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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 08 June 1998

Location JOHANNESBURG

Day 1

Names PITSO JOSEPH HLASA

Case Number 2739/96

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Brink?

MR BRINK: Mr Chairman, this is the resumed hearing of the matter of Hlasa, Mphoreng and Thandakubona. You'll remember it was heard in April this year but was aborted by reason of fact that the microphones and hearing machinery wasn't working properly. I think a little bit of evidence was lead but it was virtually unintelligible and I think you Mr Chairman, decided to virtually start today day novo.

The next of kin are now represented by Mr Ameen who will put himself on record.

MR AMEEN: Mr Chairman, I appear for the next of kin in this application. My name is Saleh Ameen: S-A-L-E-H

A-M-E-E-N.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you start all over again please?

MR AMEEN: Mr Chairman, I appear for the next of kin of the parties involved in this matter. May name is Saleh Ameen. For the record, I act on instructions of the Legal Aid Board.

CHAIRPERSON: Alright, let's just formalise it. Today is the 8th of June 1998, resuming the applications of

Pitso Joseph Hlasa, spelt: H-L-A-S-A, application number 2739/96

Motlana Atasios Mphoreng, spelt:

M-P-H-O-R-E-N-G, application number 2740/96

Mxolisi Ernest Thandakubona, spelt:

T-H-A-N-D-A-K-U-B-O-N-A, application number 2745/96

Mr Tloubatla, you are appearing for all the applicants?

MR TLOUBATLA: I'm appearing for all the applicants, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you.

Mr Ameen, we are starting now, only now at a quarter to twelve because you had wanted to consult with your clients by reason of the fact that you got instructions some time last week. Are you now ready to proceed or what is the position.

MR AMEEN: Mr Chairman, I got instructions very late on Thursday and these were confirmed again on Friday. I was not able to consult with my clients over the weekend. I have started consulting with them, I have taken statements from them. I was busy going through the application, a copy of which was provided to me in the middle of the morning today. I have not completed that process yet but I'm happy for the evidence to be led and once

the applicants have completed their evidence, I will then cross-examine them after I have consulted with my clients in order not to hold up the proceedings for the morning.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Brink, do you have a problem with that?

MR BRINK: No, I don't.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Tloubatla?

MR TLOUBATLA: I do not have any problem Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, we will then proceed on that basis. Mr Tloubatla?

MR TLOUBATLA: I thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, I will start by leading Mr Hlasa, Mr Pitso Joseph Hlasa. He is Sotho speaking, I don't knew whether there is an interpreter.

PITSO JOSEPH HLASA: (sworn states)

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, you are one of the applicants in this matter. Firstly I will go through your statement that you submitted to the TRC and then we'll go, I'll lead you therein.

In paragraph 1 of your statement - that will page 4 of the bundle Mr Chairman, you say that:

"The political conflict between AZAPO and the UDF, the United Democratic Front, had reached unprecedented levels in 1986. The conflict started in the Eastern Cape"

Can you briefly tell the Committee firstly what happened in the Eastern Cape. You say that it started in the Eastern Cape and it reached unprecedented levels. What happened in the Eastern Cape?

MR HLASA: Yes, I have mentioned earlier on that there was a problem in the Eastern Cape and that was in 1985, between AZAPO and the UDF. Members of AZAPO were accused in many ways. It was about ideological differences between AZAPO and UDF.

Now the main issue was the exclusion of whites by AZAPO and UDF on the other hand felt that the white people might be of help in the struggle but this then spread because of the Cradock 4 who disappeared. There were now accusations that the, the conflict started just there until the conflict spread to Gauteng in early 1986.

MR TLOUBATLA: In, that is where you were staying, you were staying in Soweto at the time? Where you staying in Soweto at the time?

MR HLASA: Yes, I stayed in Soweto at that time.

MR TLOUBATLA: Can you briefly outline, you know give us a brief outline of the conflict around Soweto at that time, what was happening and how did you conduct yourselves. Was there any violence, what happened?

MR HLASA: When this started in Soweto there were certain areas that were controlled by UDF and some were controlled by AZAPO. For instance my area which is Orlando East was predominantly controlled by BCMA and even the high schools. I'm now referring to Bona Orlando High, Silelekela and Lufenze Girls School.

Most students were not members but because the school was situation in an area controlled by BCMA, we used to have meetings. I remember at one stage the then Transvaal President of AZAPO. He was a teacher, and his presence there helped a lot and there were other areas then like Diepkloof and Orlando West and these were predominantly ...[indistinct] and there were areas that we shared, like Dlamini 1 and Dlamini 2. They were Black Consciousness Movement and others were UDF.

Now after this tension has reached Soweto it was quite difficult for one to leave his own area to go to another. I would not leave my area and go to Diepkloof. Yes, I would do that under certain circumstances, wearing just private clothes, not any organisation's clothes.

Now there was a problem in Dlamini. There were fights and comrade George Oukop's house was attacked. He was the Secretary General at that time. We found ourselves having formed a group to go and assist because in Orlando, I mentioned earlier on that we were Black Consciousness Movements, there was not threat as such, like in other places.

CHAIRPERSON: You mustn't be too fast because we are trying to write what you are saying.

MR TLOUBATLA: You also mentioned that some of you were permanently displaced by this violence, can you elaborate on that? Were you personally displaced and then when you say displaced, can you just explain what you mean?

MR HLASA: When I refer to permanently being displaced, there were some comrades that I can mention like Thebogong Komezulu. His house was burnt and Lerato, I do not remember Lerato's surname, they were in Zola. Lerato was a member of AZAPO.

It happened that we tried to accommodate them in Orlando because their areas were fighting, for instance Dlamini and Sinawani and Alexandra. We held camps in Orlando for the sake of accommodating them so that they can have shelter over their heads, trying to find food for them so they don't starve. Those people were permanently displaced, they did not have homes.

Now the main reason again for these camps was to protect because when we walked one by one we found ourselves in problems during the attacks, that is the meaning of displaced, permanently displaced.

MR TLOUBATLA: These camps that you are talking about, how were they run? I want you to explain the camps. In other words, in the camps what did you do and who was in the camps?

MR HLASA: The displaced comrades and local comrades would be in these camps. The camps were made for the sole reason of protection and we tried to make the comrades understand what the policy of the organisation was. It was not for us to out and attack the people, we had sit a certain spot and defend ourselves, not to leave.

Political education was also involved. We were engaged in many other activities of the organisation, that we would not engage in when we are not together. Those were the activities at the camps.

MR TLOUBATLA: How big were the camps? In fact, let me put it this way, how many camps do you know of and how big were the camps, in other words in terms of people who were inside the camps?

MR HLASA: These are not the military camps as such, these are houses. For instance, the community of Orlando East was very sympathetic and there were houses that we used.

In some of these houses you'd find that, well some of us stayed at our homes but at night we would be 40 but when we disperse at night about 15 members would be left behind. I can count at least five houses in Orlando East where such camps were conducted. During the day we would be in large numbers.

Some of us who resided in Orlando East would be together during the day and at night we would leave for our homes. If you felt very secure to sleep at your house you were entitled to do that.

MR TLOUBATLA: And what was the specific reason for camping as you were camping, what was the main reason for people to have to come together to come and protect themselves?

MR HLASA: The main reason to conduct these camps was to defend ourselves as such from the UDF. Many people were attacked at night, many houses in Dlamini were attacked at night. Houses in Zola were attacked at night. Comrades were arrested if they were found in smaller groups, for instance one or two but if you are in a large group you are in a position to defend yourself.

The other thing that was done in the camps was the political education as I've already eluded earlier on, to carry forward the aspirations of the organisation. That is basically that, yes to take forward the programmes of the organisation and to protect ourselves from the UDF.

CHAIRPERSON: What do you mean by saying: "Comrades in small groups would be arrested"?

MR HLASA: Not to be arrested as such. If we are two and we want to go to Diepkloof and one recognises you, that you are a member of AZAPO, you would land in danger. They would capture you and anything could have happened at the time, they might have killed you, interrogate you, comrades from the UDF and its alliances, SOYKO and SOSCO.

MR TLOUBATLA: You also mentioned that the homes were burnt down and so on, do you know of any specific homes or parents that were either subjected to this violence or homes that were burnt down?

MR HLASA: Yes. I said already that Thebogong Komezulu's house was burnt and Lerato's home was also burnt. Ghots Lingani's home was very lucky because information leaked before they could come and burn the house, then we organised ourselves and we camped at that house.

