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Type AMNESTY HEARING
Starting Date 05 December 1998
Location PALM RIDGE
Names VELI NHLAPO
Case Number AM 7259/97
ADV STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, sorry to interrupt again. His application appears on page 56, in the document called Lusaka-B, not Lusaka-A this time, Lusaka-B, page 56. His application number is 7259/97, for the record. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
MR SIBEKO: Now you'll correct me if I'm wrong. Mr Majiki testified to the effect that there was an incident where photographs were given over to them and some people were identified as members of the IFP and were also staying in the same section as yourself, do you know anything about that incident?
MR NHLAPO: Insofar as the problem that we had at Ngaki, I was called by one of our comrades, Xholile, I cannot quite recall where I was coming from that day but there was one IFP man who had been apprehended at Ngaki. After I received the information I rushed for my firearm.
I went to Ngaki and I walked past where he was standing but there were no people, they had fled. I finally went to Ngaki where I found our comrades fighting this big man. He was too strong, he could have beaten them if they were not using firearms.
I met one of the guys whom I knew. When I looked at the photographs I could identify one person who was standing in the photo with one of the persons who had just been apprehended. This person was very strong. I then asked as to what was happening: "Is this the person who is in the photo"? I asked. And on looking at the photo I confirmed that it was the person, and it then came to my mind that this must be the person who tried to shoot and kill me. He is trying to struggle himself free of us and I ...(intervention)
ADV GCABASHE: Can I just stop you there. I'm sorry, I lost you somewhere, Mr Nhlapo. You came to Ngaki Street and found your comrades arguing with a big man. You then looked at the photographs and recognised another person or the same person? I'm not sure that I understood you there. You recognised somebody in the photographs, was it the person standing in front of you, the big man, or somebody totally different?
MR NHLAPO: The person who was in the photograph, if I still remember very well, there were three photographs that were shown to me. The one photograph showed me the one photo in which the person we had apprehended was in and on looking at the photo I also realised that there was this other person who tried to shoot at us. At the time I was with another boy called Bafana. And the one who had just been apprehended at Ngaki was with the one who attempted to shoot us at Khumalo.
MR NHLAPO: And after I shot this person the comrades fled and I remained behind alone, that's when the Stability Unit appeared and I ran away. I ran up Ngaki Street and before I came to Chicken Licken, I came across yet another Stability Unit and I shot at them so that they can give way. That's when I disappeared. I don't know whether the man I shot died or whether he was taken by the Stability Unit, I just remember shooting him and fleeing.
MR SIBEKO: When you left him and I am under the impression that immediately after you shot at him you could see whether he was or he had minor injuries or he was in a very serious condition, what would you say?
MR NHLAPO: I would say he was badly injured because I shot him. I remember when I was fighting the Stability Unit, it was fully loaded, my gun was fully loaded and when I was shooting at the Stability Unit I think I must have spent 12 bullets.
I remember one day on our way to Mazibuko there was this group of people who were standing further up, busy shooting. We went to Mazibuko and on arrival there was seemingly an Inkatha meeting. We wanted to disrupt that meeting because we knew what the agenda was.
We went further up and came across some of our comrades from Slovo. These are the people that helped us so that we went up together. On arriving we managed to disrupt the meeting and gunshots were fired. That's how the fighting began.
MR NHLAPO: No, we did not get into the hostel. We walked up Ntagani Street or Madondo Street. There was a Stability Unit further up the street and therefore we had to go back. We did not get into the hostel, therefore we went back without having fired a single shot.
MR SIBEKO: Now you confirmed earlier on that you were in the same unit with Mr Majiki and you confirmed everything that he said inasfar as it related to you. My question is, were you always in possession of the said AK47 at the times when you went to attack or defend or whatever, were you always in possession of the firearm and did you use it?
MR NHLAPO: Yes, the gun has been killing a lot of people, even though I cannot say exactly who it was killing, but yes, it had killed a lot of people. I was using it. There are many Inkatha people I have shot, not knowing their identity. Yes, I've been shooting a lot of them. Yes, the gun has been killing a lot of people.
MR NHLAPO: Yes, there are some other incidents. There is the one incident that happened at Khumalo Street when a journalist died. That is where we went right into the hostel. I think that was our last fight. I was present, yes, we killed people.
