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Type AMNESTY HEARING
Starting Date 03 April 1998
Location EAST LONDON
Names ZUKILE MBAMBO
CHAIRPERSON: Would you stand up please. On behalf of the members of the Committee, the lawyers present and I am sure on behalf of all members of the public here today, may we congratulate you on your birthday.
MR PRIOR: Mr Mbambo, the confession that you made during your trial, was annexed to the papers, to the one application, and you have gone through that, that is the handwritten statement from page 14(a) to (r) of the bundle, you have gone through that with your counsel, have you not?
MR PRIOR: All right. Well, I am going to be referring to portions of that statement, I will simply put those portions to you, and you can tell the Committee if those statements are true or not and possibly explain why you made incorrect statements or false statements, do you understand?
MR PRIOR: Now, if I understood your evidence yesterday, towards the end, you said that Mr Bandazayo was protecting, the sense of what you said and correct me if I am mistaken, that Bandazayo was protecting his other clients that is for example Jimmy Jones, at your expense?
MR MBAMBO: I don't assume these things. I say he got access to those statements when he was making a bail application on our behalf in East London and again when he got those statements from the Police and attached them to our amnesty applications, and sent them to the Commission, he read them.
MR PRIOR: You see, you still don't explain to us clearly enough, why you say he knew it was lies. He acted for you, you presumably gave him a version that was going to be the version that he would defend you on. Did you say to him we talked a whole lot of lies in those confessions or did you feel you didn't need to say that, and just assumed that he must have known the truth as you saw it?
MR MBAMBO: This is so sir. Mr Bandazayo got our statements from the Police yes, as he was the one who was representing us during our bail application at the court in East London, and secondly Mr Bandazayo, we used to discuss with him at prison, he knows fully that those are lies. Even if he did not get access to those statements from the Police, he knew very well that we had talked lies in the statements.
MR PRIOR: The other reasons are matters beyond your own personal knowledge, which you are assuming because of his closeness to Jimmy Jones, as you see it, he might have other information that would also help to confirm the fact of what you've told him that these are lies, in other words your discussion with him would be confirmed by your assumption of his other knowledge because of his relationship with Jimmy Jones?
MR MBAMBO: Another reason sir, is the one I gave initially. He read those statements, he knows how these cases are, the process about those cases, he knew who our Commander was, he knows what went on and how these cases arose and went.
MR PRIOR: Are you saying he was a party to the chain of command, he was a party to these acts, and therefore had intimate knowledge of all these acts and how they were committed, because that is what you are implying from what you are saying.
Mr Bandazayo is not a simple Attorney, he is also a member of the PAC, not a simple member of the PAC, he is a high ranking PAC member, who are very close to the soldiers, despite his not being a soldier.
ADV GCABASHE: Mr Mbambo, maybe just to explain what our difficulty is, we are all trained as lawyers and we are asking this really I suppose as lawyers, because you take instructions from a client. You tell me something, as a lawyer I don't rely on other things, it is your case, I repeat in court what you have told me.
So if you haven't told me certain things, if you haven't cleared up certain things with me, I can't repeat them in court, as your lawyer simply because you think I know about it, and that is really where our difficulty is in understanding what your instructions were, to what extent these lies were clarified to your Attorney at the time. Just to give you that background.
MR MBAMBO: I hear you Ma'am. I agree with you, but in our case, there is a difference because most times as you say, when you represent someone at court, you speak with him or her as your client, you don't go to the complainant to go and talk with her or him, in our case there is a difference.
Our Instructor, Jimmy Jones, is very close with our Attorney, the Attorney is our representative, our own PAC members, the complainant is the government. It is easy for Mr Bandazayo to meet Jimmy Jones and talk about this case.
ADV GCABASHE: Yes, I follow you, but he has no business going to talk to Jimmy Jones, unless you instruct him to get further information that he then brings back. Just to explain the technicalities and therefore to explain our difficulty in understanding what your instructions were.
For example, he could come to us and tell us we must not mention Mr Jimmy Jones when we make our applications for amnesty, that is what Mr Jones also, it came from Mr Jimmy Jones. If he denies this, Mr Jimmy Jones also came and told us the same and told us that he did tell Mr Bandazayo he must come and tell us not to mention him and asked us did you do the same.
CHAIRPERSON: I am asking you if he asked you what the true position was, that you must tell him what actually happened and as an Attorney normally does, takes a statement from his client. Did he do this?
MR MBAMBO: As I have said sir, from the beginning, it is easy for him to know that the statement we made at the Police, is a lot of lies in it. It is very easy for him to establish that, Mr Bandazayo, because when he made those bail applications, he was the one who was applying for bail on our behalf, having this statements from the Police, and the Police were rejecting our statements, opposing our statements we made with them.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mbambo, I am getting the impression that you are refusing to commit yourself or answer any question, indicating that you made statements to Mr Bandazayo that that is where he would get information from.
MR PRIOR: Thank you Mr Chairman. At the time when the 7th of May 1997, when this second application was made, the amnesty application and the statement 14, at page 14 of the papers was put up, your relationship with Mr Bandazayo, that was still at a good level, you hadn't fallen out with him at that stage, is that correct?
MR PRIOR: You see, I want to suggest to you that it is strange that if he wanted to protect Jimmy Jones, why he would on earth have put up your confession which directly implicates Jimmy Jones, unless of course it was the truth? Do you understand what I am putting to you?
MR MBAMBO: I hear you sir, what you are telling me. We do not know how, why he took those statements and appendixed them to our amnesty applications, but with the intentions of protecting Mr Jimmy Jones. My thoughts are the reasons why he took the statements with the applications for amnesty, because he knew it had a lot of lies.
The question to you is, why should Mr Bandazayo attach a statement by you to your application form, a statement which directly implicates Mr Jimmy Jones, if it is true that Mr Bandazayo wanted to protect Mr Jimmy Jones? Can you explain that and not talk generally?
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, if you don't accept my explanation, let me make this easy. I do not know why he took that statement and the confession statement, and attached it with our application for amnesty, and sent it to the TRC, while he is protecting, Mr Bandazayo.
ADV SANDI: You have no other, do you have any other reasons for coming to the conclusion that Mr Bandazayo wanted to protect Mr Jimmy Jones, are those the only reasons why you came to this conclusion?
MR PRIOR: And is it correct, you could have put the blame on them, you could have said that they gave you the instructions to do these acts, they were, well to the extent that Kid, sorry TNT was the local Commander of your unit, you could have implicated him and the Police could not have taken it any further, because they were deceased, is that correct?
MR PRIOR: I will refer you to page 14(g) of the bundle, where you, sorry Mr Chairman, 14(h), I want to go straight to the event, where you indicate quite clearly towards the bottom of the page, that Kid told Tiznado who is your co-applicant, Mr Ncamazana, to shoot and he in fact started to shoot at Bahai.
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, the time that I was making the statement at the Police, what I was trying to do, I was trying to diminish my guilt, to have myself appearing as a person who did not want to do and was forced to do those things by the others, to involve themselves.
MR LAX: Well, you see you have told us already that you saw Jimmy Jones in jail, and he gave you those orders. He gave you those orders to mention only the dead people, so that you could protect the living people. He gave you those orders at the prison where you saw him, a couple of days after you were arrested.
MR MBAMBO: Sir, I don't want to agree with you. I don't agree with you sir, that Jimmy Jones said when we were arrested, when we were in prison, Wellington at Umtata, he said that we must implicate dead people.
He could not say that we must implicate dead people, because he did not know that we were going to be arrested, and what we were arrested for there, was not connected to these things at East London. We were arrested for something else that we were not involved in there.
ADV GCABASHE: Sorry Paddy, you are right, it wasn't Jimmy Jones. I thought I heard mention of Patricia de Lille and some other, as a general policy, PAC leadership, I will just put it that way, that the idea was that you implicate dead people, rather than people who was still alive, that did come through in your evidence in chief.
MR MBAMBO: If it took that decision, it did not reach me. And further, if it said we must implicate dead people in all the operations that were undertaken by soldiers, it would be lying to the TRC. It would be easy for it, but it would be lying at the TRC.
MR PRIOR: Sorry, there is some confusion here. Patricia de Lille and the instruction that you are referring to, came very much later in the process. It was round about the time that the amnesty applications were pending, and you were asking for lawyers and all that sort of thing.
That she told you Mr Ntonga and Mr Bandazayo will tell you when, but that they never arrived. That you were told that they were at other prisons. You then went on to say that Mr Mbanyoa came from King William's Town and helped you to fill in forms. You filled in those forms, lying sometimes.
MR PRIOR: Why did you implicate your co-accused at that stage, Mr Ncamazana? Why did you falsely implicate him? If you wanted to diminish your role, why didn't you simply say I was outside, and I didn't know who did the shooting?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, firstly, I did not know what Mr Ncamazana had told the Police, because he was the first to be arrested before me. Secondly, I said from the beginning, by lying about dead people, is not an easy matter to me to do.
MR PRIOR: And lying about living people, people that are living, your comrade in arms, your co-accused who was going through the same situation as yourself, you found it easy to lie about him on a very serious matter, that he killed people at Bahai?
MR PRIOR: Do you agree that it could have been just as easy for you to say that you were outside the church, you didn't see who did the shooting, you could have said that, and that would have also diminished your participation and your guilt? Do you agree with that?
MR PRIOR: I move on to 14(i), that is of the bundle, where you go on to say when you left Bahai Church to go to Butterworth, and there you reported to Jimmy Jones. Is it correct that Jimmy Jones had indicated to Kid, TNT and the others, that they had not supposed to take you with presumably on that mission? Is that correct?
MR PRIOR: Thank you. Isn't the truth of the matter, that when you reported to Jimmy Jones, he was actually taken aback, he was very surprised that this operation at Bahai had been carried out, in fact, he reprimanded your unit?
In your evidence in chief, you would have us believe that you were such a firm cadre, you were willing to die rather be captured, and you would have killed your own comrades, rather than let them be captured.
You gave us the view, the impression of such a staunch person and yet, here you are, and your only intention is to cover your own skin. Your comrades are forgotten, your movement is forgotten, your political party is forgotten. You are just interested in yourself? Please explain this to us.
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, that is true that at the court I was very certain about me being a soldier, prepared that instead of Africans being arrested, it is better that they be killed, since they were injured.
Even here sir, it is not that I have dropped my comradeness or I am prepared to sacrifice my organisation, it was never like that. At the court, or at the Police, there was a person who was already arrested, I don't think it was one, it was two.
MR MBAMBO: The reason for their arrest was that they did something wrong by lying to the person who had left a gun to keep for us. They left and came here, June 16, 1994, and came and lied at that person, saying that Jimmy Jones had said they must be given that gun.
Lying all the time, not having been instructed to do that. They went and used that gun illegally at Beaufort West, and were arrested for that gun, that is why the cases by Highgate Hotel, Da Gama and Nahoon Dam got exposed.
MR PRIOR: Maybe give the Committee a bit more information. The information that I have is that Ncamazana and Jimmy Malinga had taken a R4 from this place, and had robbed the filling station in Fort Beaufort, that they were arrested subsequently to that robbery and the R4 firearm was connected with some of the incidents, Da Gama, Nahoon and Fort Knox?
