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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 19 May 1999

Location PIETERMARITZBURG

Day 3

Names BONGANI GILBERT NGOBESE

Case Number AM3480/96

Matter DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY OF DINGIDAWO XULU : ATTEMPTED MURDER OF DINGIDAWO XULU: MUNTU ELIAS KHUZWAYO

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Gabriel, youíre appearing for the applicant?

MS GABRIEL: Yes Chairperson, I am instructed by ľ(indistinct)

CHAIRPERSON: On reading of the papers it is quite clear that the applicant was just one of a number of people who had been involved in the offences that gave rise or that give rise to this application. In our papers several names are mentioned by the applicant. Ms Mtanga can you tell us whether you have the names of all the others who were convicted with the applicant in this matter?

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson I do.

Page 15 of the record, bundle. According to the applicant, that is Bongane Gilbert Ngobese ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MS MTANGA: Accused no 1 to 4 were the people convicted.

CHAIRPERSON: Just let me take that down. He himself was accused number 4 in the trial.

MS MTANGA: Yes, Chairperson, that is so.

And then accused number 5 to number 9 were acquitted by the Verulam Magistrate Court, so they never appeared before the High Court. Out of the four people convicted, the first three people, Accused 1 to 3, applied for indemnity and they were granted indemnity. The applicant was unable to apply for indemnity at that time.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there any information as to when the indemnity was granted to these three.

MS MTANGA: I didnít obtain that Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Pardon?

MS MTANGA: I didnít obtain that Chairperson, but maybe the applicant could assist us.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Gabriel, do you have any information in that regard?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chairperson, on the information on the papers, the co-accused were released on indemnity on or about the 16th June 1994.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there any other information on the papers relating to this grant of indemnity?

MS GABRIEL: Apart from that date, no there isnít Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: It may become necessary for us, after weíve heard the evidence, just to have a more complete picture in our mind, to ascertain the reasons for the indemnity that was granted to these three and any other detail as to the circumstances which led to the grant of indemnity to them. Thank you.

Ms Gabriel, you are calling the applicant?

MS GABRIEL: Yes Mr Chairperson. But before I do, the applicant has prepared a written statement. Unfortunately due to an administrative oversight, this was not included with the bundle of papers prepared. May I have leave to hand it up?

CHAIRPERSON: Just now.

BONGANI GILBERT NGOBESE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: You have consulted with the dependants of the victims?

MS MTANGA: Yes, Chairperson I have done so.

CHAIRPERSON: You will be representing some of them?

MS MTANGA: Yes, that is so.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Yes, Ms Gabriel.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chairperson, as previously noted the applicant has prepared a statement. I apologise that this was not included in the bundle of papers. It is substantially the evidence that will be led today and I hand it up.

CHAIRPERSON: Is this in the form of an affidavit?

MS GABRIEL: It is in the form of an affidavit, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Fortunately we do have this statement, this affidavit.

MS GABRIEL: Thank you for drawing that to my attention.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. This statement, or the affidavit is in fact dated, is there a date on it? 7th of May 1999.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you may proceed.

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. Mr Ngobese, you are currently in prison serving a term of imprisonment for crimes that were committed on or about 11th to the 12th of January 1990.

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS GABRIEL: Could you tell the Committee exactly what these crimes were and how it is that you came to be convicted for these crimes?

CHAIRPERSON: Can we, just for the sake of formality, get a few personal details of the individual before you get down to this aspect of the murder?

MS GABRIEL: I apologise Mr Chairman. Mr Ngobese, what are your full names please, for the record.

MR NGOBESE: Bongane Gilbert Ngobese.

MS GABRIEL: What is your age?

MR NGOBESE: 40 years old.

MS GABRIEL: And is it correct Mr Ngobese that you are currently at the Westville Prison, serving a term of imprisonment?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, thatís correct.

MS GABRIEL: Could you please describe the offences for which you are serving your time of imprisonment?

MR NGOBESE: Yes I can explain. It is a case involving a murder of the family members of Dingidawo Xulu.

MS GABRIEL: Surrounding those events that you were convicted of, I apologise Mr Chairman, there appears to be a problem. Mr Ngobese, is it correct that you were found guilty of 13 counts of murder, 2 counts of attempted murder and 1 count of arson?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, thatís correct.

MS GABRIEL: Will you please tell the Committee how these events arose?

MR NGOBESE: Yes. In 1989 I was elected by the community of Cottonland to be one of the members of the Committee and the name of the Committee was Cottonland Crisis Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.

MR NGOBESE: I was elected as a vice-chairman of that committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR NGOBESE: Others who were elected were Kolane Mlambo, the other one was Mfanange Makatini, the other one was Bongani Emmanuel Mgathe and the other one was Bernard Nyembe.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR NGOBESE: We were elected because there was violence in that area from 1980, there was violence between ANC and IFP.

MS GABRIEL: May I interrupt you? What do you mean by violence between ANC and IFP? Could you possibly describe to the Committee examples of this?

MR NGOBESE: What I mean is that IFP and ANC didnít see through one eye. ANC wanted to be the ruling party in that area and IFP as well, also wanted to be the ruling party in that area.

CHAIRPERSON: When you say the ruling party in that area, were you talking about control of that area?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I mean that they wanted to be the controlling party in that area, and also ANC wanted to be the controlling party.

CHAIRPERSON: But the ANC was banned at that time and it was not in existence. Isnít that so?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I can agree with that statement, but at that time IFP would force the community who were ANC to become IFP. ANC was there because UDF was in existence. So UDF members were considered to be ANC members.

CHAIRPERSON: In other words when you are saying ANC you really meant UDF at that time.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, we were UDF at that time.

CHAIRPERSON: So I think that, to be correct, if you are talking about that time, instead of using the word ANC you must talk about the UDF. Alright?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, thatís correct. Even though I cannot say itís so much correct because when we started the nominations and the elections it was in 1989, it was because of the situation in that area.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese you were telling the Committee that the Cottonfields Crisis Committee was formed. Could you explain why this Committee was formed and who these people were?

MR NGOBESE: As Iíve already mentioned that I was elected as a vice-chairman, there were complaints from the Community. The community wasnít happy by being controlled by the IFP and then Dingidawo Xulu was the person who was IFP member.

MS GABRIEL: Please continue.

MR NGOBESE: At that time IFP wanted everyone who was an ANC member to leave the area and another thing which was common with the IFP, they used to force people to join IFP.

