SABC News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us
 

Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 26 April 1999

Location CITY HALL, EAST LONDON

Day 1

Names PILA MARTIN DOLO

Case Number AM3485/96

Matter VARIOUS FARM ATTACKS

Back To Top
Click on the links below to view results for:
+APLA +attacks

CHAIRPERSON: For purposes of the record this is a sitting of the Amnesty Committee in the East London City Hall. Today is Monday 26th April 1999.

The panel hearing the applications is chaired by myself, Denzil Potgieter, I'm assisted by Advocate Francis Bosman and Ntsiki Sandi. We will be hearing the applications today of Mr Lerato Abel Kgotlhe, amnesty reference number AM5619/97. Pila Martin Dolo, amnesty reference AM3485/96 and Lavuyo Kenneth Kuluman, amnesty reference AM1638/96.

Mr Mbandazayo, do you want to put yourself on record?

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson and Honourable Members of the Committee. My name is Lungelo Mbandazayo, I'm representing the applicants in this hearing. Thank you Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Mbandazayo. Ms Patel?

MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson. I'm Ramula Patel, leader of evidence for the Amnesty Committee, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Can you just give us an indication, is there one of the interested parties present at the proceedings?

MS PATEL: Yes Honourable Chairperson, the person present today is Cornelia Pienaar who is the wife of the deceased in one of the Ficksburg house bombing.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

ADV BOSMAN: Is that quite correct Ms Patel? The way I see it that Mr Roos was a deceased before the incident?

MS PATEL: Mrs Pienaar is subsequently remarried.

ADV BOSMAN: No Ms Patel, I think you misunderstand me, Mrs Pienaar seems to be the victim, her former husband passed away before the incident appeared.

MS PATEL: Yes, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thank you. Mrs Pienaar, I think perhaps you want to just confirm what was just said?

MRS PIENAAR: I am Cornelia Getrude Pienaar and I am the victim in the Apla attack.

CHAIRPERSON: And what is your position, do you oppose the application or what is the position?

MRS PIENAAR: We oppose the application.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well. Yes, Mr Mbandazayo, is there anything else that you wanted to place on record before we proceed to hear the applications of your client?

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson, what I want to place on record is what is regarding the incident especially the one at the house of Mrs Cornelia Pienaar. Chairperson, there may be a slight confusion regarding the houses. There were two houses attacked by two groups and according to the information is that the house of Mrs Pienaar was attacked with a - there was a hand grenade which was used and according to our information is that Mr Dolo applied that initially he was charged for this incident regarding the house 143 3rd Street and it seems as if according to information when I consulted with them in fact Mr Dolo was not in that, he was not the one who was in that house, Mr Kgotlhe was in that house 143. So because they don't know the numbers and because Mr Dolo was charged, he thought that it was the house but now it transpires that a hand grenade and yet his group did not have a hand grenade, it was Kgotlhe's group that had a hand grenade.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you Mr Mbandazayo, that has been noted. Are you starting off with the application of Mr Dolo?

MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes Chairperson, I would like to start with Mr Dolo the applicant followed by Mr Kgotlhe then Mr Kuluman but I would like to have direction from the Committee whether Mr Dolo's applying for two incidents, whether should I, when I'm leading him, take it all the incidents he's applying for, we'll deal with them and we finish them and thereafter we take Mr Kgotlhe?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes it would appear that that would be more advisable just to lead him on everything that he is applying for and we can take the next applicant.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson.

PILA MARTIN DOLO: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson.

Mr Dolo, the affidavit which is in front of you is also before the Committee. Do you confirm that the affidavit which is before the Committee was made by yourself and you abide by its contents?

MR DOLO: Yes I do.

CHAIRPERSON: If you're going to testify in English then you might as well take it off Mr Dolo.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, he is going to testify in English. Chairperson, for the benefit of the people who don't have the affidavit, I will read the affidavit if that's the case and go through it, thanks.