June 16, 1994, I left for Transkei. I met Jimmy Malinga and Mref, another African, Mref. They said they wanted guns, and I told them I would not give my gun and they said let's go to Jimmy Jones, and ask for guns from him.
They did not ask for these guns, because I was with them most of the time, including Jimmy Jones. What they did, Jimmy Malinga said when they were lying to Jimmy Jones, he has clothes that he lost in a taxi and has heard that they were at (indistinct) taxi group's offices, and he wants to go and fetch them.
I was then left at Butterworth. I then realised later that these people had said they wanted guns, now they are saying they are going to East London to go and fetch clothes. I then followed them, hoping to come and stop them fetching the gun, because they had asked me what happened to that gun, and I told them where we left the gun.
I reached East London very late, they got here first at East London and lied to the person who had kept the gun, Dumisani Ncamazana. They said they were sent by Jimmy Jones to come and fetch that gun.
ADV GCABASHE: Paddy, if I can just go, just one step back. Mr Mbambo, I have a real difficulty here you know with some of the evidence that you have just given in relation to what was true, what was not true, where you were trying to protect yourself by implicating your co-applicant, Mr Ncamazana.
How do I as a Committee member, think about granting you amnesty when it is so difficult to determine whether you are just protecting yourself once again by saying all of these things or whether this is in fact the truth. Just help me through that and explain to me how I think about these things, as we deliberate on this matter?
MR MBAMBO: The matter is this Ma'am, the reason for me there to lie and included him in my lies, I was very angry for what they had done. If they had not taken that gun there and gone to Fort Beaufort and committed that robbery and be arrested, and then when the gun was taken to ballistic tests, it was discovered this gun was used at such and such an incident and other, clearly I would not have been arrested then.
I am trying to say I was angry and this then let me not to absolve him when I was lying, I included him in, I implicated him, because I was angry for what they did. They lied here and they took the gun, they then went on and they committed something else.
ADV GCABASHE: But my question is how do I know this isn't another expression of a different kind of anger, the evidence that you are giving? Just to help me understand this, how do I know that what you are saying now, is in fact the truth, just considering all of the things that you have said in relation to what was true, what wasn't true.
MR MBAMBO: The thing is like this Ma'am, if those guys have not lied at Jimmy Jones, saying that they had come to East London to fetch clothes, knowing full well that they are coming to fetch the guns, where I told them that we had left the gun, after having lied at the person who kept the gun, they took this gun, having said they were sent by Jimmy Jones, went to Fort Beaufort. What I forgot is the person they went with to Fort Beaufort, was a Policeman, he works for Murder and Robbery.
The other one who was accompanying them, he is a member of the PAC. I want to say he was an ascari, he was never a soldier, but he was an informer, I must say so, he was an informer who is known by the PAC that that person is an informer.
Even when I was told about what happened at Fort Beaufort, they clearly could not have not been arrested. Firstly, they were using a Police car. Fort Beaufort is very small, clearly the people of Fort Beaufort is a person that belongs to this one and this one.
A car that does not belong in that area, would be clearly known and identified. They did not even change the car's registration plates after having robbed, they stayed on at Fort Beaufort. This showed me that this was a plan to have us all arrested, trying to have us arrested in another fashion, by suggesting that perhaps a robbery may have led to our arrest. These things made me very angry.
MR MBAMBO: I am sure the Police took that R4 to ballistic testing, or if they did not do so, taking it to ballistic tests, one of them confessed everything that happened here at East London, also saying that that gun was used in those attacks, and also pointed out whoever else may have been involved in those attacks.
MR MBAMBO: I don't agree with you. I think here at the Commission people are expected to speak the truth before they can get amnesty. For me to say we were instructed by Jimmy Jones in things we did, it is saying the truth, not because I am trying to implicate him because I want amnesty.
MR PRIOR: Would you agree that the evidence we have heard thus far, the PAC and APLA, very intricately involved with each other, in December 1993, had made an announcement regarding the suspension of the armed struggle and again at the caucus or at the National Congress at Unitra, over the 16th and 17th of January 1994, had then finally indicated to the world, that it had suspended its armed struggle. Do you agree with those facts, or that information?
MR PRIOR: No, do you think he was senior enough, you heard, and you were a foot soldier, he was a Commander. I am just asking, don't you think that he was or did you not think that he had access to that sort of information within the ranks of the organisation?
MR PRIOR: And the armed struggle was suspended as I understand it, because your political organisation had agreed to participate in the democratic election, which occurred in fact a few weeks after these incidents, on the 27th of April. That date had been announced during March at least, is that correct? The date was known, that the elections would take place on the 27th of April 1994? Do you agree with that?
MR PRIOR: As I recall it, certainly throughout the country, at least during March or the beginning of March, posters were up on the lamp posts and in the streets. I remember the ANC posters, I remember the PAC posters, and all the other political parties, were all canvassing for support. Do you recall that?
MR PRIOR: Did Mr Jones, ever tell you when you met him as you say you did, after the Bahai Church attack, did he ever say that now that you had done this thing, this is your group, you now had come running to him in Butterworth and you were creating the impression among the people there, that he had in fact sent you when in fact that wasn't the truth and that is why he was reprimanding your group?
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, I do not remember everything that was said at that case during our trial, and what I also said, and also the confession statement, I remember some of the things because I have read it and it is in front of me now.
MR PRIOR: Did Mr Malinga also tell your group at that occasion that you had done this thing, and I am trying to put it into contest, Bahai Church at a time when they, the base camp, was sending people back to their homes, now you are coming back to them?
In other words the impression I get is that this attack had not been sanctioned by Jimmy Jones, and it had happened at such an untimely occasion because people were being sent back to their homes, because the armed struggle had been suspended. Did that not ever happen?
MR MBAMBO: No, Jimmy Malinga never said such a thing to us, that is sir. Also the attack, I was not there when they got the orders that they must go and attack the Bahai, but I am sure (indistinct) gave them orders that they must go and attack Bahai because if he did not do so, then he must have talked the way I lied at the Police, but he did not say the same thing. He was happy that that mission was successful and accepted the car as it is still with him right now sir.
MR PRIOR: Was it not stated or not said either by Malinga or Jimmy Jones after you had reported the Bahai incident, that they were going to give you money to send you home because the armed struggle was now at an end, that is now before Da Gama and Nahoon Dam or any of the other incidents, Highgate Hotel?
MR MBAMBO: I sir, deny all of that sir, as the person who was part of APLA and as a person who was with other members of APLA because I was not there when they got orders that they must go and attack the Bahai Church. I came back with them to Transkei.
Jimmy Jones was then reported to what happened at Bahai, and he was told because they he had instructed I must be brought back, they had done so. He accepted the car and the report about the Bahai matter and congratulated the group that they had done well.
And the car too sir, is still with him, that is why I am sure sir, that indeed they were sent by Jimmy Jones, because if he had not sent them, he would not have accepted the car, he would not have accepted the car, nor would he have accepted the report back, nor would he have congratulated them.
MR PRIOR: Maybe just to lead on from what the Chairman has now put to you. My information is that it was recovered in the possession of Pala Pala during at attempted armed robbery. That was after Bahai.
MR PRIOR: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, just for the record, I don't propose to refer to any extent to the record of the trial as it canvasses many hundreds of pages, but suffice to refer or to place on record that the relevant portions that I have put to the witness a short while ago, appear at 1246, 1248, 1249, 1250, 1251 and 1251 of that record, and I will endeavour to have photocopies of those pages for the Committee's benefit.
MR PRIOR: With your permission, I will submit that later on in the morning. I just want to move on to the record of evidence given at the Bahai. Mr Pala Pala said that he was taken because you needed a driver, is that correct?
MR MBAMBO: Mr Pala Pala was not fetched because a driver was required. Mr Pala Pala phoned to Ntutuzeli by those Africans after the attack of John Knox, they called Ntutuzeli and they were told that a driver was going to be sent, who was going to come this side and that driver was sent.
They could not then leave Bahai after that attack at Bahai, and go via me at home, that was going to waste their time. What became clear was that let us all go together, so that when we move from Bahai, we can go straight to Transkei.
ADV GCABASHE: Sorry Paddy, but you could just as easily have gone to one of the taxi ranks or gone somewhere else, been picked up at that point, and then taken to Transkei. You didn't have to get involved in the Bahai mission?
ADV GCABASHE: I understand that, but what I am saying is they were not told to include you in the mission. They were told to take you back to Transkei. You could have met them at any point along the road, after the mission without being involved in this mission, and gone to Transkei, isn't that right?
MR MBAMBO: You see, Ma'am, as far as my thoughts go as a soldier, at Bahai what they went to do there was a dangerous mission. What they were told over the telephone about me except that they must bring me back, I would not know Ma'am.
What I know is that they were told to come back with me. They then decided that the best, let us all go together to Bahai and then from Bahai, we would then not be required to go back to the township because we were required to rush back to Transkei to avoid arrest by the Police.
CHAIRPERSON: As I understood your explanation you started off saying, as a soldier, what they were going to do was a dangerous mission. Did you as a soldier, wanted to go with them on this dangerous mission?
MR MBAMBO: The question you asked is, did I want to go with them to Bahai knowing that what they were going to do at Bahai was dangerous, and I say sir, the arrangement was that they must come back with me.
We then decided it will not be easy that they must come from two at Bahai Church after that attack, and then come back to three, where I stay, and pick me up because also the Police would be in the rounds trying to find these people who had been involved in that attack, and that would be dangerous to them.
CHAIRPERSON: As has just been pointed out to you, you could have waited for them 50 metres down the road, you could have met them at any place, but you didn't, you went to Bahai. I am asking you did you want to go on that dangerous mission?
MR MBAMBO: Besides wanting to go there sir, it was also a manner of protecting themselves, that is not to be required to move from two, at the Bahai attack, and go back to three, to go and pick up somebody while trying to flee.
And also, we did not want to have a fight with the Police because usually Police are in big numbers. That is why we as liberation movements, we were not in a direct war with the Army, we were guerilla armies because we knew that the Police are in big numbers and they are well armed, and the plan to hit the government was to wage a guerilla war, that is what we were trying to avoid, that is the danger I was talking about.
MR MBAMBO: Sir, we used a car that was fetched there, soldiers don't steal, they simply repossess sir. Robbery and stealing are things we hear from the Police or the courts, soldiers don't steal sir, that is our language.
MR PRIOR: This was one of the black ladies in the church, I refer to page 14(h) where you said in your statement to the Magistrate, your confession. I got a sum of R60-00 or R70-00, I beg your pardon, I rephrase that, I misread that, one of the white males, I do apologise.
It is because in their statements to the Police, they lied. For example the person who drove their own car, told the Police the right thing in his statement, that we took him and we left him near Berlin. He does not know whereto we left there from.
But he could later go to the Police and I do not know why the Police accepted the second statement from that guy and he said we, there is no such that we left him near Berlin. We took him to Highgate Hotel and he was left at the car with somebody keeping guard on him, and four people left and used rifles against the Highgate Hotel.
That is why they dismissed him as a liar in that court because at the Highgate Hotel only one shot was hit with a rifle grenade. It is not surprising those people are lying this much. They lied in the beginning and the Police accepted their statements. I do not know their intentions.