MS GABRIEL: The people that you refer to, were these people ANC members or did they sympathise with the ANC, you earlier told the Chairperson that it's more correctly described as UDF members.

MR NGOBESE: At that time they were UDF followers or supporters.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.

MR NGOBESE: At that time if one didnít like to join IFP, that person was going to be forced to either join IFP or to leave the area. This is what IFP used to do to the people in that area.

ADV BOSMAN: Can you tell us in what manner they were forced to leave the area?

MR NGOBESE: One will either be sjamboked, or you will be told that if you donít want to become an IFP member, better leave the area or you will be killed.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

MS GABRIEL: Please continue. So you were elected vice-chairperson of the Cottonfields Crisis Committee. What did you hope to achieve on this Committee? Why was the Committee formed?

MR NGOBESE: The aim for this Committee was to fight against what IFP were doing to the community. Since there was violence in that area, we wanted the community to live peacefully in that area and we didnít want violence in that area and we didnít want the community to be harassed in any way.

MS GABRIEL: So who elected you onto this committee?

MR NGOBESE: At that time a meeting was held in a certain school called Golden Steps School. The community actually called for that meeting and the community elected us, thatís how we were elected.

ADV BOSMAN: May I just interpose here please Ms Gabriel.

Mr Ngobese, what I donít follow, perhaps you can just clarify that. You say the community, what do you mean by the community because apparently a large section of the community were IFP members, so what is the community, who were the community?

MR NGOBESE: The UDF supporters who were community members in that area, who didnít like what IFP was doing in that area.

MS GABRIEL: Please tell the Committee what happened after you were elected onto the Cottonfields Crisis Committee.

MR NGOBESE: We held meetings, we had frequently held meetings and my job was to take complaints from the community and I would take these complaints to the Crisis Committee. What I would do as well, I used to help the Red Cross if there were floods, to help the community, for instance if the community needed shelter, and also I would help, because there was a certain bus company called Riteousins and I would go to that company and help the community by transportation and I will also go to Jobelela Ndlovu and we will try and resolve the community problems together.

CHAIRPERSON: Letís just get something clear. Heís talking about personal activities with the Red Cross and dealing with transport problems. I think we are talking more particularly, not his activities just now, but the activities of the Committee. So letís just get that done.

If he has finished about his own personal activities, let us complete, Iím sorry, so he assisted the Red Cross to help flood victims, he dealt with transport problems.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, you have told this Committee now about your personal actions in the community and how you helped the community. Please describe the actions of the Committee leading up to the events for which you were convicted.

MR NGOBESE: What the Committee will do was to help the community with regard to the problems the community will be facing.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, may I just interrupt you. Iíd like you to focus on the events for which you were convicted. You were convicted for murder and attempted murder and arson. Could you please describe to the Committee how these events arose?

MR NGOBESE: As Iíve already mentioned that the Committee was elected because the community wanted to object what Inkatha was doing to them. The committee was involved in solving problems of the community. The problems ľ(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: How did this Committee solve the problems? Tell us precisely some of the problems and how they were solved. You have told us in broad political terms of what Inkatha was doing in the area, compelling people to join Inkatha or leave the area. I want to know how the problems that you are talking about were handled or solved. What problems?

MR NGOBESE: We would sometimes solve problems like, we will discover dead bodies and we knew that it was the results of Dingidawo Xulu. Other problems which we would face in that area, there were males who were forced by Dingidawo that they should pay R20 and females will be forced to pay R10 and the community didnít like this and we were supposed to object on their behalf.

CHAIRPERSON: What you mean is that you resisted what was being done by refusing to pay?

MR NGOBESE: We didnít want to pay because we were against paying this money. In fact we didnít have reasons why we should pay that money.

CHAIRPERSON: I understand, because that money went to Inkatha and your members were not supporters of Inkatha, we understand that. So I donít think you should repeat that. Alright?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, maybe I should just try to bring you closer to the events for which you were found guilty, this was the killing for which you were convicted. Can you describe how those events happened?

CHAIRPERSON: What led up to that, or when?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I can explain. After the UDF supporters have decided that they had enough, we held meetings in that area, we supporters of the ANC but sometimes our meetings wouldnít go through as planned, or we wouldnít even finish these meetings, because police would sometimes come and harass us because police were working hand in hand with the IFP. Thatís when we decided or we realised that the police were working hand in hand with IFP and we realised that we were not safe.

CHAIRPERSON: Carry on.

MR NGOBESE: I had a tuck shop at home and another thing which we have also experienced was that Mr Dingidawo would force us to close down our tuck shops. On the 12th or on the 11th, Iím not sure, we decided that we were going to hold a meeting at home. We held that meeting at home. Myself, Bongani Gilbert Ngobese, Kholane Mlambo, Bongani Emanuel Mgathe and Bernard Nyembe.

MS GABRIEL: So these were members of the Crisis Committee?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS GABRIEL: And what was decided at that meeting?

MR NGOBESE: The reason we held the meeting, there were boys from Mahlatini family who died. They died because of a fight which occurred between the supporters of ANC and IFP.

MS GABRIEL: Who are these boys, Mahlatini?

MR NGOBESE: Dingidawo Xulu, it's also Mahlatini.

CHAIRPERSON: How can he also be Mahlatini. Is his name Mahlatini or Xulu?

MR NGOBESE: I would say Xulu and Mahlatini is the same names or the clan name. Itís a clan name.

MS GABRIEL: Yes, you were telling the Committee that two boys of the Mahlatini family were killed. Please continue.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. I think I want some particulars about that. When were these Mahlatini boys killed?

MR NGOBESE: Even though I cannot remember the exact date, they died in those days.

CHAIRPERSON: In those days Ė how many days before this meeting that you held?

MR NGOBESE: I think it was after a week, I am not sure, but the meeting was held after the Mahlatini boys were killed.

CHAIRPERSON: Where were they killed?

MR NGOBESE: There was a certain area called GG it was next to the sugar cane field, thatís where they were killed.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you present when they were killed?

MR NGOBESE: I arrived at that place later, after they were killed. There were incidents which happened when I was there and there were those which I wasnít there. This one I came after they were killed.

CHAIRPERSON: Who were they killed by?

MR NGOBESE: I wouldnít be sure because it was a violence or a fight. It wasnít easy for one to actually ascertain who actually killed. I arrived there when they were already killed.

CHAIRPERSON: By which group were they killed?

MR NGOBESE: ANC supporters.

CHAIRPERSON: How were they killed?

