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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 16 May 2000

Location JOHANNESBURG

Day 2

Names TAMSANKA NORMAN TSHOKO

Case Number AM6211/97

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CHAIRPERSON: Good morning everybody. We have two matters left on the roll and this morning we'll be starting with the applications of Norman Tamsanka Tshoko and Nkululeko Freedom Sidiya. Let me briefly introduce the panel to you. On my right is Judge John Motata, he is from Johannesburg, he is a member of the Amnesty Committee as is Mr Jonas Sibanyoni, he's an attorney and he comes from Pretoria and I'm also a Judge and I come from Umtata in Transkei.

I'd like the legal representatives to kindly place themselves on record?

MR MALOWA: I am Advocate Malowa from the Pretoria Bar, representing the applicants, Freedom Nkululeko Sidiya and Tamsanka Norman Tshoko.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Malowa.

MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, Ramula Patel, Leader of Evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Patel. Before we start I'd just like to inform the people that these proceedings are simultaneously translated and if you wish to benefit from the translation you must be in possession of one of these devices, they are available from the sound technician. You just turn into the correct channel, channel two is English, channel three is Xhosa.

Mr Malowa, I take it your clients shall be giving evidence

MR MALOWA: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Which applicant is going to testify first?

MR MALOWA: Tamsanka Norman Tshoko.

MR SIBANYONI: Which language would he testify in?

MR MALOWA: He will be using Xhosa.

TAMSANKA NORMAN TSHOKO: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Malowa?

EXAMINATION BY MR MALOWA: Thank you Chairperson.

Mr Tshoko, can you tell your permanent physical address?

MR TSHOKO: My residential address? I reside at Boipatong, Vanderbijlpark, 1901 Musimvubu Street.

MR MALOWA: How long have you been staying there?

MR TSHOKO: I was born there.

MR MALOWA: Presently where are you staying?

MR TSHOKO: I still stay there at Boipatong.

MR MALOWA: It appears that you are in prison, is it related or unrelated charges to this application?

MR TSHOKO: Yes, it is related.

MR MALOWA: What I mean is that you are in prison because of the crime you have committed upon which you brought this application or is it a different matter upon which you are in prison?

MR TSHOKO: It's about different matters.

MR MALOWA: Which political party did you belong or do you belong?

MR TSHOKO: ANC. I was an ANC supporter.

MR MALOWA: You're still an ANC supporter?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

MR MALOWA: If you are a supporter, from when were you a supporter of African National Congress?

MR TSHOKO: From 1982 when I was still a scholar at Dr Nglapa School in Boipatong.

MR MALOWA: Can you tell the Committee which act or which crime did you commit upon which you are requesting Amnesty Committee to forgive you?

MR TSHOKO: I was at Serilla in 1993. We were patrolling there as the members of the community

CHAIRPERSON: Was that some sort of street committee?

MR TSHOKO: No, like ANC members after the Boipatong Massacre we were patrolling in the area in 1993 but I cannot remember the date.

CHAIRPERSON: And I think it's quite clear from the documents before us, Mr Tshoko, that the date was the 28th January 1993, would you agree with that?

MR TSHOKO: Yes, I cannot remember the date but I cannot dispute that.

CHAIRPERSON: I notice from your application form you say it was between May and June 1993 but it's clear from the records and the court record, that the trial that never went ahead, that it was in fact the 28th January 1993. You may proceed.

MR TSHOKO: That can be possible. On that particular day in 1993 as we were patrolling the area as ANC members we heard that there are people who were coming from Kwamadala Hostel who had come to our community. When we went there we found Mr Gazu in Mr Sotho's street, that is Majola Street, that is where Mr Gazu died.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just for explanation. Who resided in Kwamadala, supporters of which group resided in Kwamadala Hostel?

MR TSHOKO: IFP members.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, if you could then just proceed and give us more detail as to what resulted in Mr Gazu's death?

MR TSHOKO: As we were patrolling, when we got to Majola Street, as ANC members we looked for him and we wanted to ascertain that he was really a person from Kwamadala and after that we took action after confirming that and what we did that day it makes me hurt even today.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, how did you confirm that he was from Kwamadala?