MR MBAMBO: The reason for me to answer this fashion, as if I am not answering your question directly, it is because I do not remember as to whether I was told as to who shot there, that is why I am saying sir I am going to tell you what I think, or what I heard, because I am not sure whether I was told as to who shot there.
He went out to check out a car. He was told that if he sees a suitable car, he must open its cars and hit its bell. After doing that, I went out and followed him to go and fetch the bags that we have left outside of the Church, to put inside the car. Shots rang out in the church.
MR MBAMBO: Those who were left behind in the Church were African Kid, TNT and Dumisani Ncamazana, who was at the door of the Church, keeping guard on our behalf at the time we were inside the Church. That is the people I left behind.
MR MBAMBO: You see, when we were on our way to the Transkei, I could lie to you, we were not talking, nobody was talking in the car, only the driver was told, please drive fast. Please drive faster so that we cannot be arrested.
We were not talking anything sir, because we were afraid. We knew as we were on our own, we could meet a roadblock at Komga, that is where a roadblock is commonly found. Now, we were praying most of the time that we must not find a roadblock, until we ultimately reached Transkei without getting a roadblock along the way.
MR MBAMBO: As I have said already sir, we did not talk about any other thing as we were very afraid along the way, thinking about this is not our car, unlicensed guns, having committed what we did, that was against the law of the government of the day.
MR MBAMBO: Perhaps sir, you don't understand me the way I am putting this matter across. I am saying sir, it was silent, each one was thinking his own thing. People were praying for themselves, inside, internally.
Nobody was speaking loudly, except to encourage the driver to drive faster, that is all. It is only my thoughts that it could be that others were praying for their safety along the way, as I was praying myself.
CHAIRPERSON: You could have gone back there, deposited your guns, abandoned the stolen car, and you would have been perfectly safe? Were you rushing back to the Transkei to report the success of your mission?
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, the car we could not simply abandon it is Mdantsane, the car was required as property of APLA and the report back about the mission was supposed to be given and the fact that they had returned with me, as they were instructed.
The car we simply could not leave at Mdantsane or East London. As you say Kid stayed in the vicinity of the Church, clearly there are people in the Church who could have seen and identify him and then tell that no, one of those who were involved, is someone who stays right there.
MR MBAMBO: I don't want to lie sir, I do not know too because when they were instructed about the mission, I was not there myself, I was here in East London. I only met them when they were supposed to go there, and I went with them, and then we left for the Transkei.
ADV GCABASHE: Paddy sorry, why would the Commander send, not only Kid, but why would you go, both of you lived in the area, both of you could be identified by the people who went to that Church, why would you be sent there?
MR MBAMBO: As I have said sir, to me that church I did not, it was the first time for me to know there was a church called Bahai at that spot, being attended too by white people. It was the first time for me to know that day.
MR PRIOR: Is it correct that at the Church it was explained to your group, that these people who you say were white people, weren't in fact white people, but they were Persians, they were from overseas?
MR MBAMBO: I cannot deny that sir, but during my presence at the Church there, I did not hear of any such thing. I go to here about that at the Supreme Court at Bisho when one mother there, I do not know if it was Mamma Manuel or Mamma Manel sir, when she explained that the men who came in there, she had explained to that those people at the church, are not really white, they are people from Iran.
MR MBAMBO: No, she never told me about them sir. I only got to know after my arrest - do you my son, that one of the people who were at the church, was a Doctor at our hospital? That is how I got to know about it sir because even outside, my mother has a house in town and I have a house at Mdantsane, we don't stay together.
MR PRIOR: I am still puzzled why you, sorry if I may ask this question, you said that you joined APLA in 1991 and you trained at Bizana. The missions that you have described, or the operations that you described that you went on in March of 1994, were those the only missions that you went on throughout your membership of APLA?
MR PRIOR: And if I understood your evidence and the statements that are put up that you say that you made, but some aspects are false, it would seem that you were only giving accommodation to the unit from Butterworth, for example in the Fort Knox matter, the minibus with the teachers, you were only providing accommodation, is that right?
MR PRIOR: Are you saying, is it your evidence, that you were informed, the person who was providing accommodation, you were informed by the people staying at your home, the details of what the mission of operation was going to be, where the attack was going to be and who they were going to attack, or were you not informed?
MR PRIOR: That is in line with the policy of APLA, for secrecy so that the Police couldn't follow up on these attacks, because to keep you uninformed was also their protection, that was the way it worked, is that correct?
MR MBAMBO: That is so sir, those are the rules of all soldiers in APLA in what you are not going to be involved in, you must not know about as to what is going to happen, how and where. Even after it has happened, you must not be told about it, because you are not involved.
MR PRIOR: I don't understand why you applied for amnesty for that matter. You had no knowledge of it, you certainly didn't associate yourself with it. What criminal activity were you asking for amnesty for?
MR PRIOR: Let me just put to you, my information is that you only became aware of the John Knox matter at the Bahai trial when your counsel was informed by Captain Els that if no amnesty was being applied for, that arrests were going to be made in that manner.
MR PRIOR: Well, the relevance is that an issue is being made that he has made a complete disclosure, not knowing that he was in any way connected to that matter, and he has made application for Fort Knox.
MS COLLETT: Mr Chairman, surely the correct line of questioning would be to ask him how it came about that he made an amnesty application for the Fort Knox issue, not to put some bold assumptions and suppositions as to what he was or wasn't told.
MR MBAMBO: The reason for me to apply for amnesty for the John Knox (indistinct) case despite our not having been arrested or anybody being charged for it, is because our Attorney told us if there are any cases you know you were involved in, even though you were not arrested for them, make applications for amnesty for them, because the Police don't stop investigations about any case.
You may not apply for a case and it later is discovered that you were involved with such and such a case, and even after amnesty has been granted for you in other cases, you are then fetched and charged for those cases and there would be no other TRC process whereto you can go and ask for amnesty, even if in such TRC can be created, you would not be granted amnesty because you would have been expected to have confessed in the initial TRC process.
MR PRIOR: Well, you say that he was angry and he fired at this kombi, that wasn't the plan. I am asking you so then, do you agree that what he did, the shooting at the kombi, at the occupants of the kombi, was not done pursuant to any political objective or on orders from Jimmy Jones, because that was clearly not your target?
ADV SANDI: The shooting of that kombi by Kid, would you say any political objective of APLA could have been achieved by Kid in doing so? How would that assist the political objectives or program of APLA?
MR MBAMBO: As I have said sir, the shooting of that kombi that was not as per instructions. Kid did that on his own, according to my thoughts it was because he was angry because we had failed to hit the two targets we were supposed to hit that day.
Further, I will not be able to answer as to whether the objectives of APLA were going to be supported by that act or not, because we were not sent to do that, he did that on his own. Now, I do not know as to whether to him, how he took what he was doing, I do not know, sir.
MR PRIOR: I want to just put to you, according to my understanding of Brigadier Mofokeng, who spoke on behalf of APLA, at the Security Force hearings before the TRC in October last year, and I refer to page 90 of that submission, Mr Chairman, that it was certainly not the policy of APLA to attack school children, even white school children at that stage.
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, the principles or the policies of APLA, if Mofokeng says it was not APLA policy, I cannot dispute or refuse that because he is one of the high ranking Commanders of APLA, Mofokeng, I cannot disagree with what he says.
I do not know as to whether what he said was because he was being opportunistic, I cannot say anything if he says it is not part of policy. It is confusing to me, because Jimmy Jones is also a high ranking Commander, how so that if that is not part of the party policy, he does not know that and he instructed us to do that.
MR PRIOR: Yes. I indicated to Ncamazana yesterday, Mr Ncamazana that I had seen a photograph that the hand grenade was very close to the Honda Ballade, the Police found it there and photographed it there.
MR PRIOR: All right. Nothing really turns on that. Can you say whether the Police, that is the South African Police were on the scene as you were fleeing, or did you not see them at all in the vicinity of Da Gama as you were fleeing?
MR PRIOR: In the light of what you have told us about the operations that you went on, Da Gama, Nahoon, Highgate and Bahai, you did these things, you did these operations despite your knowledge that the armed struggle had been suspended by your organisation? Is that correct?
MR MBAMBO: No sir, except the one I talked about yesterday, that when I heard about this, I told the African that, African did you hear that the armed struggle had been suspended and he answered about it yesterday.
The information that the Policeman gave to her at the trial, was that he was investigating other matters against her clients and if amnesty hadn't been made in those matters, he would be obviously arresting them, without specifying what those matters were.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, there is just one other aspect, on behalf of the Williams family, that is the Policeman who was killed, it seems from the evidence that that incident is removed somewhat in time from the attack at Da Gama on the bus.
Mr Mbambo, when you went on the Da Gama mission, did you as a unit or as a group of APLA contemplate that at any stage during that attack, that the Police may have been called onto the scene and that a shootout with the Police may ensue, with possibly injury to or death on the side of the Police?
MR MBAMBO: No sir. We never thought that Police may be called and we then will be involved in a shootout with them because our intentions were to hit the bus with the rifle grenade without stopping the car, and then run away with our car.
MR PRIOR: Was it never discussed as a possibility that a shootout with Police could ensue at any time, for example if the Police were driving in the opposite direction by chance, I just need clarity on that?
CHAIRPERSON: You have told us how dangerous the Bahai Church mission was because when you were fleeing, you might run into a Police roadblock or be chased by the Police, haven't you? Do you remember telling us all that?
CHAIRPERSON: Surely you must have contemplated that with every mission you performed? You were going to shoot up a bus just outside a large factory, surely you must have anticipated that they would raise the alarm immediately and that there was a danger of confrontation with the Police?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, we never thought that fashion, that we would be confronting or in a confrontation with the Police, then being called and asked, forced to fight with them, because the place we went to attack, was very close to Mdantsane and we also never thought that when we got there, we shall be involved in a fight.
Except that we thought that when we get there, without the car stopping, we would shoot at the bus and then the car would proceed on and even if the Police came, they would simply get after the fact and we would then have left the area unlike when we went to Bahai, because even the road we were supposed to use from Bahai, was very long between East London and Butterworth.
MR MBAMBO: Sir, there is no rank we did not report to, going straight to the High Command, because what happened, the ranks you just counter, there in Transkei we were not operating as you just pointed them out.
MR NTONGA: Okay. Let's come to the question how you went to Transkei the first time you went to Butterworth. Can you give me some clarity, did you ask these people to take you with or you were told that you were asked by the Commander to go to Transkei? That is when you went for the first time and went to the Bahai attack, and to the Transkei.
ADV GCABASHE: Before you do that Mr Ntonga, can I just get a bit of clarity on this point, you have said to us that with the Fort Knox mission, you knew nothing about it, the guys simply stayed at your house. They told you nothing about it, why then would Jimmy Jones say you had to be brought back, if he knew in terms of policy, you knew nothing about that attack, there was nothing you could spy on.
MR NTONGA: If I refer you to your own confession made to the Police, 14(g) Mr Chairman, you have this to say. Correct me if I am putting it in a wrong place. I further told them that I must better go with them, I further told them that I better go with them. Correct me if I am putting it in a wrong place, it is 14(g).