The affidavit by Mr Dolo reads thus:

"I, the undersigned, Pila Martin Dolo, do hereby make an oath and say that I'm the applicant in the undermentioned incidents, the facts to which I depose are true and correct and within my personal knowledge unless the context states otherwise. I was born in Uitenhage in KwaLabushe Township and grew up in the Eastern Cape. I was born 29 years ago and unmarried. I left school in 1989 doing standard nine and left the country to Botswana the same year. I joined PAC through Azania in 1984 and joined Apla in exile in 1989. As Apla operative, my general instructions from the Apla high command was to persecute the armed struggle with all means against the racist minority regime which was undemocratic and oppressive. The said armed struggle was in essence a guerrilla warfare during which we as Apla cadres had to seek and attack the bastions and minions of the then aforesaid regime. The ultimate objective of PAC and Apla was not only to topple the then racist minority regime but to eventually return the land to the majority of the African people. The bastions and minions of the then erstwhile regime were in terms of Apla perspective the members of the South African Defence Force, the members of the South African Police and Reservists in general, the farmers as they belonged to commando structure, over and above the fact that they occupied the farms from which we had to drive them away from so as to widen our territorial operation and base which was aimed at eventually consolidating, liberated and repossessed land. The White homes which were garrisons of apartheid.

My general instruction was to seek, identify and attack the enemy who was seen in the context of the above bastions and minions of the regime and also to train other cadres and command them in whatever operation that is being embarked upon.

Ficksburg House Attack - In consequence and in pursuit of the above stated objective during on or about the 4th December 1992 I commanded a unit of Apla cadres that launched an attack in a certain house..."

Mr Chairperson, as I indicated that it will be heard now, the change because it was not the same house he attacked, was attacked by the unit which was led by Mr Kgotlhe, but they attacked some of the houses which were in that area same night.

ADV SANDI: Sorry Mr Mbandazayo, maybe the applicant will have to confirm what you've just said?

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson.

MR DOLO: I do confirm it.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson.

"The aforesaid house was specifically targeted because

we had information to the effect that it was being occupied by the South African Defence Force and/or South African Police security personnel. We were a unit of four operatives ..."

Chairperson, that's another - four operatives.

"It was myself armed with R4, Mtate, the commander who was also armed with R4, Roger and Jabu..."

Chairperson, Scorpio was not present in this operation.

"...whom I do not remember how were they armed but they also had rifle grenades, M26 grenades and Molotovs.

We came from Lesotho side and we travelled by foot to Ficksburg. The firearms were in the back and were carried by myself. When we arrived at Ficksburg we divided ourselves into two units. One unit was headed by myself and the other unit by Mtate."

Mtate, Chairperson, if I may, Able Kgotlhe was the applicant, Able Kgotlhe.

"My unit was to attack the abovementioned house and the other headed by Kgotlhe was to attack another one. During the said attack on the house we fired shots and threw Molotovs or hand grenades and we retreated. As we were retreating shots were fired at us and we fired back. As we fired shots, retreating, reinforcements of what we believed to be police arrived and we then ran towards the Ficksburg by-pass road. At the by-pass our unit saw a vehicle around the by-pass and we believe that it was part of the reinforcement of the police and we fired at it and threw grenades at the vehicle. When I was on the Lesotho side I fired the rifle grenade so that we can successfully retreat and escape and we retreated and escaped successfully. I do not know whether anybody was injured."

MR DOLO: Sorry for correction again, the ...(indistinct) fired upon the Lesotho side, we were still inside South Africa at that time.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mbandazayo, what we want to suggest is you go through the affidavit, you indicate all of the changes as you client has done now and you have done before. Once you're done you must get your client - you've got to lead him on the exchanges and get him to confirm under oath what you have been advising us from the bar informally.

MR MBANDAZAYO: I'll do that Chairperson, okay.

"I do not know whether anybody was injured."

