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Type AMNESTY HEARING
Starting Date 02 April 1998
Location EAST LONDON
Names ZUKILE MBAMBO
MR MBAMBO: Because I was called or they were told to return with me and had been sent a driver to drive for them because they were required to go to that church. It was said we must all go because they could not move from the church and come and pick me up, we had to all go together and then move together to, via that other way.
MS COLLETT: Now after you'd returned to Butterworth instructions were then given that you return to participate in three further attacks, at the Nahoon Dam turnoff, at Da Gama and at the Highgate Hotel, is that correct?
MR MBAMBO: The aims of the operations, firstly at Da Gama it was to hit that bus that carried the white employees going there too from East London, to hit that other bus that moves from King William's Town, a school bus carrying white kids from King William's Town to school here in East London, to hit the Station Bar there at the station at East London in town and the Highgate Hotel.
MR MBAMBO: As to whether the orders were in line with the policy is not the concern of the soldier given the instructions. As a soldier there is democracy but it is so limited, there are things you may not query, you simply have to do them even if you think they are wrong. If they have given you an instruction to do you must do so. Your duty is to execute orders, not to query them.
MR MBAMBO: We moved from Friday after having - having arrived at Mdantsane on the Thursday we moved from Friday morning. We put out arms in a bag, we moved to the Highway terminus, we boarded a taxi going to Mount Ruth. This taxi carries about five people and we too were five. When we embarked it was full, the driver came an he drove.
Along the way to Mount Ruth there was a place that used to be a nursery where people buy pot plants and trees as you are facing Mount Ruth. We told the driver to stop and alight from the car, truly he did so because he saw the guns we had pointing at him.
Our own driver tried to drive the car but it would not start. We then called the driver back to come and drive for us. We then proceeded to Da Gama. When we got there we noted that the bus had already gone into the yard. We turned back.
We used a black road behind the railway line going to that intersection going to the Nahoon Dam that joins the road we were using at the freeway. We stopped there waiting for that school bus that carries school kids. It did not arrive. We then realised that our time might have been against us.
During that process a panel van Volkswagen old kombi arrived, it had two white people who were men. As it was at the stop sign stopping there, Africa Kid Andile George alighted and shot at the minibus or kombi. As that process was unfolding we saw a black man who had been hit from behind.
He ran trying to go to Mdantsane station. We followed Kid so that he could come back into the car so that we could leave. We left the car at six about works and we gave the driver about R20 and told him to leave. We left and went to other ama Africa at the shacks at six.
MR MBAMBO: When we left there we went to the highway, it was late now. I would not remember the time precisely but it was quite late. When we got to the highway trying to get transport we realised that instead of highjacking a car let us use a taxi going to 14. We boarded this taxi with other people.
People were alighting along the way, along the way. When the driver was alone with us we pointed our guns to the driver and told him, commandeered the taxi in essence. The driver drove according to our instructions. When we were about near the corner of the old deport that is the no more a depot, a driver saw an oncoming kombi.
We went over the depot, next to the depot. That's where we saw a Ford Sierra that was a station wagon. It had stopped in a house that was a shebeen. We resolved to go and try to get that Ford Sierra from that house. We went in, myself, Africa Kid. I cannot remember the third person.
We forced the people to lie down and asked who the driver of the car was. He was pointed out and we demanded the keys and he told us the keys are at the room. We went with him, me and Africa Kid, to that room. There was one Africa at the door. In the room we told him that we want keys and he told him that we want keys.
Someone who was a police was there. We told him: "Guy we know you are a policeman but we don't want you to disturb us". Indeed he gave us the keys but because we had seen this policeman we kind of realised we would not reach our destination. Let us take this one so that they cannot follow us from behind thinking that this one may be hurt, the original driver of the car. Indeed we took him to the car.
At the yard of the house me and himself, he reversed the car out of the ...[indistinct]. Other Africans also came and we then left. We forced him out of the car near about Berlin. We left him there and we came back to Mdantsane and we filled with petrol at Mobil and we went to town intending going to the bar at the station in town but we went via Cambridge.
But when we were passing the Highgate Hotel we noted that the Highgate Hotel was full, kind of there was a disco thing on. We went to make that u-turn at the station, railway station and we came back. The car was now facing Mdantsane. Africa Dumisane Ncamazana was at the side of the hotel, he prepared the rifle grenade and he hit.
MR MBAMBO: The following day it was a Saturday, we awoke and left to see another Africa Sipho Fitjane at six. We stayed there the whole day. Late we returned to my house and slept at three, the place is at three.
