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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 07 December 1998

Location PALM RIDGE

Day 10

Names JOHANNES DINGANE NKOSI

Case Number AM 7960/97

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mopedi, who is the next applicant?

MR MOPEDI: Mr Chairman, the next applicant is Johannes Dingane Nkosi, it is for Lusaka B, but the application appears in Lusaka A, it is page 329.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nkosi, can you hear me?

MR NKOSI: Yes, I can hear you sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Won't you please stand and then give your full names for the record?

MR NKOSI: My name is Johannes Dingane Nkosi.

JOHANNES DINGANE NKOSI: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Please sit down. Mr Mopedi?

EXAMINATION BY MR MOPEDI: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Nkosi, you were also a member of SDU for Lusaka B?

MR NKOSI: Yes, that is so.

MR MOPEDI: Are you also applying for amnesty?

MR NKOSI: That is correct.

MR MOPEDI: Did you also join the SDU in 1993?

MR NKOSI: That is true.

MR MOPEDI: And Makosonki was also your Commander?

MR NKOSI: That is so.

MR MOPEDI: As a member of the SDU for Lusaka B, what were your activities?

MR NKOSI: It happened that we were based in a certain area, that is myself together with other members of the SDU and Makosonki Mhlope came and he told me that we should go and attack a certain gentleman whose name I have forgotten, I think it was Mr Sithole who we were required to attack.

He was staying at 1285 Gamedi Street. It was myself, my Commander Makosonki, together with Vusi Sibiya.

ADV GCABASHE: A little slowly. Please go over those names again, Makosonki. You were with Makosonki and?

MR NKOSI: It was myself and Makosonki Mhlope and Vusi Sibiya.

ADV GCABASHE: And then just finally before you go on, Gamedi Street, which section is that in?

MR NKOSI: It is Lusaka B.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you.

MR NKOSI: When we arrived there at Gamedi, we went inside. Makosonki was armed with an AK47, I, myself had five litre petrol and we had asked for it from one gentleman because we knew what was happening, and the gentleman himself did not ask questions, he just gave us the petrol, because he knew what was happening.

We went inside, but we found no one there, there was just a big lock in the house, it was locked, a padlock and we went straight to the shack. We knew where the owner of the house was using both the house and the shack. We went inside the shack and we kicked the door of the shack and there was no one.

I poured petrol in there. Vusi Sibiya had a match. He set the shack alight. We went out running, because we did not want the police to find us there.

We dispersed thereafter. The following day, the morning, I saw that even the house itself, was burnt down. It looked like since the shack was just next to the house, when the shack was burning, even Mr Sithole's house got effected. That I saw in the morning, and I didn't even care thereafter.

I just went on, I went straight home.

MR MOPEDI: Why was it necessary for you with your comrades, to attack or to target Mr Sithole?

MR NKOSI: The reason for it, Mr Sithole was a member of the IFP organisation. Most of the time, he was harassing us whenever he sees us in the streets, he used to say that we are the (indistinct) generation.

He was always found in Mazambani's company and Mazambani's name is banned and they used to go during the night and he would even ask me to watch his car and the car would, I would see blood in his car and I know that he had a lot of scandals. He was also killing the ANC members.

MR MOPEDI: How do you know that they were killing members of the ANC?

MR NKOSI: Mazambani used to tell us straight that we cannot tell him anything, he can kill, he could kill and he was very proud to tell us that he was an IFP member.

He used to boast about that. Even at home, at my own home, I knew that Mazambani was that type of a person who would go and do the things. There was no reason for me to ask him, because I was also scared of him.

There came a time when Mazambani had to leave our section because he knew that there were some death threats.

MR MOPEDI: Do you know where he is now?

MR NKOSI: Yes, I know where he is.

MR MOPEDI: Where is he?

MR NKOSI: He is residing at Khumalo Street in Thokoza.

MR MOPEDI: His house, the one that you have burned, what happened to the house, or who occupies the house now?

MR NKOSI: That house, there is a lady who is staying there. I am not sure whether she is leasing the property or something, but I know that there is a woman that is staying there.

MR MOPEDI: Is Mr Sithole aware that you will be applying for amnesty today?

MR NKOSI: No, he is not aware.

MR MOPEDI: Do you have further incidents that you would like to tell us about?

MR NKOSI: Some incidents, I never remember well because of the situation prevailing at that time. Even I would have some blackouts sometimes.

Anything that I cannot remember, I would like to apply for amnesty for anything that might come up, things that I was involved in. I will never ever deny that I was not there.

I am here today to seek amnesty for those incidents. Even those that I cannot remember, I am also asking for forgiveness to the people effected.

MR MOPEDI: Were you involved in patrolling?

MR NKOSI: Yes, I was patrolling, I was involved in patrolling.

MR MOPEDI: As you were patrolling, do you remember what was actually happening whilst you were patrolling?

