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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 25 March 1997

Location BLOEMFONTEIN

Day 2

Names DANIEL MAGODA

Case Number 732/96

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MR MTHEMBU: Mr Chairman I will call Mr Magoda.

ADV DE JAGER: I don't know whether somebody is now leaving as a result of what I said. If perhaps they could find out what happened to Mrs May, we will appreciate that too.

MR MTHEMBU: Mr Chair, with your permission and before this witness is sworn in, I have a request to make in order to curtail the proceedings, because the trend has already unfolded of what transpired on the 12th of February 1992. If perhaps I could ask Mr Magoda if he confirms the story as related by the three previous applicants?

DANIEL MAGODA: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR MTHEMBU: May I commence Mr Chairman.

MR MTHEMBU: Mr Magoda is it true that you have applied for amnesty?

MR MAGODA: Yes that is true.

MR MTHEMBU: With respect to offences which you have been convicted for, namely murder and robbery?

MR MAGODA: Yes that is correct.

MR MTHEMBU: To what term of imprisonment they sentenced you?

MR MAGODA: I was sentenced to 22 years.

MR MTHEMBU: You have heard evidence or testimony has unfolded before this Committee that on the 12th of February 1992 you and Mr Leeuw, Nkgwedi and May you attacked a farm called Stormberg and Mr Fourie, the owner of that farm was killed and robbed, as well as Mrs May who was in the company of Mr Fourie. Now in order to curtail the proceedings would you explain to the Committee exactly what role you played in the said attack?

MR MAGODA: I would say briefly that my participation was firstly in training in June 1991 ...(intervention)

MR MTHEMBU: No Sir I want you to tell this Committee the role you played in the attack and robbery of Mr Fourie and Mrs May.

MR MAGODA: The role that I played was that I was present during the time when we attacked them, where we attacked Mr Fourie and them, up to the stage where we killed him and we, comrade May and I took him and hid him behind the trees and were able to get into the car. Leeuw and I, and also Nkgwedi and the White lady and went to the farm, went onto the farm. That is where I also played a role in searching the property. We were all searching the property and we took whatever would have been of assistance to us as APLA and our members. And we also took the car. When we took the car it was after having searched the scene and we had tied up the White lady, we found the firearms, the two firearms, they were three including ours. We also took clothing and we took old coins. Thereafter we left the White lady tied up, got into the car and went back to Botshabelo. When we got to Botshabelo we, comrade Leeuw was driving and he, as our unit commander, said that these things were to be left in his care. I got out in the road where I lived and went home. I had a camera in my possession which I had found on the farm and a plastic bag with coins.

On the Friday I was at my brother-in-law's place at Zeeneng and I encountered my wife there who was visiting her brother. I had just arrived there, it was a matter of

minutes before the police arrived and they had already taken Mr Leeuw into their custody as well as comrade Nkgwedi and comrade May. We were then arrested and told to go back to my place where the police wanted to know from me where the camera and the coins were. I then took them out because I didn't really hide them, and we were then arrested. That is the role which I played.

MR MTHEMBU: What were you going to do with the camera and the plastic of coins that were found in your possession?

MR MAGODA: Mr Leeuw, my commander, said that these things should remain in my possession because the camera would sell quite easily and that would contribute to the money which we had also found there and was also going to be received from the sale of the car. I did not know where he was going to -where he intended to sell it at that stage and money was going to be sent to the organisation.

MR MTHEMBU: Sir could I take you back to the scene, other than ransacking the house of Mr Fourie did you do any other thing?

MR MAGODA: Yes I dragged the corpse, that is basically what I did.

MR MTHEMBU: Where did you drag this corpse to?

MR MAGODA: There were trees nearby where we had killed him, we dragged him out of the road and hid him behind the trees, comrade May and I did that.

MR MTHEMBU: Sir are you a member of the PAC and if so when did you join it?

MR MAGODA: I joined in 1990 when the PAC was unbanned.

MR MTHEMBU: Were you also a member of its military wing?

MR MAGODA: Yes I could say that because first I was a member before I joined the military wing.

JUDGE WILSON: He was a member of what before he joined the military wing?

MR MTHEMBU: He said he was a member of the PAC before he joined its military wing.

MR MTHEMBU: And when did you join this military wing?

MR MAGODA: I became a member in 1991, June 1991.

MR MTHEMBU: Did you receive any training?

MR MAGODA: Yes I received training from Mr Showa in June 1991 and also in November 1991.

MR MTHEMBU: What type of training was that?