The following morning, that is on the Sunday, we left trying to find a car. Late night that same night on Sunday we found a car. A gentleman was conversing with two ladies in a Honda Ballade, an old Honda Ballade. Other Africans passed and myself, Luvuyo our dirver we returned and I pointed the driver to alight. Luvuyo took the car and he went to the other Africans. I also followed after he got to those other Africans. We boarded the car and left to go to three.
We hid the car at a place so that we could see it from my house, we slept. The following morning on the Monday, that was the 28th of March, TNT left and Luvuyo our driver and collected the car. We waited for them near Gobusane. We boarded the car, slowly we went to Da Gama.
At Da Gama - we got there early, we passed - I cannot remember whether it's the second, first turn right, we turned waiting for the bus in order to see it appearing so that we could go behind it. That did not go according to plan because there was a car between ourselves and the bus. We went behind it following the bus and that car.
As the bus is required to stop because of cars moving past before going into the gates we had the chance to pass the bus and having resolved to hitting it with the rifle grenades. But we then discovered that no, this rifle grenade cannot be used because the distance is too close. There was this ultacation: let it be it with the rifle grenade or no, let it be hit by rifles.
Ultimately Kid and TNT alighted and hit these guns that they shot at the bus. After they had shot at the bus it was difficult for us to alight because we discovered that there were people that were hitting back. It was only later that we discovered that it was security guards who were escorting the bus and those waiting at Da Gama, they hit at us. We did not know because our commander did not tell us that the bus was being escorted by security guards. They hit back but ultimately we got the chance to alight and leave that car. It was myself and Africa Dumisani.
The driver was left behind but he also alighted. These two Africans who alighted first were fighting, Africa Kid was hit. During that process I saw Africa TNT falling. As the shooting was still going on I heard the helicopters swirling around. I knew that the helicopter was going to overpower us now.
As Africa Dumisani was hitting back at these Africans, I mean Afrikaners, I saw that these two Africans who had fallen were also still shooting and I told the Africans: "Africans this helicopter is going to give us problems. You cannot run away, you cannot go back to the car because the car is already damaged and they are shooting so much that we cannot use that car. Africans you must run away but we cannot leave you like this you see. Africans I'm going to hit you now, shoot you".
The African said: "No, don't shoot us, we are going to fight back. If we see that it is too hard we are going to hit and kill ourselves". Ultimately I ran away. I do not know whether Dumisani and Africa who was the driver ran to whatever direction. There's a small path there moving from this railway line going to Da Gama, I used that road.
I saw a coloured man on his knees. I saw that he was afraid and he begged me not to shoot him. I told him: "No, I'm running for my own business" and I passed him. At that time I was having a 7.65 and the rifle grenade that was in my lumber jacket. As I was passing that railway line it fell, I could not take it. I ran on past the graveyard at Mdantsane and went to two, that's where I got clothes to change. Went on to other Africans. I found other clothes to change.
I went on to another Africa, he gave me money. I told him that I need to go to King William's Town. They told me: "There are two other ama Africa you're moving with, we are told that money has been asked for them because they had been injured". I asked for money to go to King William's town and they gave me the money. I told him to keep my gun as I'm going to King William's Town, I could come and collect it after, knowing that I'm going to Butterworth.
I went to Butterworth, getting there I went to ...[indistinct] Mamma, the restaurant in town. I entered through the front, bought drinks and tobacco. I asked Mtutuze and they said they do not know - I asked from other ladies and they said they do not know where Mtutuze was, I must go back and check the flats there.
At the back I found other Africans, Nge, Subusiso and others. I asked Africa: "Where is Matura"? and they said: "No, we do not know Africa". And I asked: "Where is Africa JJ"?, they said: "Perhaps he's at work, you can go and check him at work". I did not go to his work, I went straight to the base.
I found other new ama Africa coming from Cape Town. I talked with them, conversed after having greeted them and then I took this base commander and said to him: "It think you must accompany me to go to town so that we can check this Africa JJ". On our way to town we met policemen from Transkei moving with African Tona who was driving for us during the Bahai attack. He was leading the police, that's how we were then arrested. When we got to the top, as we were walking on foot we saw JJ and all the other Africans whom we had met in town and others in other places. We were all arrested and we were beaten at the barracks. From there we were taken to Umtata to the police station Fort Gail. We did not know the reason for our arrest. I did not know the reasons and others said they did not know. Clearly I did not know the reason because that was the first time I got there, I was new around there.
