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Amnesty Hearings


Starting Date 09 February 1999


Day 7


Case Number AM 3480/96


MS PATEL: ... Chairperson. The matter on the roll for today is that of Bheki Elliot Mgenge, application number 0409/96, Sibusiso Mhlongo, application number 3665/96, Orient Khambule, 4297/96, Philane Luthuli, number 4314/96, Lucky Mnembe, 5023/96 and that of Gilbert Ngobese, 3480/96.

I wish to place on record at this stage that Gilbert Ngobese has made application for two incidents. We will only be hearing the one incident today, and that is the incident in which his co-applicants are involved, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Will you place yourself on record as counsel for the applicants please.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, and Members of the Commission, my name is Andrea Gabriel and I appear along with my colleague Manesh Bahadur for the applicants.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you ready to begin?

MS GABRIEL: Yes, we are ready to begin.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible)

MS GABRIEL: My colleague, Mr Bahadur, and myself are appearing jointly for each of the six applicants.

CHAIRPERSON: Who is before us now?

MS GABRIEL: Before us is Mr Gilbert Ngobese. For the purposes of the record, Mr Ngobese has been elected by the group of applicants to lead evidence on behalf of the group. After Mr Ngobese's evidence we will call each of the remaining five applicants to confirm or to add to Mr Ngobese's evidence.

GILBERT NGOBESE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you may be seated. Yes?

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, I'd like to begin introducing your evidence by referring very briefly to your personal details. Could you tell us briefly what your age is and where you are currently residing?

MR NGOBESE: I am from Cottonland and I am 40 years old.

CHAIRPERSON: Where is Cotton Land?

MS GABRIEL: Could you tell the Commission in which region of the country Cottonland is?

MR NGOBESE: Immediately after you've passed Verulam, it's closer to the dam called Hazelmeer Dam.

MS GABRIEL: Is this in the region of Sindesweni?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, it's in the region of Sindesweni.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, where are you currently residing?

MR NGOBESE: I am residing at Cottonland.

MS GABRIEL: And where did you come from this morning?

MR NGOBESE: I'm from Pietermaritzburg Prison.

MS GABRIEL: So you are currently a prisoner in the Pietermaritzburg Prison, is this correct?

MR NGOBESE: That's correct.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, I want to take you briefly to Cotton Lands, and that is the area that you come from. Could you tell us how long you lived in Cottonland?

MR NGOBESE: Even though I may not be sure, but I can say 20 years. This is my estimation.

MS GABRIEL: In the time that you were living at Cottonland, were you a member of a political party?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I was.

MS GABRIEL: Please tell the Commission which political party that was.


MS GABRIEL: And what was your role in this political party?

MR NGOBESE: vice-chairperson.

MS GABRIEL: How long were you a member of the ANC, Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: Even though I may not be sure, but I think we started in 1989, somewhere in June.

MS GABRIEL: And were your responsibilities as vice-chairperson of the ANC in Cottonland area?

MR NGOBESE: I was working together with the community from the grassroots and taking those complaints up to the committee members, more especially the community and members who were members of the ANC in Cottonland. We also used to resolve matters pertaining transportation if we were experiencing problems in buses. Also to build creches for kids because kids used to travel a long distance to take buses or transport in Kinglands. Therefore this wasn't - children were experiencing difficulties and therefore we were doing all these things.

MS GABRIEL: Please tell the Commission about the instability in your area in the time in which you were the vice-chairperson of the ANC.

MS GABRIEL: Was your role as a vice-chairperson an easy one?

MR NGOBESE: I used to like my job as a vice-chairperson because I used to make sure that facilities were there. I'll put an example of a creche; we didn't have a creche and we tried our best and we had a creche. We also experienced problems with transportation, buses, and we also solved this problem as well. Also with taxis, taxis which were travelling form our area to Ndwedwe.

ADV DE JAGER: Did you experience political problems too?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, we did.

ADV DE JAGER: Could you tell us about the political problems?

MR NGOBESE: In Cottonland there was trouble between the ANC and IFP. Inkatha wanted to rule Cottonland and also the chiefs of the area wanted to rule the area and therefore there was no peace, we experienced problems there.

More especially, when comrades wanted to hold meetings they were harassed, they were being harassed by IFP members and also IFP members used to work together with the police.

Another harassment which we've experienced was the deceased, he also had his own organisation.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, why are you in prison?

MR NGOBESE: I was sentenced for murder in Cottonland. These were political murders.

MS GABRIEL: So you were sentenced for one murder or for several murders?

MR NGOBESE: Several murders.

MS GABRIEL: Tell us about the 26th of December 1991. I'd like for you to tell the Commission very briefly about the events on that day.


"In 1991 I received complaints from the community who were members of the ANC in Cottonland and also supporters of the ANC who were youth. They said that this person used to come to a certain shop in Cottonland and he will a closer look at the youth who were wearing T-shirts, ANC T-shirts. It also came to me that he used to harass youth who were wearing ANC T-shirts, telling them that he was going to tear those T-shirts. Also that he wanted comrades and the community at large to join IFP forcefully. I also received complaints that the buses who used to leave Cottonland to Verulam, the deceased used to harass the youth in those buses and he would call them children, bitches children ..."


MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, could you speak a little bit slower because the Members of the Commission are making notes. Perhaps you can tell us, did you know the name of this man?

MR NGOBESE: As I was receiving the complaints I didn't know his name, all I heard was that there was a person who was harassing the people. After the complaints I investigated from the comrades and the comrades told me his name was Thulani.

MS GABRIEL: Is that his first name or his last name?

MR NGOBESE: His first name is Thulani, his surname if Mthembu.

CHAIRPERSON: When you first saw Thulani Mthembu, did you recognise him, did you know him?

MR NGOBESE: I didn't see him, all I heard was that information, the complaints I've already received. I sent Lucky and Joel to go and see him because I was receiving complaints from the community. My problem is that I wanted to sit down with him and talk to him.

CHAIRPERSON: You mention the name of Lucky and Joe, who is Joe?

MR NGOBESE: His Joel Bheki Gumede who was also a member of ANC and also a co-accused in this case.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, please proceed.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes, could ...(indistinct). The other person Lucky is a co-applicant here?

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.

ADV DE JAGER: The other person, Lucky, is the co-applicant here, number 5 on our application form, Lucky Christopher Mnembe, is that right?

MR NGOBESE: That's correct.

ADV DE JAGER: And the person you referred to Joel, what was his surname?

MR NGOBESE: Joel Bheki Gumede. They used to call him Kheshla.

ADV DE JAGER: But he wasn't charged at the hearing?

MR NGOBESE: No, he wasn't charged.

CHAIRPERSON: Alright, so you sent these two people to Mthembu because you wanted to talk to Mthembu?

MR NGOBESE: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: What happened next?


"The reason I called Mthembu is because I wanted to sit down with him and talk to him about the situation or the political situation in the area and also to tell him to stop harassing the community, and also to let him know that we already have received information about him harassing the community."

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, may I just interrupt you. Did Mr Mthembu belong to the same political party as you did?

MR NGOBESE: No, he was an IFP member.

MS GABRIEL: Yes, please continue. You were telling us about your attempts to speak to Mr Mthembu.


"They came back. The reply which I got from Lucky and Joel was that Thulani said he doesn't talk with comrades, the only way he communicates with comrades is by shooting at them."

MS GABRIEL: Do you know what he meant by comrades, what was he referring to?

MR NGOBESE: I've sent Lucky and Joel that they should call him. What he meant is that there is nothing we can talk together, the only thing he can do is to shoot us.

MS GABRIEL: When you say "us", who do you mean?


MS GABRIEL: Please continue.


MS GABRIEL: Please continue.


"I continued to receive complaints. Women were raped, corpses were found by police. These were the kinds of complaints I would receive. Sometimes I would receive a complaint that if an ANC member had died, police will come and pick up the corpse and take it to the mortuary."

CHAIRPERSON: The complaints about women being raped and corpses being found ...(inaudible)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.

CHAIRPERSON: From which people did you get these complaints?


CHAIRPERSON: So you continued to receive complaints, what happened next?


"One day in Cottonland at about 10 o'clock I received a certain report. It was in the evening. I received this report in the evening about a certain incident which occurred at about 10 o'clock in the morning."


ADV SIGODI: ...(inaudible) ... can it not be interpreted, it's in the afternoon ...(Xhosa?), or is it in the evening? What time did you receive this complaint?

MR NGOBESE: At about 5 p.m.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, do you remember on what date you received this complaint?

MR NGOBESE: I won't remember because this happened a long time ago, it's going to be difficult for me to explain in detail about dates but it was during the week.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, what was the report that you received?

MR NGOBESE: There was an ANC supporter, his name was Thulani Dlamini and he was shot by the deceased. After he shot him he burnt him with pieces of boxes and grass ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, was the wife of the ANC, was she the one who was shot or was it her husband?

MR NGOBESE: If you could please repeat your question?

CHAIRPERSON: You received a report that the wife of an ANC ...(intervention)

ADV SIGODI: ...(no microphone)


ADV SIGODI: ...(no microphone)

CHAIRPERSON: He received a report from the wife of Thulani Dlamini, is that what he said?

MR NGOBESE: The person who died was an ANC member, his name was Thulani Dlamini.

MS GABRIEL: And from whom did you receive this complaint?

MR NGOBESE: From the comrades, ANC members. I had a tuckshop at home and also a mobile tuckshop and when I came back home at about five in the afternoon and I told, I found the community and the comrades there and they reported this matter to me. They were scared.

CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps I'm confused about your evidence because you mentioned the wife of the ANC. Did you say the wife of the ANC supporter reported?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, I believe he said that it was from one of the ANC supporters. Please proceed, Mr Ngobese. What did you do after you received the complaints from ANC supporters in your area?


"There was no peace in the area and the community was scared. On the 26th of December 1991 I took a decision that I was going to call a meeting, calling members of the ANC and supporters of the ANC."

MR SIBANYONI: Please proceed, did you call that meeting?


"I sent Bheki Mgenge, that he must go and call members of the ANC, all members of the ANC to come to my house so that we sit down and have a meeting or a plan for a meeting so that we talk about the complaints which I've already received."

CHAIRPERSON: Was that meeting held?

MR NGOBESE: Comrades came on that day. My aim was, I wanted to tell them there and then before I could go and sell. I told the comrades, the ANC members, that I would like for them and myself to have a meeting at about seven in the evening.