Dunside Farm Attack - During about the 19th December 1992 I was commander of Apla unit that launched an attack on a homestead on a Dunside Farm. We were a unit of three. It was myself as a commander armed with R4, Roger armed with pistol and Jabu armed with revolver and we also had a stick grenade. We took taxi to this area and it was after there was a report that there's a patrol in that no other attacks would take place, we arrived during the day and we made reconnaissance and we waited until it was at night. We went there on foot and we jumped the fence of the farm and advanced to the house. Myself and Roger were to launch the attack and Jabu was to act as our security. When we arrived there was light in another room and the other one was dark. I deployed Roger on the dark room for him to throw grenade. Myself I went to the room which had light on, the grenade was thrown and I started shooting and others followed suit. We retreated whilst shooting and we withdrew to our RV area which was the Lesotho mountains where we waited before the attack. I subsequently learned that a person died in this attack. I am presently awaiting trial in regard to charges that are sequel to the above stated evidence. The charges are murder on the 19th December 1992 at Dunside Farm of Leon Pretorius, attempted murder on the 10th December 1992 at Ficksburg by-pass upon Otto Coetzer firing an automatic machine gun on a motor vehicle wherein he was seated. I respectfully submit that my application complies with the requirements of the act and that I have made full and proper disclosure of my involvement in the abovementioned operations."

Chairperson, as been indicated by Chairperson I'll lead the applicant then to these corrections. I'll start at page 6.

Chairperson, I understand that page 6, regarding the house, he has already confirmed it here?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Paragraph 11, Mr Dolo do you confirm that you were four operatives and that Scorpion was not present in this incident?

MR DOLO: I do confirm.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Also at paragraph 17, we also wanted to make correction regarding ...[intervention]

MR DOLO: Paragraph 14 - my unit was to attack the abovementioned house.

MR MBANDAZAYO: So you confirm that it was not the house number 143, 3rd Street in Ficksburg that you attacked?

MR DOLO: Yes I do.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Do you also confirm in paragraph 17, do you want to make correction that the grenade was not fired on the side of Lesotho, was fired while still in South Africa?

MR DOLO: Yes.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Now Mr Dolo before we finish, can you help with the affidavit? I've read your affidavit, can you in your own words as you indicated, how did you come to the decision that you must go to Ficksburg at paragraph 9 and attack those houses?

MR DOLO: Firstly, the area of Lesotho was under Mtate command. Myself I was stationed at Sterkspruit, I was the commander of Sterkspruit. Within a two weeks period prior the attack we have a liaison with Mr Mtate and then he asked me to go to Lesotho to help him there. Then I went to Lesotho. Whilst I was there at Lesotho I was stationed at - I forget the name of the place, but closer to - not far away from Ficksburg on the side of Lesotho. I was there for one week and a couple of days prior the attack. Mtate brought the guns and ammunition and the grenades and then we planned the attack and we decided that we were going to divide ourselves in two units, one unit headed by myself and the other unit headed by him. Then we went to the side of South Africa. After we crossed the river we then divided ourselves into those respective units. My unit was leading the other unit. We went closer to the mentioned house. I went to a third house from that house and then I waited for his unit to reach that house. We were also having information that all those houses around South African border closer to Lesotho were security personnel houses, they were after all acting as the first line of defence so as Apla and as our politics of the PAC that the police and the army were the pillars of apartheid and then that they wanted to be targeted. So the question of hitting that house was not specifically planned that we have to hit directly that one. We were there to attack anyone with the information we had was that all those houses were there were of security personnel's houses.

So the unit of Mtate attacked the house mentioned and mine attacked the third house from that one from the left hand side. With my unit, I was myself and Roger, I was armed with an R4 and a rifle grenade. Roger, I'm not sure what he was armed with but I think it was pistol, if not it was an Uzi which was a sub-machine gun. He was also having the grenade with him, an M26. He didn't use it in that house. After all, the main attack was going to be launched by the unit of Mtate. I was to see what was happening and then we attack any house whilst they were attacking if there was nothing else of any kind of counter-attack.