To verify whether it was truth, the whole issue of attack was true, we went to Moletsane High and we indeed found them. They were quite a few of them. We went back to the ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just a minute. I think you should allow your counsel to lead you. The question which he asked you was: "Give examples of houses which were burnt" and to which you should have said: "Komezulu's house, Lerato's house, Lingani's house" and then wait for him to guide you.

MR TLOUBATLA: Thank you Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Will you take charge of your client and direct him according.

MR TLOUBATLA: I thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Because he is just flowing and we have difficulties in following him.

MR TLOUBATLA: You also mentioned - on page 5 Mr Chairman, of the bundle. I think it's paragraph 3 there"

"Meetings were held in vain regarding the violence"

Do you know of any meetings? Did you attend any meetings and who were the people who were attending those meetings?

MR HLASA: Yes, there were meetings that I attended. I explained in my application that I remember very well there were many people, Mr Aubrey Mkwena who resided in Orlando East was member of the UDF and there were several meetings with him. I remember Mrs Sesulu, she worked at Doctor Asvat's surgery. There were meetings there as well.

People such as Seti Mzibuko and Amanda Kwadi were discussing this whole issue. The person who spoke on behalf of the Dlamini people was Kenneth Fitla. Now there were meetings held on different times, discussing this issue. I remember our leadership talking to Mr Tutu when this spread from Eastern Cape, so that this can come to an end but it didn't.

MR TLOUBATLA: On page 6, paragraph 3, you are saying that - page number 6 of the bundle you are saying that

"It was the policy of our organisation to avoid retaliation at all costs, however my attitude changed completely after the death of comrade Sipho Komezulu in Zola"

Can you briefly just tell us about the death of Komezulu, what happened?

CHAIRPERSON: I'm going to interrupt you and go back to paragraph 3. What was the purpose of these meetings?

MR HLASA: It was to get rid of the violence that existed. It appeared that there was no relationship between UDF and ourselves with regards to politics. They must have been aware at that time that the local struggle can be fought with whites included and it was not our vision, we saw whites as part of the problem but you must understand then that this violence had left Port Elizabeth and it was now spreading to our area. Now the main issue here was the difference in ideology. ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: The meeting was between which group and which group?

MR HLASA: Between UDF and AZAPO.

CHAIRPERSON: Now these people that you mention here, from which grouping were they? You've just spoken about Archbishop Tutu for a while.

MR HLASA: Ja. These were members of the UDF. Mr Aubrey Mkwena, Mrs Sesulu, Amanda Gwadi, Seti Mazibuko. SOSCO was a subsidiary of UDF, SOSCO was following the characteristic ideology.

CHAIRPERSON: So these people were from UDF and/or its affiliates or its associates?

MR HLASA: That's right.

CHAIRPERSON: Was the purpose of this meeting then to try and bring peace between your organisation and its affiliates or associates on the one hand and the UDF and its associates or affiliates on the other hand?

MR HLASA: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Did it then succeed in doing that? Did the meeting then succeed in doing bringing about peace?

MR HLASA: No, it did not because these meetings took place at the leadership level. I do not believe that the grassroots level of these two organisations understood exactly what was taking place up there but what I believe was discussed up there was not put into practice down here.

CHAIRPERSON: So the conflict continues, the meetings notwithstanding?

MR HLASA: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes?

MR TLOUBATLA: Thank you Mr Chairman.

MR MALAN: Sorry, just before you proceed, may I just ask, at these meetings, you said you were present, who were the leadership of AZAPO present at these meetings?

MR HLASA: Let me start at the meeting held at DOCC in Orlando East. I remember well Mr Mabaso was there, comrade Jefferson Lingani was there, comrade Sisi Baloi, I think she was the administrative secretary of the organisation, she was present. There was a meeting held at Doctor Asvat's surgery in Dlamini. The late Tiny Motlago was present at that meeting, comrade Sam Siyema was present. I do not remember the others very well because this took place many years ago but I have given you a few names of those who were present at these meetings.

MR MALAN: And you were present at both meetings?

MR HLASA: I was present at these that I've mentioned but not as part of the leadership.

MR MALAN: Thank you.

MR TLOUBATLA: You have mentioned specifically two meetings, are these the only meetings that were held with the leadership of both organisations or were there more meetings?

MR HLASA: There were more meetings held at the national leadership level but they were not futile.

CHAIRPERSON: They were futile?

MR HLASA: They were not of importance.

MR TLOUBATLA: On paragraph 6, there is a paragraph numbered 3 there, you say that

"It was the policy of the organisation to avoid retaliation at all costs"

When you say there was a policy to avoid retaliation, were there any specific instructions to avoid retaliation and from whom did such orders come from, that you must not retaliate?

MR HLASA: I remember the late comrade Muntu Miyeza addressed us and he told us not to try and attack the comrades in the UDF, he said we must wait for the leadership to give an instruction so that we can act thereafter but the whole leadership of AZAPO and AZAZIM discouraged us from retaliating.

You will understand that many comrades who died in Soweto were members of the BCM. It was because we didn't retaliate, we always waited for the leadership to hold meetings and come back to report. It has been the policy of the organisation not to act without instructions from the leadership.

MR TLOUBATLA: You also mentioned that your turning point was after the death of comrade Sipho Komezulu in Zola

"This funeral became our turning point, for me and the others who always advocated for retaliation and attack as the best form of defence"

Now can you briefly just tell us what happened? How did comrade Sipho Komezulu die or meet his death and then what happened at his funeral?

MR HLASA: Many things were committed by members of the UDF and we just ignored them. Sipho Komezulu was on his way to work and he was kidnapped. He was working for a trade union in Nuhaza. He was kidnapped in the morning and it was only after a few days that he was discovered. He was brutally murdered and his corpse was covered with stones.

I say it's a turning point because it was the first comrade to be brutally killed. While organising for his funeral in Zola, I was out with, it was after the night vigil on the day of the funeral, when we came back comrade Komezulu's coffin was burnt, it was thrown in the street, there were no mourners and the fence was down and this affected me a lot.

I did not understand how it came about that a person be killed and to be killed the second time in the coffin on the day of the funeral. We went to the graveyard Avelon. We left with this partly burnt coffin to bury him. We came back after the ceremony and we walked through Tladi Molesani. The comrades from the UDF attacked us because we were now going back home and there was no convoy anymore, they attacked us.

The car that was severely attacked was one that was transporting the late Martin Mohau. He had been released a few months before the funeral and he was also brutally killed on the same day of the funeral. We lost Martin Mohau. He'd just been released a few months from Robben Island.

Myself, I realised that the position of the organisation not to retaliate would not be of any assistance to me because I've witnessed people dying brutally and we've been waiting for the leadership to tell us what steps to take. On the other hand the UDF was continuing with the series of attacks, now this was my turning point.

MR TLOUBATLA: You also mentioned there that you were attack by SOSCO members. These people, how did you know that they were SOSCO members? Were you able to identify them?

MR HLASA: In those days you'd identify a person and his organisation by the type of songs they sang. You'd be in a position to tell that these are UDF or these are AZAPO because songs that are normally sung are those belittling the other organisation.

There were UDF T-shirts, they were RMC, Release Mandela Campaign T-shirts, SOSCO T-shirts, AZASO and SOSCO T-shirts, those were associates of UDF. So we identified by those T-shirts and we identified by the songs. We also identified them by their locality. If I was in Kladi I would know that this is a stronghold of UDF.

MR TLOUBATLA: You were burying one of your comrades, that is Sam Komezulu and then you are coming back from the funeral and then another members is attacked, Martin Mohau is attacked and killed but why did you not, or did anybody approach the police regarding these matters?

MR HLASA: I do not know anything about the police. I don't know whether anyone reported this to the police but there were reporters always because you'd even see incidents in the newspapers. I don't know how the police got hold of the information, whether it was the parents who reported or the organisation, I do not really know.

MR TLOUBATLA: Now coming to the specific act for which you are applying for amnesty ...[intervention]

ADV BOSMAN: Might I just come in here with a question to clarify?

MR TLOUBATLA: Certainly.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Hlasa, you spoke about the meetings that were held between the two leadership, were these meetings held after your comrade - if I can just get his name, was killed or was it soon after that or before that time? Do you remember?

MR HLASA: It was before the killing. The conflict was still in the Eastern Cape, it was not yet in the Transvaal.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, now coming to this incident for which you are applying for amnesty, do you remember the date on which the four members, the four young men were killed?

