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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 04 December 1998

Location PALM RIDGE

Day 9

Names PHODI EDDY KHAMBULE

Case Number AM 7736/97

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Sibeko, what else have you got lined up?

MR SIBEKO: I've got the last applicant in uniform and that will be it for myself.

CHAIRPERSON: All right. No, no, that's good, and just in passing, we've assumed that Mr Mabizela is in the same position as the other people, that the present situation has got nothing to do with the... (intervention).

MR SIBEKO: Yes, Mr Chairman, as far as all the applicants from ...(indistinct) are concerned, it has nothing to do with what you are dealing with here.

CHAIRPERSON: Excellent. Would you call that remaining one?

MR SIBEKO: Mr Eddy Khambule, his application is on page 313, Lusaka A.

SIMON PHODI EDDY KHAMBULE: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR SIBEKO: Mr Khambule, you have also applied for amnesty, is that correct?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: Were you a member of the Self Defence Unit, Lusaka A?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: When did you become a member of the Self Defence Unit?

MR KHAMBULE: In 1993.

MR SIBEKO: Do you confirm that Mr Moosa Msimango was your commander?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: Do you have any incidences of violence wherein you were involved prior to 1993?

MR KHAMBULE: No.

MR SIBEKO: Were you not involved in patrols and barricades prior to 1993?

MR KHAMBULE: No.

MR SIBEKO: Are there incidences wherein you were involved after 1993 as a member of the Self Defence Unit?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes.

MR SIBEKO: Tell us about those incidences, sir?

MR KHAMBULE: The incident at Mazibugu. We got a message. As we were residing at Lusaka A, we were using a certain code, an alarm, if it rings it means something. When this alarm rang, we got a commander who told us that he received a message that we are supposed to assist at Mazibugu, supposed to assist at Phulamgashe, Comrade Bonga, who was known to Mandela Section. We left there as the SDU members, we took a shortcut through Mavumbele Section, Nyala Section and Thela Section up to Mandela. When we arrived there, we went to a base where the SDU members were staying from Mandela Section. Bonga pointed us the place that was their boundary, and there, beyond that particular crossing line was the IFP territory. I was armed with an AK47 rifle.

ADV GCABASHE: Can you just tell me, you say he pointed out the boundary and beyond that was IFP territory, but you are talking about houses?

MR KHAMBULE: There was a place where the SDU members from Mandela Sections were staying and there were houses that they aren't occupied, and there would be a territory that was occupied by the IFP members.

ADV GCABASHE: So you'd have the boundary with your community on one side, on the other side a row of empty houses or whatever, and beyond that IFP housing, go backwards, going to that way?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

ADV GCABASHE: Just again help me locate the nearest hostel on the IFP side, in that picture I now have in my mind, which would have been the nearest IFP hostel on that side, because we were told that they essentially were all around Tokoza, so Mazibugu area, which is the nearest IFP hostel, hostels 1 and 2?

MR KHAMBULE: These hostels were differentiated into three, there was Hosiahzafe, Mazibugu and something else. The street that we used when we were coming in, it was not next to Khumalo, but we were next to houses. I am not sure which hostel was nearer to those houses.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: But Mr Khambule, was there a kind of a no-go area between the ANC supporting side and the IFP supporting side?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, there was a no-go area.

CHAIRPERSON: And if you venture in there, then you expose yourself to attacks?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Sibeko?

MR SIBEKO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Now, in trying to explain, I heard you referring to Hosiahzafe, Kutuza, and you don't have the name of the third hostel, did I hear you correctly, when the question was that which could be the nearest hostel?

MR KHAMBULE: The hostel is in Khumalo Street, it has got some blocks and the gates have got different names, gates to different blocks, there were three hostels, and we went into the hostel through the other street where there was a hostel.

MR SIBEKO: I can safely say the nearest hostel is the - of the three hostels, that is Kutuza, Hosiahzafe and then the third one, those could be the nearest hostels around?

MR KHAMBULE: No. As I'm explaining to you, this hostel, this hostel building is very long, it's going down the street, maybe Kutuza was nearer to Mazibugu and the block would go down up to a section called Sisulu, between Sisulu and the petrol stations. Bongo pointed us the place where the IFP members were. We wanted to get to Mr Mafulele's house, who was the one who was regarded as powerful in the IFP members. We went there with the other comrades who were the SDU members. It was Sipho Steven Ngubane, Ngosane Aron Tshabalala, Gideon Sakkie Msamango, Hobisiso Tshabalala and the others, of which I can't remember their names. We were... (intervention).