MR NTONGA: Okay, in your own evidence in the case in East London, in the Supreme Court, My Lord, Mr Chairman, 1245, Exhibit E, at about line 18. Your own Advocate if I am not mistaken, leading you, asked and you say that they told him about you. Can you explain what you mean by that?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, as I have said already, that the statements I made at the Police, I made lies in order to diminish my guilt so that they, I can be seen as a person who did not participate voluntarily in what happened.
MR MBAMBO: I am going to explain again sir. I am saying sir, the Advocate was listening to what I was saying, at the time trying to diminish my guilt, as I had done in my confession statement to the Police.
MR NTONGA: Will I be right to say that you are telling this Commission one, you lied to the Police in your confession, two, you lied to the Court in the East London Court, that is before Justice Liebenberg, three, you also gave false instructions, lies to your own Advocate who was going to lead you, four, in your application you also told Mr Bandazayo the lies which you told the Police when he attended to you? If I am not correct, say so, on those four things.
The third one, even the Judge, I told false lies to him and in relation to what you say that I told Mr Bandazayo lies, in my request for application for amnesty, you know very well Mr Ntonga, where you are sitting, that those were things being dictated to by you sir. You know what the truth and the falsity is in what you are asking sir.
MR NTONGA: What I am talking about, what you have told the Chairperson about the statement which was annexed by Mr Bandazayo to your application, and you said, I am sorry correction, Mr Chairman, that I told him the lies which I told the Police. He knew about the lies, and I told him the lies. That is all I am talking about, and those lies are annexed to your application. Is that correct?
MR MBAMBO: Listen sir, let me tell you, let me tell you. I told the Commission here that there - I told the Commission that things were told to Mr Bandazayo at court, I mean at prison were connected to the case, we were in East London, we told him what we had said to the Police, were lies.
MR NTONGA: Okay, just leave that. Now, there was a question asked by one of the members of the Commission. If you agree that you have told so many lies to the Police, your own Attorney, your own Advocate, to Court, how can we measure that today you are telling the truth? How can we be safe that today you are telling the truth?
That is why I lied. As there were a number of people who were lying, including Mr Els, he lied in court over a number of things. Here sir, this process is not like the court there, that takes or sends people to prison, this is a Truth Commission, they want the truth in order to bring reconciliation.
MR NTONGA: I don't dispute what you are saying for a moment, but I am saying what safeguards after you have told this Commission you have lied so many times, how can you be sure that today you are telling the truth, with this background?
MR MBAMBO: Here sir, I think even the Amnesty Commission and its Chairman are human beings who are conscious and clear in their minds, they can establish truth from the falseness. At court I lied, as I said sir, because I was trying to save myself in order not to go to prison.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mbambo, you gave very noble reasons for telling the truth to the Truth Commission and to affect reconciliation. But you do know, don't you, that you are at present applying for amnesty so that you can be released from prison?
MR NTONGA: Thank you. Will I be correct Mr Mbambo, if I say that when you, in your evidence, when you went to Butterworth after the Bahai incident, and before you returned to Mdantsane for further missions, you were told by Jimmy Jones that the struggle had been suspended, it is over? Will I be correct to say that?
MR MBAMBO: I never said such a thing sir. I never said Jimmy Jones told me before my coming to Mdantsane to commit other acts, that the armed struggle had been suspended. I did not say such a thing sir.
MR NTONGA: Are you sure about this, you didn't tell any forum that Jimmy Jones, when you were there, told you that the struggle is over and you must get money and go back home? Think before you answer please. Any forum, even in court or in papers?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, newspapers, I never talked with newspapers. What I said to the Police was that we must be given money to go home, because the armed struggle was suspended, is what I told the Police when I was making that confession statement sir.
It is in that confession statement sir, I am sure you are reading from it sir, about the suspension of the armed struggle, being told by Jimmy Jones, it was at the time we were at Wellington prison, when we were told that, when he told us that Africans you see that people have voted, the armed struggle is now over.
MR NTONGA: I refer you to your own evidence in court, being led by your counsel, at page 1246, at line 13, sorry at line 28. And he said to them, he had told them that the armed struggle has been amended.
MR NTONGA: Actually the interpreter gave the Xhosa word from your mouth, that "bopele", which means that it is finished, at page 1247, first line. Do you remember that in the Supreme Court, East London, saying that to the Judge?
MR MBAMBO: The reason for me to lie over that, was to hear my case that me and my Advocate, our case was that I did not go there voluntarily. I was forced by the other comrades I was moving with, when we were told to go home, and they instead told me to go there and do those things.
MR NTONGA: Okay. Let's talk about the application that you submitted to the TRC. You remember that the first application that you submitted which you said was completed by an Attorney from King, that is the application that was turned down in respect of your confession in East London, do you remember that?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, I would like to request as you are saying that it is the one that was turned back, I want you to tell me who is the person who instructed the Commission, except myself, that the application ... (tape ends) ...
MR MBAMBO: Sir, Mr Ntonga, I would like your question to be straight, because now I am going to answer where I am not supposed to give answers. I am sure you want to say as to whether do I agree that my application as it was turned down, is because things we are talking about at the application, are things that happened after the date of the suspension of the armed struggle, is that what you are saying?
MR NTONGA: Please Mr Mbambo, I have made it clear that it was refused because the acts committed were after the cut off date, which was the 15th of December 1993. Nothing about the armed struggle, the cut off date to make application for amnesty.
In the statute of the Truth Commission, the cut off date that was determined as being the date at which all hostilities ended, the date at which the country had begun the transformation, which is a date mentioned in the interim constitution, that date was determined as the 15th of December 1993.
MR MBAMBO: I know that sir, that is why I was talking like that to Mr Ntonga, that is he not making a mistake. Does he not want to say our application was rejected because the things we were referring to at the application, happened after the 5th of December of 1993, and he said no, that is what I was asking from Mr Ntonga.
MR NTONGA: Thank you Mr Chairman. So after the date was extended, you had to file a new application for Bahai as well as revive the application for the East London Supreme Court convictions, isn't that so? Isn't that so?
MR NTONGA: And the TRC acknowledged that they are now going to hear your application in respect of the conviction in East London, as well as the pending criminal case in Bisho, the Bahai incident, isn't that so?
We had not - our applications had not been made by Mr Bandazayo then. He came and we told him that we had received letters from the TRC at the time. He took those letters we had received from the TRC and left with them. All of us who were Africans from the prison, those letters are indicating that and signed by Mr Alex Borraine, indicate that other things are going to be explained to us later.
They got to us before Mr Bandazayo came to us in prison, to make applications on our behalf. I want to apologise for you saying that those letters came after Mr Bandazayo had made those applications on our behalf. He came and we gave him those letters, and he left with those letters, and we do not know what he did with those letters.
We have finished that portion, I am asking you that when the cut off date was extended, then, only then, that new application was made for you for the Bahai incident and the incidents in East London were revived, is that not correct?
After the cut off date had been shifted, had been removed, then new applications to revive the one that has been turned down, and put in a new one for Bahai, was done by Mr Bandazayo, isn't that so? That is all I am asking.
MR MBAMBO: I am sorry, Mr Ntonga. I apologise from the beginning. I said sir, there is something that is confusing, not said in the beginning, that the papers from the TRC that said our applications had reached the TRC and everything else would be communicated to us, came to us even before Mr Bandazayo had gone to see us in prison to make applications on our behalf.
MR NTONGA: Is it not correct Mr Mbambo that after you had been advised that the incidents in East London for which you had been convicted, did not fall within the time frame, so your application had been turned down, that(indistinct) in 1997, didn't after the extension of the time limits make new application with Mr Bandazayo, because now you could put in
MR NTONGA: And this is the application which is typed, which was submitted for both cases in the Supreme Court, the one which you are serving and the one which is still pending made in May, yes the 25th of May I think Your Worship.
MR NTONGA: Is it not correct when I say that this application that you are making before this Commission, came about because of that application by Mr Bandazayo, because it was put in before the time expired, after the cut off date had been extended? Isn't that so, that is why you are here today?
MR LAX: I will put it very simple for you. You are here today because of the second amnesty application which Mr Bandazayo had filled out for you, and which he made on the 7th of May, just prior to the next cut off date for handing in of applications to be made, that is why you are here now. Amongst other small things, that is the main reason?
MR MBAMBO: No sir, I don't think so that it is the one that led to me being here today. I think the one that led to me being here, are the applications we made through Mrs Collett. Because the one that was made by Mr Bandazayo, is the one we told Mrs Collett to collect from the TRC, because we did not know what Mr Bandazayo had filled on our behalf after he had made us sign those forms.
MR NTONGA: The application made by Adv Collett, which was made some time in September if I am not mistaken, referred only to one incident of the ambush of the minibus, not to the most serious cases against you, which you had been convicted for and you were facing, namely the convictions at the East London Supreme Court and the pending high case in Bisho.
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, things connected to Mr Bandazayo, from the time we saw, discovered that Attorneys of the PAC are short of truth, we became uninterested in what you do, even if it is right. We cannot see that it is right, because you had hurt us a lot.
MR MBAMBO: It is because you have done a lot of wrong things to us, you ran away from us at the Supreme Court at Bisho and when I later asked you, why did you leave us in the Supreme Court, when we were supposed to go in, you said you did not see us.
Now, all the other good things you were doing, we could not believe in or trust. Even the things that Mr - went to go and say to Dumisani Ncamazana's mother that you sons have sold out, even if they go out of prison, they are going to die, they are not going to get amnesty. I don't accuse him now, that he knows about it.
Even the squabble we had, or the altercation we had in court, and you told us that you are going to represent us and we told you that you are not going to be representing us, why did you want to represent us while as you said, we must not stand trial, and go to the TRC?
MR NTONGA: Mr Chairperson, it is a letter from the Amnesty Committee acknowledging the new application submitted by Mr Bandazayo, on behalf of the applicants in respect of the Supreme Court case in East London, for which they are serving, as well as the forthcoming Bahai Church case in the Bisho Supreme Court.
MS COLLETT: Mr Chairman, the applicant is asking me certain questions, as to how I've got the letter. I don't know whether I am entitled to tell him that, to perhaps assist Mr Ntonga. I don't think there is a dispute about this really.
MS COLLETT: No, I don't have a problem with that. What I am saying is the letter that you have just passed, I have in my file already. He is asking me how I've got the letter. I am asking permission to explain to him how I got the letter, if anybody has got a problem with that. Thank you Mr Chairman, I have the letter from the Truth Commission itself.
MR NTONGA: Can I proceed Mr Chairman? Is it also not correct Mr Mbambo that the application by Mr Bandazayo, which is typed, uses annexures as compared to the application where you filled in longhand, it means that documents were attached to the application, just like the confession you have made, do you agree with that?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, I agree with that, but I am sorry sir, you know, sir I would like you to listen, you must not play shake your heart, as you are PAC Attorneys and instructed by the PAC to help members of the PAC to apply for amnesty, I want to ask you how come that after having received such a letter, you did not come to prison and show us and now you show me, trying to prosecute me with it?
Please tell me again, who is it, or which member of the PAC did this, did the same thing you did to us, and again turn about and trust you when you do things and believe that you are doing the right things for them.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, with respect, I don't want to necessarily curtail what the applicant gives by way of testimony. We are not going to finish the enquiry if he is allowed to ask Mr Ntonga questions.