MR HLASA: I do not remember the date but I think it was in 1986 in August.

MR TLOUBATLA: Did you at that time know the names of the people that were killed?

MR HLASA: I did not know them. I only knew them when I got hold of this document.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright. Can you in detail now tell us how you got into the whole incident, where it started, what you did and so on? Just start from the time when you started being involved in this attack.

MR HLASA: Comrade Jefferson Lingani stayed in Orlando West and we got a report that his house was attacked and burnt with petrol bombs. He was in Orlando West, he came down to Orlando East where we had our camps and he got hold of a few comrades and they went back to clean the remains of the burnt house.

There was also an anticipation of a further attack. Now they armed ...[intervention]

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, just slow down, don't be so fast.

MR HLASA: Okay.

MR TLOUBATLA: You say who came to report to you about Mr Lingani's house?

MR HLASA: He personally came to Orlando East the following morning to report that his house had been burnt. He came to Orlando East because he knew there were camps and he would be assisted and he told the comrades and they went to clean the remains.

MR TLOUBATLA: Did you personally go and - I mean, did you go to his house to go and clean that house?

MR HLASA: I did not got. I stayed behind because I was fixing a car, the clutch plate was not functional.

MR TLOUBATLA: And do you know which people went to go and assist in the cleaning of the house of Mr Lingani?

MR HLASA: I know some of them, Motlana, Spieu, Kanu and Kadelolelanga, the brother to Jeff. Those were the members. I do not know who else was with them.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright. So you remained behind, you were fixing your car and what happened next?

MR HLASA: At about half past two to 3 o'clock if I remember very well, Nkolisi, Speedo and Kabelo came to me. They told me that they had been to Jeff's place and now they were back to come and wash but they caught up with some members, with some culprits and they were at the DOCC.

They told me that those people were kept at the DOCC, so I should rush to see them, then we all left and we found them at Orlando at the DOCC building. We took them and put them into the car. We had two cars, it was a Mazda and my car, a Chevrolet and we drove with them to Orlando West to Jefferson Lingani's house.

They were told to get inside the house. I remember that I remained behind because the car was dirty, so I had to clean off the oil. Now the comrades took them into the house to ask them questions.

MR TLOUBATLA: How many people were - let's say, for the want of a better word, kidnapped in that form?

MR HLASA: Six people, there were six.

MR TLOUBATLA: Aright, and then I think they were taken into the house. You didn't personally go into the house and then what next happened?

MR HLASA: I did not personally go into the house but I know they were being asked questions as to who burnt the house, on whose order, such questions. I did not ask them anything but later on I heard that a decision had been taken that these boys were members of SOSCO and they were present when the house was burnt and we had to take them to Showela where they would be killed because a decision had been taken already that, yes, we are being killed. Now as AZAPO, we will have to kill as well.

MR TLOUBATLA: Just one second, don't rush. Do you know, do you personally know why these boys had to be interrogated at Lingani's house? What was the purpose of interrogating them there?

MR HLASA: It was to verify that they are members of the UDF and to find out whether they took part in the burning of Jefferson's house. That was the main reason for interrogating them, and to find out on whose order they committed that act.

MR TLOUBATLA: Did you personally verify whether these people were UDF members or SOSCO members, whatever organisation? Did you, on your personal level, did you verify that?

MR HLASA: I had a lot of confidence in the people who were interrogating them. I did not go in because I knew that I would not tolerate asking questions, that is why I decided to wash a car. I left everything in the hands of those who were asking questions. Jefferson was one of the leadership and I was sure that he would come up with a decision based on who they were and it was verified that they were members of the UDF. The thing that I did not verify was whether they took part, but yes, I verified that they were members of the UDF but about taking part, I did not.

MR TLOUBATLA: So thereafter, I mean they were taken into a house, they were interrogated, what happened next?

MR HLASA: Late, at about 5, 6 o'clock members of the leadership arrived and they spoke to the people who conducted the interrogation to get the report from them. At about 7 to 8 o'clock they said they must be taken and be killed. They said we should choose our own place. We went to comrade Glen's house who was also part of the leadership in Showela. ...[intervention]

ADV SIGODI: You mentioned that about 5 or 6 o'clock some members of the leadership came and they spoke to the interrogators, do you know the names of those members of the leadership who came?

MR HLASA: Yes, I remember. It was the late comrade Sam Siyema and the late comrade Tammy Moglegwa.

ADV BOSMAN: Where were you when the leadership interrogated the victims?

MR HLASA: The interrogation took place inside the house. I was outside but in the yard.

MR TLOUBATLA: So you remained ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just a minute. Did the leadership themselves interrogate these people or did they just get a report from the people who had previously been interrogating the victims?

MR HLASA: The leadership got a report but I have explained that the person whose house was burnt was also part of the leadership. He was at the BLAKO, it was a black ...[indistinct] union and he was in the leadership.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know, was he the only member in the leadership who interrogated these people or did other members in the leadership also interrogate them?

MR HLASA: He is not the only one, Kabelo Lingani was his brother and he was in the National Executive of AZAZIM. I think he was the publicity secretary and part of the branch leadership was also in charge.

CHAIRPERSON: Who said these people should be killed?

MR HLASA: I would not exactly say who said that they must be killed but it was the general understanding within the organisation that if we have verified that a person has committed an act, we can deal with him in an appropriate way.

MR MALAN: Could you please explain this to me because you say the policy was not even to retaliate and I think you say in your statement that at that day it became clear to you that the policy was wrong and you decided to retaliate and now you tell us it was a general understanding in the organisation that people should be deal with. Can you explain that to me?

MR HLASA: These things happened in different time spans. There was an understanding within the organisation that if you feel you are under pressure and there are people who have done something wrong you can deal with them. But later as the attacks continued, I remember comrade Montumeza in particular, he said

"We do not mean you should just, you shouldn't do anything. If you are being attacked and you are in a position to defend yourselves, do it. Defend yourselves in a way that will suit you". Now I do not know who took out an order on that day but the understanding was already there, that you should defend yourselves in any way possible.

MR MALAN: I'm not sure that I understand you. You made it clear to us that the policy was, that defence was not to go out attacking but sit - I think you used the word sit in the translation, and defend yourselves, that's why you got together and stayed together not go out.

Now this instance, if I understand you correctly, you went out to find these people, you took them to the house, interrogated them and then killed them. Isn't that very different from the police?

MR HLASA: It's not true, we did not go out and look for them. Well, I was not present when they were caught but I got a report that the comrades were moving from Orlando West to got to Orlando East to go and wash and when they were at the turnoff at DOCC they realised that they did not buy a newspaper on that day. It was a normal thing to read a morning as well as an afternoon newspaper, so they wanted to go to Orlando Police Station to buy a newspaper.

On their way towards the bottle store buying a paper, they recognised - that was the report, comrade Jefferson recognised these six boys who were part of a group that was singing in his area, that's how they were caught. We did not go out and hunt them, they were caught because they were seen. It is not true that we went out for them. That is how they were caught and they were interrogated and it was part of our defence.

CHAIRPERSON: You don't seem to understand the purpose of this question, I must explain it to you. You see, there are two possibilities. The one possibility is that you acted in killing these people, you did so without getting instructions or authority from your leadership.

The other possibility is that you got such instructions from the leadership, so really, either you got instructions from the leadership on that particular day to kill those people or you didn't. And the question is, if you did get orders or instructions or the go-ahead from your leadership to kill them, who were those people, who were those people in the leadership who told you to kill these people?

MR HLASA: The leadership did not say to us: "Kill", but I have explained that there were negotiations that failed. Now the leadership compromised and said we should defend ourselves in any way possible so that the organisation may go on with its activities.

On the day of this particular incident, I explained already that I was not part of the people who interrogated the victims. The understanding that I got from the comrades who were inside the house was that these people were going to be killed. I had faith in my comrades, I knew that they would not take such a decision without the concern of the leadership. Maybe the people who were inside might be in a position to give a better explanation.

I'm saying it was a general decision but they might put it specifically, who gave orders because I was not inside.

CHAIRPERSON: Was there a general anger following the attack on Mr Lingani's house?

MR HLASA: Yes, but when these people were caught emotions were a little bit down.

CHAIRPERSON: But was there still some anger?

MR HLASA: Yes, anger is anger. We wondered what was it that these people wanted from us, it wasn't an avenge.