MR SIBEKO: Now, will you repeat the names of the people you were with when you went to this house?

MR KHAMBULE: When we left, we were about 21, we called ourselves the 21 Battalion, we were divided into three groups of seven, the other seven was the assault group and the other seven was the covering group and the other one was the retreat group. In the assault group, it was myself and Steven Sipho Ngubane and Ngosane Aron Tshabalala, Gideon Sakkie Msagmango, Hobisiso Tshabalala, and the others, I cannot remember their names. We reached the place. We were shooting the IFP members and they were also shooting at us. This took place until some of the shacks were burnt down. In the war it is a common thing that people get injured and even their shacks were burnt down.

MR SIBEKO: What was the cause of the damage to the shacks, that is the shacks burnt down, who burnt those shacks?

MR KHAMBULE: I won't know, because no-one had petrol, we were only armed with AK47 rifles. Perhaps there were primus stoves that were being used and the other things like paraffin, but we don't know what was the cause of fire, because this was, this situation was very tense.

ADV GCABASHE: Did people live in these shacks, or were these abandoned shacks?

MR KHAMBULE: There were people who were living in the shacks.

ADV GCABASHE: Were these shacks on your side of the boundary or on the IFP side of the boundary?

MR KHAMBULE: It was on the IFP side.

MR SIBEKO: Now when you saw this fire, could you see whether there were people coming out of those shacks or not?

MR KHAMBULE: I saw only two people, and we chased them in such a way that they were shot and they fell, and after that we did not see anyone.

MR SIBEKO: So it's possible that when these shacks were burning, there could have been people who were inside?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is possible.

MR SIBEKO: And you acknowledge that if they were injured or they died as a result of this fire, it's possible that it was through your shooting?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes.

MR SIBEKO: And you are applying for amnesty in this regard?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: And then the two that you ran after, because your evidence is that the two were injured as a result of your bullets, do you know what ultimately happened to them?

MR KHAMBULE: No, I don't know what happened, because we had to retreat.

MR SIBEKO: You also take responsibility for their injuries, is that so?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: And you are applying for amnesty in this regard?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: What happened - is there anything that you would want to add on this incident?

MR KHAMBULE: All I can say is this, after that, we retreated and we went back to Lusaka Section and nothing else happened thereafter.

MR SIBEKO: Do you have any other incident?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, there is something else. It was the incident at Mshayazafe Hostel. It was early in the morning, we heard the gunfire, we heard gunshots. As I've already said, that if there was something happening, the alarm would ring and we went out to the meeting point. The gunshots were coming from Slovo direction, and we left there as the 21 Battalion, and when we went there, we could see that the situation was really bad. There were members of SPU, the Self Protection Unit, and there were members of SDU. As we knew where was the enemy and we knew where it was, and we assisted the other comrades of the Self Defence Unit. We exchanged gunfire until the ISU came, and when the ISU came, we had to retreat, because we knew that we are going to experience problems because they would be assisting on the other side, so we had to retreat. We left our firearms at Khumalo Street and decided to go and take a rest and have something to eat. We went back to Lusaka Section. I'm one of the people who managed to reach the section. As we were still sitting there, we heard a sound, a loud sound that was like an explosive, explosion, we heard an explosion. We did not take it seriously at first, but when we heard it for the second time now, we just decided that maybe something is going on, but we knew that we had no explosives in our sections, or even among the members of the SDU's, no-one had an explosive. We thought that there are people who are trying to destroy the townships, the township. We went out, we rushed to Khumalo Street. We were in the house - we went into the house where our ammunition was, and we took the ammunition and the firearms and we proceeded. We exchanged gunfire with the member of SPU and we were too powerful for them and they had to go back. We managed to get into the hostel through the opening. As we were getting into that hostel, one comrade whose name was Stoffel Ngele, climbed on top of the hostel with a hammer in his hand. While he was still up there and he was shot at the head and he fell down, and when we went to him, he was already dead. That made me very angry, I just decided there also, because my comrade had died, we went into the hostel, it was Steven Sipho Ngubane who was also there, and Hobisiso Tshabalala and Gideon Sakkie Msagmango, we went inside, there was confusion inside and the people running away, that is when we started shooting. We fired there and when we heard the police casspirs coming, we left the place. When we left the hostel, we realised that some of our comrades had fallen. That was Comrade Bafana Boloyi and Prince Thlajawo, who was residing at Umbeli Street, myself and Stoffel Ngele, we went back with Stoffel Ngele and we left him at his home and the others took Prince to his home, and Comrade Bafana Boloyi died at the hospital on the very same day. When we went back, our aim was to go back to Khumalo Street and wait for the SANDF to leave, so that we could go back to Khumalo. When we went to Khumalo, we found that there was Tokyo Sekwale, the former Gauteng premier, who tried to cool us down and he told us not to kill one another like that as a nation. We had to stop and we went back. That was the end on that particular day.

