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Amnesty Hearings


Starting Date 25 November 1998


Day 3


Case Number AM 7048/97

MR MOPEDI: The next applicant will be Monwabisi Mhambi.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mhambi, will you please stand and give your full names.



EXAMINATION BY MR MOPEDI: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Mhambi, you are the applicant in this matter and you were also a member of the Thokoza Self Defence Unit for Lusaka-A section, is that correct?

MR MHAMBI: ...(no English translation)

MR MOPEDI: Do you remember the year?

MR MHAMBI: If I'm not mistaken it was in 1993.

MR MOPEDI: Were you forced to join?

MR MHAMBI: That is not correct.

MR MOPEDI: What has actually prompted you to bring this application for amnesty?

MR MHAMBI: The reason why I made this application to the TRC is that when we were fighting here in Thokoza I was involved in certain things.

MR MOPEDI: Explain what are those things.

MR MHAMBI: I can explain it this way. From 1993, if I'm not mistaken one when we were patrolling we were in Givani Street, the corner of Givani and Ngaki. We were used to patrolling during those days we found that there was one man in the road and we thought that he was one of the people who were under the ISU or the IFP.

To try and explain more, when we stopped these men, there were five of them and we did not trust these men because they were coming from the police car. When they were coming towards us they put their hands in their jackets. We were then forced to hurry because we didn't trust what was inside those jackets. We were then forced to go and face them. We were forced to shoot first before they could shoot at us.

Fortunately or unfortunately the four of them managed to run away. This one man when he was trying to run away he ran towards Lusaka section where we found him in a shack. If I'm not mistaken it was number 1776 in the circle. I think it's the third circle from Ngaki to Mkwaie.

When he was trying to lock himself inside the shack unfortunately we were already inside. When he was trying to get out, the firearm was in my hand at that time, when he was trying to get out through the window he did not have a chance. I hit him with the first bullet. He tried to run away towards the gate. I think from the gate to where he fell, I think it's about three or four metres. He then fell and then other bullets followed from myself, Monwabisi.

The other thing, the people who were with me I do remember some of them but I don't remember others, it was myself, Thulani Mshlango. If I'm not mistaken, Thlonono and Nkosana was staying in Mabuya but he passed away now. But because there were many of us I can't remember all of us. Unfortunately I don't remember the dates. I don't remember the dates of the incidents or the time but what I can say is it was in the morning.

Secondly, I'm also applying - if I'm not mistaken, Simphiwe raised this issue about the Dube incident. I was also involved in that incident, when we were attacking there in the morning. I am not going to repeat what he has already said.

And other matters like the incident in Jazavu, in Mshayazafe, I think Mshayazafe is facing the dry cleaner of Osizweni then but it's not here now. When we were going to that area, when we were about to reach Mshayazafe, before we got there there was a house that we used to use as our shooting range. I think before the violence started the owner of the house purchased some bricks. We would take those bricks and pack from the corner of the house to the corner of the shack and then we would open a space so that we can put in a firearm that we were using at the time. Those are the things I do remember now. That is all for now.

MR MOPEDI: Okay, let us start with the first incident that you have referred us to, that is the people that you met in the street and where four of them managed to run away and you followed the one who ran to Lusaka section. Do you know the name of that person?

MR MHAMBI: If I remember well, if I'm not mistaken his name was Leviza but I don't know his surname.

MR MOPEDI: Was this person known to you before the incident itself?

MR MHAMBI: Please repeat that.

MR MOPEDI: I say, this person, the one that you followed to Lusaka section, was he known to you before the incident of that particular day?

MR MHAMBI: ...(no English translation)

MR MOPEDI: My question is, the person that you chased - I'll repeat it, the person that you chased to Lusaka section on that day, the one who tried to lock himself in a shack, was he known to you prior to the incident?

MR MHAMBI: I unfortunately Sir, I didn't know him but I used to see him.

MR MOPEDI: How did you manage to get his name or to know his name?

MR MHAMBI: What used to happen was that we would make investigations about a certain person but unfortunately concerning this person it was found that one of the people who were living in the same street as myself knew him. And in certain issues that used to happen outside some of the people used to see him. When I'm saying things that used to happen outside, I'm referring to when there was a function for the IFP. He would be there and he would take part to show that he was a member of the IFP.