CHAIRPERSON: Isn't it so that right from the beginning when you people went out to go and interrogate these people, the general feeling was simply that: "Well, today we are going to kill these people"?

MR HLASA: No, it wasn't our feeling. We interrogated them to verify as to whether they were present and they took part in the burning of the house and whether they were members of SOSCO and on whose command they committed the act. After the interrogation it was discovered that they were members of UDF and then the decision was taken to revenge as members of AZAPO so that in future no-one attacks us, no-one takes an advantage of us.

CHAIRPERSON: Well you say the decision was taken but that's what Commissioner Malan asked you, who took that decision?

MR HLASA: I explained that the leadership came but I do not know who among the leadership took out such an order. I was outside fixing a car.

CHAIRPERSON: So you answer is that you personally Mr Hlasa, you don't know who took that decision, except to say that it was the leadership?

MR HLASA: That's my answer.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Hlasa, who conveyed to you that these people had to be killed, do you remember?

MR HLASA: Kani told me to start the ignition of the car because we were going to Showela to kill these people.

CHAIRPERSON: We're not asking you who asked you to start the ignition of the car. Committee Member Bosman's question has nothing to do with the ignition of the car, she simply asked you: "Who told you that these people had to be killed"?

MR HLASA: It's Ikaneng.

CHAIRPERSON: Please try to speak to the questions which are being put to you, thank you.

MR MALAN: May I just ask here again, you say that what was verified was that they were members of UDF but do I understand you correctly that it wasn't verified that they were indeed part of the group and it wasn't verified that they burnt the house, simply that they were members of UDF?

MR HLASA: I was talking for myself because I asked a question: "Guys, are you sure these are members of the UDF"?, then it was confirmed but I was not sure as to whether they were part of the group that burnt the house.

ADV BOSMAN: Why were you not sure Mr Hlasa? What worried you that you asked that question?

MR HLASA: I did not interrogate people, I was outside. When I asked the question, the question was directed to a comrade who was coming outside. I asked a comrade a question.

ADV BOSMAN: Why did you then not ask him whether they took part in the burning of the house? I mean, that was really the important question to ask.

MR HLASA: I did not want to know whether they took part in the burning of the house, I wanted to verify that they were members of the UDF so that we can set an example with the members of the UDF. Not that I was acting because they took part in the burning of the house, I was acting because they were members of the UDF and it was the UDF that we were fighting.

ADV BOSMAN: So if you were told that they had not taken part in the burning of the house, would you still have killed them to make an example of them? Did you understand the question?

MR HLASA: I understand your question. As long as we had a confirmation that they were members of the UDF, that was fine. The conflict between these two groups was not about what you did, it was about belonging to the other organisation. Now it wasn't the main issue. The burning of the house was not the main issue, the main issue was being members of the UDF.

MR MALAN: Mr Hlasa, I'm not sure that I understand you again. You say you killed them simply because they were members of the UDF, it was a question of which organisation?

MR HLASA: I'm now telling you about my participation in the killing of these people.

MR MALAN: Let me just take it further from that. Are you saying that you were killing UDF members and UDF members were generally killing AZAPO members, was that the conflict?

MR HLASA: That is what I mean.

MR MALAN: And were you part of that conflict?

MR HLASA: That is correct, I was.

MR MALAN: Was this the first killing or were you involved in other killings?

MR HLASA: This was the first to kill a person but it was not the first to defend the comrades in other areas. We went out to places such as Randfontein, Dlamini and Alexandra and there would be a shootout. I don't know whether people died in those incidents but I do not remember handling people in the way we did with these ones.

MR MALAN: And then, just a last question. Did you ever find out who gave them the instructions to burn the house? You said you wanted to find out were they part of the UDF, were they part of the group that burnt the house and on whose instructions. That was the major theme of the interrogation, so did you ever find out who they got their instructions from?

MR HLASA: I did not find out, I don't know whether other comrades did. I have testified already that I did not interrogate them, I only verified that they were members of the UDF.

MR MALAN: No, but if I heard you correctly you said you didn't go in with the interrogation because you were, you felt that you wouldn't be able even to tolerate and that's why you stayed outside, because of your anger. You weren't waiting on the outside to just get a report, you were so angry that you clearly wanted to kill them, if I understand your evidence correct, you wanted them to be killed, that's why you didn't ask for any further information, simply that they were members of the UDF, isn't that so?

MR HLASA: That is not so, I did not wait outside because of anger. I was cleaning the car because it was full of oil. It's not anger that made me stay outside. I said I did not even want to get inside to interrogate them because I knew they were involved and I would not stand what was going to be said inside. I cannot say my attitude was similar to that of other comrades.

MR MALAN: This is a new development, you say you knew that they were involved. You didn't even want to interrogate them because you knew they were involved, is that what you're telling us?

MR HLASA: That is not what I want to tell you. If I discovered that they were members of the UDF, I didn't get in because I knew that if I discovered that they were members of the UDF something would have happened.

MR MALAN: I heard the translation saying: you didn't go, you were cleaning the oil and you didn't go in because you knew that they were involved, you had no need of the interrogation, you knew they were involved

MR HLASA: No.

MR MALAN: That is what the interpreter said to us.

MR HLASA: I did not go inside because I was washing a car outside, that is the first reason. The second reason, I was avoiding the fact that if I discovered that these were members of the UDF, that was going to make me very furious, that is my reason.

MR TLOUBATLA: Thank you Mr Chairman.

Mr Hlasa, you also told the Committee that much as this was your first killing or an incident where people were killed, nevertheless you were involved in some other incidents where you had to protect your members. Can you - you spoke about Randfontein, Alexandra and I think Dlamini or something. At Dlamini, I mean at Randfontein, who were you defending and what happened there?

MR HLASA: We had our comrades there, comrade Xlomiso was the then President and they used to phone us and tell us that we're being attacked and we would go and assist. Every time when we arrived we would find them in a group and the members of the UDF would come and fight us and we would defend ourselves. That is an incident in Randfontein.

There is yet another incident at comrade Jeff's place in Moletsani. We defended a house that was going to be burnt because members of SOSCO arrived and they found people inside the house, it was ourselves. I do not know whether they were many. We shot and they dispersed.

In Alexandra we went to comrade James Chauke's house. There was fighting and we defended the house. After we had left they came back and burnt the house. I think the comrades were weakening just after we left.

MR TLOUBATLA: In these incidents where you were defending these properties or the lives of these people, what used to happen? Was there just a shootout in the streets? You know, you are just simply saying you went there, you defended, I just want the specifics. How did the defence go about?

MR HLASA: We received a telephone call from Alexandra. Sometimes information would leak that tonight there's going to be an attack, then we went to Alexandra and we stayed at James Chauke's house and they arrived at night and we had firearms. We would not even wait for them to arrive at the house, we would shoot just to repel them. I did not aim because I was not trained in the use of firearms, we would just shoot so that they run away. This also happened Kabelo Lingani's home in Moletsani. If there is anyone who was injured I do not know but we shot. I shot until the magazine was empty and they wall ran away.

MR TLOUBATLA: That is before this particular incident, was the general pattern that you adopted? You waylaid them in a specific house and they would come and then you'd start shooting, was that the general pattern you followed?

MR HLASA: Yes. When we had information we would be in a position to defend the house. If we didn't get information the house would be burnt or people would die.

CHAIRPERSON: Were there many such incidents which occurred when you had some confrontation with members of UDF and its affiliates?

MR HLASA: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And in some instances, was property damaged and/or people killed?

MR HLASA: Yes, property was destroyed in many instances.

CHAIRPERSON: And did some of these incidents take place before the killing of the victims, of your victims?

MR HLASA: All these activities took place before the incident that brings me here.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you see the burning of Lingani's house as part of the continuous conflict between AZAPO and UDF and its affiliates?

MR HLASA: That is correct, it was a continuation of the conflict.

MR TLOUBATLA: Before I even continue, you personally and your family, were you ever affected by this, by the violence?

MR HLASA: Yes. My mother relocated to East Rand, she left Soweto.

MR TLOUBATLA: What had happened when your mother was compelled to leave Soweto to the East Rand?

MR HLASA: She was afraid of the attacks and the harassment from the Security Branch.

MR TLOUBATLA: These attacks or counter attacks on each other, did they always invariably happen at night or did some of the incidents happen during the day?

MR HLASA: Many of them happened at night but I remember there was an incident that took place at Sinawani during the day, it was around 4 or 5 o'clock.