MR TSHOKO: We found his membership card.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it on his person? Did he have it in his possession?

MR TSHOKO: It was just a piece of paper with his name Gazu and the address in Kwamadala. I cannot remember the other details because it took place some time ago.

CHAIRPERSON: And approximately, your group that was patrolling, how many people were you in your group?

MR TSHOKO: It was quite a large number of us.

CHAIRPERSON: Could you give an estimation? Was it five, ten, hundred, this? More or less, we don't need the exact figure.

MR TSHOKO: I cannot remember but it was quite a large number of members from the community.

CHAIRPERSON: And what time of the day was this, or night?

MR TSHOKO: I cannot remember the time but it was late in the evening. I cannot remember the time.

CHAIRPERSON: So then what happened with Mr Gazu when you established that he was from Kwamadala?

MR TSHOKO: We kicked him, we assaulted him.

CHAIRPERSON: Please continue?

MR TSHOKO: We kicked him and we assaulted him as ANC members of Serilla. We assaulted him and the others came with paraffin and poured it over his body and we left for the other side of the area to continue patrolling.

CHAIRPERSON: Was the paraffin that was poured over him set alight at all?

MR TSHOKO: Yes, it was set alight.

CHAIRPERSON: And then as far as you know that resulted in Mr Gazu's death?

MR TSHOKO: Even the wounds that he sustained we were using so many objects, including dishes and I am sure that some of the objects that were used while assaulting him caused his death.

JUDGE MOTATA: Where did he die, did he die on the scene where you assaulted him and poured paraffin over him?

MR TSHOKO: I cannot say for sure because we left him there, lying there.

CHAIRPERSON: And this took place some months after the massacre that had taken place in Boipatong, is that correct?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Were tensions between supporters of the ANC and supporters of the IFP in that area still very high at that time?

MR TSHOKO: Yes, the two parties were in battle. We couldn't relax, we had to patrol day and night, we couldn't sleep at our homes, we couldn't even wash ourselves.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Malowa?

MR MALOWA: Thank you very much Honourable Chair.

As you were assaulting the victim or the deceased, did you personally use some objects to injure or to kill the deceased, Mr Gazu?

MR TSHOKO: Yes.

MR MALOWA: Can you say you know specifically the person who came with paraffin?

MR TSHOKO: Even my co-accused was also involved.

CHAIRPERSON: Your co-applicant?

JUDGE MOTATA: In the assault - if I may come in Mr Malowa? In the assault, what did you do?

MR TSHOKO: I kicked him, I even hit him with a brick. I did not have a panga with me at the time.

MR MALOWA: Where specifically on his body did you hit him with a brick?

MR TSHOKO: On his ribs.

MR MALOWA: Was it continuous on - you only hit him with a brick on the rib?

MR TSHOKO: I cannot say how many times but I hit him with a brick, but I cannot say how many times that I hit him.

MR MALOWA: And can you say how many times did you kick him?

MR TSHOKO: Many times. I cannot remember how many times because I wasn't counting. I was very hurt at what had happened and we couldn't' sleep because of those people from that area.

MR MALOWA: You say you cannot remember a specific person who did come with the paraffin?

MR TSHOKO: The person who came with paraffin, I cannot say I do not remember him. There were many of us there and there was a bit of confusion and we were busy attending to this person and people were saying pour paraffin over his body.

MR MALOWA: Well, even though you don't remember or you don't know the number of the people involved, will I be correct to say there were over a hundred?

MR TSHOKO: I cannot say there were more than a hundred because I did not get a chance to look at them but it was quite a large number of us, all the young men from Boipatong township.

MR MALOWA: Among those residents, were you able to see a person who produced a match or who had set alight Mr Gazu?

MR TSHOKO: No I did not see him. Each and every person was willing to set him alight, the others had lighters. I cannot remember because this incident took place some time ago, I cannot remember the people who wanted to set him alight.