MR NGOBESE: I heard that they were stabbed and some of them were slayed.

CHAIRPERSON: What is that last word? They were stabbed and what? Interpreter please tell me what was the last word, they were stabbed and ?

The interpreter used a word after the word stabbed, please tell me what was the word?

INTERPRETER: Slain, or cut on the throat.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Do carry on.

ADV BOSMAN: May I just ask you, why did you go there? Why did you go to where this happened?

MR NGOBESE: It was a usual thing. There were fights all the time and every time there were fights we used to inform each other and thatís why I went there, because I knew that there was a fight there.

ADV BOSMAN: But what did you want to do there? What was your aim of going there? Just to look?

MR NGOBESE: I went there to fight because we were fighting with the IFP.

ADV BOSMAN: Did you fight when you got there?

MR NGOBESE: No I didnít.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you Ms Gabriel.

CHAIRPERSON: Just letís clear this up you see. You arrived at a place because you had heard that somebody had been killed. Is that why you went there?

MR NGOBESE: No, I went there because I heard that there was going to be a fight. Inkatha people were going to attack the UDF or ANC people.

CHAIRPERSON: Or is it also possible that the ANC people were going to attack the Inkatha people?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, it was possible, as I have already mentioned that there was violence in the area.

CHAIRPERSON: You talk about violence in the area, the impression you have created is that the violence was always started by one side, Inkatha would be the ones. What I want to know, to get a clearer picture. I want to know clearly from you whether these fights involved attacks and counter attacks by both sides.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, one organisation will attack and the other one will attack as well. Sometimes the UDF will be first ones to attack and sometimes the IFP.

CHAIRPERSON: When you arrived at the scene, these two boys had already been killed. What did you do?

MR NGOBESE: When I arrived there the ANC supporters were there and the fight was already over. Then I came back with another group of ANC supporters.

ADV SANDI: But how big was this group? Can you estimate the number of people who were involved in this ANC/UDF group?

MR NGOBESE: It was quite a number. I will estimate that it was approximately 150 to 200 people.

ADV BOSMAN: But as a committee member did you not inquire who had actually done the slaying of these two people?

MR NGOBESE: No, I didnít.

CHAIRPERSON: In whose area did the fight take place, in whose territory? IFP territory or UDF territory?

MR NGOBESE: Cottonland, itís one area, but where the incident happened was an IFP stronghold.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. What happened after that? A week later you were having a meeting at your house. This is a week approximately after this fight. What happened at the meeting?

MR NGOBESE: Our aim was to attack Dingidawo Xuluís house because we heard that he was going to counter attack us after he had lost his two sons.

MS GABRIEL: How did this information come to your attention?

MR NGOBESE: There was a certain girl called Zethu Makoba, she was our marshal and there was another boy from Mahlatini family and they told us that Mahlatini was going to attack us.

MS GABRIEL: Yes, continue. So this information was discussed and what did the committee decide to do?

MR NGOBESE: Our aim was to attack Mr Mahlatiniís house before he could attack us. Kolane Mlambo came with this opinion or this idea that we were supposed to carry guns when we were going to attack Mr Mahlatini's house and another decision was taken by Mfanange Mahlatini that we should buy petrol.

MS GABRIEL: Continue please Mr Ngobese.

MR NGOBESE: After the meeting Mfanange came with a question or an idea. He wanted us to plan the attack to Mahlatiniís house. There was an idea that the plan may not go so well because if we go and attack Mr Mahlatiniís house, there will be his wives and his children.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

ADV BOSMAN: There is nothing coming through to me,

INTERPRETER: Yes, thatís because I cannot get the facts well, he is mixing the facts.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, maybe you can just repeat the last two things you said.

CHAIRPERSON: You have told us that there was an idea that if you attack he house his wife and children may be in the house. Carry on from there.

MR NGOBESE: After that Kolane came with an idea that we should put that aside and we were going to put this in a general meeting which we were going to hold at night on the same night.

CHAIRPERSON: What is meant by that when you say that you are going to put it aside?

MR NGOBESE: What I mean is that this was Mfanangeís idea, but we as a committee, we didnít want to come to a decision as to what to do because our aim to go and attack Mr Mahlatiniís house was to kill. Now that Mfanange came with this idea, Kolane said we should put this aside as an outstanding issue. We will discuss this at the general meeting because this was a caucus meeting held by the committee members and later we were going to hold another meeting with the community which was going to be a general meeting, therefore this issue was going to be dealt within that meeting.

MS GABRIEL: What is this issue to be dealt with in the main meeting, in the general meeting?

MR NGOBESE: The issue of attacking Mr Mahlatiniís wives and children.

ADV SANDI: Maybe we can just get this clear. Mr Ngobese, are you saying that there was a problem that when you launch your attack at the Mahlatini family, his wife and children may be injured and killed in the process?

MR NGOBESE: Yes. Mfanange came with this idea that if we attack his house, we might find that his wives and his children will be there. Therefore, we as a committee, we decided that we will put this aside in that meeting but we were going to take it to the general meeting. We put this on our agenda as an outstanding issue that we were going to discuss about it later to the community in the general meeting.

CHAIRPERSON: What was the next thing that happened?

MR NGOBESE: After the caucus meeting we parted and Kolane said Zethu Makoba and Mfanange Mahlatini, Bernard Nyembe, they were supposed to be the ones who were going to tell the community on that day, I donít remember very well whether it was the 11th or 12th, but same day, we were going to hold a meeting at night.

CHAIRPERSON: That same night, that is the night of the committee meeting?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS GABRIEL: Was this meeting held? Did this meeting take place?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Where?

MR NGOBESE: On top, there was a certain area in the sugar cane field and the name of the place is called Umsinsi. Mfanange was the Chairman of that meeting.

MS GABRIEL: Who attended the meeting?

MR NGOBESE: Community members who were ANC supporters together with the committee members. I was present myself, Gilbert and Bongani.

MS GABRIEL: How many people were at the meeting?

MR NGOBESE: It is difficult to estimate. I think it was close to 250 to 300.

MS GABRIEL: Please continue. What happened at the meeting?

MR NGOBESE: Mfanange was the chairman of that meeting. He opened the meeting. He told the community about the problems we have received from them and we wanted to come out with a decision. We talked about the problems they were facing, as Iíve already mentioned that they were forced to join IFP and also another problem we talked about was that our meetings were disrupted by police and IFP and we talked about many things.