MR TLOUBATLA: That incident, what happened at that incident that happened during the day at four?

MR HLASA: We had a meeting at St Hilda's Church and they came to attack us. Fortunately we had firearms and we defended ourselves, we shot and they ran away.

MR TLOUBATLA: When you say you shot when you defended yourself, you mean you shot, I mean you fired shots at their direction and they ran away?

MR HLASA: We shot at their direction.

MR TLOUBATLA: And then, this incident, although it happened during the day, didn't the police intervene or something, let's say this specific one at St Hilda's Church?

MR HLASA: The police didn't even arrive. I think the uniformed police were aware of the situation and they were afraid of coming in but the security branch used to come into such situations.

MR TLOUBATLA: Let's go back now to this incident at Lingani's house. The interrogation, you say you didn't participate in the interrogation of these boys personally, but do you know how the interrogation was conducted? Did you get information thereafter how the interrogation was conducted?

MR HLASA: I do not know.

MR TLOUBATLA: And thereafter, after the interrogation had stopped, your leadership had come in, what happened, where did you go?

MR HLASA: We put them in two cars and we drove to Showela at comrade Glen's house who was part of the leadership at that time. From comrade Glen's house they were taken in two groups. The first group, I was in the first group even though I do not remember who the members of the first group were. We left with them and we went to the veld. That's ...[intervention]

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, I just want to find out something. When you transported these people, Jeff's or Lingani's place, were is it and where did you travel to?

MR HLASA: Jefferson Lingani's house is in Orlando West. We left Orlando West for Showela.

MR TLOUBATLA: And the distance, what kind of distance are we talking of between Lingani's house and Showela?

MR HLASA: Plus minus 10 kilometres.

MR TLOUBATLA: Fine. When these people were ...[indistinct] I mean, I suppose that you were the owner of one of the cars in which they were travelling or they were transported, you probably must have seen these boys when they were put into your car, is that so?

MR HLASA: Yes, I saw them.

MR TLOUBATLA: Did they look normal or were they injured, were they bleeding, were they crying, what was the, how were they?

MR HLASA: It looked like they've been assaulted.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright, and then from Lingani's house where did you go to?

MR HLASA: Went to comrade Glen's house in Showela.

MR TLOUBATLA: Right. On your arrival there, what did you do? Did the interrogation continue, what happened when you arrived at the destination?

MR HLASA: There was a caucus and it was discussed, the way forward and it was decided that they should be killed immediately because it was already late.

MR TLOUBATLA: And then amongst yourselves ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

INTERPRETER: The Chairperson's mike was not on.

CHAIRPERSON: Where is the caucus taking place, is it at Glen's house or somewhere else?

MR TLOUBATLA: At which house did you go?

MR HLASA: The caucus was at Glen's house. I think we were in the kitchen and they were in the dining room.

CHAIRPERSON: Why to Glen's house, why were they taken to Glen's house?

MR HLASA: I do not remember, but what I do remember is that Glen was one of the leadership.

CHAIRPERSON: What position did he hold?

MR HLASA: He was in BLAKO as well.

ADV BOSMAN: What was your position at the time Mr Hlasa?

MR HLASA: I did not have any position, I was just a member.

ADV BOSMAN: I think in you application ...[intervention]

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.

ADV BOSMAN: In your application if I remember correctly, you say that you were a general commander? If you can just go to page 1. It says there

"State capacity in which you served in the organisation"

and I see you qualified there saying:

"From 1990"

So at that time you had no position, is that correct?

MR HLASA: I did not have a position as yet. I was still inside the country and that was in 1986.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I ask, when I asked of Glen's position in the leadership you said he was a member of something, what did you say?

MR HLASA: BLAKO. Black General Workers Union.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it affiliated to AZAPO?

MR HLASA: Yes, it was.

CHAIRPERSON: And firstly, what position did he hold, do you know?

MR HLASA: I do not remember, I only remember Jefferson Lingani's position. He was the Labour Secretary of AZAPO.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we were at a point where you said you caucused there at Glen's house and then a decision was taken that it was getting late, these people should be killed.

MR HLASA: That's what I said. We then left to search for a sport where they would be killed.

MR TLOUBATLA: Yes, can you proceed then, what happened?

MR HLASA: We came back and we took the first group of three. I had explained already that I do not know their names. We left with them and we went to the veld outside Showela. We were three and they were three, each one of us shot one of them. I do not remember among the people we shot, who it is exactly because I was told later that two of them survived. We went back to the house and the second group left with the remaining three.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you in this first group who took out the deceased?

MR HLASA: Yes, I was in the first group.

CHAIRPERSON: You must tell us what happened there at the scene.

MR HLASA: We loaded them in the boot of the car and we drove to the spot and we parked the car next to the house and we offloaded them. We had guns, each one of us had his own gun and we took one, one from them and then we went up the hill and we made them stand on the edge and we shot them there and they fell. We left them and we drove back and we gave guns to the other comrades and they took the next group. I wouldn't know then what happened with the second group.

MR TLOUBATLA: In your first group, with whom were you?

MR HLASA: I do not remember very well who the members of the first group were. I remember that I was in the first group and I was driving but I know that the people who shot was myself, Matlana, Kani, Speedo. I do not remember the others. I remember the ones I've mentioned, I don't just remember in which groups we were.

CHAIRPERSON: You know Mr Hlasa, you want amnesty but you must remember that there's a price you pay for getting amnesty if you are to get it. You've got to tell us in particular what your role was in a particular incident.

I notice that you have the tendency of speaking in general, you have a tendency of not telling us what you did. In your evidence you keep on saying this: "We did this, we took the people to Glen's house, we took them out of the car, we took them to the hill, we shot them, we went back, that is not good enough. If you - you know for you to get amnesty, you have to embarrass yourself by publically telling us of the horrible things you did, then so be it. That is the price you must pay if you are to get amnesty.

And if these people have to know about the horrible things you did as an individual then so be it, then people must hear about what you, Hlasa as an individual did. You can't keep on using a general language and say: "We took people into the car, we took them to the hill, we turned back". That is not good enough for the purpose of these proceedings. You must tell us what you did, do you understand?

For one, I don't think that it was just a question of we taking them out of Glen's house, you must have dragged them, pushed them and they said: "No, please don't, it's not us who did this", you said: "No, we are going to kill you anyway" and they tried to resist, we took them out, we opened the boot, one of them did not want to get in, we kicked him in his stomach, we pushed him", why don't you tell us these things? We are here to hear those things.

You can't just come here and say: "We took people out of the house, we put them into the boot of the car, we took them to the hill, we shot, we came back and another group went off. They took them there, they shot them and they came back. I'm beginning to have serious problems with the way you are giving evidence. You must give us details of what you did, make a full disclosure. Didn't they tell you that you must make a full disclosure if you want amnesty? You should please do that, it is the price you pay for getting amnesty. Do you understand?

Now, these people you had taken to Glen's house, the caucus that they be killed, what happened? And you must lay emphasis on your personal participation.

MR HLASA: I think I am telling the truth because when we took these people there was no resistance, we had guns and it was evident to them that if they resisted we would shoot them. They did not know that they were going to be killed. We pointed the guns at them and told them we are going to such a place and they cooperated because we had guns.

When we left comrade Glen's house to take them to a spot where they would be killed we pointed the guns at them, they did not just freely walk. We pointed the guns at them, we loaded them into the boot and they realised that there was no chance of running away. I don't know what was in their minds. I explained that we left and then we reached the identified spot. I would not lie and say I was with so and so.

I remember the people who took part in the shooting but I would not remember who was with me. I don't want to make a mistake of naming someone who was not with me. I know I shot. Gabie, Speedo and Motlana shot. I do not remember because this happened a long time ago, 1986. I only remember ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just a minute, you are a little bit too fast. You say you shot who and who?

MR HLASA: Myself, Ganie, Speedo and Motlana. Speedo is Mr Thandakubona and Mr Ikaneng.

CHAIRPERSON: So those are the people you went with?

MR HLASA: Yes, these are the people I was with but I know one of them was not in the car driven by myself but I do not remember well who it was.

CHAIRPERSON: I got only two names, Ganie, Motlana and did you mention another name?

MR HLASA: Mr Thandakubona.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes?

MR HLASA: We went up the hill and I shot one of them and I shot him once. The comrades with me shot once and they fell and we went back.