I am sure the matter could be, maybe dealt with on a different basis, maybe by way of getting Mr Bandazayo to come to the Commission at a later stage. But it certainly serves no purpose that the applicant asks questions of Mr Ntonga while he is cross-examining him on issues, with respect.
MS COLLETT: Yes, Mr Chairperson, maybe it can simply be resolved by admissions that can be made between the parties. I have the documentation in my file, which he is aware of and Mr Ntonga obviously has the same documentation in his file, because it is what I've got.
MS COLLETT: The letter that Mr Ntonga had, was a letter that was sent to him, but when there was a change of legal representatives, I requested a copy of all the documents from the Truth Commission, and they sent me back a letter annexing that, and the applications, and that is how I came to have them.
CHAIRPERSON: No, I wasn't querying your possession, I was wondering whether they didn't also send a copy to the applicant because we haven't got the front sheet which would have indicated who it was sent to.
MR NTONGA: Thank you Mr Chairman. The affidavit, sorry the confession attached there to that application, was attached and it contains as you say, some lies, maybe some truths, but it was admitted in the Supreme Court, is that a fact that the confession that was annexed to the application, was a document which was properly admitted in a court of law so there is nothing sinister about it?
MR MBAMBO: Was it accepted at the Supreme Court? You see you are confusing me, we were talking about the TRC, that the application made by Mr Bandazayo, whether it was not the one that led to me being here. Now, the question you are asking is do I agree as to whether the confession statement I made, that was attached to the application, was admitted in the Supreme Court.
Mr Ntonga is telling you what annexures were attached to your application, the typed one. He is explaining that one of the annexures was your confession. He is explaining that that was the confession that was used in the East London trial, and it was admitted as evidence before the Court.
MR MBAMBO: You see sir, what I do not understand is that it was attached and then be admitted at the Supreme Court. I do not understand this Supreme Court, what did it go and - why did it go to the Supreme Court, because, can you explain Mr Ntonga?
MR NTONGA: Thank you Mr Chairman. Let me go to my final questions. I would like to suggest to you, is it not the correct thing that you were told to go home, the struggle is over, but from the Transkei you went on to do your own things without any further instructions?
MR NTONGA: Another last proposition, is it also possible that these orders were given before the suspension of the armed struggle, 16 January 1994 but it was carried out afterwards because of a breakdown of communication between the High Command and the soldier on the ground?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, that could have happened, but I, myself, the time I got orders that we must come and undertake the operations here at East London, it was after the announcement of the suspension of the armed struggle, at the time we were given those instructions by Jimmy Jones.
MR MBAMBO: The Unit Commander sir, has no duty to give instructions to us. For that matter, in the Army the Unit Commander is an equal soldier to me, instead what happens, he is the one who is chosen to be a Unit Commander of that Unit, it is not that he is superior in terms of rank.
MR MBAMBO: Sir, the Unit Commander cannot give another soldier an instruction. A Unit Commander cannot give another soldier an instruction, his duty is to command the unit at the point of action, together with us as soldiers.
MR LAX: But you see the order to go back, for you to go back after Bahai, didn't come from Jimmy Jones. The order came from TNT, why did you obey such an order? You don't listen to your Unit Commander?
You see sir, we may not understand each other, there is a difference between the Commander saying, between Jimmy Jones saying let's go and attack Bahai and that becomes the operation. As the one who has instructed an operation, we as soldiers go. Amongst us we have a Unit Commander, the one that will guide us not to instruct us to undertake an operation.
The Unit Commander is there, he is also instructed to go with us. We then go, we do that. It is he who then advises here that no man, let us not do this, perhaps it is going to be dangerous, what do you say, no, let us leave it. We will do it later, or no, time has gone against us, we will do it later.
MR LAX: So on what you are telling us now, there was quite a lot of democracy between you and your Unit Commander? You could debate with him, you could argue with him, you could challenge his instructions?
MR MBAMBO: Listen sir, there is democracy in the Army as I have said but it is not the same with that operative in the PAC, the democracy of the soldiers. It is not the same as in the PAC. You see the job of the Unit Commander, (indistinct) not to tell us to do things and he then stands back and looks on. He advises that gents, I see it this way and would then, then we would discuss it or perhaps contradict him, because we are equal in rank, and do as per agreement if we then reach such an agreement.
MR LAX: The evidence of your co-applicant is that he was reprimanded severely and told that he must never do that kind of thing again. That was his evidence. And you were presumably present when that happened because it happened right there and then in front of you.
The power TNT had, was not, his authority was not beyond that of mine. I could have asked him too why he did what he did. You perhaps didn't follow that TNT's powers are not beyond mine, that is why at Da Gama there was an altercation.
MS ANVARI: If I may. I guess before everything, I have to follow what Mrs Razavi mentioned, that basically whether anyone is guilty or not, it is the decision of the Amnesty, and we have no revenge or hatred or anything for that matter, towards any people, all the people who had been involved in this attack one way or the other.
MS ANVARI: I am just a little bit nervous, so excuse me. I don't know, I would like to ask anyone who is here actually, if whether any other attacks that happened on behalf of APLA after the armed struggle was finished, beside the attacks that was done by this Unit? Does anybody know the answer to that? Do you know of any?
MR MBAMBO: I will not lie to you Ma'am. As I have said already in this Commission, as a soldier when a soldier, or let me put it this way, if we are all soldiers here, five soldiers, we are supposed to go out and attack a certain place, those who stay behind at the base, are not supposed to know where we are going, and what we are going to go do there.
Even if we came back, they must not know where we come from, and what have we done, where we were. The one who is supposed to know about it, it is the Commander who gave the order and the Base Commander only.
And this makes seven people who are informed about this. Other soldiers must not know about it. We ourselves are now coming back, must not in our talk explain or talk about what has happened. I am trying to answer your question. I cannot say there are attacks that may have taken place, except the ones we were involved in or there were none, I do not know.
CHAIRPERSON: We have been supplied with a list of attacks which appears to be a very, very incomplete in that it doesn't contain details of the ones that are the subject of this enquiry, but it does refer to attacks in the Richards Bay area on a swimming pool and on a disco.
MS ANVARI: I suppose it sort of leads me to the next question. If the armed struggle had stopped in January, in some place like Unitra, only an hour and a half away from Butterworth, I can understand it takes until mid-February to get to Richards Bay, but why is it it took so long to get to Butterworth, it is an hour and a half drive?
MR MBAMBO: I can be sure Ma'am, that those who read newspapers and those who listened to the radio's got the message immediately, and those people who went physically to the Congress at Unitra at the time this matter was being discussed, they heard this thing.
With the Army a message or an announcement comes via radio and newspaper, television, we as soldiers were told we must not accept what comes via those media. A person like the Commander must come and tell us, this is the situation. This is the decision, and then we must accept it.
MS ANVARI: I had heard that you were in Butterworth, we are not talking about all over South Africa, we are talking an hour and a half away from where the decision was made. I am sorry, I don't want to be like the Commission and I don't want to necessarily say that you are telling the truth or not, I accept what you say, but in my mind this stays that an hour and a half away from Umtata, if the messenger had walked, he would have been there before the 13th of March, when this happened to my husband.
I also have to say that you know, I have basically no political mind and I don't know how the command of things work and how the Army works and all that stuff. Could I find out what is a definition of soldier in your organisation?
MS ANVARI: From what I understood, you obeyed orders and that is all. I understood that personally you had no political motive in order to go to that Bahai Centre and do what you did that day, is that correct?
MR MBAMBO: I will be lying to you Ma'am. The mere fact for anybody to associate themselves with the liberation movement shows clearly that you are coming from a political organisation, you have political education, you then go to a liberation army and you do get some political classes.
We were given an order to go and undertake the attack at Bahai as people who were politically taught, we then went and undertook that attack at Bahai. If it were not soldiers, you could not have sent anybody else to do that. Anybody who does not have politics, who is not political, will not easily accept an order to do things like those.
MS ANVARI: Yes, I actually can suggest to you who are the other people who follow orders like that, they are paid assassins and killers. They do not ask questions, they just go and do what they are asked.
MR MBAMBO: I don't know now about the people you are talking about Ma'am, the ones you say are hired to do such things. I never came across such a case. We as the soldiers, we are told, instructed to go and do certain things at certain places. We then go according to instructions and do as instructed wherever.
MS ANVARI: I realise instructions seem to be the key word in here. Now from whom it came and how politically motivated, that is where I have my question, and what objective it achieved for the political organisation.
You mentioned, it was mentioned in various testimonies that one of the people who were killed knew the Bahai Centre and the Bahai's and basically he was familiar with the area where it was situated in, is that true?
Anybody knowing the Bahai Centre, familiar with the area, knows that the Bahai's do not as a regular part of what you might call church, meet every Saturday, we don't have regular meetings. We might meet in the middle of the week or at Saturday or Sunday, we don't have a service on every Sunday.
That Sunday, these three people were invited to be there, and that just happened to come by invitation only. How did this person know, or your group know, that we were going to be there on that Sunday? It was not a popular understanding, it wasn't something that would happen every Sunday and besides the Bahai's of Ciskei and Mdantsane were basically blacks.
We, the Bahai's of East London and King William's Town would help them with the functions that they do. The whites as such were never there on a regular basis. How did they find out on that Sunday that we were going to be there?
MR MBAMBO: Ma'am, I cannot lie. I will not lie to you as to how they got to know that. I do not know too how they got to know that white people would be there that day, whilst white people were not commonly at that church.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you understand, as I understand the questioner she said that the Bahai Church, this church did not meet regularly on Sundays, they met on various days of the week. So it was not just a question of knowing that there would be white people that day, but knowing that the Church would meet on that day.
MR MBAMBO: I may have failed to answer that part. I do not know them, as to how they got to know that on that Sunday there would be white people or during that weekend, there would be a service at Bahai.
MS ANVARI: Again, I am trying to find out how could anybody again in Butterworth know anything about what is going on in Mdantsane about you know, I mean you had particular instructions to be there on that Sunday and carry this out. How if anybody knew the Bahai's, they know that we don't meet regularly, how did they know that on that Sunday there will be white people to kill there?
I am sure that is one of the reasons that they got to know that that day, on that particular Sunday there would be a service on Bahai. I do not want to accuse church members that perhaps there might be one amongst them, who gathered information on our behalf, but I am trying to explain that that is one of the ways that liberation movements operate with.
The point is if this mission was supposed to have happened, if they had gone two weeks beforehand, there were almost 50 white people there, they could have had a really fun day that day, why they chose these three on that day, that is the question?
I realise that you don't seem to have any answers today. The other question that I want to ask is that you talked about, both of you talked about a dangerous, danger behind this mission and the fact that you had to go back to Transkei as soon as possible.
Now, on the other missions like the Highgate for example, or Da Gama, you came in, you went to do something at Da Gama, you couldn't, you went on the bridge, you couldn't, you went back to Highgate, you passed Highgate, you went to the station, you decided which you say that you cannot make a decision of how to choose the target, but you decided you don't want the station, and you went to Highgate, making a decision again, which you say you cannot make, and raided there, stayed during the weekend in Mdantsane and then go on Monday, do Da Gama and then you go home.