MR MOPEDI: Did you have this information before the incident itself or you managed to accumulate this information after the incident itself?

MR MHAMBI: As I've already said, when we were patrolling we came across five men and this shows that I didn't go to him because I knew him or I did not know him but we wanted to know who were there and what was the connection between themselves and the ISU.

MR MOPEDI: Before you started to attack these people, have you verified first to make sure that they were indeed the members of Inkatha Freedom Party or Inkatha in short?

MR MHAMBI: I would put it this way to explain. What used to happen in Thokoza - to add more to what other people have already said, it was not necessary sometimes to get a letter to confirm that a certain person is a member of Inkatha Freedom Party.

What would happen Sir, is this. When we were using Khumalo Street - during the day of this incident we were in our bases and while we were still patrolling we would hear that there would be people who would be jumped off by the Stability Unit in the corner. Fortunately concerning this one, his jacket, the jacket that he was wearing, in the left-hand side of his jacket he had something on his jacket showing that he was with a certain group because a certain group would wear particular clothes so that you could see each other or identify each other so that you cannot attack each other. As the people were not trained we used to wear certain clothes to identify ourselves, prevent attacking ourselves.

MR MOPEDI: So if I understand you very well you say that you identified those people by the clothes they were wearing?

MR MHAMBI: Yes, Sir.

MR MOPEDI: And have you established eventually whether they were members of IFP?

MR MHAMBI: When, after we attacked them?

MR MHAMBI: That's correct.

MR MHAMBI: That is correct.

MR MOPEDI: And this person that you have told that you shot him, do you know whether he died or not or was only injured?

MR MHAMBI: He died.

MR MOPEDI: And the incident that occurred at Dube Street, the house, all what you say about the incident is that you are confirming what Simphiwe Ndlovu told this hearing?

MR MHAMBI: Please repeat your question.

MR MOPEDI: I'm referring to the second incident, the incident at Dube, that is in Dube Street, the house where you shot people. You don't have anything to add to that incident, you only confirm what Simphiwe Ndlovu, I mean Simphiwe Ndlovu's version?

MR MHAMBI: What Simphiwe said is the same thing as what I would say.

MR MOPEDI: And coming back to all these incidents, under whose command were you?

MR MHAMBI: Let us start with the Leviza incident. After the Committee of Seven, before Mosa was elected as the sectional commander, there were street commanders before where we would meet and discuss what we would do today and what we would do the next day.

During the Leviza incident I think it was half of us who were there and other soldiers from other sections were there. This is what we discussed with the commanders of the other street. All in all Mosa was not my commander at that time because at that time he was not the commander of the section yet.

MR MOPEDI: And then who was before Mosa, became the commander of the section, who was the commander of the section?

MR MHAMBI: Before Mosa it was Mfinos.

MR MOPEDI: Let's got back to the incident of Dube. You said you shot people there, do you know how many people you have shot?

MR MHAMBI: I can't say how many were there because if you are shooting you are trying also to protect yourself and when you finish that job you run away from that place.

MR MOPEDI: But is it possible that people might have been shot, injured or even killed?

MR MHAMBI: Both are possible, Sir.

MR MOPEDI: Could you say with certainty that you shot people, how many were those people and who were those people?

MR MHAMBI: I wouldn't be certain about that, Sir.

MR MOPEDI: So but what you know is that it is possible that you might have shot someone, injured or even killed someone?


MR MOPEDI: And then let's go back to the Mshayazafe incident. Did you kill anyone there?

MR MHAMBI: I think if I'm not mistaken and according to what I said, what happened in Dube is connected with what happened there because when you are shooting you are shooting towards people. So it happens that when you are shooting you would shoot at a person and that person would be shot and you wouldn't know who that person is. Or that person would lie down because he could hear the sounds of the bullets even though he is not shot.

MR MOPEDI: Were you given a firearm or any weapon?

MR MHAMBI: Yes, I was given a firearm.

MR MOPEDI: What type of firearm was it?