So we retreated. Whilst we were retreating, there was a counter attack and then we went to the road, the main road. At the main road there was a bridge. We rushed ourselves to the other side of the bridge. At the other side of the bridge that was then that I launched the rifle grenade and thereafter there was a car or then the cars that keep on passing the road but there was one car which we suspected to be of reinforcement. That was the one whereby I instructed Roger to throw the grenade to it but he missed the car with the grenade and there were also some shots which we fired to the car and thereafter we retreated to the Lesotho side.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Now Mr Dolo, did - what exactly that Mr Kgotlhe told you when he called you from Sterkspruit where you were in charge? What exactly did he tell you about these attacks, what was the purpose, what did he tell you the purpose of the attack?

MR DOLO: It was part and parcel of our operations first to target and attack the police, the South African Police and the security forces and the Defence Force members at that time so with the information he was having was that those houses there were acting as the first line of defence, of which people who were deployed there will be security personnel so such people and their houses were part and parcel of our targets as they were acting as the garrisons of the then apartheid State so such places then had to be targeted so we didn't have any problem with that.

ADV SANDI: Sorry Mr Dolo, did he tell you where he got this information from that the houses were occupied by security personnel?

MR DOLO: No, it was not part of my duties to question that.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, if there's no question on this then I would like to pass to the Dunside so that I can be finished leading him.

Mr Dolo then can you tell the Committee about the Dunside Farm attack? Why did you decide to attack the farm, the Dunside Farm?

MR DOLO: As Apla cadre and as a PAC, under Apla we stated out openly that what forms of the targets had to be targeted. We mentioned the question of the Defence Force, South African Defence Force, we mentioned the question of the SAP and the Reservist and general, we also mentioned the question of farmers, specifically White farmers, they were belonging to the Commando structures. So and also on the question of those farmers who were closer to the Lesotho side, it was part of our plan, our strategy that to drive them out of those areas as to widen up our area of operation and also by driving them out of those areas we would have a lot of land to operate to and by that after all we'll be having our land back that was the first start of how we come about to attack first that place and secondly, during that time the police, I think it was a day before the attack or two days before the attack, the police, I think it was Minister of Justice at that time, who uttered a statement to the media that there will be no more, any other attacks against farmers during that area, that area of Lesotho, Ficksburg area. So we also carry out this attack to undermine them, to show them that we can do whatever.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Now can you tell the Committee who decided on the attack, was it yourself or were you given instructions to do that?

MR DOLO: I decided myself.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, for the present moment that's all I wanted to lead the applicant on, thank you.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MBANDAZAYO

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Mbandazayo. Ms Patel have you got any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: I do thank you Honourable Chairperson. If you could just grant me a moment? Thank you.

Mr Dolo can you briefly just tell us, when Mr Kgotlhe called you to say that he needed assistance can you tell us when you went over to Lesotho who all was present there and what the chain of command was amongst the group there?

MR DOLO: Pardon, the last part of it?

MS PATEL: What the chain of command was amongst the group in Lesotho where you went over to assist Mr Kgotlhe.

MR DOLO: Okay, as I stated after all that Kgotlhe was the commander of the Lesotho side and myself I was in charge of the Sterkspruit so we did have liaison, you can see from the map the area themselves that they are so close to each other, so we did liaise the two of us and then after two weeks prior the attack I did go to Lesotho.

MS PATEL: So are you saying that you and Mr Kgotlhe, whilst you were in Lesotho, would you and he have been at the same level of command in terms of your structures, would you have been at the same level.

MR DOLO: Well, there's no problem with that of course yes, but it depended on the area, I was in his area so he is the one that knows the area better than me. He had information of which I did not know of the target and other things so the whole of the responsibility lay with him, lay with him after all.

MS PATEL: Okay and who all was present there?

MR DOLO: I mentioned ...[intervention]

MS PATEL: Who assisted in these operations that you have testified to?

MR DOLO: I mentioned Roger and Jabu.