Three days after our incarceration at Fort Gail police station we were taken to Doctor Malinga at Umtata near the rank by the police. When we left Doctor Malinga they put us at Wellington prison, that's where I got a chance to tell JJ about what happened at East London. I told him everything about what happened in East London.
MR MBAMBO: He asked: "Where are the other ama Africa"? I told him we split during the Da Gama attack. Tow of them, I'm sure they are arrested or they are killed, others I do not know where they went but I know they ran away. I had run straight thereto knowing that I could
I would not know whether they were going to take the police straight to us, to me at home. And he said I shall then be required after leaving that place, I must come back and come and check these Africans here so that they can come back to him to give a report back in order to corroborate my story.
I stayed about three days there. We spent even the Easters there, voting happened even during then. We then left for Xoa. We stayed at Xoa, at Butterworth and then I came back to check these Africans. I found Africa Dumisani. I returned to Butterworth with him and he gave the report back in the fashion he saw how things went.
MR MBAMBO: To lie at the Court is - at the Court I tried to minimize my own guilt so that the Court could find me not guitly. I tried at the Court not expose Tjabane although his name was raised as the person who sent us but the police could not go and arrest him just like that without us being State Witnesses against him. That's what I lied about, trying to dub the situation of him being mentioned during the trial. That is the policy of our soldiers, that if you are arrested you must not tell about others, you must face the music alone.
That's why other soldiers when they are in trouble, noting that they are going to be arrested and having been injured, they must rather kill themselves than to stay on and be arrested and be tortured. They're more likely to sing when the are arrested and tortured, better to kill themselves.
MS COLLETT: Well you probably heard your co-applicant being questioned about being involved in the shooting at the Bahai Church, when he said that he was not involved he was actually at the door. Is that true for example?
MR MBAMBO: There were people who arrived in prison. We were called by Mr Killian because he knew that we were members of APLA and other members of MK. I cannot remember when it was but he called us and told us that there is a Truth Commission and there are forms that have arrived that we must fill so that we can go and appear there and ask for forgiveness for those things we did. Indeed MK people filled them in.
We ourselves phoned Patricia de Lille and told her that these forms arrived here, what must we do and she said: "Africa, don't fill those forms in, I'll tell you when to fill those forms in". Indeed we did not fill those forms in until she indeed told us that we must fill those forms in because there are lawyers who have been tasked by the PAC. For example here in East London it's Mr Ntonga and Mbandazayo, they're going to get there and advise you how to fill them in, those forms that is.
MR MBAMBO: No, Mr Ntonga and Mbandazayo never arrived, instead when we phoned their secretary, said they are at Goedemoede, P.E. and other prisons but they had not gone to them, to us, the closest prison to them.
MR MBAMBO: We filled those forms, lying sometimes because we were told that we must implicate people who are alive we must rather implicate those who are deceased like Africa Sabelo Pama and those Africans we had been moving with during those attacks. The one who told us that is Jimmy Jones and Africa Mbandazayo and Africa Baieti.
MR MBAMBO: It was because we then later noted that what our Africans had told us was not true, clearly they were selling us out know. For example when we made those amensty applicantions by Mr Mbanja from King William's Town he said we must make application for the Bahai Church attack because it was still on trial and we did not do so.
But what happened, when we saw Ntonga and Jimmy Jones, that they want to sell us out - we were still going to the lower Court in Mdantsane being represented by Mr Ntonga as he's an attorney working for the PAC. One day as we were in prison we were called as people were being visited and we met a lady and a gentleman saying they are coming from the Legal Aid Board at Mdantsane and we asked them: "What is the problem"? and they said they want to provide us with an attorney for the case we are going to appear for at the Supreme Court and I said: "No, Sisi, who told you we do not have an attorney because if you are saying you are coming from Mdantsane, at the Legal Aid Board at Mdantsane you are supposed to know that our attorney is Mr Ntonga".
We then realised, okay these ladies cannot just come here, there is something Mr Ntonga has said to them perhaps he had told that - maybe he's not representing us anymore. Clearly these people are coming from East London and when they come from the Courts at East London they must know that we are being represented by Mr Ntonga. And then we realised that he has something wrong with him.
It did not stop there, Mr Mbandazayo came there very hurriedly. After we had eaten our supper at about three they were about to close there and he said: "Africa let us make applications for the Bahai attack because we had not done so", we said: "Okay". He called me, Mxzesiko, Dumisani Ncamazana, Oupa Jlomo and another Africa, I cannot remember his name. He called us hurriedly so. He talked in his cellular phone and said: "Wait for these people, I'm coming right now", and he said to us: "Africans I'm in a rush, please sign here. I know this case, I'm going to fill everything else in at my office".
