few things, but Chairperson, it's not necessary in any event. In any event I had thought that I would make my submission when we finished the three of them, ...
MR COETZER: Chairperson, Members of the Committee, there was an attack on a farm by the name of Fairview during which a bakkie belonging to one of my clients was placed there. I'm not certain who the applicants are with regard to that matter, whether it is one person or two persons, but they are indeed involved then in the next application.