Why is it that you weren't afraid through any of these, that the Police would catch you, but you were afraid that the Police will catch you at the Bahai Centre, bearing in fact that with all due respect to the Mdantsane Police, whenever anything happens at the Bahai Centre, a burglary, they showed almost two hours later. Why were you afraid of this one?
MR MBAMBO: You see Ma'am, there is not a single mission where a thought about Police does not occur. The only thing that happened is that we must check the place where we are, how far is it from the Police when they are called, whether they will take long to come to the area where we are at.
For instance, when we went to the station, East London station bar, our road was via Cambridge, but when we passed the Highgate Hotel, we noted that the Highgate Hotel was full, there was something like a disco on.
We then decided that it is not necessary for us to go to the station bar, East London, let us rather make a u-turn at the railway station at Cambridge, and come back, hit the Highgate Hotel. What our calculations were, were that the station bar in town, there are many Policemen in contradiction, we have better chances of running away at Highgate.
In the vicinity of Highgate there is no Police station on our way, except the one at Mdantsane. This means the danger will only be from behind. When people from Highgate Hotel called the Police, we shall have reached Mdantsane. When they tell the Police at Mdantsane, we would have dumped the car already and have split.
It is not only the Bahai case where we thought about the situation of being arrested. In all our actions, we did think about the question of being arrested. Even at Highgate we shot with the rifle grenade, not wanting to go in physically, hit from a distance, not being seen, and then disappear.
Even at the Da Gama case we thought to use the rifle grenade, hit from a distance and simply disappear fast. Even if the Police are called, we will be very far off. All the time, we were thinking about what we do, we must be able to retreat properly and not have casualties or people who are hurt, that is what we are checking.
MS ANVARI: Again, you made a decision, you made a sound decision not to raid one and go to the other, which means that you had a right to make decisions, and so you were not under orders to go to the Bahai Centre and kill, you had no choice but to obey the order.
You could have very well turned around and go to a church in, I don't know, another neighbouring who had lots of other whites probably, and you also had a choice to kill my husband who was outside and not go inside and get to the other people who were inside.
You also had a choice, while they were coming out of their cars, also killed them and not wait until they go inside the hall. You had choices which you did not exercise. You also had the choice of not robbing a car and going into the neighbouring houses. You also had the choice to cover your faces when you were doing this, so you wouldn't be recognised and you could just walk out without anybody seeing you. You did not make any of those choices. You went in there, without being afraid of being found out with pure daylight, faces showing, you were not afraid of being recognised on that scene, otherwise you would have covered yourself in some way or protected yourself.
I understand why you think the way that you do. As I have said, we were going to the station bar in town. On our way to the station bar, we saw that the target that may be less problematic, the reason why on our way to the station bar, we decided to rather attack Highgate Hotel, was that when we were given the orders, no date was given as to on such and such a date you must do this. On this one, you must do this.
On the other, you must do this. We are the ones who decide as we have been given these targets we must hit, let us choose on what day we must hit, on which day we will hit the next, that is how it goes.
As the Bahai Church, you see, when they were given the instruction, I was not there but I think the reason that led to them not, when they met the deceased, your husband, when he was painting the grill of the door, not shooting him dead when he was there, or wait for them when they finished worshipping and then shoot at them, I think it is because they were told how they must go about doing what they had to do.
MS ANVARI: I am sorry, with all due respect, it seems like your hands has never gotten dirty throughout this whole thing, anywhere. There is a question that - did you stop to think, I mean you proclaim you are freeing the Africans - did you stop at any point to think about the children that were doomed to witness what you were doing, this, at that point, standing there, watching you?
Did it never occur to you why is it the children who were so afraid, instead of coming to you and asking shelter from you, they ran behind Chamaam's feet and stood there, worrying or trying to hide themselves behind him, rather than you if you were the friends and they were the enemy, why did they trust them more than they trust you? Didn't it occur to you that there is something here that you should not be doing?
MR MBAMBO: Ma'am, I don't want to lie to you or try to paint myself positively in front of you, but I heard you when you said it is clear that my hands were clean. I will not contest what you say, but I don't want to pretend that I am guiltless or because of what you are said, I then must hold on to that.
I took their money, I am the one who took their car keys and passed them on to the next one who was our driver. I don't want to agree that my hands are clean after having taken their money without their permission.
Ma'am, what happened in the Church, I don't want to lie and say at that time I had thought about children here, who may have seen very tragic things or old people who may have seen terrible scenes, I don't want to lie to you.
You see, at that time I was a soldier Ma'am, and as a soldier I was at war and fighting. I did not have time to think or to think for or about as to what I do to this one, what is the next of kin of, his next of kin going to feel about it, or those who are on the scene, how they see it.
Let me tell you, if you were the one who took the money and the car keys, then you must have been the one who slapped Chamaam in the face with the little money that you could get from him, I suppose, I don't know why you would slap him on the face if you were just a soldier.
I mean, do you expect me to believe that you had no hatred and you were just following orders? I simply, I don't know, I must say I don't know, you have come in front of the Amnesty Commission and you have asked them to basically give you forgiveness for what has happened.
If they believe what you say, then that means some other people were involved, you get your amnesty and well, the truth has not come out yet. We still don't know why this thing happened. You will get your amnesty and you walk. If they don't believe what you said, that means that there weren't any people behind it, and it was just you and your group, which again nothing has come out as a truth, as why. I want to put this to the Commission and to you to please, somehow, come up with the answer why?
There are thousands of letters in our files from all around the world, people who wanted to know why, they cried with us. The newspaper clippings of all around the world, who put this incident on and talked about it, and they all wanted to know why? We have tapes of news spots on TV in the United States that the person who is giving the news says, why? We need to know what objective was received from this act by you, by your unit, by your commandment, by your organisation and whoever else is in responsible for this act. We need to know why.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You will be given an opportunity both of you, if you wish to address further remarks to us. Thank you for having participated, and I think the time has now come that we must take the adjournment. Mr Prior?
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, thank you, yes, there is just one other matter. Ms Williams, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Williams, the sister of the deceased indicated that she just wanted to ask one question. It may be opportune before we adjourn, just to have that one question and put that behind us.
As I have said to you Ma'am, and to the Committee, I was not there when they were given the instructions or the orders. I do not know why, how they got to know that there was going to be a service that Sunday, despite as you say, there used to be no services on all Sundays, I do not know.
In relation to the allegation that I clapped or hit him, slapped him. I don't think I would have confessed about big things, and left this small issue. I did not slap anybody. If anybody was slapped, he was slapped by somebody else.
Further, the objective that we were sent to the Church, or those who I was moving with, was sent to the Church to do, that what they did, I would not like to answer on their behalf and say it is because of this or for this, but as far as I know, when you are a soldier you do not ask why, you simply execute orders.
It is those who are superior to me, who will know the objectives for the attack. Whatever objectives I can tell you, will be those that I think about, that may be contradicted by them when they come before the Commission. That is all.
MS WILLIAMS: Yes, thank you Chairperson. I really just have two questions and I appreciate there is some answers to the questions, which can't be given. I hope the applicant will be able to answer satisfactorily to these two general questions.
MS WILLIAMS: So are you saying that within the PAC, there was never a question that there were groups of people who may have disagreed with other people, that it was a (indistinct) political institution, that had one view on all matters pertaining to the organisation?
MR MBAMBO: As I have said already Ma'am, myself, I do not know that there was within APLA any divisions to a point where there would be a split. Even the question that says, asking me as to whether I was part of those who were renegade to, or part of the disagreement, no, I was not part of those. If there were such groups who were in conflict. I see that you have information that there may have been disagreements in APLA. I don't disagree, but I say I do not know anything about it.
MR MBAMBO: What happened there Ma'am, when you arrive there, there is a sort of form that you fill in with your details, your name and surname and if you have ever been involved in other organisations before and the reasons for leaving, and the reasons for wanting to become a cadre.
After all that, you would be given an opportunity to name yourself and you would be told that in that kind of place, the people don't use their real names because of security reasons, even the place you come from.
MR MBAMBO: Comrade TNT is the one who gave me that name. I accepted it because it was the name that will never ever slip my mind. I think it was because of the reason that the people are not using their real names.
ADV GCABASHE: Now coming to 1994, one aspect that I still am not too clear about is based on the evidence of Pala Pala, Tona He says he understood the reason that you were going to East London to be that you were going to steal a car. What do you say to that, can you explain that?
MR MBAMBO: I didn't hear such a thing. The only thing who came up with such a thing, that he was going to East London to go and steal a car is Pala Pala, I heard him saying that in the Supreme Court at Bisho.
MR MBAMBO: According to my understanding Ma'am, the intention of that attack was to kill whites who were right inside the Bahai Church and to get anything that could be of assistance to APLA, like a motor vehicle, firearms if they had them, money, anything that could be useful in APLA.
ADV GCABASHE: And correct me if I am mistaken here, your comrades had been in East London a few days, I initially understood it to be a week, but you mentioned Wednesday, but they had been there a few days before the mission on Sunday?
ADV GCABASHE: Now, just as one aspect of this case, is it not possible that Tona was indeed correct, he wasn't lying, that indeed you had either heard about the Jetta or seen the Jetta and were waiting for a chance to get that vehicle and that was indeed the primary reason for going to the Church?
The Jetta was found because we went to the Church. We could get any type of a car because Tona was given three keys and he was told to choose the car that is the right one. He is the one who knows more about the speed of cars.
MR MBAMBO: We were very much in a hurry to go to Transkei after the mission was completed. It is not because of the car. We had to go back to Transkei, we were in a hurry because of the mission we just did. It is not the car, the car is not the main reason for us to be in a hurry to go to Transkei.
As I told you that Highgate was just among the missions we had planned, but on that Saturday, Friday, we were not going to the Highgate Hotel. We were going to the station bar that is right in town, in East London.
But as we went passed Highgate Hotel, we just saw that this place was full and we can also get inside this one and attack, that is the reason that we were not in a hurry, because we had a lot of operations to perform. That was not Highgate Hotel only.
ADV GCABASHE: Then, the last aspect relates to Da Gama. As I understood Mr Ncamazana's evidence yesterday, and you heard the evidence, at the time that you were shooting, he thought that Kid and TNT had abandoned you, he didn't see where they had gone to during the shooting, and he actually jumped either you or Luvuyo to get out while the shooting was going on, and eventually he got away.
MR MBAMBO: I was inside the car as Kid was hit by the bullet. Comrade Dumisani was next to the door, the one from where the direction of the bullet was coming from and on the driver's seat, there was Luvuyo, the late Luvuyo.
ADV GCABASHE: Now, the last aspect on this that strikes me as strange is, you said again in response, I think it was to Mrs Anvari, that at all times, we thought about the Police. In all cases, we thought about what we were doing, and being able to retreat unharmed, because you had planned the thing properly, do you remember saying something like that?
MR MBAMBO: It is so, we didn't even know that there was a Security car that was following the bus because we were not told from the time that we were given instructions, we were not told that there is a car that normally escorts the bus.
ADV GCABASHE: But whose responsibility was it to strategise and plan and know exactly what was going to happen on the day? I thought you said the Unit would depend, it would depend on what things looked like and you changed your plans?