We though okay, the African knows this case. For that matter we had been represented by him in the beginning when we were sentenced. He left. I then realised there is something I do not understand with this African. Some day another African said: "This case of Bisho we must not go on trial, we must simply go to the Truth Commission, there is no reason to go on trial with this case". We saw it the same way, it did not make any problem.
We had no attorney for some time, until we were represented by Sally Corlett and she said she can represent us in Court, okay. We gave her what we were going to say in Court. Another Africa came, Mbandazayo. He had seen in the newspapers that we were going to be represented by Sally Corlett in Court and he asked them: "How can you ask to be representated by a white person while you know that we around Africans". For that matter I have told you that you must not go on trial with this case".
MR MBAMBO: Mr Mbandazyo came and he said: "How come that you ask a white person to represent you whilst we are around being attorneys of the party? Okay Africans, sign these forms". We've signed those forms having not read those forms. Because he was in a rush he left. We realised later that this person came to rob us. Our mistake was not to read those forms.
MR MBAMBO: The forms that we signed were those that we couldn't read, the ones that said we were not, we were against being represented by Sally Corlett plus those he said we must simply fill in our signatures as applications to the Commission and he would fill everything in in his office about the case as he knew everything about it.
Later we thought: no we want this case to go on trial because we realised something is wrong now as they do not want this case to go on trial. We felt we must go on with this case. In Court at Bisho before this case we had a serious altecation with Mr Ntonga and Mr Mbandazayo and they said we must not go on trial with this case because if we go on they are going to represent us.
We refused that they must represent us. We had a serious altecation and they said we are not going to get through otherwise we are not going to even appear before the Commission: "All Africans are going to be angry with you for having been represented by a white person in our presence" and we said: "No, we don't care".
The case went on as it was going on. I requested Sally Corlett as to, can she not represent us at the Commission and she complied. She gave us forms to fill in that we are going to be represented by her at the Commission.
We duly did so and we told here: "If we are represented at the Commission, please tell the Commission we have stopped being represented by Mr Ntonga and Mbandazayo. He must send those forms that was sent to the Commission through our names, those that he said he was going to fill in in his office and then bring them to us so that we could see them". It did not come back.
Indeed the Commission sent back those forms that were sent by them. That form came back blank with our signature only. What he did, what Mr Mbandazayo did was to go to the police and ask for a confession statement or confessions statements we made during our arrest and tied them to this with a stapler and sent them the Commission.
I showed him this at the Court in Bisho and said to him: "Is this the reason why you said we must not go to the Court"? and he did not answer. Till today he does not greet me. What he did now just recently, he met Dumisani's mother and said: "Ja, your sons have sold out, they took Tjobane to the TRC and to the Court. They are not going to be saved by the Commission".
To say a person is: "sold out" is to just insult a person. I do not know how they can say such a thing as I'm still in prison. Today I've come to ask for amnesty as I have come to ask for forgiveness. This matter that he was going to say this is what happened to the Commission passed.
The case went on, the police went to take Tona who was our driver during the Bahai matter and made this, and turned him into a State witness. Tona's statement is the same as ours. The Court could not hold us accountable.
The Court decided that Jimmy Jones must be brought in as a State witness to testify against us. He did not do so. After three days saying that he's consulting with Mr Mbandazayo he could not. He said he was going to come to the Commission.
We called ...[indistinct] Mpashlele as the witness in our favour. He told the Court the report back about all these missions including that of the Bahai Faith Tjabane got and he thanked him. That is what he said at Court.
During the case, Tjabane arrived in prison on a Saturday. They arrived at the same time with my mother who came to visit me. Africa Jimmy Jones had called myself and Dumisani, Jlomo and Siko to tell us that we must change what we told the Court because what we did was to sell out and to change that which we were going to say to the Commission because he's not going to go there, he's going to go and deny everything.
We told him: "Africa, you see you don't command us here, it is not at the base here. For that matter we are not guerillas we are just civilians and you cannot tell us what we must do and that which we must not do, this is not the army".
He sweared to us and said we are people supposed to be killed and my mother was also telling him a lot of things, he left. We told the Court about all of this because he's now threatening us. The Court ordered him never to go back to prison.