MR MAGODA: We were trained by Mr Showa in the use of firearms and also operating grenades. He showed us how to operate them and also how to defend ourselves in case of attack.

MR MTHEMBU: Do you know of an APLA operation code named Great Storm?

MR MAGODA: Yes there is such a thing. Great Storm was an announcement made by Samelo Pama. It was a call that farms should be attacked.

MR MTHEMBU: Now when you went to attack this particular farm did Mr Leeuw inform you why this particular farm had to be singled out and attacked?

MR MAGODA: Yes. I would say what his explanation was that the farm belonging to Mr Fourie, since he was a reservist he was also a commander of a certain group of farmers and he thought that that would be where the arms were stored. That is what he told me.

MR MTHEMBU: Now the Committee has heard evidence that when you were arrested the police found the loot still inside the vehicle, but you have told this Committee that the camera and the plastic with coins were actually found in your

possession, could you clarify that issue for the Committee?

MR MAGODA: The things that were in the car were clothing and also some other coins. These are the things that were in the car.

MR MTHEMBU: Now what was your motive then in keeping the camera with you?

MR MAGODA: When Mr Leeuw left the camera - because he was in command he left the camera saying that he was going to come back to take this as well as the coins so that this camera could be sold and the money could then be used to assist the organisation in the liberation movement, the liberation of the Africans.

JUDGE WILSON: How many plastic bags of coins did you have?

MR MAGODA: I did not count them, but there were several.

JUDGE WILSON: Did you have all the plastic bags of coins?

MR MAGODA: No I did not have them all.

JUDGE WILSON: Why not?

MR MAGODA: The person in charge being our unit commander was the one in charge of us and I was merely following the instructions that he issued.

JUDGE WILSON: Yes but if he said you should be in charge of the coins and the cameras surely he meant you should take all the coins and look after them for him, not that the coins should be divided up?

MR MAGODA: I do not know what his thoughts were and I didn't give it much thought beyond that.

ADV DE JAGER: Did he give some of the plastic bags with coins to the other comrades to keep with them?

MR MAGODA: I did not see any other comrade being given a plastic of money.

MR MTHEMBU: Sir will you tell this Committee what is the

political objective that you sought?

MR MAGODA: Our objective was to reclaim the land so that it could be given back to its original owners, the African people.

MR MTHEMBU: As I see in paragraph 9.4 of your application, with due respect Mr Chair I am not that fluent in Xhosa but I can make out here that the applicant said that he hated White people, you say because that you have worked for Whites before and they played around with you and everybody. Now do you still share the same sentiments today?

MR MAGODA: No I do not feel the same way because it seems that there is a bit of compensation. I used to hate them before. There is a bit of reconciliation, and even when I attacked them it was not out of hatred, it was just to show them what we wanted as African people.

ADV DE JAGER: But if I understand the translation correctly we did this because we were oppressed and we hated White people, and also because they messed all Black people around. So here you said in your application in fact you did this because you hated White people and because they messed Black people around.

MR MAGODA: It must have been a slip of the tongue while I was writing the statement because I did it in a hurry. It is not that I attacked them because I hated them, it's that I hated what they did, because I worked for them for a long time, which reference to Whites. It was not that I hated Mr Fourie specifically or I hated Whites specifically, I hated what they did to Africans and to me as an African.

JUDGE WILSON: You said earlier in your application, paragraph 9(A),

"Due to circumstances I was living under, together

with my children under the apartheid regime I was full of hatred".

do you remember saying that?

MR MAGODA: Yes.

JUDGE WILSON: Furthermore in your application form where you answered the question as to what order or approval was given for you to commit this act, do you remember there was a question like that in the application form, who gave - that the order was given, do you remember that, that there was?

MR MAGODA: I do not understand the question very well, could you please repeat it?

JUDGE WILSON: In the application form there is a section ll(b) which says if the act was committed as a result of an order you should state, give particulars of the order that was given to you, do you remember that?

MR MAGODA: Yes I remember the - I was trying to explain the command which was issued by Comrade Jan Showa.

JUDGE WILSON: What you said was,

"The person issuing the instruction that we should go and attack the White person because he was treating Blacks badly and the plan had to be made with regard to him".

do you understand what I have just read to you? You said this person was to be attacked because he was treating Blacks badly, and a plan had to be made with regard to him. It would seem that you were talking here of a plan to attack a particular White person because he treated Blacks badly.

MR MAGODA: That was probably a mistake in what I was writing because no one was mentioned, it was not said go and attack Mr Fourie. The instruction which we received was

that White farmers should be attacked and Fourie was one of them.