MS GABRIEL: Did this meeting occur?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, it occurred in the evening, even though I'm not sure of the time I think it was about six fifteen.

MS GABRIEL: How many people were present at the meeting?

MR NGOBESE: I would like to ask which meeting you are talking about, the one at the creche or the one in my house, because the one in my house is where I was telling comrades that they should spread the word that we will hold a big meeting at the creche.

CHAIRPERSON: They're talking about the meeting that was held when you asked people to meet that night?

MS GABRIEL: The big meeting that you referred to, Mr Ngobese, is that the meeting that you wanted to hold at night?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, the big one is the one at the creche in the evening.

ADV DE JAGER: Could you now tell us, at the first meeting at your house, how many people attended?

MR NGOBESE: Even though it's difficult for me to know exactly the number, they were not too many because I wanted them to just spread the word, to just tell other members to come to the bigger one, to the bigger meeting because the community at the time knew what was going on in the community.

CHAIRPERSON: Now just tell us, about how many people attended that big meeting that night?

MR NGOBESE: I think there were about 30.

MS GABRIEL: Who chaired the meeting, that big meeting?

MR NGOBESE: I was the chairperson of that meeting.

MS GABRIEL: Please tell the Commission exactly what was discussed at that meeting.

CHAIRPERSON: What was decided or what was discussed?

MS GABRIEL: My question, Mr Chair, was what was discussed at the meeting.


MR NGOBESE: My aim there as a chairperson, I had an agenda with me and in my agenda I had, most important point was the harassment of the community. I didn't know the deceased, I wanted to know exactly his name. Secondly, I wanted to know about the deceased in the community because I've heard that he just came to the area. I wanted to know as to where he was coming from.

Thirdly, I wanted to find out his place where he was staying there in Cottonland since he's moved into Cottonland. We shared this in the meeting. It was a usual thing for us ANC people that whenever we had a meeting everyone with a point will raise his hand and say whatever he wanted to say. That's where I got to know his name, that is name was Thulani Mthembu.

Secondly, I got to know that he was staying at a certain place called New Glasgow. In Zulu usually people call it Vetela.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you spell that please?

MR NGOBESE: You mean the English or the Zulu word?

CHAIRPERSON: The Zulu word.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. So you heard his name, you heard that he was living in Vetela. Carry on.

MR NGOBESE: I also found out that the deceased was from an area which had a majority of Inkatha people, but then later it was a stronghold of the ANC and then he left the place or ran away from that place and came to Cottonland.

Another thing which I found out from that meeting is that the deceased was renting a room or a house ...(no English translation)

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on. What's happening?

ADV SIGODI: We didn't hear that interpretation.

CHAIRPERSON: That he was renting a room or a house.

ADV SIGODI: Ja, and then he mentioned something that he was employed in the buses or something. That didn't come through to us.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, repeat that please.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, he was renting a house.

ADV SIGODI: It's not coming through.

CHAIRPERSON: We can't hear the interpreter.

MR NGOBESE: He was renting a house. He was renting a house from an Indian family.

ADV SIGODI: And then you said something else about the buses, what is it that you were saying?


ADV SIGODI: What did you say?

MR NGOBESE: This Indian family was owning buses.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but what work was the deceased doing, did you find out?

MR NGOBESE: I never found out. The only thing I found out about him was that he was harassing the community.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, can we move on?

MS GABRIEL: So the complaints were given to you at the community. Were any decisions then made at the meeting?

ADV SIGODI: I'm sorry, I think I'm getting a bit confused here. You said that the only thing that you heard was that the deceased was harassing the community, which deceased are you referring to now?

MR NGOBESE: Thulani Mthembu.

ADV SIGODI: After that you were referring to the meeting that was discussing the death of Thulani Dlamini or ...

CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, the deceased that you're referring to, Thulani Mthembu, is this the man for whose murder you were convicted?

MR NGOBESE: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: The question that was asked of you now, you've told us what information you got, the question that was asked; did the meeting decide anything?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, we came to a decision and we had his name, his address and everything, and then I began to address the supporters of the ANC.

CHAIRPERSON: The question is; what was decided by that meeting?

MR NGOBESE: We decided that we were going to eliminate him.

MS GABRIEL: Eliminate who, Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: To kill Thulani Mthembu.

CHAIRPERSON: Was anything else decided?

MR NGOBESE: Nothing else.

MS GABRIEL: After this decision was made at the meeting, what happened next?


"I requested from the people or from the members for someone who knew exactly where Thulani Mthembu was staying, and Joel Bheki Gumede whom they used to call Kheshla, raised his hand and said he will show us the house because he knows where he was staying. It was at night at that time."

MS GABRIEL: Please proceed, Mr Ngobese.

MR NGOBESE: I requested Kheshla to lead us so that he shows us the way. Kheshla was in front. I had a revolver and I also had a knife this size.

INTERPRETER: He's pointing at the size.

MS GABRIEL: Approximately how long was the knife? Would it be about the size of this ruler which is 30cm? Lower?

MR NGOBESE: About 15cm - 13.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.


"We proceeded until we were closer to that place where he was staying. Just before we arrived ..."


CHAIRPERSON: Just before you go on. When you say "we proceeded", I want you to tell me who it is that proceeded to the house of the deceased.

MR NGOBESE: Myself and all other members of the ANC or supporters of the ANC.

CHAIRPERSON: How many of you?

MR NGOBESE: I think we were about 30, I'm not sure of the number.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.


"When we arrived there, Kheshla told us to wait there and pointed the house to all of us and I said yes, we should all stop there. The whole community knew him, that he was a good shooter ..."


MS GABRIEL: Who was a good shooter, Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: Thulani Mthembu.

"And also we've heard that he is one person who has got his supporters or his other members of his organisation, therefore we decided that one person was going to kick the door. I appointed Lucky to do that, Lucky Mnembe, the one who is also an applicant here. We didn't want the deceased to escape."

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.


"I asked Sibusiso Mhlongo, he's also another applicant here, that he was going to be responsible for shooting. After Lucky had kicked the door, Sibusiso would shoot. I was going to shoot after Sibusiso had done so. Our aim or my aim was - I've already gathered that IFP members usually use umuti..."

MS GABRIEL: ...(no microphone)

CHAIRPERSON: The Committee will take a break at this stage for 15 minutes.



CHAIRPERSON: I remind you that you are still under oath. Do you understand?


CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please proceed.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, just to recap. Before the tea break you were telling us that approximately 30 people proceeded to the house of Thulani Mthembu and you stopped at the point at which you were telling the Commission that Lucky Mnembe kicked open the door. Would you like to tell us what happened thereafter?


"Soon after that Lucky Mnembe, we asked him to kick the door and in preparation to do that he should stand not too far away from the doors because we had a problem ..."


CHAIRPERSON: What happened after Lucky kicked the door open?

MR NGOBESE: After he had kicked the door, Sibusiso Mhlongo shot the deceased.

CHAIRPERSON: Did he enter the room or did he stay in the doorway and shoot?

MR NGOBESE: He stormed into the house.

MS GABRIEL: Please proceed.


"After he had shot the deceased he got out of the house and the other colleagues started shouting and screaming and I cocked the gun and I shot as well."

CHAIRPERSON: Who did you shoot?

MR NGOBESE: I shot Thulani Mthembu. He then got out ...(intervention)

MS GABRIEL: Who is "he", Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: Thulani Mthembu that is, fleeing downward the road. There was another woman who followed subsequently and ran in the opposite direction, but we never followed the woman because our aim was to run after the deceased, not the other lady.

"After that I then shouted for Bheki Mgenge together with Lucky Mnembe, that they must ascertain that they capture Thulani Mthembu. In no time I heard that. I heard Bheki Mgenge shouting that they had already captured the guy and we went down the road. We found that he was already in their arms, Bheki and Lucky that is. There was a furrow around where they were standing."

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please proceed.


"Bheki and Lucky Mnembe dragged him outside. They were dragging him out from the furrow, outside. After that Bheki drew out his knife and stabbed him in the neck once. I then shot at him. Bheki Mgenge was the one who stabbed him first and I followed by way of shooting. I also drew my knife out and the followers, the ANC people also flocked onto the man and stabbed him fatally. And we ensured that we stab him and leave him for dead. We left and we took our various ways back to our respective places."

CHAIRPERSON: When he was in the room and you shot him, how many times did you shoot at him in the room?

MR NGOBESE: I shot him once.

CHAIRPERSON: Did the bullet strike him?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, it did.

CHAIRPERSON: Was there anybody else in the room besides the deceased?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, there was as I referred to that earlier on, it was a woman.

CHAIRPERSON: She wasn't attacked or shot?

MR NGOBESE: No, she was neither attacked or shot at.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please proceed.

MS GABRIEL: After all the members stabbed Mr Mthembu, what happened to Mr Mthembu's body?

MR NGOBESE: Subsequent to that the police arrived to fetch the corpse where we had left it lying on the ground.

MS GABRIEL: And what did you do after the stabbing?

MR NGOBESE: We went our various ways to our places, but I already began to escape, running away from the police at that point in time.

CHAIRPERSON: Explain what that means, I don't understand.

MS GABRIEL: What I mean is, that was the time when the police were in search of me with regard to this case.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not activated.

CHAIRPERSON: Did the police start searching for you that very night?

MR NGOBESE: It was not that very night.

CHAIRPERSON: So when was it that you decided to run away?

MR NGOBESE: The following day.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, why did you decide to run away?

MR NGOBESE: My aim behind running away was to escape the ordeal ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: The interpreter must please talk a little bit louder because I can barley hear you.

INTERPRETER: I beg your pardon.

MR NGOBESE: I had already seen that damage was done and this was a case and I had to do something to escape this. This was terrible. I knew that for a fact and I knew as well that the community wouldn't have been pleased upon realising this.

ADV SIGODI: Which community are you referring to?

MR NGOBESE: I'm referring to the community of that particular area.

MS GABRIEL: Please explain, are you referring to members of your community?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, the members of the community.

ADV DE JAGER: But why, wasn't this man a person who raped the women and who were involved in harassing people?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, Mr Ngobese has problems and I've just been told, he's just signalled to me that he has problems hearing in his right ear. So with your permission, Commissioner, perhaps I could rephrase the question quite generally.

ADV DE JAGER: Ja, but the interpreter could rephrase it.

CHAIRPERSON: Anyway, let's try again.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, what was the reaction of the community to this ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: No, that wasn't my question. My question was, why should the community be displeased because this man, according the evidence, raped women and harassed people?