MR MALOWA: Among those residents, were they members of different political groups or any political group?

MR TSHOKO: There were members and supporters, people who were patrolling in Serilla township. I cannot say which were the members and who were the supporters but it was a large community.

MR MALOWA: But are they members, were they visible, any residents to be from one political organisation or were they many political organisation members there who were identifiable or which you knew?

MR TSHOKO: It was a community thing, all of us, even if there were PAC and ANC members we were united. All of us, we ended up being ANC members because it was apparent that the ANC was soon to be a ruling party.

MR MALOWA: Were there colours of ANC or even other organisations like PAC?

MR TSHOKO: Most people were ANC members.

MR MALOWA: And the colours of both organisations were visible amongst the residents, maybe through T-shirts or maybe through flags or whatever, being which may purport to align one person with a political organisation?

MR TSHOKO: I saw only ANC supporters.

MR MALOWA: Do you know that - was it how many days after the Boipatong massacre?

MR TSHOKO: No I cannot remember but it was a long time after the incident.

MR MALOWA: Could it be months or can it be weeks thereafter?

MR TSHOKO: I think it happened only a few months after the Boipatong massacre. We were patrolling the area all the time.

MR MALOWA: The patrol was facilitated by the fact that IFP members have attacked Boipatong residents, is that correct?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

MR MALOWA: If it wasn't the attack by IFP members, can you say you would have participated or would there be ...(inaudible).

MR TSHOKO: No we couldn't have because even now we have made peace with the IFP people and I even ask for apology, forgiveness from Gazu family. We even go and shop in their business areas. They even come to our places. We have made peace with them.

MR MALOWA: After the attack by IFP members on Boipatong residents, was there a tension between ANC and IFP?

MR TSHOKO: Yes, we were worst enemies, we didn't even go to their area, we didn't even want to see them nearer because they had done something very, very bad.

CHAIRPERSON: I think, Mr Malowa, you can accept there was tension between the groups in that area at that time. I think it's just a matter of record as well.

MR MALOWA: As the Chair pleases.

Can you say was the ANC using the residents or telling the residents what to do about the attack or the consequences after the attack, that means after Boipatong massacre?

MR TSHOKO: Yes, they would tell us where to patrol, when and what was going to happen and they would even tell us about the meetings and they would tell us the meetings that we should attend and the meetings that we shouldn't.

MR MALOWA: What was the political objective you sought to achieve by such attack on Mr Gazu? What did you want to happen, what did you want to achieve?

MR TSHOKO: The death of Mr Gazu is all because of what they had done to us. We were hurting because of what they had done to us but it is ...(intervention)

INTERPRETER: I would like to ask the applicant to repeat the answer?

MR MALOWA: What I'm ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Malowa, the translator has just requested that the applicant just repeat what he said now, the answer. If you can just say it again please?

MR TSHOKO: The political objective is we wanted to get the freedom that we are enjoying even today. We didn't want them to suppress us but they wanted to suppress us seemingly.

MR MALOWA: On the initial answer you mentioned that you have killed Mr Gazu because of what they have done to you. When you say what they have done to you, can you specify what do you mean?

MR TSHOKO: They killed children, babies, elderly people in the township and children are innocent.

MR MALOWA: I mean when you say "they", what do you mean? You mean who or which people?

MR TSHOKO: The IFP members who were residing at Kwamadala.

MR MALOWA: Can I assume that even when you say they were suppressing you, retarding the freedom which you are enjoying even now, you are also referring to members of Inkatha Freedom Party?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

MR MALOWA: Was the act of killing Mr Gazu politically motivated?

CHAIRPERSON: I think he said that, Mr Malowa. He stated what his political objective was.

MR MALOWA: As the Chair pleases.

Can I assume that the other reason for you to saying so, that it was politically motivated, it was because they were attacked by IFP members on residents who are mostly supporters or members of ANC and more so because there it was after Boipatong massacre?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct, the IFP members attacked the Boipatong. They were not selective, they were killing any person that they come across.

MR MALOWA: Did you benefit anything financially or otherwise by killing Mr Gazu?