It was not long thereafter another African came. The last time I saw him was in 1995, Numanilili who aksed what madness we are doing, that we mention Tjobane at the TRC and at the Court. As we were trying to answer he swore at me and hit me. It was in prison. I hit him very hard, I don't want to lie, I hit him very hard, I hit him. He left saying that he was going to charge me and I lay a charge against him too.
MS COLLETT: But nonetheless you did in fact mention Jimmy Jones to be the person who gave you the orders at the Bahai trial and you have done so in your subsequent amnesty application, is that correct?
MS COLLETT: No you've mentioned that the application that was filled in by the attorney in connection with the Bahai Faith Mission came back blank. What do you actually mean by that? What do you mean by blank?
MR MBAMBO: The application he had said he was going to fill in at his own office and we must simply append our signatures came back from the Commission with our signatures only, clearly he had sent it like that. He had sent that with our confession statements we had made at the police. Clearly he was selling us out, protecting Tjabane in order to have us staying in prison.
MS COLLETT: Now, after you had seen this application, is it correct that you then requested that there be a supplementary affidavit prepared on behalf of both you and your co-applicant setting out what you regarded as full disclosure?
CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on, is this application that you've just been shown, that is the one at page 8, the application that as, I understood you to say, was returned in blank with only your signature and your statement attached to it? Is this what you were shown, this typed application?
MR LAX: With all due respect Mrs Collett, that's an incredibly leading question in the light of the Judge's questions. Blank means blank, blank doesn't mean with writing and typing and stuff all over it. You put the question to him, you're a lawyer, you should know what you mean when you use the word blank.
MR MBAMBO: Page 8 he wrote my name, surname, my address and where I stay, my date of birth and my place of birth, that I'm a member of the PAC and the liberation movement I was a member of, that is APLA.
CHAIRPERSON: So he wrote down what appears there, this has been typed onto the form, that was put onto the form? Was that put on before or after you had signed the form that you appear to have done at page 13?
MR MBAMBO: I expected firstly, before he sends it to the TRC he first go to prison to visit us so that we could see them as he had promised because he could send things on our behalf with us not having seen them.
MR LAX: I'm referring to this form, the one that you say Mrs Collett filled out for you. In particular, page 4 is blank completely. Do you see that? You don't tell us what your justification was for doing that thing.
MR MBAMBO: The reason for this, in the mission I was involved in I was not directly involved. What was happening is that I kept those Africans who had done that that's why I did not have anything to write on page 4.
MR MBAMBO: I felt that I must apply for that case of John Knox Bokwe despite my being absent because it involves me because those people who are involved there stayed at my house before they went and after they came back from that attack.
MR MBAMBO: I do not say everything there. I just explained that there a kombit that carried teachers was hit and those people stayed in my house before they did that and after they did that they came back to my house.
MR LAX: So if I understand you correctly, you made application for that incident because you wanted to come to the Commission and be open about things that had happened, that you had been indirectly involved in, is that right?
MR MBAMBO: No, I did the application for amnesty and realised that these two, that is my involvement about harbouring those people who were involved in that attack I must also include not that I came to the Commission in order to talk about things I was not involved in.
MR LAX: You see again I'm slightly confused by your statement because you told us in your evidence which we've now interrupted, that Jimmy Jones brought other people to stay with you while they went on other operations. You haven't said a word about any of those operations.
MR MBAMBO: That's true Sir. I said that Jimmy Jones did bring people in the past but I did not explain anything about those operations, I have a reason Sir why I did not explain about those operations that we did by those people that were initially brought to me before these ones came.
MR MBAMBO: The reason that those who first came to me about whom I did not make an application form is that I do not know what they did or what they did during their staying at my place. That is the reason why anything relating to them I did not include in my application for amnesty because I did not know what they did during their stay at my place.
I put to you really that the reason you applied for this one is that your co-applicant applied for this one and he wanted to just make sure that you got amnesty for it because he mentions you and the fact that they stayed with you. That's really the reason why you applied for this one.
MR MBAMBO: No Sir, that is not so because he too, Dumisani Ncamazana, that case he was not charged for. It's me who said: "Sir, Broer, this case even after our release from prison may be investigated and we we'll be found out. It's better that we confess to the TRC despite the police not knowing anything about who did that"?
MR MBAMBO: I do not know Sir, as to whether you cannot understand me properly. As I'm saying, Dumisani Ncamazana, the one who was involved in that case and the shooting of that kombi, it's me who advised him that: "This case Sir, maybe even if we are released by the TRC while the police may be investigating that case and discover who were involved, it's better that you include this case with your request to the Commission". That's how we made these applications.