MR NKOSI: As I was patrolling, I was armed with an AK47. I would meet some other people with unlicensed arms or knives or anything that were regarded as weapons.

If we meet that type of a person, we would take him to our Commander and the Commander would deal with that person and take a decision about a person who was found with an unlawful weapon.

MR MOPEDI: The AK47 that you have just mentioned, were you licensed to possess it or to carry it?

MR NKOSI: No, that was unlawful possession. I would be arrested by the police.

MR MOPEDI: So you were carrying it without being licensed to carry it and so you are also asking for amnesty in respect of the firearm, the AK47 itself?

MR NKOSI: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOPEDI: Did you ever fire a shot from the AK47 that you have talked about?

MR NKOSI: No, not at all.

MR MOPEDI: Do you have further incidents that you could remember now?

MR NKOSI: The other incidents that I can remember, they took place in 1990.

As a scholar at the time, at Letutula Secondary School in Katlehong, there was a conflict between two members, KATO and five taxi associations, two taxi associations in Katlehong. There were among KATO association members, that other drivers were my school mates and we were also involved as scholars in that conflict, because some of the drivers were scholars too.

One day it was on a Monday, we were preparing ourselves to write the examinations. The IFP members came. All of them were Zulu's. Mr Cebekulu was still alive at that time. Cebekulu was well known among Inkatha circles. He had his own taxi's.

They were quarrelling and saying we were in favour of the Association called Five and we were against his taxi's. We ended up having a meeting as Letutula scholars and we took a decision to shoot at them.

We took that decision, I was with Themba Miya, if I am not mistaken. He was residing at Gobapad, now he is no more. Themba had firearms. I can say he had a pump gun, he had some pump guns. We left our class at school.

All the children had run away because he had those firearms, and we knew that they were coming, and we went out and shot at those people. We ran to Paragon Cinema Hall.

Paragon is just situated next to my school. We went inside the Paragon Cinema and the shows would normally start at two o'clock. We managed to get a chance of hiding the arms in there because the situation was already bad outside.

We left Paragon Cinema at about four o'clock, because it was already known by the other people, they knew very well who was shooting because the children released information, the other scholars released the information and they mentioned my name and Themba.

It was already known by the people that we were the people who were shooting. On the following day, on the Tuesday, I met with Themba at school. No one wanted to come in, in the school premises because all of us were so scared.

Even myself, I was not comfortable, I had to go home. I told my father about everything that happened.

MR MOPEDI: Did you shoot anyone or did you kill anyone or injure anyone as you were shooting?

MR NKOSI: Yes. Yes.

MR MOPEDI: Could you tell us who did you shoot or who did you kill or who did you injure?

MR NKOSI: I don't know the identity, but I saw the person, the way he or she was running, I saw him getting in the kombi, but I could see the possibility that this person could die.

MR MOPEDI: Can you say that with certainty, or do you think that since you shot in the direction of that person, you might have hit him with a bullet?

MR NKOSI: Yes, I am sure about that. I am sure that I aimed at that person with my bullet.

MR MOPEDI: Do you know whether the person that you are referring to, eventually died or not?

MR NKOSI: No, I don't know. I don't know whether he died or not.

MR MOPEDI: You further told us that you were effected by the violence itself at school between the taxi people. How were you effected if you were effected adversely?

MR NKOSI: What made me to be effected is because my school mates, some of them were drivers in the KATO organisation, taxi organisation, and they were also harassed because of the Inkatha members.

Mr Cebekulu was an Inkatha member, meaning the opponent, the KATO opponent was an Inkatha member, so I couldn't allow that my class mates be harassed by other people, knowing very well that this particular person is working at the same time, and is also a scholar.

MR MOPEDI: So you are also asking for amnesty in respect of that incident, in that you had a firearm which was not licensed and you shot another person?

MR NKOSI: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOPEDI: Is there anything that you would like to add on what you have told us already?

MR NKOSI: All I can say, I cannot remember everything because of my situation in 1993 up to 1994. I cannot remember clearly everything.

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

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MOPEDI

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Mopedi. Any questions?

ADV STEENKAMP: No questions, thank you Mr Chairman.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV STEENKAMP

CHAIRPERSON: Any questions by the panel?

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you Chair. Mr Nkosi, the incident with Cebekulu, this was taxi rivalry really between two associations, is this what you are saying?

MR NKOSI: Yes, that is correct.

ADV GCABASHE: Did this rivalry have a political basis, in other words were the two opposing parties members of different political groups?

MR NKOSI: I can say so because my school mates from the Letutula Secondary School, I knew them that they were members of the ANC like myself, and those who were in Mr Cebekulu's side, were IFP members as I know that he was also an IFP member.

ADV GCABASHE: Was the rivalry based on their political differences?