MR NGOBESE: I've got a problem here.

INTERPRETER: I think we are having a technical problem.

MS GABRIEL: Let's see if we can sort that problem out.

INTERPRETER: We are having a technical problem, he can barely hear the interpreter.

ADV DE JAGER: Shouldn't the sound be increased there?

MR NGOBESE: I can hear better now.

CHAIRPERSON: Alright. The question was, you said that one of the reasons why you ran away was because you thought the community would not be pleased if they heard what you had done. My colleague then asks you, why would the community not be pleased because according to you this man raped and harassed the community, what is your answer to that?

MR NGOBESE: The way I think about this matter and the way I viewed the community, it was in such a way that I thought about the death of the deceased. It was not death. In other words, death is not an acceptable thing, it's a terrible thing to bear. Death is just not an easy thing to accept, it's something different from anger. So that was my problem and that was the problem I thought I'm facing at the time.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on. Please, let's proceed.

MS GABRIEL: So the killing of Mr Mthembu, what objectives did it achieve?

MR NGOBESE: We had aimed that our area, Cottonland that is, should be at liberty to hold their meetings and conduct their meetings and the community should also be protected and it was not going to be tolerated for any people to go in and out harassing the community or the members of the community. So all that would have been stopped by the death of the deceased.

CHAIRPERSON: The question I think was not what you were hoping to achieve, what objectives did you achieve?

MR NGOBESE: What we achieved was, soon after his death, Thulani Mthembu that is, our meetings were peaceful and we could hold them peacefully and the community was at liberty now and had their freedom since they were living under terror during his time. All the meetings were conducted peacefully and all that we were fighting for in the Cottonland area went back to place and there was stability soon after that.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, the killing of Mr Mthembu, as chairperson of the ANC branch, did you report this killing to other branches of the ANC, regional branches, national branches?

MR NGOBESE: I never had an opportunity to relay this or to give the report to the seniors of the ANC because of one simple reason, which was that at the time when I was running away from the police and I did not have ample to sort of escape from the police, I was apprehended and I got arrested and soon after that I did get the report or the message. In other words, the message was brought to me that Bheki Mgenge got arrested. In other words, he was arrested way after I was arrested and he went to report, he had the opportunity to go and report to the leaders of the organisation.

MS GABRIEL: So you were arrested, what happened after your arrest?

MR NGOBESE: After that Bheki came to see me in prison to tell me that he has tried to get in touch or in contact with the attorneys. Now there was another man from Sindesweni, he was one person we used quite a lot in our branch. He was called, or his name was Patrick Mabaso. This was a man of substance. He is the one who wrote the letter and sent the letter to the attorneys. The name of the attorney was Salush Moodley. That is the attorney's name.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you have on the record as to when he was arrested?

MS GABRIEL: No, Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you tell us when you were arrested?

MR NGOBESE: Although I don't quite remember the date or the exact date, but after that I was in Westville Prison.

MS GABRIEL: Approximately how long after the murder were you arrested, one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month?

MR NGOBESE: Approximately it was a week.

CHAIRPERSON: Where were you arrested?

MR NGOBESE: They arrested me at Verulam, Verulam Court, that's where they arrested me. I was attending another case at the time.

MS GABRIEL: You mentioned a Mr Patrick Mabaso who wrote a letter for you, who is Mr Mabaso and what was this letter?

MR NGOBESE: He was writing the letter to the attention of the attorneys to enlist help to us with regard to the case that we are facing.

CHAIRPERSON: Can the interpreter please talk a little loudly?


CHAIRPERSON: So Patrick Mabato was the one who wrote a letter to get the assistance of attorneys. Carry on from there.

MS GABRIEL: Who is Patrick Mabaso?

MR NGOBESE: He is one man who was a senior in our branch and we were working hand-in-hand with him. He was residing in Sindesweni.

MS GABRIEL: So he was an ANC member?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, he was an ANC member and my senior.

MS GABRIEL: And did Mr Mabaso arrange for your legal representation at the trial? Was that the purpose of the letter?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, that was the purpose of the letter.

MS GABRIEL: At the trial for the murder of Mr Mthembu, who paid for your legal representation?

MR NGOBESE: The organisation as far as I'm concerned.

MS GABRIEL: Which organisation?

MR NGOBESE: The ANC organisation.

ADV DE JAGER: According to page 104 he was accused number 5 and somebody appeared pro deo for him.

MS GABRIEL: Can you remember at the trial, the High Court trial, who were your attorneys? Were you represented by an advocate?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, there was an advocate. When we arrived at the Court there were State attorneys.

MS GABRIEL: And who was your attorney, Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: I never asked him his name that day. He came to inform me that he will be my legal representative and I should furnish him with the details and my names as well.

CHAIRPERSON: Is it important to know who the attorneys were?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, Mr Ngobese mentioned the name of Salush Moodley, who I understand is or I understood to be an attorney.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible) matter of some significance for our decision, as to who was the attorney?

MS GABRIEL: ...(inaudible)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

MS GABRIEL: With respect to payment for Mr Ngobese's representation. That is what I'm trying to establish from Mr Ngobese.

CHAIRPERSON: Well now if page 104 says that he was defended pro deo, is it necessary to take the matter any further?

MS GABRIEL: No, it isn't, Mr Chair, I just wanted to find out if there was an instructing attorney because he had mentioned a name.

Mr Ngobese, during the trial for the murder of Mr Mthembu, did you tell the Court what you have just told the Commission?

MR NGOBESE: What I told the Court is completely different to what I've told the Commission. The reason being, at that time what I believed in as a person, especially an ANC member, I believed that the old Courts belonging to the government of the day were highly influenced by the government of the day and were always contrary to the police(sic) of the ANC.

The ANC people suffered all the time at such Courts, way more than the IFP people suffered, so I decided to withhold the truth and I did not disclose everything. This is a different forum and I believe in this forum better than I believed then at the Court.

CHAIRPERSON: Did he give evidence at the trial?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, did you give evidence at the trial, the trial for the murder of Mr Mthembu?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I did.

MS GABRIEL: And how was your evidence different, could you describe it very briefly? How was evidence different from what you have told the Commission today?

MR NGOBESE: This happened a long time ago. I will highlight a few things that I clearly remember, the differences.

I completely avoided, or ran away from admitting that I took the decision of killing the deceased and the fact that I was the one who sent Bheki Mgenge to call the ANC members. I made it a point that I don't make mention of that.

Another point that I remember, though this happened a long time ago, was the fact that had in my possession a firearm. That I omitted.

Other things I'm not able to remember, but what I've mentioned are part of the lies I mentioned and they are there. Those are things I omitted and in actual fact happened.

MS GABRIEL: Did you give evidence at the trial that this was a political murder?

CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

MS GABRIEL: No, he didn't. With respect, Chairperson, he didn't.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

MS GABRIEL: The evidence that you led at the trial, did you speak about your involvement in your capacity as chairman of the branch, did you talk about that at all at your trial?

MR NGOBESE: By my being active in the organisation? That I never brought to the attention of the Court, but what I did say was I was indeed a member of ANC, but as to my activities I did not mention that far.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, how do you feel now about the death of Mr Mthembu?

MR NGOBESE: It's a bit difficult for me to utter the words in relation to his death, but each time I think about the death of this man, that killing, that act of killing and my time in prison has brought me to a level where I see and realise that death is terrible and no-one has the right or the prerogative to take out or separate the soul from the body or from flesh or killing for that matter.

All the activities that we carried at the time was all due to the circumstances and the situation that prevailed at the time.

Yes, I did make the decision that the deceased must be killed but now in retrospect I would like to raise one issue or one point. This is especially directed to the family of the deceased. It was not our aim as such, but the situation that prevailed at the time forced us or coerced us to do this, especially the enmity that was building and intensifying between ANC and IFP at the time. Be that as it may, we would be the seniors in the organisation or ANC, from national level filtering down, but because of the situation in Cottonland we had to take this decision.

MS GABRIEL: Why are you applying for amnesty, Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: The reason why I'm applying for amnesty is, in all the things I've witnessed and things that happened and transpired, I have since realised and discovered that as I'm in prison I have repented. My time in prison has brought repentance in my life and I've since realised the mistake and this terrible act I did by killing the deceased. Death is a painful thing, that is a fact and it's known. No-one has the right to kill.

As I'm here in the Commission today applying for amnesty, I feel this great remorse, especially by taking the decision of killing the late. I do sympathise with the family of the deceased and I would like to extend these words that, please they should forgive me.

MS GABRIEL: My final question, if you were granted amnesty, what would you do?

MR NGOBESE: I am prepared in case I be granted amnesty, I will go and look for a job. In the past I was a driver, a truck driver and bus driver and I intend going back and working for my family as I am a father of five children, support my family and also have a peaceful and a comfortable home and live in peace with the community and the neighbours.

ADV DE JAGER: Do you know whether the deceased had a family?

MR NGOBESE: Please repeat your question.

ADV DE JAGER: Do you know whether the deceased, Mthembu, had a family?

MR NGOBESE: No, I don't know.

ADV DE JAGER: Are you worried about who would be looking after his family if he's got a family?

MR NGOBESE: I have this burden and concern with regards to Thulani's family. I know the implication of death, or the implications of death. Once a breadwinner has been killed, the remaining family suffers. Although I wouldn't be in a position to say exactly as to his role that he played in the family, whether he was a breadwinner or not, but be that as it may, Thulani Mthembu was a person who used to support his family.

MS GABRIEL: No further questions, Mr Chair.


CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, have you any questions to put to the applicant?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, I'll be very brief.

Just a couple of clarifying questions, Mr Ngobese. You've stated in your evidence-in-chief that the deceased also had his own organisation, what did you mean by that? Was he leader of a particular organisation and if so, can you tell us which one? Or did you mean that he belonged to a particular organisation?

MR NGOBESE: He was a leader of the IFP organisation in that particular area.

MS PATEL: And when did this information become known to you?

INTERPRETER: Please, Ms Patel, may you repeat the question.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you asking for a specific date?

MS PATEL: Not a specific date but generally, given that the information was that the deceased was in the area for a very short time before this incident had occurred, when did the applicant realise that he was in fact the leader of the area, I mean the IFP, not the area.

MR NGOBESE: Although I don't quite remember exactly but to discovering the fact that he was in this organisation, it was around February 1991.

ADV DE JAGER: But I don't understand your evidence now because on your agenda on the day when you called the meeting and decided to kill him, you enquired as to what was this man's name, where did he come from and where does he stay, so you didn't know him before.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, we did not know him before.