MS COLLETT: Now, in connection with your amnesty application now, how do you feel, in retrospect, about the victims and the persons who suffered injury and damage as a result of the missions in which you were involved?
MR MBAMBO: You know when I'm thinking about the victims and their families I feel very hurt because you know their kids you see, were - those people who were congregating and worshiping God and we came and shot them, took their cars from them, I feel hurt very much. It's worse when I hear that these people are not South African Citizens, they were coming from Iran. They too know all liberation movements in South Africa, never had problems with Iran. That's one country that supported our liberation movements.
But it did happen that we were sent to that church and instructed to do what we did there not knowing where those people are staying, we were only told about white people who were in that church who we were supposed to go and attack.
I do not want to lie to those people because I'm in front of them, that indeed during the time that we were sent there we knew that it was not white people there, it was people who were foreigners like people from Iran. I would not lie and say: if we knew that we would then have left them, I'm sure we would have hitted them but I'm very, very, sorry. I apoligise for even those soldiers I was moving with, some of whom are now late, we apologise.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you saying that if you had known these people were not South African white people but were people from Iran, who you have just said had always supported the freedom struggle, you would still have hit them? Did I hear you correctly?
It would also not have concerned you, is it not correct, as to whether it was PAC policy or APLA policy or not, you wouldn't even have considered that, you just got an order and you executed the order?
MR MBAMBO: You see Sir, the duty of a soldier Sir is to follow orders. Whether the order is right or wrong, as a soldier you are a human being and you can see what is right or wrong but you are told: "Man do this", you do not have the right to ask, you simply have to do that. You may ask only later as to, if you have any questions. That's how the rules of soldiers work.
MR LAX: You see my question is directed, not about the morality of the issue, not about the ethics of the issue but APLA was a political formation, it wasn't just an army and it had policies and principles that it stood for.
CHAIRPERSON: I think you should know Mr Zukile Mbambo that you are not applying for amnesty as a member of an army, you are applying for amnesty in respect of acts that you alledge you committed with a political objective. You are now telling us that you had no such objective, you just would carry out any command that was given to you.
MR MBAMBO: Yes, it is so, I simply did what I was ordered. Even now - I know I'm not asking for amnesty for APLA I'm applying for amnesty for myself, Zukile Mbambo who did things under orders of APLA.
MR LAX: You haven't understood the Chairperson's question to you. The issue that you yourself must have had a political objective when you did these things and you're saying you didn't care what the objective was, you just followed the orders.
MR MBAMBO: I'm sorry I did not hear the question of the Chairperson properly, I did not follow it. Clearly what APLA does is political, they are political aims, that is why we were following orders too in doing what we were ordered.
MR MBAMBO: You know, with the bus that was supposed to be hit carrying school kids, I was sent there. I must tell you Sir, as I thought - I do not whether I'm right in my thoughts, as I know when they sent me they had different reasons for sending me to that bus that I do not know.
To shoot at a bus full of school kids, as far as my thoughts go, it was to cause the government of the day to be under pressure of the parents of those kids that they free those who are appressed because the oppressed are now hitting at their children, that's how I thought. I do not what the commander, when he told us to do those things, what is motives were.
MR LAX: So how would shooting anybody, no matter who they were at that point in time, put any pressure on a government which would be out of power within a few days, at the most a couple of weeks, how would that make any difference?
MR MBAMBO: Sir as I've said, the shooting of a bus full of school kids or other acts committed then, as I've said that's how I think, it was a way to put that government of the day under pressure, from the parents of those kids, so that he can let people go, that is black people be free. That's they way I think I thought about it. I do not say I was right.
CHAIRPERSON: Why did you not ask? You say that you knew the political objectives, why did you not ask your commander? He was somebody you had close contact with, you stayed together with, he was a little bit older than you, why did you not ask him and say: "But what is the purpose of this, they've already given up power"?
ADV SANDI: Mr Mbambo, perhaps at the rist of belabouring the point, when you look back you do not think that perhaps you would have spent your energies better by moving around and campaining for your party, in other words persuading people to vote for the political party you've mentioned in the forthcoming elections?
MR MBAMBO: No, Sir, I'm sure I would have used my energies the correct but there were people who were tasked in that fashion. For that matter Sir, as far as I knew then, the PAC was still in conflict as to whether to go into the elections or not. It only decided very late that it would go into the elections at the time I was a soldier doing my job as a soldier more than doing PAC work as an organisation.