MS PATEL: Okay.

MR DOLO: Who were part and parcel of the operation.

MS PATEL: Okay and who else?

MR DOLO: Nobody else from my knowledge, I don't know from his side who was helping him or not but I mentioned those people, I was the ...(indistinct) operation. Even the time I was there during that two weeks I was with those people so there was no one else.

MS PATEL: Okay so you're saying that from your unit that went over to Lesotho from Sterkspruit you took Roger and Jabu with you?

MR DOLO: No I met them that side.

MS PATEL: You met them there?

MR DOLO: Yes I went there alone.

MS PATEL: Okay and who else was present in Mtate's group when you got there besides Roger and Jabu?

MR DOLO: If they were others they were not there at that house I met them. At the house I met them it was Mtate, Roger and Jabu.

MS PATEL: Okay, so when the planning was done for these operations how was it decided who would go with whom?

MR DOLO: The plan was there already, they needed an empower and during that time a lot of our people was at Sterkspruit, I was merely also dealing with the question of the training so there were no people to take care of that time and also there were no other operations to carry on because the area was readily classified by that I mean the area was so - the police would patrol the areas closer to Ficksburg, the areas of Zastron and the area - what is the other side of Sterkspruit? It is Zastron, I think it's Lady Grey, so there was no need for other operations during those areas so I decided then to go and assist.

MS PATEL: I'm confused. You decided to go across or Mr Mtate asked you to come across?

MR DOLO: I said first we did have liaison and then secondly we agreed that I would go to assist him then I said after two weeks prior the attack I did go to Lesotho.

MS PATEL: Okay and you said the reason you went over there was a planning place already and they needed manpower, yet you didn't take any members from your armed unit from Sterkspruit across to Lesotho, whoever assisted you in the operations were people who were there already?

MR DOLO: Yes, I didn't take any member, he needed my involvement, he needed a second person who would command another unit.

MS PATEL: Okay. Can I just ask, Roger and Jabu are code-names?

MR DOLO: Yes.

MS PATEL: You don't know their proper names?

MR DOLO: No I don't know.

MS PATEL: They're not any of the other applicants who are present here today?

MR DOLO: They are not here.

MS PATEL: Okay, alright. You got Mtate at the planning place. What did he say to you in terms of the plan, what information was given to you exactly?

MR DOLO: It's the one I mentioned already, that of those houses there were the first line of defence meaning that those houses were occupied by security personnel.

MS PATEL: Can I just stop you there for a second, did he say that all houses in that street were occupied by security personnel or were specific houses targeted?

MR DOLO: Well, as a military personnel myself from my general understanding would be that the houses that will be manned to the border area, those houses would act as a first line of defence so such houses will be occupied by security personnel as it was the case after all in South Africa. I think it was generally that all parts of South Africa which bordered with other countries, such houses will be occupied by security personnel, that was my general belief, as a security personnel.

MS PATEL: Okay, what did you base that general belief on?

MR DOLO: As I see it, it's the first line of defence, it means if there will be any launch, attack against South Africa, such people have to go through such places, so such people have to have a knowledge of a security, it would have to be knowledge of measures to take in such incidents so such people become security personnel.

MS PATEL: And this is an assumption that you are making, this wasn't based on any reconnoitring that you would have done of the area, it's not based on any other independent information that you would - I 'm just trying to establish what your source was?

MR DOLO: Well it doesn't need to be based on anything, it means that if I was a general, or I was a person to plan for South African Defence that's what I will do, that was what was happening in South Africa after all.

MS PATEL: So you're saying basically that you assumed that because that was the first line of houses on that border area that that would be occupied by security personnel?

MR DOLO: Yes, I did assume but in this case as I was assuming, the person who had the better information for that was Mtate not myself, I was not there at Lesotho.

MS PATEL: Sorry, would you grant me a moment please? Thank you Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Patel.