MS PATEL: So if you didn't know him before, then on what basis do you say that you knew that he was a leader of the IFP?

MR NGOBESE: That stems from the beginning of the harassment in the community. The reports that I got as complaints kept coming in, it surfaced that he was the person who will force the ANC followers.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we're really trying to get something else. You said that you really think that was about February 1991 that you really learnt about him. You already said in your evidence that you did not know the man and it was at the meeting that was called that you got details about who he was and where he lived, so what was it that you knew in February 1991?

MR NGOBESE: At the time I will refer to that as rumours, it was not confirmed. It was not confirmed information in other words. So the truth that I wanted was during the meeting, the confirmation at the meeting because prior to that all that was rumours.

CHAIRPERSON: Carry on, Ms Patel.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

So are you saying that you waited for 10 months after you had heard the rumours before you took action?

CHAIRPERSON: I think that to put it in proper context, he didn't wait for 10 months, the rumours commenced probably about February and they grew over a period of time until it reached a stage where they could not take it anymore and it is then that he started making enquiries. That is how I understand the gist of his evidence.

MS PATEL: Can I then ask, when did you start making enquiries about who was responsible for the murders, for the rapes and the harassment that was taking place in the community? At what stage, can you recall?

MR NGOBESE: This may not be correct because this happened a long time ago, but as I've already referred to this earlier on, that happened after I'd sent Lucky Mnembe and Joel Bheki Gumede, and then soon after that there were reports of rape.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please continue.

MS PATEL: I'm just trying to understand the sequence of events here. Are you saying that you sent Lucky and Joel Gumede to ask the deceased to come to a meeting so that you could discuss the problems in the area? When did this take place, was this after February 1991?

MR NGOBESE: Although I don't quite remember the times, there was a time, I may say it was around July/August or September, around there, but as to ascertain and say this is the time exactly, I'm not in a position to state that.

MS PATEL: Alright. And this was before Thulani Dlamini was killed or after?


MS PATEL: This meeting - I mean, not the meeting, the incident where you sent Joel and Lucky to meet with the deceased, was this before or after Thulani Dlamini was killed?

MR NGOBESE: The death of Thulani Dlamini occurred after they brought the report back to me, Lucky and Joel, that he said there is nothing he can ever discuss or negotiate with the comrades except by shooting or using the gun.

MS PATEL: Can I ask, the victims of the deceased ...(intervention)

ADV SIGODI: Sorry, can I just clarify this aspect about Thulani Dlamini?

Can you remember when he was killed?

MR NGOBESE: I don't quite remember the date.

ADV SIGODI: Approximately how long before the killing of Thulani Mthembu?

MR NGOBESE: Approximately around November if my memory serves me right. I'm only thinking, speculating.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think that it's not particularly useful to ask clients, witnesses like this, about when this happened when the answers are bound to be so vague, when the events occurred in 1990 or 1991 ...(intervention)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

CHAIRPERSON: So I think that I'm not too surprised when you find that the answers all approximations of when events are supposed to have occurred.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

I believe my question earlier was, the victims of the deceased, you'd said that he'd been responsible for rapes and harassing people, were these victims members of a particular political party or not or was it generally people from the community that he was harassing?

MR NGOBESE: Although I may not be exact about this, the estimation would be; those were people who were in the community and the followers of ANC in the area and the community as well because this happened quite often.

ADV SIGODI: Can I just clarify this issue about the rapes, are you saying that the deceased, Thulani Mthembu was responsible for the rapes or are you saying that there were reports that women were raped in the community, not particularly ascribing it to the deceased, Thulani Mthembu?

MR NGOBESE: There were reports that came from the community that the women in the area were being raped, so they were reports.

ADV SIGODI: Were they raped by the deceased or were they raped in general?

MR NGOBESE: I'm not sure about that, as to whether it was the deceased behind these actions. I never took time to investigate into that, as to who was the rapist here, but the reports were there and rife that the women were being raped in the area.

MS PATEL: And the people who were being harassed, according to your information, by whom specifically were they being harassed?

MR NGOBESE: The reports that I received were implicating Thulani because Thulani was leading his own group under the IFP organisation.

MS PATEL: And the people who were being harassed, who were they, do you know?

CHAIRPERSON: Do you want the names of the people?

MS PATEL: No, whether they were members of the community generally or whether they were persons affiliated to the ANC.

CHAIRPERSON: I think his earlier evidence was that when he saw youth wearing ANC T-shirts he was against them and told them that he would tear their T-shirts off. Now the question is, the harassment that he was responsible for, was that confined to members of the ANC or did he harass members of the community? Is that what the question is?

MS PATEL: That is so, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, will you tell us?

MR NGOBESE: May you please repeat the question.

CHAIRPERSON: The people that were harassed by the deceased, were they just ANC people or others in the community who were not necessarily ANC supporters?

MR NGOBESE: Thulani Mthembu was harassing ANC people in the area. He did not want to see them, he wanted them to leave the area.


MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

Mr Ngobese, can I ask, the decision that was taken at the creche, was that a decision taken by yourself or was it a decision taken by all those present jointly?

MR NGOBESE: The decision was taken by me.

MS PATEL: Alright. Is it possible that some of the parties who went along to the house of Mr Mthembu did so under duress? You've heard the evidence at the trial, some of the applicants had stated that they acted under duress. What is your comment on this?

MR NGOBESE: I will explain briefly with regards to this. After I had taken the decision that the deceased must be killed, that opinion that I'd brought to the attention of the people, or the decision that he must be killed, we did concur with it, all of us present there, over and above the complaints that I told them I kept receiving. We agreed, all of us, that the deceased must be killed. Indeed that was executed.

MS PATEL: The reason I pose this question to you is a certain Vusimuzi Mtetwa testified at the hearing - I refer you to page 118 of the bundle of documents, Honourable Chairperson, he testified that he didn't really want to go along, that he pretended to go along with you and that he had actually sent a certain Johan Mthembu to warn the deceased about the intended action.

MR NGOBESE: I will not dispute any of that and I will not take that as well, or agree with you. Quite often you find that in the ANC organisation, I don't know about other areas but I'm referring to this particular area, it is quite usual that when you are at the Court of law you will find one person who will be threatened by the police and will have now to change his mind and confess something else.

I will not state here exactly what happened but you find that the police will assault you, especially these things used to happen during the former government. People will be threatened and threats will be posed to such people and sometimes they will even promise some amount of money and bribe you and tell you you should do this instead of that and because the person would have seen the money he will do and comply and adhere with the arrangement with the police. Although I'm not in a position to say her that is exactly what happened with this particular man, but as the decision had been taken we all concurred with it. As comrades we agreed that the deceased must be killed.

CHAIRPERSON: What is the name of this person at page 118 you're talking about?

MS PATEL: It's accused number 6. His name is Vusimuzi Yeko Mtetwa.

Can I ask you, Mr Ngobese ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: He's not one of the applicants?

MS PATEL: No, he's not, he was in fact not convicted.

Can I ask you, Mr Ngobese, what would have happened to any person in that meeting who had disagreed with the decision and refused to go along to kill the deceased?

MR NGOBESE: I'm not able to say exactly as to whether there could have been something done to that person or not, but according to us, the ANC people that is, as a person who was always attending these meetings and I played a role, each time we arranged in setting up things we would usually have some guide and we would have some slogan that we utter that power is mine, power is ours and we will conquer, so that if there's anybody opposing the decision of the majority he's not coerced to follow and comply with it. But that day no-one opposed and I don't think anyone could have been killed by opposing. Everyone was at liberty to make his own decision whether to agree or to disagree, but that day it so happened that everybody agreed and no-one opposed as such.

MS PATEL: Alright. Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, I have nothing further.


ADV SIGODI: You see what concerns me about your decision to kill Thulani Mthembu is that, I don't know if I'm understanding you properly, that the most immediate thing that pushed you to come to this decision was the killing of Thulani Dlamini, did I get you correctly?

MR NGOBESE: I don't think I will explain to that effect and say that was as a result of that. As I've already mentioned in the past there were complaints implicating the late or the deceased from the community, couples with the death of Thulani Dlamini. So these were things that were happening and accumulating.

ADV SIGODI: But from the way I understand your evidence is that of the things that the community was complaining about, the thing that directly implicates the deceased is that he was harassing the ANC people who were wearing the ANC T-shirts, did I get you correctly?


ADV SIGODI: The other complaints which came from the community did not necessarily implicate the deceased directly, there were general complaints that people were being killed, women were being raped but this was not directly attributed to the deceased, did I get you correctly?

MR NGOBESE: With regard to that incident that did not implicate him directly, there were rumours that stemmed from the community that the all the things that were happening, the evil that was happening, he was the one perpetrating. Those were rumours and led us in believing that he was the one together with his group perpetrating this.

CHAIRPERSON: The prevention of ANC peaceful meetings, was that also a complaint lodged against the deceased?

MR NGOBESE: Please repeat your question as I was coughing.

CHAIRPERSON: The complaints that the ANC meetings were not being allowed to be held peacefully, were those complaints also attributed to the deceased?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, because he once said that he does not want any meetings being held there, only IFP must be the one leading in the area.

CHAIRPERSON: Any other questions?

ADV DE JAGER: According to the evidence or the judgment of the judge, you in fact told the Court that this was an action by the comrades against the deceased because the deceased was an Inkatha member with Inkatha sympathies. Can you remember telling the Court that?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I did say that at the Court of law, that the deceased was harassing the comrades and he was Inkatha or a member of Inkatha. Over and above that he was a leader of a certain group at the time.

CHAIRPERSON: This appears from page 117 of the record?

ADV DE JAGER: ...(inaudible)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any re-examination of the applicant?

MS GABRIEL: ...(no microphone)


RE-EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, these complaints that were sent to you from members of the community, you've told the Commission that you've received these complaints, why were they sent to you?

MR NGOBESE: It was because I was elected by the community to be the one receiving the complaints from the community a the time

MS GABRIEL: So in what capacity did you receive these complaints?

CHAIRPERSON: I think he's told us he was the vice-chairman of that branch in the area.

MS GABRIEL: Is that correct? The complaints were sent to you in your capacity as the vice-chairman of the ANC branch in that area?


MS GABRIEL: The complaints that were sent to you, did they in any way link Thulani Mthembu?


MS GABRIEL: Two more questions, Mr Chairman.