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, I just want to find out, when you were caucusing at Glen's house, what is it that you were specifically caucusing about?

MR HLASA: The caucus was about what to do. The decision was already taken that they be killed but we had to find a spot and plan our movement. The first car was supposed to take three of them and they be killed, come back, then firearms be handed over to the next three so that they can also do their part.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Hlasa, when the first person was shot you went back alone and surely the other two must have heard that shot and they must have seen that the person was not with you anymore?

MR HLASA: We made them stand on the edge next to each other and then we stood behind them and we shot. I did not shoot an leave. I shot him, he fell, the next one shot, he fell and the third one shot and the third person. All of them were lying down there. We did not go to confirm whether they were dead, we just took it that they were dead and we came back.

ADV BOSMAN: Sorry, I misunderstood you the first time, sorry.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright, I think the question - perhaps just to take it further, coming back you had taken people out and now you are coming back and those people are no longer in your company, that is the victims. What was the reaction of the other victims, the ones that had been left behind? How did they take that?

MR HLASA: We were asked whether we shot them and we responded: "Yes" and it was decided who are the next three to go: "take your guns, go" and that was that.

MR TLOUBATLA: Perhaps you don't understand my question. Basically I want the reaction of the victims, not your comrades or your friends.

MR HLASA: I would not know their reaction but I already told you that the comrades were in the kitchen and they were in the dining room and they did not know that the three of us went with the three of them. We were in separate rooms. I would not know what their reactions were.

CHAIRPERSON: So did you yourself speak to any one of these victims at any time?

MR HLASA: When we arrived at Glen's house it was not necessary really to speak to them but it was to inform that: "Even though you do not give us information you are going to shit". That is what I told them.

MR TLOUBATLA: You were carrying about three people in your car when you drove to Glen's house, how did you, in the first place, where were they, were they in the boot as you were travelling to Glen's house and how did you take them into the house itself?

MR HLASA: They were in the boot. We drove the car into the yard and we opened the boot and they got out of the boot and into the house.

CHAIRPERSON: How many people were in your boot?

MR HLASA: ...[end of tape]

CHAIRPERSON: ...[start of new tape]

MR HLASA: It was a Chevrolet 4.1

CHAIRPERSON: Did they all manage to fit into the boot?

MR HLASA: Yes, they had no choice.

CHAIRPERSON: And before shooting them, from Glen's house right up to the point where they were shot, did you personally speak to any one of them?

MR HLASA: I did not say anything specific to them, I just told them to tell us the truth. If they were not telling us the truth they were going to shit. That's what I told them if I remember well.

CHAIRPERSON: So up the hill there you did not, before shooting, you did not say anything to anyone of them?

MR HLASA: Nothing Sir, I did not say anything.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you personally assault any one of these victims?

MR HLASA: No-one Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Not even once?

MR HLASA: Not even once.

CHAIRPERSON: You never touched any one of them?

MR HLASA: I did not touch one of them.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Tloublata, would this be the appropriate stage to adjourn until 2 o'clock?

MR TLOUBATLA: I think so Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, we'll adjourn until 2 o'clock.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

PITSO JOSEPH HLASA: (s.u.o.)

MR TLOUBATLA: We were at a point when you told us that you shot these people and then they fell down a ravine or something like that and then after shooting these people what did you do?

MR HLASA: We went back to Glen's house and we reported that we shot them and the second group took over. I explained already that they were six in number. We took the first three and our fellow comrades took the last three.

MR TLOUBATLA: During the lunch adjournment I was consulting with Thandakubona and then he mentioned that he personally didn't participate in the shooting itself, he was involved but nevertheless the shooting in itself he was not there, what do you say to that?

MR HLASA: I said this took place in 1986 and many things happened thereafter, I would not perfectly remember everybody who was there but according to my recollection I thought he was there. I would not refute that we took part in different ways.

MR TLOUBATLA: The firearms that you were using, who supplied those firearms?

MR HLASA: Some of the firearms we bought. I remember well, it was in the morning of the burial of comrade Khomezulu. I was not there, we went to the East Rand to fetch the firearms. ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry to interrupt you, the gun that you used that day, they're asking about the gun you used that day, where did you get it from?

MR HLASA: The firearm that I had with me had been in my possession for quite some time and I think it was bought in East Rand. There is another one that was taken from a security guy that was shot in Orlando. I do not remember where the others came from but we bought most of them.

MR TLOUBATLA: Can you just sit back a little bit, just sit back because you are disturbing the mike, sit back. What I want to know is, alright, they were bought, were they bought by yourself or somebody within the organisation supplied the firearms, that's what I want to know.

MR HLASA: People were assigned and given tasks within the organisation, that you and somebody else will go and find us firearms. If I remember well, two of the comrades that have applied for amnesty were given the task of getting the guns.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Tloubatla, I don't know if there is a misunderstanding between your client and the interpreter. A pertinent question has been asked: "The firearm that you used to shoot, you personally, the firearm that you used that day, where did you get it from"? And then he answered to say that he had been having that firearm for a long time before that, but that doesn't tell us where you got the firearm from. The questions still stands: "Where did you get the firearm from that you used that day"? Where did you get it from?

MR TLOUBATLA: Who gave it to you?

MR HLASA: The firearms that we used were the property of the organisation. It was not mine per se, it belonged to the organisation. I know of the firearms that were disarmed from the security personnel. Some were bought in East Rand. I have explained already that when we arrived on the morning of Khomezulu's burial we were out to buy firearms, that cannot be an individual's property.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that your answer to the question?

MR HLASA: Yes, that is my answer.

MR TLOUBATLA: Perhaps just to clarify it a little bit, you say the firearms were bought, did you have money, did you take out money from your pocket to go and buy those firearms or did somebody give the money so that these firearms could be purchased?

MR HLASA: Branches collected money and bought firearms, each branch would collect money for its own defence. These were not individuals firearms, they rotated.

MR TLOUBATLA: So the firearms ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Mr Tloubatla. What kind of weapon did you shoot your victim with, was it a pistol or a revolver or an AK47?

MR HLASA: It was a pistol.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm going to ask you for the last time, where did you get that pistol from?

MR HLASA: I would not specifically say I got it from somebody but I do remember firearms were bought for the organisation.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you get it from the Dutch Reformed Church?

MR HLASA: No.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, where did you get it from Sir?

MR HLASA: We took the firearms from the organisation.

CHAIRPERSON: Which organisation?

MR HLASA: AZAPO.

CHAIRPERSON: Why should we have such a great difficulty in simply getting from you: "Where did you get the weapon you used from"? "I got it from AZAPO". Mr Tloubatla?

MR TLOUBATLA: Thank you Mr Chairman.

And then, after using the firearms, who was responsible for the safekeeping of the firearms or did you keep them with you individually? What happened with the firearms?

MR HLASA: We kept them individually but if there was anything in Alexandra, maybe a problem, we would borrow them to other people but you'd know exactly who you lent your firearm to.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright.

ADV BOSMAN: One moment please Mr Tloubatla.

Mr Hlasa, did you regularly carry a firearm with you?

MR HLASA: Regularly I had a firearm.

ADV BOSMAN: And the particular firearm you used on this day, how long had it been in your possession?

MR HLASA: It was quite some time. I took part in many incidents, I think three or four incidents if I remember but it had been a long time having that gun with me.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

MR MALAN: May I just ask, can you remember who you gave the gun to when the other three went out? You say you handed them the firearms, the second group, and then they went out to kill the other three. My question is -it seems you're not getting the drift of it, if I heard you correctly you said that after the killing of the three, when you returned you reported and you gave the firearms to the other three and they went and they killed the next three people.

MR HLASA: I think I did not hand my gun, it was with me. When we arrived I think comrade Kabelo and comrade Mxolisi Thandakubona went to Dlamini to look for other firearms and when we arrived, they had returned already.

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, just to take you slightly back, besides the leadership of the two organisations, that is UDF and AZAPO, were any other efforts to try and quell this conflict that was existing between the two organisations? Were there other efforts from the community?

MR HLASA: I remember a Priest such as Reverend Siwoka, they tried to intervene in this violence but they did not succeed.

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, I have got a press cutting here which says - it is dated April 1986, The Sowetan, and therein they're saying

"Priest in Bid to end Conflict: Clerics on the Westrand yesterday said they were trying to end a bloody conflict between members of, affiliates of the United Democratic Front and the Black Consciousness Movement".

I would like you to look at this, would this be part of the efforts that would be waged by the Priest to try and quell this conflict?