MR NKOSI: It was not based on political differences. The KATO group was the one that was favoured most by the community, to such an extent that the communities did not like the other group's taxi's, because they were dirty and now this KATO group was, the drivers, they were youngsters and they were always clean, all the time.

ADV GCABASHE: So you are saying that because the community preferred one set of taxi's to another, Mr Cebekulu was not happy about this, and decided to attack the drivers of the KATO taxi's?

MR NKOSI: Yes, that is correct.

ADV GCABASHE: How long did this conflict go on for?

MR NKOSI: It started in 1990 and it resurfaced again later on, but it started in 1990 and 1991 until such time that Thokoza was also effected. It went on until 1993 now in Thokoza.

ADV GCABASHE: Just explain to me what do you mean by saying it went on into 1993 in Thokoza? What I am thinking, and I may be wrong, is that you are saying that ultimately this taxi rivalry was brought into the Thokoza community? I may be wrong with my understanding of what you are saying, please help me there.

MR NKOSI: I am saying it even went to Thokoza because of the situation in Katlehong. Like myself, my home, is the last street in Thokoza and it is facing the Katlehong, it is the last street from Thokoza.

Whatever is taking place in Katlehong, would also effect the Thokoza residents. The people from Thokoza had to go and help there in that taxi violence. This group was GND, this other group that was against KATO was GND, that is Cebekulu's members, GND.

Some members from the community were involved in those types of conflict because we had to go and help the people in Katlehong, because it looked like now it was the ANC and IFP conflict.

ADV GCABASHE: Let's come to the specific fight at the school, when somebody had a pump gun, how many of you were there at the school that day?

MR NKOSI: On that particular day there was a lot of us, but the people who were armed was myself and Themba. Themba was a close friend of mine, we do things together to such an extent that he decided to give me one firearm and he had his own.

ADV GCABASHE: There were many of you, how many eventually got involved in the fight?

MR NKOSI: The people who got involved in the fight, except myself and Themba, were other boys, I cannot remember their names, but when we were running away, there was a lot of us and I ended up with Themba as we ran into the Paragon Cinema, trying to hide the guns.

ADV GCABASHE: What did the others do, they had no firearms? What was their role in fighting the people who were with Mr Cebekulu?

MR NKOSI: The others were whistling, trying to alert the others that there was a fight.

ADV GCABASHE: I am still not so sure that I understand why your school in particular, was attacked. If I am wrong, please correct me. Was this because Themba and the other drivers were seen as opponents by Cebekulu and his association?

MR NKOSI: Cebekulu was against my school mates, because they were driving the taxi's from the KATO group, that is why I was also effected, and I was also effected because I could not allow anything, I could not allow seeing my school mates being harassed by the other people.

ADV GCABASHE: Who alerted the group to the fact that Mr Cebekulu and his group were coming to your school on that particular day to come and attack the drivers?

MR NKOSI: We used to, Oupa used to come to us, I am not sure of his surname, he was one of the drivers and he was also my school mate. He would come to us and tell us that someone else is chasing him, and he would come and tell us that I am uncomfortable, I cannot do my job properly.

I met some people at the shopping centre and my car was full of passengers, and they would ask me why was my car full and so on. Themba used to tell us that the people used to complain that he was ranking there, he was working there, but the car used to be full all the time.

I cannot remember his last name, but his first name was Oupa.

ADV GCABASHE: On the day of the attack, how did you know that you must carry your guns on that day and that you were going to be attacked, or did you carry them for quite a few days, for a number of days? I am not sure I understand, just help me understand exactly how it happened.

MR NKOSI: Themba was always having a firearm at school. On that particular day, I cannot say what happened, why did he bring both firearms. I can say maybe he heard, maybe we had some information that these people would be coming to attack.

Maybe we had to protect ourselves and protect the other school mates.

ADV GCABASHE: Again this specific incident, when Mr Cebekulu and his group got there, how many of them were there and did they come in and confront you before the fight started, and if they did, what did they say? Just explain that scene to me.

MR NKOSI: At that time, as we were still sitting, we heard a noise made by the follow school mates. When I went out, I saw kombi's, about six kombi's, and the other pupils were out of the classes and the kombi's were surrounding the school.

When I went out with Themba, we took out our firearms, I was on the first floor of the building. I could see what was actually happening because the Paragon Cinema is closer to our school. I can see everything that is taking place in the Paragon vicinity if I am in class.

When we heard this noise and the other children were jumping from the highest floor down, and there were gun shots all over.

That is where I realised that this is the time to use my firearm.

ADV GCABASHE: And those first gun shots came from the six taxi's that had surrounded the school?

MR NKOSI: Yes, that is correct.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you Mr Nkosi, thank you Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Mopedi, any re-examination?

MR MOPEDI: No re-examination Mr Chairman. Thank you Mr Chairman.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR MOPEDI

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Nkosi, thank you. You are excused.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: We will adjourn for lunch until two o'clock. We are adjourned.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

 
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