Before the decision to kill Mr Mthembu, what steps did you take to try to communicate with Mr Mthembu? Did you take any steps? You told us earlier on that you sent people to speak to him.

CHAIRPERSON: No, he sent people to tell him that he must come so that they can speak together with him.

MS GABRIEL: So those were the steps that you took in your capacity as vice-chairman?


MS GABRIEL: Last question, Mr Mthembu. The decision -excuse me, Mr Ngobese, the decision at the creche to eliminate, to use your word, to eliminate Mr Mthembu, was that decision seconded by an ANC member?

CHAIRPERSON: What does that mean, by which ANC member?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese led evidence that there were members, ANC members at the meeting, the meeting was held after calling all the members. The decision, was it seconded?

CHAIRPERSON: No, was it supported.

MS GABRIEL: Supported. The decision to kill Mr Mthembu, to eliminate Mr Mthembu.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, it was supported.

MS GABRIEL: Thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you very much, you may step down from there.


CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)


MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, we now call Bheki Elliot Mgenge.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mgenge, are you prepared to take the oath before you give evidence?

BHEKI ELLIOT MGENGE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Do sit down.

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Mgenge, you've been present throughout the proceedings up to now and you have heard the evidence given by Mr Ngobese.

MR MGENGE: Yes, I heard the evidence.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese told the Commission about events which occurred on the 26th of December 1991 at Cottonfield.


MS GABRIEL: At that time were you a member of any political party?


MS GABRIEL: Which political party?

MR MGENGE: I was an ANC member.

MS GABRIEL: Having listened to Mr Ngobese's evidence, do you confirm what he has said or do you disagree with all or anything that he has said?

MR MGENGE: Yes, he did tell the truth although there were some things he had forgotten to mention because he had forgotten them.

MS GABRIEL: And you want to speak about these things, please go ahead.

MR MGENGE: Yes. With regards to Mr Mthembu, as I was also working hand-in-hand with the youth and organising the youth, what happened was that in, we started in 1989 to be a strong attendance of the meetings. ...(intervention)

MS GABRIEL: Excuse me, which meetings were these?

MR MGENGE: Oh I beg your pardon, not the meeting but the organisation itself.

In 1990 that is when I was elected as the youth organiser of ANC. As the time progressed, it was after June I think when IFP started now killing the leaders of ANC that we'd elected as leaders in the area. ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: What year are you talking about?

MR MGENGE: 1990. Mr Ngobese was a vice-chairperson of the organisation in Cottonland. Since the leader was killed he automatically occupied the position of being chairperson from vice.

CHAIRPERSON: Who was the leader?

MR MGENGE: Mfanaje Makatini was his name, the leader that is.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MR MGENGE: The majority of the comrades or many of the comrades fled to other areas to join other comrades. We remained behind in the youth structures. Now I am talking about 1991. Things began to emerge and happened.

As a student I would not be available during the week most of the time because I came back late from school, but I would avail myself every time during weekends. I used to see Mr Mthembu. I did not know his name at the time. He was never alone each time I saw him, or he was never on his own, he was always in a group of the people who killed the leader of the ANC in 1990.

He used to carry his firearm and he would not hide it. Even the other members of Inkatha would carry firearms as well. They will say in no uncertain terms that they will not be, Cottonland will never be led by the comrades and they did not want to see ANC T-shirts and they would take them and tear them apart.

They would not hide, even in the buses. Mr Mthembu that is, I'm talking about him. He would call the comrades the children of the bitches and he would also say that any comrade who will have an encounter with him is not yet born or is not available yet. In other words he's superior to all of the comrades, there's no comrade who would stand face to face with him.

They would prevent us from having and conducting our meetings, ANC meetings and they would say with no doubt that Xhosas must go to Transkei to hold their meetings, not in the area.

So out of all these things and couples with what Mr Ngobese had mentioned, I used to inform him of some of the things that used to happen and tell him that a lot is happening and how will we ever be able to function as ANC and that intensified over time.

I also asked him if he was betraying the organisation because he did vow that he will stand up whether it's raining or not, for the rights of the organisation and now all these things are happening and he is quiet, what are we doing, what's happening?

As a leader we were looking up to him even when we were at the creche. As he had already explained, his opening remarks were relating the problems that were emanating from the community and he did emphasise in asking as to what exactly should be done to reinstate peace in the community and stability, especially between the IFP and ANC, because he had already tried to see Mr Mthembu or to talk to Mr Mthembu but Mr Mthembu denied all that endeavour.

There was no other comrade that refused or posed at the time or at that meeting, we all agreed and concurred with the idea that Mr Mthembu must be killed. ...(intervention)

MS GABRIEL: Mr Mgenge, may I ask you a question there at this point. You've just said that there was a decision that we will concur with Mr Ngobese's, or that we'd agreed to concur with Mr Ngobese's decision, are you talking now at the meeting on the evening of the 26th of December?

MR MGENGE: Yes, yes.

MS GABRIEL: ...(indistinct) Mr Ngobese spoke about the big meeting at the creche.

CHAIRPERSON: He's talking about the decision to kill Mthembu.

MS GABRIEL: Was this taken at that big meeting at the creche? Right, at that meeting, I just want to ask you, you've told the Commission now, you've given the Commission information about Mr Mthembu and you approaching Mr Ngobese with this information, was this information discussed at all at that meeting on the 26th, the big meeting?


MS GABRIEL: Did you - who raised this information, who spoke about this information?

CHAIRPERSON: Is it important for us to know that, because if there was a general discussion about it, would that not be enough?

MS GABRIEL: That would be sufficient, Mr Chair.

MR MGENGE: The idea of killing Mr Mthembu was on motion and I also felt the same way because we did vow that we will die for the organisation if need be.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes, so after the decision you went and you in fact killed Mr Mthembu, is that correct?

MR MGENGE: Yes. I did remind the comrades that all the ANC members are being attacked or killed each time by Inkatha. No-one would be arrested from their side. And Inkatha executed all their actions during daylight and not even one single member was ever arrested of Inkatha for such actions that were committed towards us.

That came to the surface that we wouldn't have got to the point of deciding that he must be killed, Mr Mthembu that is, only if he agreed to come and sit and discuss with the chairperson. And the fact that he had killed and harassed during they day, the police came to fetch the corpse and never did anything to him. If only he was arrested we would have killed him.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible) repetition because ...(no microphone)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Mgenge, Mr Ngobese has given the Commission a very detailed picture of the events that happened and you have raised issues that you wish to add to the testimony of Mr Ngobese, is there anything else that Mr Ngobese hasn't raised that you would like to present before the Commission?

MR MGENGE: I would like to rectify the name, Patrick Vusimuzi Mabaso was the chairperson of the branch in the area. That is Sindesweni branch.

MS GABRIEL: And this is on Mr Ngobese's evidence the person that contacted him when he was arrested? Was this also the person that contacted you? What was your relationship with Mr Mabaso?

MR MGENGE: Each time we organised the activities of the organisation in the area, each time I want forms or any paperwork to register the youth league or anything in that regard, I would go to him and I will work with him.

Even when the comrades were arrested, he was the first person I went to report this to and he then signed and stamped the letter with the organisation's stamp, endorse it and prove that we are ANC members.

ADV SIGODI: Can you tell us what did you personally do at the killing of Mr Mthembu?

MR MGENGE: I captured the deceased.

CHAIRPERSON: You captured him or you held him?

MR MGENGE: I ran after him until I captured him. After that comrade Lucky helped me and we dragged him out.

As we were approaching towards the comrades, going toward the comrades I was the first one who stabbed him on the neck. After that he fell down and knelt on his knees and the comrades flocked over him, stabbing him until he died.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Mgenge, how do you feel now about the death of the deceased, about the murder, the killing?

MR MGENGE: I have this conscience and I feel so bad about the fact that I killed, and now as we live under democratic day or democracy and it's different from the past or the past that we come from, I feel different and I have this great remorse in me. And all that we were fighting for at the time was independence or freedom.

MS GABRIEL: One last question, Mr Chair.

Do you have anything to say to the deceased's family?

MR MGENGE: Yes. I would like to highlight one major thing to the family. All that I did together with my fellow comrades, it was only the circumstances that coerced me to do what I did and we were doing all that under the organisation that today has brought this freedom that we are enjoying.

We felt time had come for us to do something to him and kill him, to move on with our struggle fighting for the freedom. I think if it was not because of the situation politically at the time, I don't think he would have been killed. And the fact that he was the leader of the IFP which was harassing the community, maybe if he was an ordinary member of IFP we wouldn't have killed because we were not attacking him as a person or any IFP person, it's only the actions and things they did that we were fighting against, and that led us to take this decision.

I would like to apologise to the family, please forgive us.

MS GABRIEL: No further questions, thank you.



CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, there's just one aspect that I would like to clarify.

Mr Mgenge, you stated that you used to see the deceased, Mthembu, together with a group of people who had killed the leader of the ANC, is that correct?

MR MGENGE: Yes, that's correct.

MS PATEL: The leader that you are referring to, is that the late Mr Makatini?

MR MGENGE: Yes, his name is Mfanaje Makatini.

MS PATEL: Okay, and when the people who you say, the group who had killed Mr Makatini, how did you know that they were the group who in fact were responsible for the death of Mr Makatini?

MR MGENGE: When Mr Makatini was being killed he was not killed alone, he was killed together with other comrades and that also happened during daylight, broad daylight. They would fight ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: Did you witness this killing, did you see the people who killed Mr Makatini?

MR MGENGE: Mr Makatini was living on the other side ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: Please listen to the question, did you see the people who killed Mr Makatini? Did you witness the killing itself?

MR MGENGE: I did not see them close but they were very far and soon after they'd left we rushed to the scene of the crime and we discovered him lying down on the ground and other comrades who were killed as well lying next to him.

ADV DE JAGER: Now could you recognise the people who killed him?

MR MGENGE: Others have died, others fled from the area after we'd killed Mr Mthembu.

ADV DE JAGER: How do you know Mr Mthembu's people were the killers

MR MGENGE: Please repeat your question.

ADV DE JAGER: How do you know that Mr Mthembu's colleagues were the killers or that Mr Mthembu himself was involved?

MR MGENGE: They will do all these things during broad daylight, even the kids would witness that and mention that they'd seen that happen. They would those things at night, they would do them during broad daylight.

ADV DE JAGER: So you got this information from other people who witnessed the very killing?