MR MBAMBO: That is the responsibility of the Commander to tell the Unit that as I am sending you to such and such a place, the situation is like this. You will find so many people there, you will find a certain number of people there, but unfortunately we did not get that type of information in this Da Gama incident.
We were surprised when we got there, but when I was just thinking, I just told myself that he wouldn't know because there was this old man, whose car was hijacked by us and he went straight, the one who went straight to Da Gama and we came back. That old man didn't hear us talking about going to Da Gama, but he just heard that we missed whatever. Maybe he is the one that went to tell the Police that certain people hijacked his car, because they went to a certain place.
And maybe he would even tell them that the time went against them, and they couldn't carry on the mission, but I thought maybe it was that old man, or maybe the Commander who was giving us the instruction, he didn't know that the bus was escorted, because it was not escorted initially. Before, they never used to escort the bus. That is what happened.
ADV SANDI: Mr Mbambo, just a few questions from me. I gather that before 1994 you had not been involved in any operation, that is before the PAC and APLA first announced that the armed struggle had been suspended, is that correct?
ADV SANDI: When you heard that the PAC/APLA had suspended the armed struggle, where did you personally stand in relation to that issue? Did you personally prefer a situation where the armed struggle had continued or did you prefer that the armed struggle had stopped?
MR MBAMBO: Sir, I don't want to lie. I never gave myself a chance to think about it, to think about the suspension of the armed struggle or what is my feeling about the suspension of the armed struggle. I never had that opportunity.
ADV SANDI: These three gentlemen who were killed because you perceived them to be whites, did you know where they stood in relation to the system which you were opposing? Did you for example know their political affiliation?
MR MBAMBO: I don't know sir, but I myself, I did not even know their relationship, I did not know their feeling towards the government of the day. I did not even know their political affiliation as I was not there when that type of instruction was given to the unit.
ADV SANDI: Maybe lastly, why were they not given a chance to explain who they were before they were killed or even the congregation for that matter, to be given an opportunity to explain who these people are?
MR MBAMBO: I don't know why were they not given a chance, but I think as far as I am concerned, I think that maybe those soldiers who were sent there, on that mission, at the Bahai Church, they were told, maybe they were told that they have to take anything that they can be able to take, and kill all the white people who were there and leave the scene.
Besides that sir, I think even if the people in the Bahai Church, like this other old lady who said, who told us that they were not white people, they were not originally from South Africa, I don't believe that even if we heard that, I don't believe that that would stop us from doing what we were instructed to do, what the people were instructed to do because the people were instructed to do this and that, they were not instructed to go there and check and see what type of white people were there and where do they actually come from and to what political organisation did they belong to.
Would I be wrong to think that you were aware at that time, that there were people from other groups, from other racial groups, who were opposed to the system you were fighting? Were you not aware for example that there were white people in this country, I am not talking about the numbers, there were white people in this country, who were opposed to apartheid?
MR LAX: Thank you Chairperson. You have told us that you, yourself, until the time you started just before the Bahai mission, you were not in any way operational at that stage. You didn't have a unit, you didn't have a Commander, correct?
MR LAX: My colleague put a question to you, you didn't have a Commander and your answer to that was yes, you didn't have a Commander. Maybe you can clarify it now, but that was the answer you gave at that time.
MR MBAMBO: The reason sir, as I told you before, when I was in Bizana my Commander would be Mr Ncapayi. Comrade Jimmy Jones would come and ask me to keep soldiers for him, and the soldiers would leave again.
MR MBAMBO: You said I didn't have a Commander. I told you that I had a Commander. You didn't ask me that in 1994, why did I allow the situation that I have another Commander while my Commander was still alive, you didn't ask me that.
MR MBAMBO: What unit are you referring to sir, because I told you about the unit. At first I told you that I never belonged to a unit and when you were asking me and said that I told the Commission that I didn't have a unit, and I was never involved in operations previously, I told you that I never had a unit. I was never involved in any operations, but I had a Commander.
MR LAX: Mr Mbambo, why aren't you volunteering this information to us. I say did you have a Commander at Bizana, who was your Commander. You don't say to me it was Mr so and so, but he died. You then use it as an excuse for why you didn't answer the question properly in the first place.
You are supposed to be telling us the truth here, you are supposed to be helping us to get information, instead I've got to try and pull it out like pulling teeth out of your mouth. This is not how you help us.
MR MBAMBO: The reason for me not telling you about my Commander that he had passed away, I was told by the gentleman next to you, that if I am being asked a question, I must just answer a question directly. I must not take, I must not say a lot of things. That is why I said I did not have a Commander and I did not go on to say he had passed away.
MR MBAMBO: Sir, one of the members of the Committee told me not to be long, lengthy when answering the questions, I have to be brief. I answered your question, I said I had a Commander and I waited for the next question.
MR LAX: Well, you see, your co-applicant said in his evidence that he knew that name before that time. He knew you by that name before that time. That is how he knew you were a member of APLA, he said, because he knew you had a (indistinct), in other words a war name.
MR MBAMBO: He was making a mistake. I understand that he actually made a mistake with my name, the one that they call me from my township, it is more Xobani. The people whom I grew up with, they are using a name that is similar to Xobani.
MR LAX: I see. In your confession and in your trial, you said that you gave evidence, you can correct me if I am wrong, against your co-applicant and others because you were really angry with them because you felt they had betrayed you. Is that right?
MR MBAMBO: The reason sir, as I told you before, I was forced to lie there so as to minimise guilt on my side. Even if I didn't implicate comrade Jimmy Jones, the Police already had information about him at the time, although I don't even know where they get that information.
MR LAX: You see, in your trial, you said that Jimmy Jones remonstrated your colleagues, he said why are you coming back here? Mr Ntonga pointed out that passage to you, I pointed out that passage to you. Do you remember that?
MR MBAMBO: That actually tried to help me and it was actually saving comrade Jimmy Jones, as I had told you and you, and Jimmy Jones at that time, did not betray me. You said so and I said yes, and you asked me why did I try to implicate him.
I did that because Police already had information about Jimmy Jones, but as I was implicating him, I tried there shouldn't anything that could lead to his arrest because of what I said, as you were saying sir, that that was actually taking him out of the crime as I am telling you, as I said I told the Police that Jimmy Jones reprimanded them. He even asked them why did they do this and go to Jimmy Jones' place.
MR MBAMBO: The reason for me to change during the trial, as you are saying sir, as you were explaining that I said I was angry during my trial, that the reason why I implicated Dumisani Ncamazana, during the trial sir, during the trial we had met JJ, we had met with JJ and it was his advice that we should say this and that.
MR LAX: I want you to try and remember, I know it was a long time ago. I want you to think really hard. You are here to tell us the truth, you better try and tell us the truth. I want to know what Jimmy Jones told you.
MR MBAMBO: I didn't see it that way sir. Because even the Police were unable to make him as one of the accused, because during the trial, I was left with Dumisani Ncamazana, even he was actually running away from anything that would implicate him.
Anything that would say that he was the one who actually gave orders, therefore Police were unable to arrest him, unless we tell the Police that he is the one who actually gave the orders. Without him, we wouldn't go and do anything, without him giving orders.
MR MBAMBO: Sir, Jimmy Jones did not give me the instruction to participate in the Bahai operation. What actually happened is that those comrades wouldn't go back to Unit 3 where I was staying therefore they were forced to take me with.
MR MBAMBO: Yes, sir I said so that he didn't have the authority to tell me, did not have authority to tell me but I just told you sir, as you were asking, if there was any operation that I was involved in without a direct instruction from Jimmy Jones, my answer to that was apart from this Bahai incident, there is no other operation, and you went on sir, asking and I told you that - you asked me if can I also be involved in an operation whereas I wasn't there when the orders were being given.
I said it is not possible, but it depends on the situation prevailing at the time. You did not ask me about that, how does that depend, what the situation can be. It is one of the situations like the Bahai incident.
MR MBAMBO: It is not that the Unit Commander has the authority to tell, to go on an operation. A Unit Commander is not, does not have the power to tell me about, to give me an order, but it is only - I beg your pardon, the Unit Commander does not have powers to tell me to go on a certain operation.
MR LAX: So are you saying, I am not clear now exactly what you are saying. On the one hand you say he does not have the power to make you go on an operation, and on the other hand you say, he ordered you to go on the operation.
MR MBAMBO: It appeared at a later stage sir. I did not say what you are saying. I think you are making a mistake sir. I said after I heard that through the radio media in January 1994, I met with one comrade and I asked him if he heard the news of the suspension of the armed struggle.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and then suddenly in March 1994 you join a unit and you start committing murders, months after you had heard that there was a cessation of hostility, months after you had heard that the PAC had agreed to stop violence. Can you explain how this came about that you did this without making any enquiries, without asking anybody, without trying to satisfy yourself as to the truth of what you had known for months?
MR MBAMBO: Again in 1994, March 1994, I joined one of the Units under Mr Jimmy Jones as a Commander, that went on, there were fights and we were undertaking operations. I don't want to lie to you, I never enquired about this armed struggle as I heard it through the radio media and why the people are still being sent to the operations, because I knew very well that Jimmy Jones was one of the members in the High Command of APLA and he actually knew what he was doing.
CHAIRPERSON: No, you took part. You went there, knowing that they were going there to kill the whites. You took part in searching the white men there, taking their keys, you took an active part in the incident, didn't you? Don't try to deny it now. You were supposed to be here to make a full disclosure and what you are doing is seeking to evade liability.
That gun was not, that gun did not belong to APLA. That gun did not have anything to do with political organisations, the gun that I had, the firearm that I had. That is why I did not include that in my application.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, I propose to call Captain Hussan briefly on the Police's operation at Da Gama, he shouldn't take too long, and I propose just to call finally Mrs Anvari just to put on record the nature of the activities of the Bahai Church.
The lady who was present in the Church, unfortunately at the luncheon adjournment I told her that I wouldn't be calling her, and then the Committee had indicated that it might be desirable to call her. She had since left Mr Chairman, but in any event I understand the matter is to stand adjourned until the 14th, and I can make arrangements for her to be here on that day.
CHAIRPERSON: I think we can skip I and call it J, because I sometimes becomes confusing, but is this the documents (indistinct) case number CCI ... I understand that we are in possession of this today as a result of your secretary and other staff having worked long hours to prepare the record, despite the fact that you requested that it be transcribed weeks, if not months ago and that the TRC did the same, but were told that it was impossible to get a copy, so you had to arrange to have it typed yourself, and we are extremely grateful to you.
MS COLLETT: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Yes, we have done this transcription, there are inaudible because it appears that the microphones weren't working too well at the Bisho High Court. I do wish to hand it in.
I have read it myself, it seems to reflect quite accurately what was said at the trial by Mpahlela. There are a words that sounds a bit strange, but the gist of it is there, and I wish this to become part of this record in support of the testimony of the two applicants.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, may I maybe make a suggestion just in case any question later on is raised regarding the authenticity thereof, that the person who actually did the transcription, simply make a certificate that it was done correctly.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, with your permission, I will then call Captain Hussan. Mr Chairman, may I indicate at this stage Hussan's statement appears in the bundle that I indicated earlier, has not been handed up.