ADV SANDI: On anther issue, you have made mention of names of quite a number of lawyers, did any one of those lawyers explain to how you would have to go about fulfilling the requirements of the Amnesty Law? Was that ever explained to you?
MR MBAMBO: No, there is no attorney that explained to me that in order, except Mrs Sally Collett. There is no other attorney that explained that to me, especially those of the party. Mr Ntonga, the one next to you and Mr Mbandazayo and others, they simply lied to me.
MR MBAMBO: The reason for joining APLA, I saw the suffering I was experiencing and the suffering of the Africans in their own land and the oppression from other people who are in fact not indiginous and the way other Africans were being killed when they tried to march, demonstrating against their oppression and the histroy that I studied at school because I was specialising in history at school.
MR MBAMBO: What made me join the struggle of APLA, I studied it in the PAC that we as ama Africa wanted our land back from the white man in order to allow the African his dignity back, the dignity of Africans to Africans so that they could govern themselves the way they want in your own land.
MR MBAMBO: I used to think that it must have been done because they simply returned and told us everything about how - the method to approach it, how this place must be attacked and this made me think that if they knew how this place must be attacked they must have gone there and saw how this place must be attacked.
MR LAX: Which commander? You've got two commanders, you've TNT as your one commander, you've got the base commander and then you've got your operational commander, which commander are you talking about?
MR MBAMBO: It must be other people he used to use. And the reason why I say this is that he knew that he was a working person. He would not get the chance ordinarily from his work and come to East London and check a place, how it must be attacked and how dangerous it would be because was working. That is why I think he used certain people, perhaps is sent to go and check such things.
MR LAX: You said these people would go out, they would do their reconnaissance, they returned, they discussed it with us and they gave us their orders. So I don't know which incidents you're talking about, you know what you're talking about but you saw them go out, you saw them come back, you spoke to them, who are you talking about?
MR MBAMBO: When I was talking like that I was responding to Sally Collett, talking generally, not talking about myself in particular. I was generalising that clearly people go and make reconnaissance and come back and then we are told what we must go and do at a certain place.
CHAIRPERSON: You were not generalising, you were asked specifically about yourself and as to whether you ever did any original reconnaissance and your reply was: "I never did original reconnaissance but it must have been done because they returned and told us how the place must be attacked".
MS COLLETT: At the time that these missions were carried out, had you been informed - or let me put it this say, had the cadres in the Butterworth base been informed about the suspension of the armed struggle from any commander?
MR MBAMBO: Unless I was not there when they were told, in my presence nothing like that was ever said until Jimmy Jones told me about it in prison, that the elections had taken place and the armed struggle has been suspended.
MS COLLETT: Mr Chairperson with respect, I referred him to the missions in which he participated in. The missions he participated in were after he went back to the base with the others to Jimmy. I'm asking him if whilst he was at that base, before he went on any of those missions, he was ever informed by any commander that the armed struggle had been suspended. I think it's a legitimate question.
MR MBAMBO: Unless that was explained in my absence, but during my time at the base no such suspension of arms was ever explained to us until I got to hear about that after the 28th of March coming from the case of Da Gama, being told by the African with other soldiers in prison at Wellington that: "Africans, people have voted and the armed struggle has been suspended".
MS COLLETT: Now having been a soldier of APLA since 1991, what was your duty with regard to taking cognisance of information? To be more specific, were you entitled to take cognisance of information not given by commanders?
MR LAX: Sorry I think that question should be repeated in a slightly different form and it might be better to rather ask: "What kind of information were you allowed to regard, what were your rights as a soldier" etc., because the way you put it is very leading, with respect.
MR MBAMBO: No, we were not permitted but that did not mean you may not tell the commander when for example you have seen white people who were perhaps planning to come and attack or you have seen something that may be dangerous to us, not that you may go around gathering information.
MR MBAMBO: I heard generally that the armed struggle has been suspended and I remember that I asked one African as to: "Man, I heard the armed struggle has been suspended" and he said: "No, I do not know of any such thing" and before he can accept the truth thereof he must be told by the commander and not to be told by member of the PAC.
MR MBAMBO: What I'm saying, that person I asked: "Africa, the armed struggle has been suspended", that's what I was saying. And I asked him what is he saying and he answered and said: "yes African, I heard that", but it's clear like there's no such but the only person I can accept it from is the commander, not a member from the PAC. Members of the PAC must go on with their politics, we don't indulge in politics.