MR MGENGE: Even Mr Mthembu did not hide that, he would say that and utter that he had already killed the child of a bitch, meaning the comrade.

MS PATEL: Was this reported to Mr Ngobese, the fact that Mr Mthembu was in the company of the people who had in fact killed the leader of your organisation, of your branch?


MS PATEL: Can you remember when this report was made to him?

MR MGENGE: I don't remember exactly when because that happened around 1990, that happened around that time but I don't remember exactly as to when, the date and such details.

MS PATEL: I accept it was a long time ago, but maybe you can clarify. Mr Ngobese said that his first reports that he got about the deceased ...(intervention)

INTERPRETER: May the speaker be audible.

MS PATEL: Sorry. I accept that it was a long time ago that this happened, but Mr Ngobese said that the first time that he'd got any reports about the deceased was in February of '91, and you are now saying that you reported to him in 1990 already.

MR MGENGE: I think you are misunderstanding somehow. The incident he referred to, Mr Ngobese that is, is a different one to the one I'm referring to now or I'm talking about now.

Mr Ngobese was talking about the rumours that had intensified at the time that Mr Mthembu was harassing the comrades in Cottonland. I am talking about something different altogether, I'm talking about the comrades who were killed by Inkatha in 1990.

MS PATEL: Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you. Was Mr Mthembu involved in the killing of Mr Makatini?

MR MGENGE: Please repeat your question.

MS PATEL: Was Mr Mthembu involved in the killing of Mr Makatini?

CHAIRPERSON: You mean physically involved in taking part in the murder?

MS PATEL: Yes, Honourable Chairperson.

Or is it that he was just seen subsequently with the people who were involved with the killing of Mr Mthembu?

MR MGENGE: It came out clear with regards to Mr Mthembu, around February but prior to that it was not apparent.

CHAIRPERSON: I think just to clear it up, I understood your evidence to be that you were some distance away when the attack on Mr Makatini was taking place.


CHAIRPERSON: And when they had finished with him and left, you went quickly to where Mr Makatini and others were lying(?), is that correct?

MR MGENGE: Yes. When Mr Makatini was killed he was alone.

CHAIRPERSON: Alright, so you were there. From where you were and when you saw the attack on Mr Makatini, were you able to say whether the deceased was among those who killed Mr Makatini?



MS PATEL: Sorry, Honourable Chairperson, I seem to have lost my train of thought here. Oh yes, alright. ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I think there was some difference between what happened from February onwards, the complaints that were received.

MS PATEL: Yes, alright.

CHAIRPERSON: By Mr Ngobese and the witnesses. He's talking about what had happened a short while before that in the previous year.

MS PATEL: Alright.

Can I just, Mr Mgenge, can I just take you back to the incident where Mr Makatini was killed. You stated that this was in fact reported to Mr Ngobese.

MR MGENGE: At that time Mr Ngobese was vice-chairperson. I am sure he did receive the information that he's chairperson plus the other comrades were killed.

MS PATEL: Do you know whether any action was taken against those who killed Mr Makatini? - after all he was the chairperson of your branch.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you talking about any action by the police or by the ANC?

MS PATEL: By the ANC, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: As a result of the killing of Mr Makatini, did the comrades or the ANC take any steps against their enemies?

MR MGENGE: The step that was taken was we must not avenge or retaliate, we should sit and discuss these matters revolving the violence in the area.


MS PATEL: So are you saying that the matter was then discussed, the killing of Mr Makatini was discussed? Was any decisions taken after the discussion as to what should be done?

MR MGENGE: There was stability for some time in the area and we emphasised the fact that we must not be fighting one against the other ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I think he said that we decided not to avenge the killing of Makatini.

MS PATEL: Can I ask then finally, prior to the decision that was taken to kill Mr Mthembu, was there any discussions around approaching Mr Mthembu one last time to discuss the matter with him in order to see whether you could resolve the situation, or was a decision taken immediately to kill him?

MR MGENGE: As Mr Ngobese had already explained at the meeting in the creche, he mentioned to us that he said he will never talk to anybody except by use of a firearm, so it was not easy on our side to approach such a man with such an attitude and we only had one option.

MS PATEL: Alright. You said that there was relative calm after the killing of Mr Makatini, was ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: I think after the killing of Mr Mthembu they were all arrested so the opposing parties were off the scene.

MS PATEL: I'm referring to the death of Mr Makatini, the leader.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, he did say that for a while there was relative calm.

MS PATEL: Can we get an indication as to how long that period was where there was relative calm?

MR MGENGE: ...(inaudible) again ask time and months and weeks? ...(no microphone)

MS PATEL: Just a general indication, Honourable Chairperson, because it seems ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Do you think it's important then you can carry on.

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. How long did this relative ...(intervention)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

CHAIRPERSON: How long after Mr Makatini's death was there relative peace and calm, can you tell us?

MR MGENGE: It was about a month because it was us who sought of would have made the initiative of retaliating and whilst we were still waiting like that we were being attacked, once again we were being harassed. Instead of us retaliating they started once again harassing.

MS PATEL: Right. Were there no attempts made on the lives of the persons who would have assisted Mr Mthembu in harassing the ANC people?

INTERPRETER: Please rephrase your question.

MS PATEL: Rephrase or repeat?

INTERPRETER: And repeat at the same time.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Patel, would you still be long, I see the Director of Prosecutions is outside and I think he's come to see the Chairperson. So perhaps if you still have a few questions you could continue after 2 o'clock.

MS PATEL: No, just ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I think the question is this, I don't know what the relevance of the question is, whether any of them attempted to attack any of the others who had killed Mr Makatini. Now that's got no bearing on this application has it? There's no mention made of any attack on anybody else. We are concerned with the attack on the deceased here.

MS PATEL: It may be relevant, Honourable Chairperson, insofar as it goes to why this specific deceased was sought out despite the fact that there was knowledge that there were other people in the area over a period of time, who had been involved in similar activities, and also in fact responsible for the death of the ANC chairperson in the area.

CHAIRPERSON: We are thankful that they didn't go around killing them.

MS PATEL: Alright, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Yes, alright. ...(inaudible). Is there any re-examination, Ms Gabriel?

MS GABRIEL: No re-examination, Mr Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

CHAIRPERSON: You are excused, thank you very much.


CHAIRPERSON: The Committee will adjourn now and resume at 2 o'clock.




CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bahadur, are you calling the next applicant?

MS GABRIEL: The next applicant that we call is Sibusiso Mhlongo.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mhlongo, are you prepared to take the oath in this matter?

SIBUSISO MHLONGO: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: You may sit down. Yes?

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Mhlongo, you've been present at the proceedings this morning before we broke for lunch, and you heard the evidence delivered by Mr Ngobese, do you confirm the evidence given by Mr Ngobese?

MR MHLONGO: Yes, I do.

MS GABRIEL: Is there anything you wish to add, is there anything you wish to present to the Commission that Mr Ngobese did not tell the Commission?

MR MHLONGO: No, nothing.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Mhlongo, could you tell us very briefly about your role in the killing on the 26th of December 1991?


"On the 26th of December, Bheki Mgenge came to my neighbour's house where I was sitting, he called me for a meeting. I left there together with Bheki. We left for that meeting and we found that comrades were already there. The chairperson opened the meeting and explained the problems which we were experiencing in the area. We all explained in connection with the things we've seen ourselves in the area.

I also stood up and I explained to the members about a certain event which I've seen with my naked eyes, which was conducted by Mr Thulani Mthembu. This occurred near to a certain shop and Mr Thulani Mthembu was having an argument with Fano Ngcobo. I explained this to the meeting."

CHAIRPERSON: Just give me the name again, he was having an argument with who?

MR MHLONGO: Fano Ngcobo.

MS GABRIEL: Who is Mr Ngcobo?

MR MHLONGO: Another comrade from the area.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.


"After everyone had said whatever he or she wanted to say, we decided that we were going to kill Mr Mthembu ..."

CHAIRPERSON: Just before you do that, what was the argument with Fano Ngcobo?

MR MHLONGO: I didn't have enough information but when I arrived there they were chasing each other.

CHAIRPERSON: Was any of them armed at the time when they were chasing each other?

MR MHLONGO: Mr Mthembu had a gun.

CHAIRPERSON: How did it all end?

MR MHLONGO: He left him there and there and I took Fano with me.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please continue.


"We proceeded together with Fano and Fano went ahead went ahead with his direction to wherever he was going and I also took my direction."

ADV DE JAGER: Now we're back at the evening and you've taken a decision to kill Mr Mthembu, is that right?

MR MHLONGO: That's right.

ADV DE JAGER: Could you tell us what happened then?


"We left for the deceased's place. We stopped on our way. We started decided there as to how we are going to attack him because we were scared that if we all go there he might shoot some of us."

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.


"Lucky Mnembe was the one who was supposed to kick the door and I was the one who was supposed to shoot him first. It happened like we planned. Mr Mthembu was sitting on the bed and he stood up as soon as I stormed inside."

MS GABRIEL: What happened after you stormed in, what did you do then?

MR MHLONGO: He stood up, he came straight to me, that's when I started shooting at him and I let him go, or pass.

CHAIRPERSON: How many shots did you fire at him?

MR MHLONGO: I had a home-made gun, it only had one bullet in it.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you manage to hit him with that shot?


CHAIRPERSON: What happened immediately after that?

MR MHLONGO: The place where we were was facing downwards and he ran down the road and he tried to hide himself somewhere there.


MR MHLONGO: People who came first to him were Bheki and Lucky, Bheki Mgenge and Lucky Mnembe.


MS GABRIEL: Did you go to Mr Mthembu? What did you do then?


MS GABRIEL: What did you do?

MR MHLONGO: When I arrived there Lucky and Bheki were holding him and Bheki stabbed him and then I think all of us stabbed him, all of us who were there.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Mhlongo ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Did you also have a knife?



MS GABRIEL: Apart from this information is there anything else you wish to add to the evidence of Mr Ngobese?

MR MHLONGO: Nothing.

CHAIRPERSON: When were you arrested?

MR MHLONGO: I am not sure about the date but I think 1st of December 1991 I was already arrested.

CHAIRPERSON: 1st of December, that is a year ...(intervention)

MR MHLONGO: I think the 1st of January 1992 I was already in custody.

CHAIRPERSON: Where were you when you were arrested?

MR MHLONGO: At home.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, is that all?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, one last question.

Mr Mhlongo, how do you feel now about the killing of Mr Mthembu?