CHAIRPERSON: You are going to start referring to them, perhaps we should. The one starting (indistinct) Victor Klaas can be K1, the one starting Bruce Kettles, K2, and the third one rifle grenade attack, K3.
CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps I should have made it clear, that we haven't had the opportunity of reading the record that has just been made available to us and it may be that once we have, there are other matters we wish to raise, arising from it. So it will go in subject to that.
MR PRIOR: It is just before the post mortem report. Thank you Mr Chairman. Is it correct that on the 28th of March 1994, you were a Warrant Officer and attached to the Internal Stability Unit at East London?
MR PRIOR: Is it also correct that on that day at approximately 7.25 am, you had received an instruction from Captain Bezuidenhout to mobilise your section and proceed to the Da Gama factory where they had an attack, or had taken place or was in the process of taking place?
MR HUSSAN: When we arrived at the scene at Da Gama, we were instructed to move into a dense bush. That would be from the Black Road side, and move towards Da Gama in order to sweep the bush and to flush out any suspects that might be hiding in the bush, and also to do a follow up in the direction of Mdantsane, to follow the suspects as the information that we had received was that they were fleeing in that direction.
MR PRIOR: Could you just pause there. I would like to show you a set of photographs, aerial photographs, thank you Mr Chairman. Just quickly, photographs 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, do they depict the scene as you remember it?
MR PRIOR: All right, maybe if we can just refer to photograph 5, that seems to give a fair idea of the area and maybe you could talk the Committee through your evidence referring to points on photograph 5.
MR HUSSAN: That would be near the railway line, yes. We moved in from that direction, across the railway line and started moving towards Mdantsane, that would be towards the left and bottom side of the photograph, amongst that bush there.
MR HUSSAN: As we were moving down the embankment, that is just after crossing the railway line, a radio message had come over that the suspects were moving towards Mdantsane as I have already said and the right hand side of the section, or the line, fell slightly behind as we were turning to the left.
At that stage a volley of shots were fired, I immediately took cover, as we did not know where the shots were coming from. Then we turned around and moved back towards from where the shots had come from. At that point, a second volley of shots were fired, in our direction and once again took cover and we tried to identify where the attack was coming from.
It was slightly impossible to identify at that stage, as I said the bush was very dense and the grass was long. At that point, Constable Aslet also shouted at me that one of the Policemen from our section had been shot. It was not know who was shot at the time.
We then moved towards the direction from which the fire had come from again, or the shots had been fired from, and at that point, a third volley of shots were heard, and then everything was quiet after that.
MR HUSSAN: Not immediately after the attack, that was only done after we had returned back to the Unit. After securing the area and disarming the suspects, and after Constable Williams had been removed from the scene, we went through to the main gate of Da Gama and awaited further instructions and after that, the instructions that we had was, to go through the bush again and after that, after finding nothing in the bush and no other suspects in the bush, we returned to the Unit and that is where we did our ammunition count.
MR HUSSAN: The suspects were armed with R4 rifles and in the bush, those were the only firearms that we found. On the tar road in front of the main gate of Da Gama, I think on photograph 5 it is more or less in the position of (a) where it is showing that vehicle, there was a hand grenade laying in the road, that had been left behind.
MR HUSSAN: The helicopter was requested from the SANDF or the SADF at that time. The helicopter had been in the area for certain other operations and it only arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after the shooting had taken place. That is the shooting of Constable Williams and the shooting at my section.
MR HUSSAN: I am not too sure when the Highgate attack had taken place, I can't recall the exact date as well as the Bahai incident, and the King William's Town Golf Club incident, they had all been alleged to be APLA attacks.
MR PRIOR: Thank you Mrs Anvari, I am going to lead you and there is nothing that you say, I don't think that much of what you say is in contention so, with permission from my learned friend, and the Committee, I am just going to get some background for you.
It is common cause, we understand that you are a member of the Bahai Faith Mission, your late husband was a member of the Bahai Faith Mission and you were friendly with the other two deceased, is that correct?
The Bahai Faith since 1911, has been part of, has been established in South Africa and it has been basically teaching its teachings to the people since 1911, but up to the election I suppose, we were obscure in a way because our teachings based on oneness of humanity did not necessarily coincide with the system of the government of the time, and being Bahai's we do obey the government of every country that we live in.
We abide by their laws, not necessarily moralities, but by their laws, and therefore we kept basically all our religious activities in such a way that it does not interfere what the government asks us.
However, in Ciskei and Transkei we never had any problems in that terms, and most of the Bahai, I mean all the Bahai meetings in those countries, were very much mixed. Although even in South Africa we had, Bahai meetings were integrated fully. We had less problems, let's say, in Ciskei and Transkei.
The Bahai Faith is not a mission, it is a faith. It is a religion based on you know, oneness of God, it is a religion along the same major religions of the world, like Christianity and Islam. Its inception was in 1844 and it is only 150 some years old, however, according to the Britannica World Book, after Christianity it is the most widespread religion throughout the world.
The Bahai administration is in such a way that it starts from a local spiritual assembly in each city, we have a local spiritual assembly which is made of nine people, whoever is voted for, the invitation to go to Mdantsane was from the local spiritual assembly of Bahai's of Mdantsane.
At every country we have a national spiritual assembly of the Bahai's of that country, which we have a national spiritual assembly here in South Africa. As a world governing body, we have a universal house of justice which rules basically all the Bahai world, internationally.
Therefore our basic objective to be in anywhere around the world, to spread the teachings of Bahala, which is based on unity of mankind, world peace, unity of - bringing people together, abolition of all kinds of prejudices, including the racial prejudice, gender, class, creed, any kind of prejudices, so Africa, South Africa seemed to be a very, very good place to be at the time, and is still going to be, because we believe in working on individuals, bringing dignity, faith, confidence, spiritual upliftment to the people underground, these are the people that are important.
Those are the people we work with. Political systems have their own systems, and they bring empowerment to people in their own way and fine, that is perfectly okay. We believe in individuals and empowerment through spiritual growth, that comes from within.
MS ANVARI: I am sorry, I think we try to understand, you know, the difference comes when we say church. We don't have a church, it is a centre. We don't have clergy or basically older Bahai activities are run by the spiritual assemblies of that local area, city, which was at the time the Bahai Centre was run by the local, actually it was a national centre so it was run by the national spiritual centre of Bahai's of Ciskei at the time, because it was considered to be a country at the time.
MS ANVARI: Well, basically we have every 19 days, what we call a feast. When I say it is not regular, that is exactly what we mean, because you have to know what the Bahai calender is about, so you would know when the 19 days is, in order to know.
Then we have the spiritual assembly meetings, which is basically the nine people that are members of the spiritual assembly. We have basically, then regular meetings, children classes and those things that if you could say anything regular, would be the children classes, which is on Sunday, but it is basically a teacher from Mdantsane who would go and teach the children.
MR PRIOR: Now, you indicated in a question put to the last applicant, Mr Mbambo, that two weeks before the actual attack on the Bahai Centre, there were about 50 members of Bahai who they would have regarded as white people.
Right before this vast month starts, which is on the 2nd of March, we have four days of celebration, which are called (indistinct), or (indistinct) days. It works very well within the Bahai calender, but I am not going to get into that here.
Anyway, those for days every year, is dedicated to basically giving to others in terms of food and joy and everything. I suppose the closest thing you can come to it, is Christmas in the Christian terminology.
But it is not, but that is the closest thing I can refer you to. So, right, two weeks before that, we were all at the Bahai Centre, all of us from you know, Bahai's from King William's Town, East London, I think even Cradock, there were a whole lot of people who were there.
If I am not mistaken, Chamaam's mother had actually invited everybody because this is an individual thing that you can do, had invited everybody for lunch, so we had almost 80, 90 people there, mixed, very mixed group.
MS ANVARI: Actually at the same Sunday or Saturday that we were all at the Bahai Centre, we received the invitation, it was just distributed. My husband and I both were invited to that meeting on Sunday and Chamaam and Rios, to go. I didn't know Rios and Chamaam were going to be there.
I only found out on Saturday when I saw Rios at our classes that he said no, I am also invited to that meeting. The meeting was on family life, basically promoting family units as a unit. You know, to uplift them and give the children the morality and the spirituality ironically to grow up to be individuals who would not end up doing what happened to them that day.
You know, we realise that the world was going in such a way that it is children that are doing what they are doing, and we figured if we start from, and that was the year of family by the way, that is where we have to start, to empower the parents, how to teach the children - it is not a spiritual education so they would not fall into those kinds of a ...
MS ANVARI: Yes. About two o'clock, you see, my husband was in charge of the Bahai Centre, so every time they would phone, there was a robbery in the Bahai Centre, which there was a lot of those days, and the red alert would phone my husband and tell him that there is a robbery in the Bahai Centre, the same time that they would inform the Police in Mdantsane.
Usually, some times it was in the middle of the night, so he wouldn't go, but usually in the morning, if it was anything like that, he would go and when I mentioned with all respect to Mdantsane Police, they would get there on the same time, basically to check what has happened.
So, when they phoned me and they asked for my husband and he was a Police from Mdantsane, they identified themselves, I got okay, well, the alarm has gone off again, and I just told them, look, he is already there, don't worry, probably it is a false alarm.
They said who are you and I said I am his wife, and they said that you need to go to Cecilia Makawane, that is basically all they said, and then I said what, there has been some shooting, you just have to go to Cecilia Makawane and they wouldn't tell me anything and they hung up.
MS ANVARI: Yes. He had the car, so I had to actually, it took me about two minutes, three minutes, to find out somebody who - and then our friends just walked in coming from actually the Bacshanderi's house, realising that all the doors and windows are open and there is nobody inside the house, so they were sort of anxious, what has happened.
They came to our house to find out what is happening to them, and I had no idea. So I told them what I had heard, and we both went to Cecilia Makawane Hospital. There I met with parents of Chamaam and they were crying and all I asked was, what had happened and he said, finished, and immediately I - and I was thinking why are they crying because I thought it was just my husband, I had no idea what has happened.
MS ANVARI: No, no, as I say it took me some time to realise what was happening, they said Chamaam has finished, then I realised yes, Chamaam was the one he was mentioning when he said finished and that my husband was killed two hours before that already.
MR PRIOR: I am going to leave off at this point, because I understand that what you want to say further is of a very personal nature, and you want some time with Mrs Razavi to consider what you are going to say.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, may I just indicate that I have been approached by our Investigative Superintendent, who indicated that there was a witness, a person who was present at Da Gama. I haven't had the opportunity of speaking to that person, could I maybe just have a moment to enquire whether that person wishes to ...
CHAIRPERSON: I gave an undertaking that we would try to do so. It is now five minutes to four. I think you can consult with the witness, decide if the witness is sufficiently relevant and then ask them to be here on the 14th.
I would thank all of you who have been here for your patience in the delays that we have had and the quiet manner you sat listening to the evidence, and I hope that you will be able to be back here on the 14th.
I would also request those, and I know it is a difficult request, but I would request those responsible for transcribing the record, to see if it is possible to have the record transcribed before we reconvene on the 14th.
MR PRIOR: Mr Chairman, there is a request from the technicians that when the public leave the hall, could they please remove the headsets and place them on the chairs. In the past, some of the headsets had been damaged in the rush to get out. If they could comply please, Mr Chairman.