Mrs Pienaar, is there anything you would like to specifically ask the applicant? I will also give you an opportunity at a later stage if you would like to testify?

MRS PIENAAR: What I would just like to say is that I don't understand that two houses were attacked because on that specific evening only one house was attacked and that was ours and I would also like to say that next to the fence there are no police houses or security houses and they were all in town area and my house was a private house it was not a police house, it was our own property so all the police houses are further inland, in the town area.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Dolo, I would just want to put what Mrs Pienaar had informed us now to you for your comment. Mrs Pienaar indicates there was only one house that was attacked at that time in Ficksburg. Have you got any comment on that?

MR DOLO: I said after all from my application that we attacked more than one house, that is meaning to say two houses and the house mentioned in this paper was the one which was attacked by unit of Mtate and we also as I mentioned that the time we were retreating from the other side of the bridge I did launch a grenade launch and then it did explode. We don't know whether from the house or whether it hit anything but it did explode when it touched the ground and after it was very dark at that time.

CHAIRPERSON: So you're not sure about the fact of how many houses were damaged but there were these attacks that were launched?

MR DOLO: From the grenade launch?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR DOLO: No I don't know what happened.

CHAIRPERSON: And then the second aspect that Mrs Pienaar has referred to is that there were no police houses as she had put it in that first group of houses but that the police houses only started further down, further into the block. Have you got any comment on that?

MR DOLO: Now I will have it. Firstly from my assumptions of that first, the houses closer to the border area generally would be security personnel and then secondly the information I had was that those houses we went to attack were occupied by security personnel.

CHAIRPERSON: Mrs Pienaar is it the only aspect which you wanted to say?

MRS PIENAAR: Yes at this moment, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, was there anything further that you wanted to say?

FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, just a few aspects I'd like clarity on, Honourable Chairperson. I'm sorry Mr Dolo, I didn't catch your earlier evidence. Did you say that - sorry, how many other houses in that street do you say you attacked besides which you don't know might have been effected by the grenade that was launched once you reached the bridge?

MR DOLO: We attacked two houses, one which is mentioned and then the second one.

MS PATEL: Okay, is that the third house from the left hand side that you refer to, is that the third house from Mrs Pienaar's house?

MR DOLO: I think so.

MS PATEL: Okay and can you give us more details as to how that house was attacked?

MR DOLO: As I mentioned, the purpose of my unit there was partly also to act as a security and also to be engage the enemy, meaning to attack any house whilst the other unit was attacking and due to the fact that it was very dark and the incident happened a very long time ago and that the person have been in quarantine for quite a period of time in prison so I did, I couldn't say from a human factor that well, exactly what happened to that house but what I knew is that we didn't have the Malatov, by Malatov I mean petrol bombs and then secondly we didn't throw any grenades. What we just did there was to just to fire with the guns which we were wielding.

MS PATEL: Okay. You heard Mrs Pienaar say that, you know, she denies that that ever happened, that that third house that you refer to, that that house was ever attacked on that night?

MR DOLO: Well I'm not here to argue with her on that. Maybe she also denied that we did also launch a grenade launch.

MS PATEL: When you got to that specific area, that street, was any specific reconnoitring done on that evening before the attack was launched again?

MR DOLO: During the day, myself I was stationed with two other guys and then the other will come and go so I'm not aware of whether I was there in the reconnaissance during that time but from the information I had was that reconnaissance was done days before the attack so exactly that day he was there in the reconnaissance, I'm not aware.

MS PATEL: Okay, so you say did Mtate tell you that they reconnoitred the place days before the attacks?

MR DOLO: Yes.

MS PATEL: What else did he tell you?

MR DOLO: Like what?

MS PATEL: In terms of the specifics of the reconnoitring or what did they see?

MR DOLO: As I mentioned that we will go - okay there was a specific route we had to use, to infiltrate the enemy and the road to ex-filtrate from the enemy, then that was part of the briefing also or part of the reconnaissance that they did. I was informed of it.