JUDGE WILSON: Carry on.

MR MTHEMBU: Sir to take this issue further which was raised by Mr Chair, in paragraph 11(b) in brackets you said this person who gave that order that you should attack this particular farm was Jan Showa of the PAC, did in fact Mr Showa tell you or instruct you to attack this particular farm or not?

MR MAGODA: He did not specify which farmers. We received instruction from Mr Leeuw as our commander that we should go to this farm. He did not explain why we had to go there since the instruction that was issued was that we should attack farms and that was all. We could have chosen any farm but because I found that Mr Leeuw knew what we could find there and they referred to the fact that this man was a reservist and he was a commander and that we would be able to find things on his farm.

MR MTHEMBU: But did he believe that he would attain any political objective?

MR MAGODA: I do not know what he thought. We don't all think the same things.

ADV DE JAGER: This form was completed in Xhosa, is that correct?

MR MAGODA: That is correct.

ADV DE JAGER: Whose handwriting is on the form?

MR MAGODA: I am the person that wrote that.

And if you've written, as was put to you,

"The person issuing the instruction that we should go and attack the White person because hewas

treating Blacks badly and the plan had to be made

with regards to him, the person who gave that instruction was Jan Showa of the PAC".

You've written that in your own language, in your own handwriting?

MR MAGODA: Yes I wrote that. I am explaining that when I filled this form we were under pressure because it was near the closing date and I was unable to construct this in an appropriate manner.

ADV DE JAGER: But this isn't an ordinary mistake. It's a sentence and it makes sense. How could you make such a mistake?

MR MAGODA: It happens to me often similar to when I am writing a letter and somebody is talking nearby. I become distracted and end up writing what the speaker is saying.

JUDGE WILSON: Are you now suggesting that you wrote that down on the form because somebody near you may have been saying it?

MR MAGODA: There were many of us there at Goedemoed and we were all working in the same room at the same place.

JUDGE WILSON: You see earlier you had written, when you were asked about your justification for regarding it as political, the following

"The Whites took our land and our possessions from us as Blacks. We are not educated because of them, that is why we are taking revenge. I was fighting against the oppression of Blacks and taking back what is rightfully ours and was fighting for our country".

There you state political reasons with clarity. How is it that a matter of a few lines later you suddenly could write something that you are now saying had no connection with

what you did at all, can you explain?

MR MAGODA: (No reply)?

JUDGE WILSON: Very well.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Did you attend school?

MR MAGODA: Yes I am still busy with my education.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Up to what standard did you attend formal schooling?

MR MAGODA: I passed standard three on the outside and I am registered for standard four in prison.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Now at the time when you attended school, while you were still a young person up to what standard did you got to school, or does that embarrass you?

MR MAGODA: I got as far as standard three, I passed standard three when I was still young, but I did not reach standard four. I am currently busy with standard four now that I am in prison.

ADV DE JAGER: But at the trial the trial Judge found that you in fact at that stage was 40 years of age and that you have passed standard five, didn't you give him that information?

MR MAGODA: Yes it was a mistake on the part of the person that was writing the statement, because I passed standard three and that person wrote that I had passed standard five. It was not my mistake. I told that person which standard I had obtained at school.

MR MTHEMBU: Can I proceed. Mr Magoda paragraph 11(b) of your application form, when you wrote out what's contained therein, did you really mean this or you were just negligent in the manner in which you completed this application form?

MR MAGODA: It is a mistake because looking at it now that is not what I was supposed to have written. That was a

mistake on my part. Because it was done in a hurry, I wrote it in a hurry.

MR MTHEMBU: Are you fluent in - or can you read Xhosa well, if at all?

MR MAGODA: I would say that I can read it, but I am - I can't read that well. Something else that affects me is stress and it causes me not to be able to concentrate very well. When reading a book I sometimes sit and read the same paragraph over and over without comprehending what it says.

MR MTHEMBU: The content of this application form was it explained to you or you read it yourself and failed to understand what the form required of a person completing it?

MR MAGODA: No it was not explained to me because we'd filled these forms in a hall at the prison and there were many of us sitting there and when we had finished they were taken and people said that it was the official closing date, the cut-off date so many of them were collected and there was no chance for us to re-read what we had written.

MR MTHEMBU: But on your application form it was signed on the 25th of November 1996 and the cut-off date was the 18th of December and there was still time that your application could reach the Committee timeously.

