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Amnesty Hearings

Type 38 MR HLOBO, AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 27 March 1997

Location BLOEMFONTEIN

Day 1

Names THAMI BETWELO HLOBO

Case Number 1009/96

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MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, Members of the Committee, the second applicant is Mr Hlobo. He is also Sotho speaking. May he take an oath please.

THAMI BETWELO HLOBO: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR MPSHE: How old are you at this moment?

MR HLOBO: 32 years.

MR MPSHE: Mr Hlobo you heard the evidence given by your co-applicant Mr Matela?

MR HLOBO: Yes.

MR MPSHE: Do you confirm the evidence given by Mr Matela?

MR HLOBO: I confirm his evidence Sir.

MR MPSHE: Inasfar as it relates to the incident.

MR HLOBO: Yes I confirm his evidence in totality Sir.

MR MPSHE: Were you a member of the ANC at that particular time?

MR HLOBO: I was a member of the ANC and I was also a marshal inside the movement.

MR MPSHE: What were your functions as the marshal of the ANC at that time?

MR HLOBO: My work includes when we have meetings we should always let people be in order, and that's the work of the marshals that if there's one comrade who has passed away we collect monies for condolences. That includes part of the work of the marshals.

MR MPSHE: Were marshals put in particular ranks? In other BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

MR MPSHE 39 MR HLOBO

words could we say there was a senior marshal, a junior marshal or a commanding marshal?

MR HLOBO: Marshals are put in different positions, we have commanders respectively in terms of seniority and in terms of their duties.

MR MPSHE: Now where do you place yourself in terms of rank as a marshal?

MR HLOBO: I was always a committee member and I was also helping the committee in executing their duties, and I was just a general marshal working under general instructions.

MR MPSHE: Did you have any powers as a marshal to give instructions or orders or any directive to members of the ANC there?

MR HLOBO: I had more power to give instructions in my work as a marshal, particularly our leader who was Manong and Mr Mayekiso, they would come to me and give me some instructions to carry on.

MR MPSHE: Are you saying that you would receive instructions from the ANC leadership, amongst others being Mr Manong and Mr Mayekiso?

MR HLOBO: That's true Sir.

MR MPSHE: And what would you then do with the instructions given to you?

MR HLOBO: (No interpretation given)

MR MPSHE: On the date of the incident, September 1990, when the four White persons were killed, you were present at the scene.

MR HLOBO: I was present Sir, in that incident.

MR MPSHE: Can you tell this Committee your actual participation in this incident?

MR HLOBO: To explain to the Committee about my role, I

BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

MR MPSHE 40 MR HLOBO

took an iron rod and hit those people whilst other people were assaulting them I was taking part also.

MR MPSHE: And when did you arrive on the scene?

MR HLOBO: The car arrived whilst I was still there, that is when we heard the car parking next to the shelter house. We went out of that house and then we found people already gathered and they were surrounding a car near that house. Then I paved my way to go right in the circle next to the car, then it was a Pulsar make, inside were two people at the back and then in front was a man and a woman and I asked them what do you want in the location? Then the people who were at the back told me that they were looking shebeens and they were looking for women. Then I asked them again as whether they have guns, then they told me that they don't have guns. Then I gave instructions that the comrades should kill those people.

MR MPSHE: Can you repeat the instruction you gave?

MR HLOBO: Whilst I was still at the car I asked these people ...(intervention)

MR MPSHE: No, no, the instruction you gave you say (repeats line in Sotho)

MR HLOBO: I gave instructions that the comrades should kill those people.

MR MPSHE: In what capacity then were you giving this instruction to the comrades?

MR HLOBO: I was giving instructions while I was still with those people who were killed. I was on the scene at that time.

MR MPSHE: Let me put it this way. Why did you give an instruction or an order that they be killed?

MR HLOBO: I was able to detect that the situation in which BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

MR MPSHE 41 MR HLOBO

we were in at that time was tense, the situation was tense, because in Kothlanong township in Odendaalsrus Inkatha Freedom Party was coming to attack the comrades, then I took it that these people are coming to attack the comrades, because they came to Mashengoville and they are coming to attack therefore I decided that we should attack them first before they attacked us because they came at night, they came around eight o'clock at night.

MR MPSHE: Now when did you know that your area was going to be attacked?

MR HLOBO: It was on a Monday because some of them - there were men, three men who came to me who were members of the Russian gang that on Sunday was a meeting at Mr Sithole's house together with the Russians and the Inkatha members and they told me on Monday around three o'clock.

MR MPSHE: Now let us go to - let us concentrate on the time before the incident, before the killings, before the killings did you have any information that the area was going to be attacked?

MR HLOBO: Yes I did have information that our area is going to be attacked.

MR MPSHE: And how did you know, how did you receive that information? In other words who told you and where was this told?