MR HLASA: I think it's one of them because it refers to the situation in Bekkersdal and Randfontein. Those were the two areas which were violent.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright, I also have ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Mr Tloubatla, is there a date on that publication?

MR TLOUBATLA: On the publication, yes, it's The Sowetan of 1986, April 1986.

CHAIRPERSON: Shouldn't we have it as an Exhibit?

MR TLOUBATLA: Ja, definitely the - but even though I was intending to make copies and a bundle for the Committee, so that when I am addressing then I'm going to hand it in.

CHAIRPERSON: Ja, other people may want to use it during cross-examination.

MR TLOUBATLA: It can be taken in, it can be used yes.

CHAIRPERSON: So we'll have it as Exhibit A.

MR TLOUBATLA: Thank you Sir.

I have got another publication, it's: Die Burger dated the 29th November 1986. It says:

"Four members of the student council in Soweto who are affiliated to the UDF were yesterday by a interdict of the Witwatersrand Supreme Court prohibited to attack the Secretary General of AZAPO, Mr George Oukop, or to damage his property" ...[transcriber's own translation]

You mentioned Mr Oukop in your evidence repeatedly, is that, was this arising also out of the conflict that you had with the other organisations?

MR HLASA: This is written in Afrikaans and I did not quite understand it.

MR TLOUBATLA: Well, it simply says that Mr Oukop obtained an interdict in the Witwatersrand local division of the Supreme Court to interdict some people from either assaulting him or destroying his property, that is people affiliated to the UDF.

MR HLASA: I remember that, it referred to Kenneth Fitla and them.

CHAIRPERSON: That will be Exhibit B.

MR TLOUBATLA: I also would like to refer you to The Star of 9 June 1986 and then the interview was given by, in fact it's Bishop Desmond Tutu who was quoted at the funeral of Mr Delisa Matjoba and he was also condemning the violence between the two organisations, that is AZAPO and the UDF affiliated organisations. That is The Star of June 1986.

MR HLASA: It is not only in this article, Bishop Tutu has many articles where he pleaded that the black on black violence stop because it was senseless.

CHAIRPERSON: Was he also referring to the conflict between BCM and UDF?

MR HLASA: Yes, he was referring to that.

CHAIRPERSON: We will it as Exhibit C.

MR TLOUBATLA: And then Mr Chairman, I would refer to two more publications, they others I'll use during my address to the Committee. This was a Sowetan publication of Tuesday, May the 27th of 1986 and apparently The Sowetan undertook a survey

"In a snap survey the man in the street yesterday appealed for peace between the warring political groups in the black community. The appeal comes in the wake of an alarming increase in violence between the UDF and the Azanian People's Organisation and Inkatha"

Are they referring to the type of conflict that was, that is this particular publication, is it referring to the type of conflict that you both had, that is AZAPO and the UDF?

MR HLASA: Look at the date, it is May 27th, it was at the time when violence was very strong in Soweto. Yes, I agree with this article.

MR TLOUBATLA: And then I have here also a publication that is The Weekly Mail dated the 18th of December 1986, do you know the late Mr Mhieza?

MR HLASA: Yes, I know him very well.

MR TLOUBATLA: And at that time, what position did he hold in your organisation, that is AZAPO?

MR HLASA: He was the National Publicity Secretary.

MR TLOUBATLA: I'm going to read from The Weekly Mail of the 18th of December 1986 and I'm quoting one of the paragraph there. It says

"Mhieza says AZAPO has its own code of conduct which all our members subscribe to and deviances are viewed in a serious light, however where and when the need arises for our members to defend themselves, their family and property, they should do so with means commensurate with the danger they apprehend"

I've just quoted from what Mr Mhieza said, that was in December 1986. You spoke about ...[intervention]

MR HLASA: Can you please repeat, I did not understand what you said?

MR TLOUBATLA: Mhieza says

"AZAPO has its own code of conduct which all our members subscribe to and deviances are viewed in a serious light, however where and when the need arises for our members to defend themselves, their family and property, they should do so with means commensurate with the danger they apprehend"

Did you get it now?

MR HLASA: Yes, that is correct, he once mentioned that. I mentioned earlier on that the organisation's positions was not to retaliate but if we were under pressure we were supposed to defend ourselves according to the situation.

CHAIRPERSON: That would be Exhibit E I guess.

MR TLOUBATLA: According to the publication, that publication came, I mean that statement was in December 1986 and the incident that we are talking about now occurred in August 1986. Can you perhaps explain when that type of order was given?

MR HLASA: I do not remember but within the organisation we knew already that if we were being attacked we were supposed to defend ourselves, but I wouldn't specifically know when the order was issued out. The newspapers say it was December.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright, ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Tloubatla, can you ask your assistant to take those copies of the Exhibits and circulate them to Mr Ameen please?

MR TLOUBATLA: Let's say the general order now that I'm talking about where you are called upon to defend yourself and property, how was it communicated to you? Let's say to you personally, were you called aside in one private room and told that this is what the organisation wants or expects of you? How were such orders communicated to you?

MR HLASA: Individuals were not called. Such people planned that in meetings and took out their feelings about the violence.

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Hlasa, the act of killing those young boys, for whatever reason it was, that they had destroyed your comrade's property or threatened his life, do you think under the circumstances that the act itself, was it warranted, was it commensurate with what they had done?

MR HLASA: I have explained already that their acts were piling up until such time that we decided to take an action. We never thought that violence would go as far as Orlando.

ADV BOSMAN: You said that their acts were piling up, who do you mean, these boy's acts?

MR HLASA: ...[inaudible]

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike was not activated.

MR HLASA: Yes, I'm referring to the acts conducted by the UDF.

ADV BOSMAN: And not the boys that were killed?

MR HLASA: No, not the boys, acts conducted by the UDF and not particularly these boys.

MR TLOUBATLA: Do you know Mr Hlasa that for you to be granted amnesty that your act must be politically motivated, in other words there must be a political motivation. What political motivation was in this act that you conducted? What did you hope to achieve in terms of, politically, that is your organisation and your members?

MR HLASA: I was hoping to send forth the message to the members of the UDF that we can also defend ourselves, that was point number one. Point number two, if we were able to protect our members then our organisation was going grow. If we have members and we don't defend them they became disillusioned and resign. We were protecting our organisation to grow like any other organisation. We wanted to exist freely, we wanted to practice our political right freely. We were sending the message.

ADV BOSMAN: In what way did you make it clear that it was the AZAPO people who had killed these boys? How did the community know it was an AZAPO murder?

MR HLASA: The community would not know it was AZAPO but we know that the UDF was going to know that AZAPO killed them. I can give an example with Fana Umshlongo who was kidnapped and killed. We did not scratch our heads, we knew that he was kidnapped by the UDF, he was killed by the UDF but it was hard luck for the community to know but those were lucky enough would have known.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Hlasa, I don't understand, you said that you also intended to let your membership grow, now certainly your membership would come from members of the community? Did you know think that the community should know about this in order to impress them to become AZAPO members?

MR HLASA: We used to go out to the communities and lay before them the political objectives of AZAPO. When we recruited people we did not tell them about UDF, we told them about the aims and objectives of AZAPO. If people had joined us already it was difficult to fully identify themselves with us because of this violence that even appeared in the newspapers, the conflict between AZAPO and UDF. So it was important for us to protect our organisation and its growth.

MR TLOUBATLA: Thank you Mr Chairman.

Mr Hlasa, how many - I mean, after how many days were you arrested after the killing of these boys?

MR HLASA: I do not remember, I think two or three days thereafter. I was arrested two or three days thereafter and I was sent to Morroka Police Station.

MR TLOUBATLA: Alright. When did you go into exile?

MR HLASA: After appearing at the Protea Magistrate's Court we were sent to the Johannesburg Central Prison for about a week and the South African Council of Churches helped us with bail, we were bailed out and we skipped the country. It was myself - it was after three weeks when this happened, it was myself Motlana, Jeff and Thandakubona, we skipped the country for exile.

MR TLOUBATLA: Who assisted you into going into exile and what was the reason for that?

MR HLASA: Let's put it that way, AZAPO assisted us to go into exile. The reason for that was that when we were arrested at Protea the case was regarded as a criminal case and the organisation felt that it was difficult for them to rescue its members and we had to go. It was a choice of an individual whether you wanted to go or not and we expressed our feeling of leaving and then we left this country.