MS PATEL: I'm asking did Mtate tell you what they specifically saw in that street when they were reconnoitring?

MR DOLO: He told me that those houses around that side of South Africa were houses occupied by security personnel meaning that maybe there are SAP people there or SADF members there and also other security people.

MS PATEL: Can you recall whether he would have told you that those security persons were in fact seen in that street when they were reconnoitring a few days beforehand?

MR DOLO: I take it he knew the area better than me and he would be of help to answer that but from my side I said he did have information up to such a length of knowing that really there were security personnel around that area.

MS PATEL: When you were there that evening of the attack did you see any military personnel or security police in that street in that evening?

MR DOLO: Well the time that we retreated there was a return fire from an automatic gun.

MS PATEL: Can you tell ...[intervention]

MR DOLO: From one of the houses there, that's when we decided to launch a grenade launch. There was a return fire from an automatic gun.

MS PATEL: Was it closer to the third house that you refer to that you attacked?

MR DOLO: I think so, I think it was very close from the houses which we were attacking and after I launched a grenade launch there was nothing after that, there was no return fire and that was then we decided to cross the river.

MS PATEL: Okay, can you just to give us an indication in terms of the area, how far from the houses were you when you launched the grenade?

MR DOLO: I was at the bridge from the road, I take it you know the bridge from the road?

MS PATEL: No, I've never been to the area.

MR DOLO: From the bridge to the houses I think it will be plus minus 250 metres, plus minus.

MS PATEL: So it's quite a distance?

MR DOLO: That's quite a distance but from a grenade launch it's effective to stand from 300.

MS PATEL: Okay. Alright, just to move off that incident to the Dunside Farm attack. Can you tell us, was there any reason specifically why that specific farm was chosen or was it just that it was a farm and it was armed by a White person?

MR DOLO: Well we don't need any specific reasons to attack White farmers as they were part and parcel of these Commando structures and who also occupied our land. Our mission politically was to drive them out of those farms then militarily it means we have to execute them in such attacks, by attacking them so there was no specific reason but from the military point of view, when you did an operation, you go for reconnaissance then you have to hit the enemy where he relaxes, you have to take the enemy by surprise. So as I mentioned that prior the day of the attack there was a media statement from the Minister of Defence or the Minister of Police during that time who uttered such a statement that there will be no more other attacks against farmers, specifically in that area so we carry out the operation to show the enemy that we can do, we can continue with the armed struggle, nothing will stop us and secondly, if we were to carry out such operations in such a situation, we then have to go and look for targets, of which we will see them as will be very effective for such an operation and then it will be easy for us to carry out such attacks so that was then we come across such a farm.

MS PATEL: Okay and you stated that the decision to attack this farm was taken by yourself?

MR DOLO: Yes I did take it myself. As a commander, yes I had the authority to do so.

MS PATEL: Okay, you say that you were assisted by Roger and Jabu, is this the same Roger and Jabu who were members of Mtate's unit?

MR DOLO: Yes they were based there at Lesotho.

MS PATEL: Okay so how was it possible for you to make a decision on your own to attack this farm if you were still based in Mtate's area of command?

MR DOLO: Well Mtate at that time was not around, I think he was at Sterkspruit and I think he was arrested there at Sterkspruit so I was the one who had to take over because I acted as his second in command.

MS PATEL: Okay. Alright, thank you Honourable Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL

ADV BOSMAN: Just one question to clarify, Mr Dolo. The house which is mentioned in the first incident, the 143 3rd Street which you say Mr Mtate attacked. Do you know why that particular house was singled out for the attack?

MR DOLO: I will say maybe because it was part of the route we took, that it was the first house maybe we come across because whilst I was leading the advance I was disturbed by dogs in that area then I have to keep on dodging from dogs because they were advancing on me so we added up, have to pass to that house and when they were coming back they decided to maybe attack that one. Further information get it from him why specifically he attacked that one.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you. Thank you Chairperson.