MR TSHOKO: No we never benefit anything financially. No one had bought us to do that, we were just community members.

MR MALOWA: In other words here today you are applying for amnesty for killing by necklacing or burning Mr Shadrack Gazu whom you believe he was a member of IFP?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct, I am asking for forgiveness from the IFP members and Mr Gazu's family should forgive me for what I did.

MR MALOWA: As the Chair pleases, I'm through with the first.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MALOWA

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Malowa. Ms Patel, do you have any questions you would like to ask?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chair.

Just one or two for clarity or completeness, Mr Tshoko.

You said in your application to us that after the Boipatong massacre the community started loosing confidence in the police. Is that correct?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

MS PATEL: Okay and that one of the reasons that Mr Gazu was also killed was that the group thought that he had come to spy on the residents so that they could launch another attack on you. Do you confirm that?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

MS PATEL: Okay and then just one curious aspect. In your application to us you also mention that the South African Communist Party was responsible for defending the community. By that do you mean that the group that was involved in the murder of Mr Gazu comprised of members of the ANC, PAC, SACP?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

MS PATEL: Alright. Thank you Honourable Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any re-examination Mr Malowa?

I shouldn't think so, I mean there was nothing against your client. Do you have any re-examination or not?

MR MALOWA: I just wanted to clarify on this point of SACP that would he admit that there is no clear demarcation between ANC and SACP.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes I think we can take - we know what the alliance was between the two parties. Judge Motata, do you have any questions?

JUDGE MOTATA: Just a small point, Chairperson.

When you say the community had lost confidence in the police, what were the police not doing?

MR TSHOKO: IFP was perpetrating but people were not arrested and we decided that we do not want them in our community and after each and every conflict or fight the police would assault us, they wouldn't do anything to the IFP members.

JUDGE MOTATA: Now lastly, this confirmation that he was a card carrying member of the IFP and ascertaining his residential address, were you one of the people or you heard from the group in which you were that he was an IFP member or did you see that personally that he was a card carrying member of IFP?

MR TSHOKO: I saw someone holding this card or piece of paper and he was reading out that IFP and Kwamadala and we confirmed that this is a person who was residing at Kwamadala Hostel and he was coming to spy in our community.

JUDGE MOTATA: Thank you Chairperson, I've got no further questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Sibanyoni, any questions?

MR SIBANYONI: Just a few Mr Chairperson.

Mr Tshoko, some of the statements from the police talk about the deceased being stabbed. Did you notice any person stabbing the deceased with a knife?

MR TSHOKO: I cannot dispute that. Yes he was stabbed there but we were using many different objects. There were leads, there were knives, there were bricks, there were axes, there was everything. I cannot remember who specifically stabbed him.

MR SIBANYONI: Now you, the people who were patrolling, were you structured in a form of self defence units or it was just people who volunteered from the community to patrol?

MR TSHOKO: We were all members and we were all patrolling and there was no specific structure, all of us would form one group.

MR SIBANYONI: Would you say, when you are talking about Serilla, is that another name for Boipatong?

MR TSHOKO: Yes it is the name that is known, Serilla is also Boipatong. The two sections are called Serilla.

MR SIBANYONI: Would you say Boipatong was a no go area for residents of Kwamadala Hostel?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct because of what they did, the gruesome acts that they did to our township because each time we would see them we would cry a lot.

MR SIBANYONI: What about the residents of Boipatong, would they easily go to Kwamadala Hostel?

MR TSHOKO: No, after the Boipatong massacre in 1993 they couldn't set their foot there and even in 1994 and 1995, they couldn't go there. It's only now that we do visit the area.

MR SIBANYONI: That's all, thank you Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Just one question Mr Tshoko. Is it correct that after the event you, your co-applicant and various other people were arrested and actually charged in respect of the death of Mr Gazu but the trial never proceeded because of the lack of evidence in possession of the State?

MR TSHOKO: Yes that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you Mr Tshoko, that concludes your testimony.

WITNESS EXCUSED

 
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