CHAIRPERSON: They canít be talking about the same things over and over and over again. That night that meeting was called, not to talk about things that youíve already been talking about. What was the purpose of that meeting that night?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, you said that the chairman said that you needed a decision at that meeting. What was this decision?

MR NGOBESE: To take a decision to attack Mr Mahlatiniís house.

CHAIRPERSON: Was that discussed?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Did people speak?

MR NGOBESE: Yes they did.

CHAIRPERSON: And what was decided?

MR NGOBESE: The decision was taken that we should attack Mr Mahlatiniís house.

CHAIRPERSON: Even though his wives and his children may be the victims, may be hurt?

MR NGOBESE: After the decision was taken Mfanange raised the issue that we had a problem as a committee that, when we arrived there, we might find that his wives and children are there, now we wanted the community to tell us how we should solve this problem, or run away from this problem.

Usually the community members or ANC supporters in meetings, they will raise their hands to put forward their opinions. They did so, they said we should destroy Mahlatiniís family and the vote came that we should destroy him, his everything. Mfanange came with another question because there were others in the hall who said that if there were children and wives, Mahlatini only must be killed and his group. And Mfanange asked the people to vote so that they will have a majority rule. There were those who said they must leave the wives and the children and there were those who said he must be killed and his wives and his children. He also raised that those who say that Mahlatini and his family must be killed, everything must be destroyed so that we stay peacefully in the area, they must raise their hands. The majority voted for that one. The few ones who voted against this didnít win on this one, because we took the majority vote. The majority in that meeting voted that we should attack Mahlatini and his family.

ADV BOSMAN: Was it to attack or to kill? Can you just make that clear?

MR NGOBESE: To attack and kill.

MS GABRIEL: After the vote, what happened next?

MR NGOBESE: After that Mfanange closed the meeting. We left there, we went to Umgababa Hall.

MS GABRIEL: Yes you went to the Umgababa hall.

MR NGOBESE: When we arrived there Mfanange told us to stop. There was umuti - Mfanange Mahlatini brought that umuti.

CHAIRPERSON: When you say he brought that umuti, what are you talking about?

MR NGOBESE: Mfanange came with this umuti and we asked him why he had umuti. He said he realised that most Inkatha people were using umuti whenever they were going to attack, therefore he or his group needed umuti as well and he also explained that umuti helped so that a person doesnít have a guilty conscience, or is brave to do evil deeds.

CHAIRPERSON: Just slowly. Iíd like to take that down.

Carry on.

ADV BOSMAN: May I just ask one question before you carry on?

Was Mfanange Mahlatini, was he related to the Mahlatinis who you were going to attack?

MR NGOBESE: Only the surnames. I will say they were related because they had similar surnames.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: So now Mfanange brings this umuti which is supposed to help the people and make them brave. What happened then?

MR NGOBESE: He also told us that most of the corpses which were found who were ANC supporter corpses, they had insufficient parts or their parts were removed, therefore they were using their private parts to make umuti.

MS GABRIEL: What do you mean, the dead bodies of ANC supporters had missing parts and that their private parts were used to make umuti? Do you mean that organs were missing from the bodies of ANC supporters?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, this is what Mfanange told us. He told us that sometimes the bodies which were found, bodies who were ANC supporters which were found dead, sometimes they didnít have their private parts, the private parts were removed in order to make umuti.

CHAIRPERSON: Who would make that umuti?

MR NGOBESE: At that time I didnít ask Mfanange as to who was making umuti but he told us that we were supposed to use umuti as well when we were going to attack those people because this is what he knew.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you understand him to say that when ANC corpses were found and some of their parts were removed, the IFP people took those parts and made umuti from them, is that what you understood or am I wrong?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, thatís correct.

CHAIRPERSON: So now, he told you this and what happened then?

MR NGOBESE: He gave Bernard umuti.

ADV SANDI: This umuti, Mr Ngobese, how did it look like, what was it actually?

MR NGOBESE: Green leaves and you will take these green leaves, you will put it into a bucket and then pour water. We stood on the line.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes carry on.

ADV SANDI: Who was standing on the line?

MR NGOBESE: We were many, but we were in front. Mfanange was right in front and he used a broom to spill the umuti on us. We left Umgababa. We went past ľ(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: You have told us that Mfanange gave Bernard the umuti. Now who sprinkled the umuti on the people who were standing in the line, was it Bernard or was it who?

MR NGOBESE: It was Bernard Nyembe.

CHAIRPERSON: So he sprinkled umuti on all those who were in the line?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS GABRIEL: Thank you. What happened next?

MR NGOBESE: We left the hall. Thereís a certain shop, we arrived next to that shop and we stopped there.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, how many were you?

MR NGOBESE: We were many, we were about 200 to 300 and all these people were ANC supporters.

CHAIRPERSON: All of them had umuti put on them?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, they all had umuti, they were sprinkled with the umuti.

MS GABRIEL: You were telling us that you arrived at a certain shop, what happened then?

MR NGOBESE: Bongani Emanuel Mgathe called me and Bernard Nyembe. The petrol was bought by Bernard from a certain filling station called Badada. The petrol was in a 5 litre. Bongani Emanuel Mgathe took this petrol into to a certain bedroom next to his shop. I took this petrol and I also took a nail and I made a hole through the lid, a small hole.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, Bongani took the petrol to his bedroom which was next to his shop. And then, where were you at the time?

MR NGOBESE: I was with Bongani.

CHAIRPERSON: You went into the bedroom?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And when you were in the bedroom?

MR NGOBESE: When we were in the bedroom, Bongani Emanuel took the petrol and we brought it in front of his shop.

CHAIRPERSON: You went into his bedroom with the petrol, then you bring it back into the front of his shop?

MR NGOBESE: Yes. It was his shop here, his tuck shop and thereís a counter and through the tuck shop thereís another door to the bedroom. He went in his bedroom, he brought the petrol from his bedroom and put it on top of the counter in his tuck shop. Thatís where we stood.

CHAIRPERSON: Weíll take the usual adjournment at this stage and resume in 15 minutes.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

BONGANI GILBERT NGOBESE: (s.u.o.)

CHAIRPERSON: Do carry on.

EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: (cont)

Mr Ngobese, just to summarise and to bring you to the stage that weíre at. You told the committee in fairly extensive about the meeting that occurred on that day and the procession of the group to a shop at which you picked up petrol. The mandate from the group was to destroy or to kill or to eradicate Dingidawo, can you tell us now how it came to be that the attacks were made on this man that you also referred to as Mahlatini. Perhaps we could move straight into that?