MR SIBEKO: Now, all the time you were carrying your rifle, is that correct?

MR KHAMBULE: What time are you referring to, on our way back or... (intervention).

MR SIBEKO: The first time when you went there, before you decided to go back to your section for lunch or for your rest, and then you went back again when you heard that explosive or whatever, you were carrying your arm, is that correct?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, when we left for the first time we had them, but when we decided to go and take a rest, we had left them somewhere, and then from the section, we went back to the place where our arms were.

MR SIBEKO: There were exchanges of fire before you went back to your section?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is true.

MR SIBEKO: It's possible that you might have killed or injured a number of people, that is the IFP members?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is possible.

MR SIBEKO: And you are applying for amnesty for your participation herein?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is true.

MR SIBEKO: And the second time you managed to get through the hole, and you went right through inside the hostel where you also fired shots, is that correct?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is true.

MR SIBEKO: It's also possible that you might have injured or killed a number of people there?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is possible.

MR SIBEKO: And you're also applying for amnesty for this incident?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: Is there any other thing that you'd want to add?

MR KHAMBULE: No, there is nothing else.

MR SIBEKO: Is that all that you are applying for amnesty?

MR KHAMBULE: No, there's still more.

MR SIBEKO: What else were you involved in?

MR KHAMBULE: The other matter is barricading and patrolling in our communities. During our patrols, we were having the sjamboks and the firearms. If we happened to find someone with a firearm that was unlawfully possessed, we would have problems, we would experience problems, we would hear the gunshots and we didn't even know where they were coming from. We had our own policies, that if there was someone who will be possessing an unlawful firearm, that should be confiscated, so if it happens that someone is killed, we wanted to be the only people to be responsible for that, so we just decided that if someone has got a firearm and we don't know anything about that, that he's supposed to be taken to our commander, that firearm should be taken to the commander, that should be handed over. If your firearm is licensed, we would do nothing, because that means a person would have a permission. So we were actually avoiding problems in our community, because the people's lives in our communities were in our hands, and even during the barricading, when we were barricading the roads, the streets, the cars that would come into the sections during the night would use a certain code and they knew what to do if they get to the township at a certain time of the day. If that car would just come anyhow, we would know that that car does not belong to our community. Through all those actions, we would harass people by actions and by talking, and I would like to ask for amnesty for that type of harassment.

MR SIBEKO: Would that be all?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: Thank you, Mr Chairman, no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR SIBEKO

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Questions, Advocate Steenkamp?

ADV STEENKAMP: No questions, thank you, sir.

ADV SANDI: What exactly did you do to these people who came with vehicles bearing registration letters which were not known to you?

MR KHAMBULE: If that person was not using that code, we would ask him, and we would even ask where that particular person was going and we would even accompany him to that particular person, and if he was not prepared to explain and we would explain our problems to him and tell him that there were cars that were used and people would be killed by people driving those cars and run away, so we would explain such problems.

ADV SANDI: Are there any specific incidents during which something wrong was done to these people, such as the beating up or the burning of their cars?

MR KHAMBULE: That never happened. We would harass people, whereby we would harass people, whereby we never actually damaged their properties.

ADV SANDI: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Chair.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR SIBEKO

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Khambule, thank you, you are excused.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: We will adjourn the proceedings at this stage until Monday, I think it's the 7th of December, if I'm not mistaken. We will reconvene here at 10:30 on Monday, the 7th of December.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

 
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