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Type AMNESTY HEARING
Starting Date 25 November 1998
Location PALM RIDGE
Names SIMPHIWE NDLOVU
Case Number AM 7074/97
MR SIBEKO: Mr Chairman, for now I haven't thoroughly consulted with Mr Feni. The arrangement that we made is that immediately after the three I will give my colleagues the chance to take over with other applications. So I therefore request that I be excused now.
MR MOPEDI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. May name is Cavendish Mopedi and ...(indistinct) Mopedi Attorneys here in Alberton. I am appearing on behalf of Mr Simphiwe Ndlovu in this matter, Mr Chairman. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
MR NDLOVU: I was prompted to seek amnesty because I was a member of the SDU that operated in Thokoza at the Lusaka section, because also I was involved in the shooting and the carrying of an illegal firearm.
ADV GCABASHE: Sorry, Mr Mopedi, do you then want us to amend 9(a) of the application, dates 1990 to May 1994? 9(a) - he joined in 1993, 9(a) speaks of activities between 1990 to 1994. I don't know whether you want that to be amended or what the position is.
MR NDLOVU: I would say at joining the SDUs in 1993 guns were available in abundance, it was not the same as when it was formed, where streets had to be barricaded. We now had information as to how we were being attacked and how to protect ourselves, and therefore we would launch an attack before they attacked us. There were so many things that were happening between the years 1993 and 1994, things in which I was involved but I was involved in mainly two things.
MR NDLOVU: What I still remember is that the year was 1993 and there was this Johannesburg IFP meeting of the IFP. I was sitting with people like Aubrey Maile, Sipho Mbatha and Tshabalala Sipho and as we were sitting we heard that the IFP members were going out to a rally. We then had a discussion with Sipho and indicated that we should wait for them on their way back and shoot them at Khumalo Street on their way to the hostel, but then we did not know what time they were coming back.
We then sent people like Aubrey and Tulani to go and investigate the route, make sure that there were no police and ISU on the route. Yes, they came back and they told us everything is okay. There were a handful of police and then Sipho and myself took two AK47s which were fully loaded and we put them in our sweater jackets.
We knew which routes to take in the townships and we took our short cuts to Khumalo Street and we arrived at the said house. We positioned ourselves at a house that had been burnt down, awaiting all the taxis that were coming so that we could see them clearly as they were arriving.
We spent about five minutes seeing these mini-buses arriving. We ignored the first mini-bus that came but we shot at the second mini-bus that was full of passengers. Later on we retreated, went back to our section.
MR NDLOVU: The taxis in the township were now using different routes. ANC or taxis belonging to ANC areas were using Polla Park and those areas and therefore it was well-known that any taxi that was taking the Khumalo road should be an IFP taxi.
MR NDLOVU: It was necessary because we knew that each time they came back from the rally they would not go straight to the hostel, they would just go around shooting randomly. To stop them from doing that we had to shoot them fist and if we had done that there would be soldiers around and they would not be able to attack us.
It was on a Friday evening and we received information early the following morning that some of our comrades had died, about five of them. They were shot by the people from the hostel. Then Sipho and myself were very close friends and we decided to go and see the commander from that other section. He then explained to us that these comrades were ...(indistinct) but they were just attacked by people.
We then decided that we should go and avenge the death of our comrades. Then it happened that on Saturday afternoon we came together and planned as to which areas or streets and houses should be attacked. And we came up with five streets which had to be attacked and these streets included Khumalo, Umdagane, Njati, Shabango and Dube.
We then went back to our section. We brought a few comrades together and briefed on the meeting that we have already had and informed them that we are going to do something but we will get the details on Sunday.
Sipho then went back to the other side and met with the people. We decided and discussed on how we should group. He then came back on Sunday where he found us at a house of one of the Committee of Seven. When he arrived on Sunday evening we were at a house of one of the Committee of Seven members.
He then told us that the attack was going to take place on Monday morning and therefore we should all sleep together in one place so that we should not be late. So that we should all go together to the other comrades in the other section.
People who were in charge of firearms brought all the firearms and we went to Sipho's place to spend the evening with our guns. We woke up, left the following day at half past three. There were people who were moving ahead of us to ascertain the safety of our route.
These people came back at round about four and we left at 4 o'clock, went to Thambo section where we found the commander and his comrades waiting for us. We decided to wait until there was little light seeing that it was the early hours of the morning, after dawn. We were concerned that we might injure one another in the dark seeing that we were not quite familiar with one another.
We were in groups. In my group I had the company on Monwabisi and Montle Motaung, Vusi, as well as Eddie Kambule and Monday who came from Thambo section. We decided to have a short briefing saying that we should just go and attack to make sure that they do not continue killing our people.
The plan was that we were going to wait for the Khumalo group to hit first and we would follow suite. We went to this house and we spent some time there. This house had some backyard shacks. We went into the homestead. The people in the main house did not see us. We spent about two minutes waiting for the first attack to be launched and after some time, realising that the attack was not being launched, we decided to know at the door. There was a response and we realised that there were people in the house. We got in, started shooting and started breaking things up, or breaking things down.
We retreated to Khatelhong which was the nearest place to retreat to. The other group came back from their attack at Khumalo Street and later on there were police. These are the incidents to which I can account.
MR NDLOVU: Yes, some people died but it could not be clearly explained as to whether people died in Dube or how many died in Dube. The report was just that people died, three or so but we didn't have the details.
MR NDLOVU: Yes, it's possible I might have killed someone because I too was shooting. Maybe if I was well-trained in the use of a firearm, I could with certainty say that yes, I did kill someone. But then in this case I'm just not in the position to say with certainty.
MR NDLOVU: Some of the people in our company were the ones who were watching or taking care of safety for us in the area, to make sure that there are no police around. That was Aubrey Maile and Tulani Mbatha.
MR NDLOVU: The attack on that day was prompted by the fact that we lost five of our members the previous Friday and therefore it was necessary for us to avenge their death so that they could learn from this experience that we too can fight back, we are not happy about this.
MR NDLOVU: When we went to Dube I was carrying an AK47 and when we arrived at the house one of our colleagues or friends was carrying an R4 and he requested that I give him the AK47 because he was not used to the R4. I wanted to experiment with this R4 and then we exchanged these firearms.
MR NDLOVU: This R4 was not from our section. I have indicated that when we met these comrades from the other section they had their own collection of weaponry. They had R5 etc. We only exchanged the use of this firearm at the time of the attack, it was not our section weapon. I only used it for that day.
MR NDLOVU: No, I don't know the address because some of the houses had already been burnt at Dube Street. The house that we attacked was also burnt like many others, therefore I cannot remember the address.