MR NGOBESE: As I have already said, we were there at the tuck shop after taking the petrol. Mfanange was the person who has already sent Zethu Makoba to check if everybody at Mahlatini is there.

CHAIRPERSON: Just tell me again. Mfanange sent who?

MR NGOBESE: Zethu Makoba.

CHAIRPERSON: He sent Zethu Makoba to do what?

MR NGOBESE: To check if everybody at the Mahlatiniís house is there. To check that if Mahlatini is there with his group as well as the family. Indeed she went and then she came back and indicated that everybody is there.

MS GABRIEL: And then what happened?

MR NGOBESE: And then we went there.

CHAIRPERSON: How many of you?

MR NGOBESE: A big group, approximately 200 to 300.

MS GABRIEL: What happened there?

MR NGOBESE: The others would go to the main house where everybody was and then he asked the others to, those people would then actually then follow up with stones and butchers knives and all the other weapons. At that particular point in time myself, Mfanange, Bernard Nyembe, we are the ones who actually entered the house first, however, I was the one who was leading them.

CHAIRPERSON: Please give me the names again of those that entered the house.

INTERPRETER: Bongani Gilbert Ngobese, that is the applicant, Mfanange Makatini and Bernard Nyembe.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes you say you entered the house. What happened then?

MR NGOBESE: Just before we entered I was carrying a gun, parabellum, also carrying petrol.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes carry on.

MR NGOBESE: I entered and we moved to the right hand side.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes do carry on.

MR NGOBESE: And when I entered I started shooting. There were people who were seated there. The person that I noticed, that I realised was the son, that is Jabulani Mahlatini. And then Mfanange and Bernard Nyembe were on the left hand side and there were people who were asleep there. There was a female, a woman who put on a blanket, who covered herself with a blanket. I think that was the wife to Dingidawo Xulu, and then they shot, directing their shot to those people.

CHAIRPERSON: Who shot?

MR NGOBESE: Mfanange and Bernard.

MS GABRIEL: What did you do?

MR NGOBESE: Iím the one who actually started shooting on the right hand side, so they followed me on the left hand side, directing their shots to these two people on the left hand side. Thereafter I took petrol because Iíve already pierced a hole, and then I started sprinkling it next to the wall on the blanket and then I was carrying matches and I started to light the match.

CHAIRPERSON: Did I hear you correctly that you sprinkled petrol on the wall and on the blankets?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: How many people were there in that room?

MR NGOBESE: Although I did not count them, there were plenty of them and there were females there but most of them were covered in blankets so I didnít actually take any notice of the number.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.

MR NGOBESE: Thereafter, I heard Bongani Emanuel Mgatheís voice shouting from outside, saying that thereís Dingidawo Xulu running away. Then I went outside. There was another house on the right hand side. I entered there because I thought thatís where Iíll find him and then I realised that thereís nobody and then I poured petrol and actually burned that house.

CHAIRPERSON: Where were Mfanange and Bongani when you went out of this room, and Bernard, Iím sorry. Where were they?

MR NGOBESE: They actually followed and had assisted those who were throwing stones because the group that was standing there were actually guarding those people against people who would be coming out and would actually hit them or beat them.

CHAIRPERSON: The people from outside the house, had they already started throwing stones?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, they started as soon as they realised that the house was on fire, then they started throwing stones.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.

MR NGOBESE: Thereafter, after burning the house that was on the right hand side, when the fire was actually gaining its momentum inside the house, then I actually heard voices, that is the childrenís voices and then the children were actually asking "Why are you killing us, what have we done, what has happened?" and saying that "we know that the person you are looking for is our grandfather". So what I actually make out of that is they are the grandchildren of Dingidawo, so I actually think that probably they were asleep in the bedrooms.

MS GABRIEL: Who were they referring to, this grandfather?

MR NGOBESE: Dingidawo Xulu, who is the chairman of IFP in that area.

CHAIRPERSON: Where were these children whose voices you heard?

MR NGOBESE: In the bedrooms because the main house had bedrooms.

CHAIRPERSON: How many children did you see?

MR NGOBESE: I would be making a mistake, I didnít see the children, I only heard the voices, especially I heard the voice of that one who was shouting because there was the outcry of children, although I did not actually see them, I heard their voices.

CHAIRPERSON: What did you do when you heard their voices?

MR NGOBESE: There was nothing else that could be done because the decision was already taken that we are going to kill anything or everything and when we realised that the house was burning and there couldnít be anyone who could leave the house at that particular point in time, then we dispersed, we ran away, moving to our own area.

ADV BOSMAN: Why could people not leave the house?

MR NGOBESE: Please repeat your question, I donít understand it.

ADV BOSMAN: You say people could not leave the house, why could people not leave the house when they realised it was burning? Let me put it to you this, did you prevent them from leaving the house?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, the group that was outside was actually told that no one should leave the house. As we were there, our aim was that, because we have agreed that we will kill anything or everything, so no one was actually supposed to leave the house even when the fire was at its peak, we would actually hear the noise when the house was on fire.

ADV BOSMAN: Were there people in the house who were not family of Mahlatini?

MR NGOBESE: I wouldnít say yes or no, however what I remember is that when Zethu came back she said there were the Mahlatini people and secondly, my mother actually indicated to me that she actually wanted to go to the Mahlatini and actually be in the night vigil with them. And because I myself, I had that knowledge that they were going to attack there, I told my mother not to go there, so in that sense I would actually think that because people knew that that was the IFP house, I donít think that there would be people who would be there when you actually consider the situation in that area.

ADV BOSMAN: May I just ask you this, you say there was a night vigil, did you know about the vigil then before the attack?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

ADV BOSMAN: And is my understanding correct that at a vigil itís not only the family, also other people, that go?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

ADV BOSMAN: And you mentioned that there were many women in the one room?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I said that. However, as Iíve actually explained that there were people who were actually covered in blankets who were lying there. The only person that I identified, that I actually thought would be the wife to Dingidawo Xulu.

ADV BOSMAN: Did you think that the other women were all wives of Dingidawo, or did you realise that they may be other women?

MR NGOBESE: Well in that regard, we were actually thinking that it might be possible that it could be the daughters to Dingidawo because he had a lot of them.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you Chairperson.

ADV SANDI: Did you say it could have been the ndodagazi, sister-in-law?

INTERPRETER: Ndodagazi is a daughter.

ADV SANDI: Sorry, in my language it means something else.