MR HLOBO: I got this information on Wednesday at seven o'clock, I was at home, one of the comrades came to my house who is Mabanjo, then he said to me Comrade Thami people have been attacked in the squatter camps, I was still eating at the time, then I left my food there then we went outside. When we arrived outside I asked him as whether he has a whistle then he said yes he had it, and then he pulled it

BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

MR MPSHE 42 MR HLOBO

out, I took his whistle then I blew it, because we were the comrades. The way we were calling each was using the whistles, and those who were near came and we gathered. Then we discussed among ourselves that we should go to the squatter camp. Inside the squatter camps we saw people gathered around armed with dangerous weapons and the police were there. That's where we took a decision then.

MR MPSHE: Yes Mr Chairman. Mr Matela testified about a meeting which was addressed by Mr Manong before the incident, do you know about that?

MR HLOBO: I know fully about that meeting that Mr Manong was briefing us about informations before, days before this incident.

MR MPSHE: Were you present at that meeting addressed by Mr Manong?

MR HLOBO: I was present Sir at that meeting.

MR MPSHE: What was said at that meeting by Mr Manong to the members?

MR HLOBO: Mr Manong explained that because there are people coming to attack us and who are Inkatha members we should protect ourselves in whatever way possible to protect ourselves. That is the address he gave at the meeting.

MR MPSHE: Now in this, pertaining to this incident, what did you as the marshal who gave an instruction that the people be killed, what did you expect to gain or to benefit?

MR HLOBO: I am asking that you repeat the question Sir.

MR MPSHE: What did you expect to gain or to benefit or to achieve from the killings of the four people?

MR HLOBO: By doing so I didn't look any kind of a benefit but to do that I did that to protect the community at Kotlhanong in Odendaalsrus. I did that to protect the

BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

MR MPSHE 43 MR HLOBO

citizens in an area under the tense situations in which we lived at that time.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Just a minute, Mr Interpreter am I correct in saying that in the language that the applicant is using, using now, his own language, you use one and the same word for the English words defend and protect?

INTERPRETER: Yes it's one word.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Thank you.

MR MPSHE: Did you expect any change by these killings?

MR HLOBO: I looked that there should be change by the killings which we executed so that the government which we lived under - by seeing the changes in which we were living in as we were living under oppression in previous years under that former government.

MR MPSHE: Mr Hlobo how do you feel now about this incident?

MR HLOBO: At this moment I regret for what I did. It was not by intention, it was because of the situations in which we found ourselves at that time, but I regret in regards to this action.

MR MPSHE: If given an opportunity to say something to the next of kin of the victims what would you say to them?

MR HLOBO: If I am given the opportunity to meet the next of kin of the victims I would ask forgiveness as I am before this Committee about the atrocities which I have committed.

MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, thank you, that is all.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MPSHE

JUDGE MGOEPE: How far was the nearest White residential area from the township where the deceased were killed?

MR HLOBO: It's a distance Sir, it's quite a distance, it's a distance Sir.

BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

JUDGE MGOEPE 44 MR HLOBO

JUDGE MGOEPE: You are not able to indicate how many metres or kilometres?

MR HLOBO: Which place do you mean Sir?

JUDGE MGOEPE: The distance between Kothlanong and the nearest White residential area?

MR HLOBO: It's quite a distance Sir, it's quite a distance.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Ja how many kilos or you don't know, if you don't know just tell me you don't know? But if you know just indicate how kilos it is.

MR HLOBO: I cannot estimate how many kilometres Sir.

JUDGE MGOEPE: How many minutes walk?

MR HLOBO: About 30 minutes because you should need transport either by bus or by taxi, you cannot use your feet to go there, it's quite a distance by taking a walk.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Now the 30 minutes is it by taxi or by bus, as opposed by on foot?

MR HLOBO: It's about 30 to 20 minutes because it's quite a distance Sir as I have already explained.

JUDGE MGOEPE: 20 minutes by what, on foot or by bus?

MR HLOBO: By foot Sir.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Thank you.

ADV DE JAGER: You in fact gave the order that they should be killed?

MR HLOBO: Yes I gave that instruction that they should be killed.

ADV DE JAGER: And as a marshal you were not entitled to give orders?

MR HLOBO: I got powers to give orders at times, but at the time I didn't get an authority to give an order for those people to be killed.

BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

ADV DE JAGER 45 MR HLOBO

ADV DE JAGER: So you decided that on your own?

MR HLOBO: This decision for these people to be killed I did it on my own Sir.

ADV DE JAGER: Did you see Mr Matela before the killing?

MR HLOBO: I didn't meet Mr Matela before at that time, I only met him during the proceedings of the case as we were attending this case together. That is where I met him.

ADV DE JAGER: Now you gave the order, did you participate in the killing?

MR HLOBO: Yes I did play a role, a major role in the killing.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR MPSHE

JUDGE WILSON: You may go, thank you.

WITNESS EXCUSED

BLOEMFONTEIN HEARING AMNESTY/FREE STATE

 
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