MR MHLONGO: I feel great remorse because to tell the truth is that I didn't personal problems with Mr Mthembu, it's what he did to the community which I didn't like, and I would like his family to forgive me for what had happened.

MS GABRIEL: We have no more questions, Mr Chair.



CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

You've stated in your application that the political objective that you sought to achieve was to put an end to crime, do you recall that that's what you wrote?

MR MHLONGO: I think I'm experiencing problems, I cannot understand the interpreter very well because it keeps on cutting so I do get part of it but not everything.


MS PATEL: Can we try again?

MR MHLONGO: I can't hear.

CHAIRPERSON: Please proceed.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

I'll repeat what I'd said earlier. You've stated in your application form that the political objective that you sought to achieve was to put an end to crime.

MR MHLONGO: That's correct.

MS PATEL: The crime that you refer to here, does that relate to the incidents involving the deceased that have already been relayed to us or is there anything else that you would like to tell us about this, anything more?

MR MHLONGO: I was referring to rapes which was going on and harassment which was experienced by the people in my area.

MS PATEL: And the harassment that you refer to, that's the harassment from the IFP members that we've already heard about? Is it the same?


MS PATEL: Alright. Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, there's nothing else.


ADV DE JAGER: Was he only raping ANC woman or was he raping anybody in the community?

MR MHLONGO: This is something that I heard about in that meeting at the creche. I didn't know about people who came to report about the rape cases, so I didn't know anything but it was said so in the meeting.

ADV SIGODI: This home-made firearm which you had, where did you get it from?

MR MHLONGO: I bought it from someone.

ADV SIGODI: So on that day when you went to the meeting, why did you take your firearm with? Did you know that you were going to attack somebody?

MR MHLONGO: Those days we experience something terrible in the area because our chairman was killed or Thulani Dlamini was killed in those days so I was still scared, I had to have something to protect myself.

ADV SIGODI: So every time people went to meetings they would be armed, is that what you are saying?

MR MHLONGO: It would happen more especially if we've heard something prior to the meeting.

CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination?

MS GABRIEL: No, Mr Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: How old are you?

MR MHLONGO: 26 years old.

CHAIRPERSON: And where did you live?

MR MHLONGO: Cottonland.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you, you may stand down.



MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, we call the next applicant, Orient Khambule.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Khambule, are you prepared to take the oath in this matter?

ORIENT KHAMBULE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: You may sit down. Yes?

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Khambule, you've been present throughout the proceedings and you heard the evidence of Mr Ngobese and the last two applicants, do you confirm the evidence of Mr Ngobese?

MR KHAMBULE: I do confirm.

MS GABRIEL: Is there anything you wish to add, is there anything else you wish to present to the Commission?


CHAIRPERSON: Please proceed.


"What I can explain to the Committee is that Mr Ngobese has forgotten to mention that one night Mr Mthembu, I was closer to a certain shop, I saw him, had cartridges of a 9mm and a shotgun cartridges."


"He said he wanted to see if the comrades were going to be previous in the following year because he doubted that."


CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

ADV SIGODI: He said he wanted to ...(inaudible)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Who did he say that to?

MR KHAMBULE: I think he was referring these words to me.

CHAIRPERSON: Did anything happen then?

MR KHAMBULE: No, this is what I reported in the meeting. I told Mr Ngobese that I met Mr Mthembu and he showed me cartridges of 9mm and a shogun and he said to me he wasn't sure if we were going to be present the following year. I think Mr Ngobese has forgotten or omitted to say this when he was giving his evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: It's quite alright. Now when the deceased said that to you did you say anything to him?

MR KHAMBULE: I didn't reply, I just went and I told Mr Ngobese about this.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MR KHAMBULE: ...(no English translation)

CHAIRPERSON: I can't hear.

MS GABRIEL: No, I can't hear either.

CHAIRPERSON: We can't hear at all.

MR KHAMBULE: ...(no English translation)

CHAIRPERSON: We can't hear the interpreter.

ADV DE JAGER: We're hearing the applicant but we can't hear the interpreter.


"...(no English translation). After I've reported this to Mr Ngobese, about me seeing Mr Mthembu holding cartridges of a 9mm and a shotgun and also that he told me that he wasn't sure that comrades were going to be alive the following year for as long as he was still alive, and after I reported this to Mr Ngobese. And also Mr Ngobese has forgotten to mentioned something which happened on the day when the deceased was killed."

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, tell us what it is.


"When Sibusiso Mhlongo had already shot him I was waiting next to the door and I was watching him so that he doesn't get a chance of grabbing a gun. And also that when Bheki Mgenge had already stabbed him I also came and I stabbed him."

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Khambule, were you arrested ...(intervention)

MR KHAMBULE: I think there's nothing left except if I can be given a chance to apologise to the family of Mr Mthembu.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please carry on.

MS GABRIEL: Just to confirm, Mr Khambule, you were arrested and convicted for the murder of Mr Mthembu.

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that's correct.

MS GABRIEL: Is there anything else you want to place before the Committee?

MR KHAMBULE: I think Mr Ngobese has covered most of the evidence, the only remaining part is that I have to apologise to the family of Mr Mthembu because I also took part personally in the killing of Mr Mthembu.

MS GABRIEL: One last question. What is your age, Mr Khambule?

MR KHAMBULE: I think I'm 32.

MS GABRIEL: I have no more questions, Mr Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: Did you also live in Cottonland?

MR KHAMBULE: That's correct.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

Mr Khambule, were you a voluntary participant in this incident?

MR KHAMBULE: I was a voluntary participant.

MS PATEL: Then could you explain the following to me please, clarify it. You've stated in your application, page 42 of the bundle, paragraph 11(b)

"Bongani Ngobese is the one who told us to kill that person and that is why we plead for amnesty because if it wasn't for him we would not kill that poor man."

MR KHAMBULE: It may happen that I said so. I am not educated, I was helped when I was writing this application. The person who was writing this application was helping me. I don't know English at all so he was helping me to do so. He may not have understood what I've said.

MS PATEL: Did you not say this to the person who was writing down, who was filling out the form for you?

MR KHAMBULE: No, I didn't say so.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Khambule, Mr Ngobese testified that the decision to kill Mr Mthembu was made at a meeting on the 26th of December 1991, do you confirm that?

MR KHAMBULE: Yes, that's where the decision was taken.

MS GABRIEL: I have no further questions, Mr Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you, you may stand down.




MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, we call the next applicant, Thulani Luthuli.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Luthuli, are you prepared to take an oath in this matter?

PHILANI LUTHULI: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Do sit down.

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Luthuli, you've been listening to the proceedings all day and you have heard the evidence of Mr Ngobese, do you confirm what Mr Ngobese said today?

MR LUTHULI: Yes, I do.

MS GABRIEL: Is there anything you wish to add to the evidence led by Mr Ngobese and your fellow applicants? Is there anything additional that you want to place before the Committee?

MR LUTHULI: I would explain about my involvement in this matter.

MS GABRIEL: Please go ahead.

MR LUTHULI: ..(no English translation)

CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible)

MR LUTHULI: I was present at the creche in that meeting. Mr Ngobese was the chairman of that meeting.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on, we heard that.

MR LUTHULI: Everyone in that meeting, the comrades agreed to what he had to say. I also agreed. Joel Kheshla Gumede was the person in front since he is the one who knew where the deceased was staying.

Just before we arrived where he was staying, Joel pointed the house to us. He pointed the house to us just before we arrived at that house. This is where it was planned that Lucky was going to kick the door.

Sibusiso Mhlongo was going to storm inside and shoot him. It happened as we planned. The deceased got out and tried to escape. Mr Ngobese shouted to Bheki and said Bheki must chase him, and Bheki did so. They came, Bheki and Lucky Mnembe, holding the deceased and he said comrades, here he was. He was together with Lucky Mnembe.

Bheki Mgenge was the one who stabbed him first. I was also armed with a panga. I started chopping at him with that panga. Other comrades were stabbing him. We left him there, we went to our respective places.

MS GABRIEL: Were you arrested for your role in this killing?


MS GABRIEL: Were you arrested for your role in the killing of Mr Mthembu?


MS GABRIEL: And you were convicted?


MS GABRIEL: How do you feel now about the death of Mr Mthembu, about the killing of Mr Mthembu?

MR LUTHULI: I feel a great remorse and I would like to ask for apologies from the Mthembu family. The reason I am here is because I'm requesting for forgiveness. I never had personal problems with the deceased. It wasn't my organisation which sent me to kill him, but it was the situation in that area. These two organisations were not looking eye to eye.


MS GABRIEL: Do you live in Cottonfield?

MR LUTHULI: That's correct.

MS GABRIEL: And what is your age?

MR LUTHULI: 26 years old.

MS GABRIEL: Is there anything else you wish to add, Mr Luthuli?

MR LUTHULI: Nothing else.

MS GABRIEL: I have no more questions, Mr Chair.


CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

Mr Luthuli, are you an ANC member or supporter?

MR LUTHULI: I am an ANC supporter.

MS PATEL: Now when you joined the rest of the group to go and kill Mr Mthembu, did you do that because you were an ANC member or did you do that because you were a member of the community and Mr Mthembu was harassing the community?

MR LUTHULI: As an ANC supporter.

MS PATEL: Okay. Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone) Yes, you may step down.



MS GABRIEL: Mr Chair, we call the final applicant, Lucky Christopher Mnembe.


CHAIRPERSON: Do sit down.

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Mr Mnembe, you've been present all day and you've heard the evidence of Mr Ngobese as well as the evidence given by your fellow applicants, do you confirm the evidence given by Mr Ngobese?

MR MNEMBE: Yes, I do.

MS GABRIEL: Is there anything you wish to add, is there anything you wish to present to the Committee that has not already been presented?

MR MNEMBE: Yes, there is.

MS GABRIEL: Please go ahead.

MR MNEMBE: Firstly I will explain to my involvement in this matter. When we arrived there and when he was held, I stabbed him. That's what Ngobese didn't mention here. Also that in the organisation I was the co-ordinator, or I was in the committee of co-ordination. This too he didn't mention.

MS GABRIEL: May I just interrupt you, you said "when we arrived there I stabbed him", please explain.

MR MNEMBE: At the scene where he died after he ran away from his house.

MS GABRIEL: Please continue.

MR MNEMBE: Yes, these are the only two things which Mr Ngobese didn't mention because whatever he said here is true. I do confirm that.

ADV SIGODI: Do you remember how many times you stabbed him?

MR MNEMBE: Yes, I do.