MS PATEL: Honourable Chairperson, if I may for the record confirm that it is in fact the first house in that section.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Dolo, to just get perhaps a clearer picture, of your authority as a commander of an Apla unit, do I understand the position correctly, at that time did your organisation have a specific general policy or approach towards security forces, White farmers, these categories of people that you've referred to in the sense that they were regarded as legitimate targets for attack?

MR DOLO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: For your struggle?

MR DOLO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Now when it comes to the specific target, what was the authority of the commander.

MR DOLO: You mean the one which is mentioned, the houses which was attacked?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we can become specific in a minute I just wanted the sort of general situation. Was it - perhaps I must ask you so I can just understand, was the position that within that broad approach, broad policy of the organisation it is left to the commander to identify a specific target falling within the categories that we've referred to?

MR DOLO: The initiative is that of the commander, it is absolutely from the commander's point of view to target where the specific targets or for that specific area to attack any house, the initiative is left to the commander as we were waiting ...(indistinct), because we were not waiting ...(indistinct) whereby something has to be - the orders have to come from the higher echelons specifically, that is to go and attack this specific target.

CHAIRPERSON: So provided it is within the ambit of the general targets if I might put it that way, the commander on the ground is left with the specific authority to take the initiative?

MR DOLO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And from your understanding of the basis for these attacks were they attacks of this nature where either Mtate or yourself took the initiative to attack specific targets falling within the general category?

MR DOLO: Well such attacks I believe were taking place all over the country but there will be other specific attacks whereby they will need approval from the higher echelons.

CHAIRPERSON: But in your instance and that of Mtate?

MR DOLO: Yes in our case as also commanders of those areas we did have authority to carry out and further to that we will liaise with our headquarters in Transkei, brief them of what happened, depending whether you do it prior to the attack or after the attack.

CHAIRPERSON: So if you hadn't liaised prior to the attack you would report on the details of the attack and the outcome of the attack and so on?

MR DOLO: Yes, that's what we will do.

CHAIRPERSON: In these cases what happened, were there any prior reports or subsequent reports or what happened?

MR DOLO: In the case of the house which was attacked I

...(indistinct) that it did inform them prior the attack because he was the person who travelled to Transkei and even after all as I was saying that in the time he was arrested at Transkei so I don't know whether he was there to report the incident or what but in my case of this one, of the farm, I did report after because at that time that I was not there and I was left alone to take the initiative and I had to do something and if you can see even from the dates this one is from the 19th and the other one was on the 10th of the same month.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, of December. Just remind me, which one was the 19th?

MR DOLO: The 19th was the second one, the farm.

CHAIRPERSON: The farm.

MR DOLO: Yes then the other one was house.

CHAIRPERSON: The houses was the 10th?

MR DOLO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mbandazayo have you got any re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, there's only one I would like to stress, there's only one, it's in terms of chain of command.

Can you tell the Committee what position were you holding in terms of the command structure? We know that there were commanders on the ...(indistinct) unit, commanders - regional commanders up to the last person to the director of operations where some of the instructions were coming from and where you were reporting. Which position were you holding?

MR DOLO: I was the regional commander of Mtate Section or Mtate region which comprised the areas of like Sterkspruit and surrounding areas of it. Zastron, Lady Grey, they were all under my operative.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Do you know which position was held by Mtate?

MR DOLO: Mtate was having the same position for Elisewood, the whole of Elisewood.

MR MBANDAZAYO: That's all Chairperson, thank you.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MBANDAZAYO

CHAIRPERSON: I just want to clarify one issue. When you report in the case of a farm attack, when you reported on the attack itself, who did you report to?

MR DOLO: I would report to Letshlapo.

CHAIRPERSON: What was his ...[intervention]

MR DOLO: He was the Director of Operations.

CHAIRPERSON: Director of Operations. Thank you.

Thank you Mr Dolo, you can stand down.

WITNESS EXCUSED

 
SABC Logo
Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
DMMA Logo
SABC © 2019
>