There is also another incident where we were requested by the comrades from Mandela to go and give them a hand because their comrades were not in, they were actually in short supply and they were facing the hostel. They were harassed by the police. The police station at Thokoza was not working. I don't think it was working at the time and therefore they requested us to come and assist them because Inkatha used to come from home, from their rural areas to assist their brothers in the hostel, therefore we could not sit back whilst our people were dying.
MR NHLAPO: I think there is one called Mshayazafe, that is if I'm not mistaken. That is the hostel that is in the middle section. There is also another name. I've just forgotten the name. That is the hostel that is further down, nearer to our section. I am not quite sure, I cannot differentiate between the hostels in terms of names.
MR NHLAPO: As I have just explained, the one incident that I did not hear being testified about is the Mandela incident. Apart from that I don't think there are any other incidents that I still remember because the Mandela incident happened at the time when the situation was explosive. There was also the KwaZulu Police using horses to patrol the area. I didn't personally see them, I just heard that they were patrolling the area on horseback.
MR NHLAPO: Honestly speaking, I was so - I ...(indistinct) and disturbed when I heard that the gun has disappeared while I was in prison. Apparently guns were collected whilst I was in prison. I don't know how it disappeared.
MR SIBEKO: Will you agree with me that the said AK47 was not your property, you got it from your commander and if your commander - even if it was handed over for whatever campaign, you didn't have to have any problem about it because it was not your property?
MR NHLAPO: Let me put it this way, I think the gun was mine, that is why I got so angry when it disappeared. I am the one who was using it to kill people. I don't know how it disappeared. I was told it was with the police, they were busy using it to investigate how many people it killed. I meant to hide or conceal the firearm myself.
MR NHLAPO: I cannot point to anybody that I can with certainty say that I injured or killed but yes, we did shoot many people. We did shoot many people whose identities I don't know. I don't know their names but yes, we did shoot people and people died, people got injured. I don't know how many people died and how many got injured but yes, people died.
ADV GCABASHE: The last incident I'm not too clear about. Was the incident you related about the day you were on your way to Mazibuko, when the IFP were having a meeting there, was the meeting inside the hostel at Mazibuko? I was not too clear as to the incident itself, what happened, if people were shot. You did disrupt the meeting. Just go over that briefly for me.
MR NHLAPO: The meeting was not in the hostel, it was held at a street, the name of which I've forgotten. It was the street on the other side from Mazibuko. I think it's the third street. They had met at the gate of a certain household at one of their members.
MR NHLAPO: As I have explained earlier on, when we arrived some of our comrades were there from Penduka or in Penduka, and they indicated to us where the people were. We therefore had to hide ourselves whilst approaching so that we could not be seen. That is when - as we proceed, that is when I decided that this meeting should be disrupted because I concluded that they were planning on killing us.
ADV GCABASHE: With that particular incident again you don't know if you actually shot anybody, this is if anybody was injured, you can't go into any detail as to you saw two or three people fall? You can't give us any detail on that?
MR NHLAPO: I would say I did shoot people because when I fired shots there were many of them but some of them, or should I say many of them fled. Some person may have tripped and fell. I would not know whether they were shot or they tripped and fell.
MR NHLAPO: Insofar as the Khumalo gang is concerned, I was involved on the patrolling side. I did not got there to fight but Khumalo used to come to our area, shoot us and do whatever because he was always accompanied by the ISU and his house was also under guard, but I never went to attack his homestead.
Yes, I heard about these gangsters and Mugabe is seemingly the one who engineered the whole thing. He was raping people and robbing people of their possessions etc. I am the one who was involved when Mugabe was sought.
MR NHLAPO: As I have explained I don't know the name of the street, but we were at Mazibuko, a third street up. I think it was quite a distance from us. I don't know the name of the street but it was the third street from where we were.
MR NHLAPO: I don't know what time it was, I didn't have a watch. We didn't use watches when we were going out to war, we would not even know what day of the week it was. I would think it was Sunday. Maybe I would be mistaken and it would be on a Wednesday. Therefore really, we were not keeping track of time.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand that, the intention is not really to get you to furnish us with the time and the day of the week. Can you give an idea as to the date when it happened, what month, what year possibly? Are you able to assist?
MR NHLAPO: If I still remember very well it was not long after I was arrested, because I was arrested in 1994, January, and this incident happened in 1993. Even though I cannot remember exactly as to when in 1993.