MR LAX: But you see, that's just a fundamental problem with what you're saying. The objects of the PAC were the objects of APLA precisely. APLA was the formation of the PAC, the supreme body of the PAC which is your national meeting, met in UNITRA and decided to end the armed struggle. You hear that as a member of the PAC and as a member of APLA and you then go against that policy because your commander didn't tell you that, I find that very strange to understand.
MS GCABASHE: To be fair to the witness he was relating a conversation he had with one of his comrades and in the context of that he gave this explanation about APLA and the PAC politicing, that's how I understood him.
MR MBAMBO: I don't know Sir, as to whether you heard me what I said. I said Sir: I heard that the armed struggle had been suspended, what then follows is I meet another African and I say: "Africa, have you heard that the armed struggle had been suspended and this person answers and says: he heard that the armed struggle had been suspended but he, that is myself ama Africa cannot follow what has been said by the PAC, that information for me must come from a soldier, that is my commander. The PAC itself must go on with their politics. For me to accept it it must come from a solder, his commander, not myself. You put it as if I said it. I am telling about something said by somebody else.
MR MBAMBO: Yes Sir, you see with us, we are soldiers and as soldiers we only listen to what is said by a senior soldier. Also a thing I was asking from that other African that I heard over the radio, the radio that we do not believe and the newspapers and the television because the government of the day used to spread propaganda using those instruments.
ADV SANDI: Ja but surely Mr Mbambo that must have been a very serious rumour? It's not like coming across your friend in the street and he tells you that an accident has happened in the centre of the city in town, that had very serious implications about the political future of your organisation and your participation in those activities.
MR MBAMBO: As I've said, the time I was talking with that gentleman we were here in the township. There was no commander in our immediate vicinity who I could ask perhaps about this. Our conversation was not a serious one, I just saw something in the news and I was just asking generally: "M'Africa, have you heard such a thing"? and he answered in that fashion and it ended just there.
CHAIRPERSON: Right, so it wasn't very serious but some weeks later you were told to go and kill people, why did you not them say: "But what is this about the end of violence"? Why didn't you then make enquiries?
MR MBAMBO: With this person with whom I was talking, we did not see it as a serious matter. After that I did not move and go and kill people, what followed I was intrcuted to go and kill those people.
MR MBAMBO: As I've said Sir from the beginning, in the army the democracy there is not the same as in the PAC, you don't ask everything that you'd like to know. Your's as a soldier, as a lower person, is to execute the orders given immediately.
MR LAX: I've just got one small aspect I want to ask you. You see you're telling us today that in relation to some of those things you didn't feel so good about doing them, even at the time you did them, correct?
MR MBAMBO: You see Sir, I don't feel well when I kill a person but those days it was a war in South Africa and I did not think after doing this how must I feel and such things or that what I did, that person his next of kin, how is she or he going to feel. It was a war an I was a soldier, I did not think about those things.
MR MBAMBO: Can the question please be repeated? I did not say such a thing. I said, in connection with that bus - when you asked me how did I feel when it was said I must go and kill school kids in a bus and I answered: "No Sir, my - I" - when you asked me how I felt - in fact you asked how did it get into me: "when your commander instructed you to go and kill school kids? What was his intentions or the intentions of APLA"? and my answer was: "I do not know the motives of my commander, I was simply instructed to go and do that but my thoughts when I was thinking about what he may have thought when he instructed us to do that, I think he may have thought that when many school kids die the parents of those school kids are going to put pressure on the government of the day that: "As you can see, our kids are getting killed, please free those black people". That's what I said Sir.
MR MBAMBO: As I've said Sir, to like or not to like, during that time of ware there was no choice of liking or not liking. In fact you did not think as to what you did to this person or to his or her relative, how it's going to effect him or her because during that time of the war I was a soldier Sir. You may ask me now how I feel about those things I can answer you, not as to how I felt then.
MR MBAMBO: My future plans are to return to school so that I can get employment and work for my kids because I've got a lot of kids and build a their future, a corret, a bright future for them so that they cannot live a life that we too had experienced, a life of oppression and ill education or ignorance.
MR MBAMBO: Violence is not a proper manner to flee a country, that is why our people did not commit violence, instead they fought back. For instance our people in South Africa never, for example, have Umkhonto weSizwe and APLA, the military wings and AZANLA, the military wing of AZAPO, it did not simply occur that way.
At first there was Imbumba manjana, unity, and there we got the ANC and then the PAC and then we got Poko, that's when our people saw that we are trying to negotiate with these people, talking about our own thing, when they respond they kill us. That's when our people decided to make plans to fight back, they created armies. The first one was Poka, another one was they fought back.