MR MOPEDI: So if you were given an AK47, what happened eventually to it?

MR MHAMBI: Can you please repeat your question, Sir.

MR MOPEDI: My question is, since that you were given a firearm, an AK47 to use, what happened to that firearm, that AK47 that you were provided with?

MR MHAMBI: I didn't return mine but what happened is the members of the ISU came to fetch it at home, the took the firearm. I was not there.

MR MOPEDI: So is there anything that you would like to add to your testimony?

MR MHAMBI: For now there is nothing else, except what I've already said.

MR MOPEDI: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I've no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Advocate Steenkamp?

ADV STEENKAMP: No, thank you, Mr Chairman, I've got no questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mhambi, were you the commander of Mkwaie Street?

MR MHAMBI: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Was that during the period before Mosa Msimango became the commander, that you referred to when there was three commanders?

MR MHAMBI: Please repeat your question, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: At the time when you were - I'm trying to ascertain at what stage, at what time were you the commander of Mkwaie Street, was that before Mosa Msimango became the commander?

MR MHAMBI: Let me answer this way. Mosa took over after we were straight commanders.

CHAIRPERSON: Give us an idea, during what period were you the street commander of Mkwaie Street.

MR MHAMBI: Early in the year after we collected money after we were elected as the Committee of Seven.

ADV GCABASHE: Are you saying early 1993?

MR MHAMBI: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Now was that at the time when Mfinos was the commander of the Lusaka-A SDU?

MR MHAMBI: Yes, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Was the situation that within the SDU there was Mfinos the commander and there were commanders of different streets?

MR MHAMBI: I don't understand the question, Sir, can you please repeat it.

CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps I must ask you just to explain to us how was the Lusaka-A SDU organised at the time when you were the street commander of Mkwaie Street. How did the organisation work?

MR MHAMBI: It is like this, Sir. At the beginning we were working like this, before Mosa took over we would take a report and hand it over to Mfinos and he would hand it over, he would forwarded it. But what would happen while Mosa was in command, what he was doing was not different from what we were doing but the difference was that the weapons or the firearms that we used, they were used more than before. What I mean is that when you got to certain streets you would find that there was no control about the firearms and then it was decided that within the Committee of Seven a person would be elected to look at whatever was happening concerning the SDUs.

CHAIRPERSON: Now just tell us, were there other street commanders as well within the SDU in Lusaka-A?

MR MHAMBI: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And what were your duties as street commanders, what did you have to do?

MR MHAMBI: Our duty was this. In the street that we were operating in we were to look at the situation around the street, that there are no unknown persons in that particular street. We were monitoring the situations in the street.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you as street commander, were you in charge of a number of men?

MR MHAMBI: That is correct. To add more, as I've already said that the people were misusing the bullets of the firearms, certain people were selected and we would look at the people if they members of the SDUs or they were using the firearms for their own needs. We didn't know exactly what was happening with the firearms or the organisation.

CHAIRPERSON: So you were basically in charge of your street and you had to ensure that things went right in your street that you were responsible for?

MR MHAMBI: That is correct, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?

ADV GCABASHE: The Dube incident, I understood you to say that Mosa was not the commander of the section at that time?

MR MHAMBI: That is not correct. I said in the Dleveza

incident he was not a commander then.

Can I drink water?

ADV GCABASHE: You have also referred to the Mshayazafe incident, that is the 1994 incident, just to date it, early '94, April '94, is that the one?

MR MHAMBI: That is correct.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you.

MR MHAMBI: Thank you.

ADV SANDI: Sorry, Chairman.

Mr Mhambi, were you aware that at some stage these firearms were supposed to be handed in somewhere now that the job was done?

MR MHAMBI: I knew about this when the central commander and the people in charge of this section came from their meetings and they told us about this issue.

ADV SANDI: Was it your intention to hand this firearm to the - was it your intention to hand it in?

MR MHAMBI: Those were not my intentions.

ADV SANDI: Did you not entertain such an intention?

MR MHAMBI: I was not sure whether the violence was over.

ADV SANDI: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mopedi, re-examination?

MR MOPEDI: I have no re-examination, Mr Chairman, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Mhambi, you are excused.


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