INTERPRETER: Ndodagazi is a daughter in Zulu.

MS GABRIEL: So at this point the houses were on fire, people were prevented from leaving, and you told the committee that you ran away. Why did you run away?

MR NGOBESE: We realised that what had happened here is a crime.

CHAIRPERSON: You ran away because you had completed the crime. You had gone there to commit a crime.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, we were done.

CHAIRPERSON: How many shots did you fire when you entered this room?

MR NGOBESE: Although I canít quite remember, it would be about 6 or 7 bullets.

CHAIRPERSON: Who did you aim at?

MR NGOBESE: There was a group on the right hand side where there was a son by the name of Jabulani Mahlatini.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but besides the son, who else was with him in that group?

MR NGOBESE: Although I did not count and I couldnít identify them moreover, the only person I actually noticed was the son, Jabulani Makatini.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know anything at all about your companions, how many people they shot?

MR NGOBESE: Well, no, because the way this thing happened it was just shooting, it was difficult at that particular point in time to count, because those people eventually stood up and actually tried to lean of the wall. However, they were actually shot.

ADV BOSMAN: Where did you obtain these guns?

MR NGOBESE: We would actually do this to the police who were working for the old government. I will actually refer to my particular one. I bought mine in the hostel at kwaMashu and the police who were working for the old regime, when they were actually going to raid and collect the guns from the hooligans, they would actually keep them in the police station and then the person who is actually watching or guarding them would actually keep in touch with those people who were in their hostels. Thatís how I actually got hold of one and then I bought it from one guy by the surname of Ngobo, that is Bhekumuzi Ngobo who was a resident in a hostel, because he was able to communicate well with the police who were actually guarding these guns.

CHAIRPERSON: Where did your companions get their guns from?

MR NGOBESE: Well, I wouldnít speak on their behalf because weíre not obtaining them from the same source. However, it was important that each and everyone in the area was supposed to have a gun.

CHAIRPERSON: Where did they get those guns from?

MR NGOBESE: Itís difficult to say where they actually obtained them because we wouldnít ask each other where did you get yours. However, I can only indicate how I obtained mine. So it would actually be probably in connection that you know you have connection with the police, if at all you donít have any relation with the police, then you will actually associate yourself with the person who will actually eventually contact the police on your behalf.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, at the time of this killing, what happened to Dingidawo?

MR NGOBESE: Dingidawo, after escaping, we actually didnít get hold of him. We actually met at Westville prison. He was actually arrested there for murder of a girl by the name of Zethu Makoba who was the marshal. That was the day we actually met.

CHAIRPERSON: What has happened to him?

MR NGOBESE: He is the person who went to jail and then he was out of jail. Iíve heard, Iím not sure, Iíve heard that he actually passed away. Iíve heard that he was sick and eventually passed away. Thatís what Iíve heard, Iím not sure.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, you gave evidence at your trial, the trial for the murder and attempted murder of people that night. Did you tell the Court then what you have told the Committee today?

MR NGOBESE: No, I didnít. All that I was saying in Court were lies, such that I even actually said something about the mother of my child, who was my lover, because the police who were actually taking us, told us that we were actually going to be hanged, so if I told the truth I was going to be hanged.

MS GABRIEL: But the Judge in that trial did find that this was a fight that had occurred between ANC and IFP supporters. Were those issues discussed?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: You say this was discussed. Are you talking about the fact that there was evidence on that in the trial?

MS GABRIEL: I apologise Mr Chairman, what I meant to ask

was, was evidence about that led at the trial. There is, from the Judgment it would appear that the Judge did make a finding that this involved members of the ANC and of the IFP. I cannot refer you immediately to a passage, but with your leave, I will bring it to your attention.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please do. In the meanwhile you can carry on with your questioning.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, after you ran away, how long, what did you do after that, the night of the killing?

What did you do immediately after that?

MR NGOBESE: During those days we wouldnít sleep at home we would actually sleep in the bushes. Maybe for two days we wouldnít actually sleep at home during those days. It was then eventually my turn that on the day that I actually went home, then the police came and arrested me.

CHAIRPERSON: When were you arrested, can you remember?

MR NGOBESE: Well, I wouldnít remember the date, however it was in 1990, in the middle, during 1990.

MS GABRIEL: How do you feel now about your actions that evening?

MR NGOBESE: Very emotional or sensitive, most particularly to the family, the bereaved, the families who lost their beloved ones, to me it's hurtful or hurting because I know very well that yes people died, moreover children died and on top of that, I came here because I want to put it to the family that because it was the situation or the circumstances that forced me at that particular point in time and I would actually put it upon these people to forgive me because at that particular point in time the situation or the circumstances were difficult and everyone was actually forced in one way or another, to fight for his or her side.

MS GABRIEL: You mentioned that you met Dingidawo in prison. Did you speak to him?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, we did talk.

MS GABRIEL: Did you talk about what had happened that night?

INTERPRETER: I beg yours, did you ask a question?

MS GABRIEL: Did you talk about what you and members of that group did to his family and to his home?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, we did talk about that. That, yes, the mistake happened and that his entire home was destroyed and then as we were in jail we were actually trying to find the solution to this and he indicated that as he was there, he told me that he was there because he killed a girl, Zethu Makoba, in the area of Tongathi. That lady was in the company of, that girl by the name of Zethu Makoba was in the company of the Dhladhla boys. Then he indicated that his deeds were actually to try and avenge because what had happened to his family, he wasnít pleased about it and then we discussed and then he said he wouldnít hold any grudge. However, he said that if we come out of jail ľ(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: All this is now irrelevant because that man has died and there will be no way in which we can test this evidence.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, is there anything else you wish to say to the Committee today in support of your application for amnesty?

MR NGOBESE: Yes. What I put forward to the Committee is that I came here to indicate about my remorsefulness and in the way Iíve actually done the crime. What I was saying previously, I wasnít telling the truth, I was actually trying to hide the truth, now I am coming here to tell the truth and indicate to the Committee that I was also party to what happened to the Mahlatini family.

ADV BOSMAN: Ms Gabriel, may I just draw your attention to paragraph 9 of the first page, the application form of your client, under small (i), paragraph 9 (a) (i) Your client indicates there that heís applying for amnesty on two counts of murder. Perhaps you should just attend to that. It's page 1 of the bundle.

MS GABRIEL: Madam Commissioner, Mr Ngobese was charged with two separate crimes, the events relating to what weíve heard about today and the events relating to actions that occurred approximately a year later in December 1991.