MR MAGODA: Sir I would then say that the mistake was on the part of the person that had brought the forms to us to fill in because there were many of us in prison who were filling in applications. That is what the person said to us.

MR MTHEMBU: Sir what indeed is the political objective you sought to achieve?

MR MAGODA: I wanted to achieve the freedom of all people regardless of race or colour, all Africans. I wanted

freedom so that we can build up our country and go forward.

MR MTHEMBU: If the next of kin of Mr Fourie as well as those of Mrs May were present today, what would you say to them?

MR MAGODA: What I would say to them would be that we should forget about the past and reconcile and live in peace and build Africa together.

MR MTHEMBU: Do you have anything further that you wish to add?

MR MAGODA: Yes. I would like to rectify something. You see the death of someone is not that commonplace, but that is what disappointed me the most in my offence. I would describe it as such. But what happened, happened. It cannot be undone.

MR MTHEMBU: But how do you feel today about what happened happened?

MR MAGODA: I am remorseful about it.

MR MTHEMBU: Is that your evidence Sir?

MR MAGODA: Yes. I'd say that's all for now.

MR MTHEMBU: Thank you Mr Chair.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MTHEMBU

EXAMINATION BY MR MAGODA: Earlier on Mr Mthembu asked you about a statement that you wrote in your application, 9.A4, you said,

"We did all of this because we were oppressed and we hated White people and also because they messed all Black people around".

He asked you did you mean that and do you still mean it. You said you meant that yet then but you don't mean it now. What I want to know from you is exactly how did you feel then and how do you feel now? Do you still hate White

people, that's what I am asking you?

MR MAGODA: No. I do not hate them anymore. I did not hate them then either, but what I hated was their treatment.

MISS THABETHE: One more question. You deny the fact that you killed Mr Fourie because he was treating Blacks badly and a plan had to be made to kill him, why then did you kill Mr Fourie, can you tell that to the Committee?

MR MAGODA: Very briefly I would say that when we killed him it was not because he ill-treated Black people, it was the system that all Whites used to oppress Africans and treat them badly. As I mentioned I worked with them for a long time and they were doing bad things to me as well. The first bad thing that they did was that I was unable to be educated and know right from wrong according to a curriculum and syllabus and it is because of what they have done that I could not complete my education and I believe that if I was able to complete my education I would not have been in the position I find myself in today.

MISS THABETHE: Before you went to attack Mr Fourie were you aware that Mr Fourie ill-treated Mr Leeuw and Mr May before?

MR MAGODA: No. I heard about that afterwards.

MISS THABETHE: I beg your pardon I meant Mr Nkgwedi not Mr May.

MR MAGODA: No Mkgwedi did not tell me about his treatment. I only heard about that afterwards and it is the second time in this hearing that I am hearing about it.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MISS THABETHE

JUDGE WILSON: Thank you. I take it you have no re-examination?

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR MTHEMBU

JUDGE MGOEPE: Sorry. Just to come back to something, I remember something. Were statements taken from you by the police during the investigation, after your arrest?

MR MAGODA: Yes they did take statements.

JUDGE MGOEPE: And were these statements used at court?

MR MAGODA: I do not know whether they were used because the statement - I do not know if the police statement was used at court or not, because it was the first time I had been arrested and I did not know how the law operated.

JUDGE MGOEPE: I don't know whether you will be able to remember that. Was there, during your trial, was there any argument about whether certain statements were made freely or were made as a result of assault, or alleged assault?

MR MAGODA: No there were those - although I've forgotten the name of the chief of police who had threatened us by saying that he knows that we APLA people were people that were out to get farmers and that he would take us away and kill us and they would not know whether we escaped or not, and we would hear that somebody would be killed somewhere and not know how that person had been killed and we thought things like that would happen to us as well if we did not cooperate, that they would kill us and say that we were trying to escape.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Thank you.

WITNESS EXCUSED

JUDGE MGOEPE: Mr Mthembu the reason why I put that question to the witness is that I see a note here in front of me that apparently the venue, this gentleman was then the investigating officer in this case, according to this note he is going to fax certain material or important statements, statements whose admissibility was contested in a trial, and a trial was heard and all that. Will you please try to ...(intervention)

JUDGE WILSON: (Aside)....These are things about the missing money and what have you. This is the enquiry we made when we wanted information about what goods were found, what money, what was missing, R8 000 worth of goods, that's what this is about.

JUDGE MGOEPE: Will you just try to - in case such statements are returned, try to clear up whether there were such contestations or not.

 
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