MR TLOUBATLA: Did you join any organisation when you were in exile?

MR HLASA: Yes, we joined the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania.

MR TLOUBATLA: Can you describe what you, I mean your activities when you were in exile?

MR HLASA: We arrived at different times in Botswana. I think I arrived much later than the two comrades who have applied and I went to Dukwe in the camps and many comrades were there and I participated in the activities or the organisation. I remember before I was trained I was the Secretary of Welfare. I was actually looking at the welfare of the comrades and later on I went to Zimbabwe ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Just a minute. Did you - during your exile, did you at all times take part in the programmes of the BCM and were you an active member of BCM?

MR HLASA: Yes, I was the Secretary of the Welfare and later ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Just answer my question. During the whole period while you were in exile, were you a member of a political organisation until you came back?

MR HLASA: Yes, that's correct.

MR TLOUBATLA: Thank you Mr Chairman.

And then into the country, when did you come back to the country, into the country? When did you come back?

MR HLASA: When I finally came back - I don't understand your question clearly, but when I finally came back it was in 1994. It was in September of 1994.

MR TLOUBATLA: You also mentioned something about training, did you undergo any military training when you were abroad?

MR HLASA: Yes, I received a military training. I spent 11 months in Libya, 1989 until early January. After 11 months I went back to Zimbabwe.

MR TLOUBATLA: So you were at all times in the organisation, in your organisation?

MR HLASA: All the time.

MR TLOUBATLA: Mr Chairman, I think that will be all unless there is something specific that the Chairman would like me to perhaps elicit from the witness.

CHAIRPERSON: At the time of the incident, was he a member of AZAPO?

MR TLOUBATLA: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: For how long before this incident had you been a member of AZAPO?

MR HLASA: Before this Showela incident, it had been a year and a half.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you.

Mr Ameen, what do you plan? Do you want to defer your cross-examination?

MR AMEEN: Mr Chairman, I would like to defer my cross-examination. I just want to know, would the other two be giving evidence as well, the other two applicants?

CHAIRPERSON: That is true.

MR AMEEN: I suggest that they be allowed to give their evidence and then I'll cross-examine all of them if we could finish that by the end of today Mr Chairperson.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Hlasa, how old were you at the time of the incident?

MR HLASA: I was 22 years old.

ADV BOSMAN: And what was your level of education?

MR HLASA: JC.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

ADV SIGODI: And what was your occupation, were you employed or were you unemployed?

MR HLASA: No, I was not, I was in the organisation.

MR MALAN: Sorry, were you full time in the organisation at the time of this incident, is this what you're saying to us?

MR HLASA: Yes, it was the early stage of the formation of the youth of Azania.

MR MALAN: So what was your responsibility?

MR HLASA: I was responsible for organising, I was working under the Organising Committee.

MR MALAN: So were you appointed organiser of AZAPO?

MR HLASA: Yes, for the branch.

MR MALAN: Did they pay you?

MR HLASA: No.

MR MALAN: Where did you get your livelihood from?

MR HLASA: I was still under the care of my parents.

MR MALAN: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you say you did not know any of the six people?

MR HLASA: Even today I do not know them, I only saw their names on the papers this morning. Well, I did not care much to look them in the newspapers.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Brink, do you prefer to put questions before Mr Ameen?

MR BRINK: ...[inaudible]

CHAIRPERSON: Well put questions if you want to.

MR BRINK: I've just got one Mr Chairman, it depends on the answer, maybe two or three.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BRINK: I wonder if you can tell me please Mr Hlasa, am I correct in understanding your

evidence that Ikaneng Nani took part in the interrogation of these youths?

MR HLASA: Yes, Nadi took part as well as the comrades who have applied for amnesty.

MR BRINK: Was it Ikaneng Nani who told you that the youths had admitted being UDF members, after interrogation?

MR HLASA: Yes, it's Nani and he said one of them had a T-shirt written RMC on, Release Mandela Campaign. This was an affiliate of UDF.

MR BRINK: Was Ikaneng Nani an active members of AZAPO?

MR HLASA: Yes, he was.

MR BRINK: What position did he hold?

MR HLASA: He did not have any position.

MR BRINK: Was he an ordinary member?

MR HLASA: He was an ordinary member.

MR BRINK: And am I correct in understanding your evidence that he gave the instruction to - I amy to wrong so correct me if I am, he gave the instruction that these youths should be taken out and killed?

MR HLASA: He did not give instructions, he was not a senior member of the organisation.

MR BRINK: He took part in the killings though?

MR HLASA: Yes, he took part.

MR BRINK: You see, I think what the Committee really wants to know is who in fact, as an office bearer in AZAPO, gave an order that these youths must be killed.

MR HLASA: I'm the first to testify today, maybe the other comrades would come and testify better. Those who took part in the interrogation, they would say and explain who gave them instructions.

MR BRINK: You never made any enquiry from anyone as to where the instructions had come from?

MR HLASA: I made investigations now when we adjourned for lunch.

MR BRINK: And what did you find?

MR HLASA: I was told Tiny Motlago and Sam Siyema gave an instruction.

MR BRINK: Did you not know that before this hearing today? I mean you have had ample opportunity to make these enquiries and you do it in the lunch adjournment, approximately an hour and a half after the hearings had started today. I find that very strange Mr Hlasa.

MR HLASA: I knew that instructions were taken out by the organisation, who in particular I did not know.

MR BRINK: But you say you know now?

MR HLASA: Now I know.

MR BRINK: Thank you.

MR MALAN: May I just follow up on that. If I understood your evidence correctly you didn't know of any instruction, you only knew that if the interrogation would show that these people were UDF people, if that could be confirmed they would be killed, that was the evidence you gave us.

MR HLASA: Not to be killed but to deal with them. If there was a proof that they were members of the UDF we were to deal with them, not that if we proved that they were members of the UDF we were going to kill them, it's not like that.

MR MALAN: So when did you for the first time learn that they were to be killed?

MR HLASA: ...[inaudible]

MR MALAN: Sorry, let me assist you in this because really I get confused now. I think you told us you were working on the car, you were cleaning it because there was oil, you didn't take part in the interrogation, when they came out you were told to put on the ignition, to turn the ignition because these people were to be killed, that was your evidence. ...[indistinct] and you say Nani told you that. And you went to the other house, you had the caucus in the kitchen, you arranged and you went out and you did the shootings in the two sessions.

MR HLASA: Ja, ...[intervention]

MR MALAN: Sorry, this is the point I want to get to, you never had an order to kill, this is what you are saying, you were ready to kill. They were ready to be dealt with, you were told to put on the ignition, it was just communicated to you that you must drive, "we're going to kill these people"?

MR HLASA: No, that is not true, an instruction was taken out that these people were going to be killed, we should start the car and go. Truly, we would not kill them in Orlando West because the area was predominantly UDF.

When Kani went out of the house he said: "Let's go, we're going to kill these people", "whereto"? and the answer was: "We're going to comrade Glen's house. We arrived at comrade Glen's house, they were put in the diningroom and we caucused in the kitchen. The instruction was already issued out to be killed. The caucus was about how and where, those were the two issues for the caucus in the kitchen.

MR MALAN: But again if I understand you correctly, you never had any knowledge of any specific instruction, you were simply told by Nani: "Put on, we're driving away to this other house, these people are going to be killed"?

MR HLASA: That's what he said. He said an instruction had been issued out, an order was taken out that they be killed. He even gave me a reason, he said they had been tortured already and we can't just leave them.

MR MALAN: Did he say they had to be killed because they were tortured?

MR HLASA: No, because they were members of the UDF.

MR MALAN: Now where does the torture story, where does that part fit in?

MR HLASA: He told me that they were tortured during the interrogation and they told the truth and it was confirmed they were members of the UDF, that's how torture is involved in this, he was explaining to me now.

MR MALAN: Did he say to you that there was the RMC T-shirt, one of them had an RMC T-shirt, is that what you said?

MR HLASA: Yes, he explained that.

MR MALAN: ...[inaudible] give evidence that they were wearing various T-shirts, UDF T-shirts, Release Mandela Campaign T-shirts, did you tell that to us earlier?

MR HLASA: No.

CHAIRPERSON: I think it was in a different context.

MR MALAN: Okay, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: You may stand down Mr Hlasa, we will proceed to call one of your colleagues with the understanding that we are not through with you yet, you must still come back so that Mr Ameen can put some questions to you.

WITNESS EXCUSED

 
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