ADV BOSMAN: Yes, that I understand, but he has given evidence that he was convicted and the record shows that he was convicted or 13 counts of murder, 2 counts of attempted murder and arson.

MS GABRIEL: Yes. May I draw your attention to 9(a)(ii) and (iii) and (iv). It would appear that the way that the form was filled out was, Mr Ngobese separated the counts to relate to the different events, different crimes that he was charged with.

ADV BOSMAN: Yes, that may be so. Are you saying that you will argue then that he is entitled to amnesty in regard to all these matters on which he was convicted? I just wanted you to clarify that.

MS GABRIEL: Yes, that is indeed what I will be arguing. I apologise, it would appear that this form is incorrectly filled out.

CHAIRPERSON: I just want to clear that up.

When you say you are going to apply for amnesty on behalf of your client, is it in respect of the incident that occurred that night when the family of Xulu was attacked?

MS GABRIEL: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Not some other subsequent offence?

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chairperson, the other subsequent offence has already been heard by an Amnesty Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: I beg your pardon.

MS GABRIEL: And amnesty has been granted in respect of that one and it would appear to be, Madam Commissioner, that both crimes were separated and called counts, counts 1 and counts 2 and that would appear from 9 (a) (ii) which describes count 1 as the events of 12th January 1990 and count 2 as 26th December 1991.

ADV BOSMAN: I fully appreciate that, I just wanted to have clarity on the fact that he is applying for amnesty in respect of 13 murders, 2 attempted murders and 1 arson.

MS GABRIEL: Yes, that is it. Mr Chairperson I have had opportunity to leaf quickly once more through the judgment in this case which was the judgment of Mr Justice Mescin. I must apologise, the judgment does not make any reference to members of the IFP, it does however make reference to members of the ANC and that appears from page 16 of the record, in the region of line 20. I must apologise, I did not intend to mislead this Committee, there is no reference in this judgment to internecine violence between the ANC and the IFP.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chairperson that is the evidence on behalf of the applicant.

ADV BOSMAN: If we could perhaps just return to page 16. I recall you saying that the Judge found that this once again seems to be a probability which was raised by the Judge. He said that itís probable that at the same the ANC in this particular area had organised and implemented a ľ(indistinct)

MS GABRIEL: Yes, I apologise, Madam Commissioner, he did not make any finding in this regard.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS GABRIEL

CHAIRPERSON: Any cross-examination of the applicant?

MS MTANGA: Yes, Chairperson I have some few questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please proceed.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese are you able to tell this Committee, when did the UDF start operating at Mahlatini for the first time?

MR NGOBESE: As I indicated, it was in 1980. MS MTANGA: How many people from Mahlatini were actually

UDF members? How many people were actually UDF members compared to the IFP members?

MR NGOBESE: It would be difficult to say how many were there. A person who would actually have the knowledge, it would be Bongani Emanuel Makgathe, because he is the person who was actually letting people to join, he had all the paperwork and all the relevant documentation in that regard.

MS MTANGA: You have given evidence that it was the IFP that was harassing people to join them and your people became victims to this harassment. Are you able to give incidents where people were actually killed by the IFP which, as a result, instigated you to carry out the attack on Mr Xulu?

MR NGOBESE: As I have indicated, people were harassed, others were being expelled or chased, moved away. Yes, some people would actually leave the area. Regarding to the death of people, you would actually find that a UDF person is dead in the area and then it will be rumoured that it is related to the IFP attacks which were led by Mr Xulu. Thatís the situation in the area.

MS MTANGA: Are you able to give this Committee names of people who were actually killed or driven away by Mr Xulu? CHAIRPERSON: First of all, letís just get some idea as to how many people whom you regarded as UDF people had died at the hands of IFP supporters in your area?

MR NGOBESE: Although itís difficult to say the number because we were not counting and writing down, but more than 15 who were actually dying. That was really on our minds at that particular point in time.

MS MTANGA: May I continue Chairperson?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes certainly.

MS MTANGA: Iíll go back to my question. My question was, are you able to give names of people who were killed or driven away by Mr Xulu?

CHAIRPERSON: Do it step by step. First of all you want to know the names of those who were killed. And if you are going to ask for all the names of those who were driven away, you might have a long list, unless you have a special reason to want to know the names.

MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese letís start with the names of the people who were killed by Mr Xulu.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know the names of all the people, the 15 odd people that were killed, ANC people?

MR NGOBESE: Itís difficult to explain because if Iím not mistaken, people who died it's Gerald Ndlovu, and ANC, thatís the one I remember very well and another girl, 16, Iíve forgotten the surname, thereafter we would actually find corpses and I wouldnít ask who is this one, and whatís the surname.

CHAIRPERSON: So he doesnít know the names of the people.

MS MTANGA: How do you know these people were killed by Mr Xulu?

MR NGOBESE: As Iíve explained that, mostly the rumour in the area was from the ANC community that that was done by the people who were led by Xulu, by Dingidawo Xulu.

MS MTANGA: So Mr Ngobese, you acted upon a rumour, you didn't have actual facts that these people were killed by Mr Xulu. Am I right?

MR NGOBESE: Not necessarily so that it was a rumour because in actual fact, as a person who was the vice-chairman, I would see Mr Mahlatini doing things. People who were not complying with what he was saying, people would be taken to his house and would actually be sjamboked on the buttocks and then ľ(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: You didnít see him do that.

MR NGOBESE: At times when I was passing by the house I would actually see that people are being sjamboked.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you wouldnít know who they were.

MR NGOBESE: I would actually discover that some of them were the members who were under our UDF group.

CHAIRPERSON: That means you heard rumours. Is that right?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, at times we would hear that, but the punishment itself would actually occur when I was actually passing there and I would actually see him doing it.

CHAIRPERSON: The occasional whipping or sjamboking of people turns into insignificance when you compare with some of the more serious things that were done.

Now when you heard after people had died and people said that the people who were killed were killed by Xuluís people, you believed that, didnít you?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: This had been carrying for some time?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: In how many attacks on IFP people were you involved over the years?

MR NGOBESE: For the second time or the one referring to the date on the 9th and the one that occurred on the 12th.

MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese, the incident where two of Mr Xuluís sons were killed, are you able to tell this Committee why were they killed?

MR NGOBESE: Although I cannot explain in detail, as a person who was in politics, though Mahlatini boys were actually IFP just like their father, so it was evident that they were killed because they were belonging to this political organisation.

