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Type AMNESTY HEARING
Starting Date 04 December 1998
Location PALM RIDGE
Names PHODI EDDY KHAMBULE
Case Number AM 7736/97
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 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.
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: 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.
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 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 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 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.
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: 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 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 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.