ADV SIGODI: How many times?




ADV SIGODI: Stabbed him twice on the thigh?

MR MNEMBE: Twice on the thigh.

MS GABRIEL: At the time of the stabbing were you a member of the ANC or were you a supporter of the ANC?

MR MNEMBE: I was the supporter of the ANC.

MS GABRIEL: You said previously that you were an organiser.

MR MNEMBE: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: I thought I heard him say that he was on the co-ordination committee, is that what he said?


CHAIRPERSON: Were you on the co-ordination committee of the organisation?

MR MNEMBE: That's correct, that's how it was.

MS GABRIEL: Were you arrested for the murder of Mr Mthembu?

MR MNEMBE: That's correct.

MS GABRIEL: When was this?

MR MNEMBE: I don't remember the day but I was in custody on the 1st of January 1992.

MS GABRIEL: Were you convicted for the murder of Mr Mthembu?

MR MNEMBE: Yes, I was.

MS GABRIEL: How do you feel now about the killing of Mr Mthembu?

MR MNEMBE: I feel a real great remorse, more especially towards his family members and him as well for taking his soul, but this happened in a situation where things were really difficult, there were no peace or negotiations between the two organisations. Also the way he conducted himself, Mr Mthembu, it wasn't our aim to kill him but the situation forced us to come to that conclusion or that decision of killing him. I would like to pass my apologies to his family to take him from them.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Mnembe, what is your age please?

MR MNEMBE: 26 years old.

MS GABRIEL: And at the time of the killing of Mr Mthembu where were you living?

MR MNEMBE: Cottonland in Verulam.

MS GABRIEL: I have no more questions, Mr Chair.



CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, there's just two things I'd like clarity on.

At the trial you said that you acted under duress, was that a lie?

MR MNEMBE: That was a lie which I told the Court, I wasn't forced or I didn't act under duress.

MS PATEL: Okay. Then finally, in your application - for record purposes, Honourable Chairperson, page 77 at paragraph 19(b), you make mention of a list that the deceased had with your names on it, a list of people who would be killed. You haven't testified to that, can you elaborate on this list? Where did you see this list, where does this information come from?

MR MNEMBE: This was raised in the meeting at the creche, that the deceased had a list with the names of the people he was going to kill.

MS PATEL: Can you recall who raised this at the meeting, who brought this information forward?

MR MNEMBE: I cannot really recall but I remember hearing that in that meeting, that the deceased had a list with the names of people he was going to kill.

MS PATEL: Was this - just for the sake of completeness, was this the meeting at the creche where the decision was taken to kill Mr Mthembu?

MR MNEMBE: Yes, that meeting, the creche meeting.

MS PATEL: Alright. Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, I have no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Were the names on that list mentioned to the meeting?

MR MNEMBE: No, I don't remember very well, but I think I remember one person's name.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, which person?

MR MNEMBE: Fano Ngcobo.

CHAIRPERSON: Was your name not mentioned?


CHAIRPERSON: Re-examination?


Why did you lie at your trial?

MR MNEMBE: The reason I lied in Court was because if you were a member of a political organisation, or especially an ANC member, if you've revealed in Court your participation you were going to be sentenced and if you didn't your sentence will be minor.


CHAIRPERSON: Did you believe at that time that if the Court came to the conclusion that you belonged to the ANC it would be harsh with you and pass a severe sentence?

MR MNEMBE: I believed that at that time.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you, you are excused.


CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, you heard the applicants wishing to express remorse and asking for forgiveness from the family of the deceased, is there any member of the family of the deceased who is present to your knowledge?

MS PATEL: The mother of the deceased is present, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you spoken to her?

MS PATEL: I have spoken to her, Honourable Chairperson, this morning. She bears no knowledge of this incident, wasn't able to offer any assistance in terms of the deceased's political affiliations. The deceased wasn't residing with her at the time that the incident occurred, and the deceased at the time was the sole breadwinner in the family. She couldn't take the matter further, Honourable Chairperson.

ADV DE JAGER: Have you got all her particulars?

MS PATEL: We do, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Is Mrs Mthembu present here? Can you come froward please? Mrs Mthembu, what are your full names?

MRS NDLOVU: Sindisiwe Ndlovu.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you the widow of the late Muzi Kayfani Mthembu, Thulani Mthembu?

ADV DE JAGER: The mother.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, she's the mother. I wanted to know whether the widow of Mr Mthembu was here.

MS PATEL: No, Honourable Chairperson, I thought you asked whether any of the relatives were here and I responded by saying that the mother was here.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

MS PATEL: There is no widow, there was a girlfriend at the time, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: You are the mother of the deceased?

MRS NDLOVU: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: You have heard a number of these young people giving evidence before us today?

MRS NDLOVU: Yes, I heard.

CHAIRPERSON: Each one of them says that he's very, very sorry for what has happened and they're asking forgiveness from the family of the deceased, did you hear that?

MRS NDLOVU: I don't know what they mean when they ask for forgiveness because I first lost my husband and then I lost my son, and he was supporting me. He also had a child which was in school and I managed to take the child to school but then eventually I couldn't. This year the child is at home and is not schooling.

Today I've asked from my employer to come here and I'm not going to get paid for this day, and my children are starving. I don't know what they mean when they say they ask for my forgiveness. I'm a widow and also my son was taking care of me. Before he died he came to me, a week before the end of December and he said to me he came there because it was December and he wanted me to accompany him.

I went to Dalton on the Thursday to accompany my son because he wanted to come home and have Xmas holidays at home. I went there on Saturday, he wasn't there and I received a message that he was already late. ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: Mrs Ndlovu, could you kindly go a little bit slower because I want to write down what you are saying so that you could afford us the opportunity to write down.

MRS NDLOVU: The deceased came to me on Thursday and told me that I must go and meet him because he wanted to come home for December holidays.

CHAIRPERSON: Where was your home at the time?

MRS NDLOVU: In Dalton.

CHAIRPERSON: You then received news that your son had died?

MRS NDLOVU: A girl who staying with my son came to tell me that my son has passed away. My son had a one year old kid. If they are saying today that my son was with a woman and they don't mention anything about a child, I don't know whether the child is still alive or not.

ADV DE JAGER: Isn't this child staying with you and you've sent this child to school, or to whom did you refer when you said you had a child and you've been sending the child to school and you can't afford it this year?

MRS NDLOVU: My son had only one kid but he was paying for his sister's education, that is my daughter.

ADV SIGODI: Sorry, what is the name of your son's child, of your grandson?

MRS NDLOVU: Xangiso.

ADV SIGODI: Is he staying with you?

MRS NDLOVU: Ever since the father died I don't know where the mother is.

CHAIRPERSON: But is the child staying with you?

MRS NDLOVU: The child went with the mother.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, thank you. You've told me, you've told us that you don't understand why these people who have spoken are asking for forgiveness for what they did. You've heard them say that they were sorry for what they did, did you understand that?

MRS NDLOVU: I do hear that even though I don't understand it really because I don't know how I can forgive them for taking away someone who was putting food on my table. Today I didn't go to work. I may be fired at work.

CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand, you've told us that. I know the hardship you've talked about. Right now I'm not talking about your hardship, I'm talking about whether you understand what is meant by asking for forgiveness for the wrong that somebody does. When people do something wrong and say they are sorry for it and ask for forgiveness, do you understand that?

MRS NDLOVU: They need to ask forgiveness from the deceased, not from me because I don't know and I also don't know what happened.

CHAIRPERSON: Alright, thank you very much, you are excused, you may go down.


ADV DE JAGER: Have you got information about the child of the deceased?

MS PATEL: No, we don't, Honourable Committee Member.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(no microphone)

ADV DE JAGER: Could the investigation officer perhaps try to, whether he could find out anything from the people present, from the vicinity, whether they knew anything about the child?

MS PATEL: We can certainly look into the matter.

ADV DE JAGER: And if so, then you could give it through to us.

MS PATEL: Alright.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Gabriel, is there anything you wish to say in addressing us?

MS GABRIEL ADDRESSES COMMITTEE: Mr Chair, in closing I have a few points to make, and the first would relate largely to just summarising the salient points of evidence that came through which will form the basis of our submission that amnesty be granted to each of the applicants.

If I may, may I go through these points?

CHAIRPERSON: Well just the salient points because we've heard the evidence, you don't have to traverse the entire evidence.

MS GABRIEL: By far, Mr Chair, the most important pieces of evidence that emerged today were that the applicants acted with a political purposes. It was reactions of members of one publicly known politically organisation against another publicly known politically organisation.

Their actions were carried out in the bona fide belief that the death of the deceased would contribute to stability in the region and it arose our a need in the community to stop the brutalities, including intimidation of ANC members in the community.

The second important point is that the killing of Mr Mthembu was committed in the execution of a decision taken by ANC members at a meeting chaired by the chairman of the branch of the ANC in Cottonfield. They acted in concert to achieve a political objective. No other motives have been suggested for their actions and the applicants themselves have repeatedly stated that they had nothing personal against the deceased, but rather that they were forced out of circumstances in their community to act as they did.

They targeted who they perceived to be the ringleader, and that was Mr Mthembu. And is significant that no-one else was harmed, it was a carefully orchestrated action planned by the local branch of the ANC.

They have made a full disclosure, it has not been suggested that they have attempted to misled the Committee in any way. They have all showed remorse for their actions and have repeatedly stated that their actions were not personal.

Based on the aforegoing and in view of the Final Report of the TRC which acknowledges the existence of ...(indistinct) in warfare in KwaZulu Natal between the ANC and the IFP, our submissions are that these actions were associated with a political objective or a political motive and must be viewed against that background.

Our submissions in this respect are that the applicants, on the basis of the evidence led and given the larger picture in the country at the time, that they do meet the requirements of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act for the purposes of amnesty.

Those are our submissions, Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, is there anything you can say in the matter?

MS PATEL: No, there is nothing that I wish to add, thank you, Honourable Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: It is quite clear that none of you have any intentions of calling any other witnesses.

MS GABRIEL: We do not intend to call any other witnesses.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, the Committee will consider this application and in due course make known its decision. It now adjourns until 09H30 tomorrow morning.

MS PATEL: Honourable Chairperson, if I may ...(no microphone).

CHAIRPERSON: I can't hear what you're saying.

MS PATEL: I'm suggesting that we meet in chambers to discuss tomorrow morning because today's matter was set down over two days.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we can meet in chambers.

MS PATEL: Okay. Would everyone please rise.


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