MS MTANGA: Did you personally know these two boys, that is the two sons of Mr Xulu?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS MTANGA: Did you personally know the family of Mr Khuzwayo, that is the son-in-law of Mr Xulu?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS MTANGA: Do you know Zamukwakhe Khuzwayo, the grandson of Mr Xulu?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS MTANGA: My instructions are from Zamukwakhe, are that on the day the two sons were killed, the UDF had had a meeting in a certain hall where you were also present. Zamukwakhe was present and 4 other people, included in them were the 2 sons. Do you know about this meeting on the day the 2 sons were killed? Do you know about this meeting?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I know about the meeting that occurred. However, I arrived there when the meeting was over, as Iíve indicated. Then the boys of the Mahlatini died there.

MS MTANGA: Did you arrive at the hall where the meeting was taking place or had just finished, or did you go to where these 2 sons were killed?

MR NGOBESE: In the meeting I didnít, but where the boys were killed I did go, but the deed was already done, the killing.

MS MTANGA: According to Zamukwakhe you attended the meeting and the meeting was called for the youth, and he further says that the youth of the area belonged to the UDF and he was one of the people who belonged to the UDF even though his father was IFP. It was the same case with the 2 sons that were killed. They were killed because their fathers were IFP, but they actually belonged to your organisation, the UDF and that was mostly the case with all the youth in the area, do you deny this?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, I disagree because I would have actually portrayed that picture here, that when the meeting was held if I was there I would have portrayed that picture. As I have indicated, when I arrived the meeting was over. Thatís the situation Iíve actually explained.

CHAIRPERSON: It is put to you that one of the grandsons of Xulu says that Xuluís 2 sons who were killed, were actually UDF people and they were there amongst those who attended that meeting. You arrived, you say you arrived at that meeting when it was over. How are you in a position to say that they were not UDF, Xuluís 2 sons?

MR NGOBESE: I will actually answer this. To say that the Xulu sons were UDF, as a person who has resided in

Cottonland for years, it wasnít UDF who was under Mahlatini. Mahlatini was an IFP and all his children were IFP. Secondly, we are referring to going to the meeting. As Iíve explained, if Zamukwakhe is saying I was there, he must indicate who was there. I donít deny that I am not a committee member and what else I can say is that some instances would occur during my absence, as Iíve explained. This actually occurred during my absence and I actually wouldnít lie and maybe deny it, for that matter.

ADV BOSMAN: What do you say about Zamukwakhe? Was he a UDF member?

MR NGOBESE: At that time I wouldnít judge him because in politics during those days he was young. A lot of things that were happening at that time, he doesnít know. Well he would speak now, however, as far as Iím concerned, when there was struggle at Mahlabatini he was too young at that time.

ADV SANDI: How old is this Zamukwakhe today?

MS MTANGA: At the time of this incident Chairperson, he was 16 years old, so he wasnít so young.

ADV BOSMAN: Do you agree with that, that he was 16 years old?

MR NGOBESE: I wouldnít deny that and I wouldnít agree.

ADV BOSMAN: 16 years old. Would you say that that is too young to know about politics?

MR NGOBESE: I wouldnít deny that. Iím actually indicating that there in the meeting, as heís indicating that I was there, and that he was UDF, as far as Iím concerned I donít know that.

MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese, is it not true that the UDF at that time was recruiting the youth in the area and in doing so you would go house to house and try and get all the young people, Zamukwahkeís age that is, to join the UDF and attend your meetings. Isnít that true?

MR NGOBESE: Please repeat so that I can hear clearly.

CHAIRPERSON: Is it correct that in that area UDF people went around recruiting youngsters to join the UDF?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, people would actually recruit, but it wasnít by force, people were doing it voluntarily.

MS MTANGA: According to Zamukwakhe Khuzwayo, on the day in question, that is when the two sons of Mr Xulu were killed, they had attended a meeting with these two sons, together with two other people who were also killed in this incident, that is in the incident where the two sons were killed, actually four people were killed there. Do you know about this?

MR NGOBESE: Firstly I wouldnít deny that, that there were deaths and then secondly, I wouldnít deny that there was a meeting. What Iíve heard is that there were people who were actually going to attack, the IFP people who were going to attack on that particular day, that is what I knew.

MS MTANGA: In your evidence Mr Ngobese, you said you heard about the fight between the IFP and the ANC where these two sons had been killed and you went to the scene where this had taken place. What time was this, when you went to the scene of the crime?

MR NGOBESE: Although I canít quite remember it was at night. Probably at about 10, half past 10, 11 at night.

MS MTANGA: According to the Khuzwayo family it was at about 1 oíclock in the morning when this took place.

CHAIRPERSON: In the afternoon?

MS MTANGA: At night, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: 1 a.m. Past midnight.

MS MTANGA: What do you say to this?

MR NGOBESE: I wouldnít deny it because I wasnít carrying any watch. I wouldnít deny it because I was just estimating time myself.

MS MTANGA: It is further the evidence of the family, or my instructions from the family that in your evidence ľ

Mr Ngobese, donít put on your mike when I am talking

CHAIRPERSON: Switch it off.

MS MTANGA: My instructions from the family are that in your evidence you have lied when you said there was a fight between IFP and the ANC in that incident. What actually transpired was that the people from the meeting, which the 2 sons and Zamukwakhe had attended, walked away, they left the hall and went to the place where they decided to kill these people, and there was no fight, no other IFP there, they were attacked by their own people that they were with at the meeting. What do you say to that?

CHAIRPERSON: I donít understand your question please.

MS MTANGA: The facts from the family Chairperson are that

CHAIRPERSON: They say

MS MTANGA: That the incident that the applicant alleges there was a fight, and in his evidence he indicates that there was a group of IFP people fighting ANC people, as a result the 2 sons of Mr Xulu were killed. According to the family it is not so. The people who were at that scene were the very people who were at the meeting, there were no IFP people in that area. There were the people who came from the meeting with these two sons of Mr Xulu and they killed them there, which was the UDF people who killed, and there was no IFP people fighting them, because the people were actually at their homes sleeping, not aware of what was going on.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you saying that two of Mr Xuluís sons were killed by IFP people?

MS MTANGA: By UDF people after having attended the meeting of the UDF.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, in other words that happened at a time when there was no fighting. They did not die in the course of a fight?

MS MTANGA: No Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: They were just killed?

MS MTANGA: Yes, that is so. What do you say to this Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: As Iíve already indicated that I wouldnít deny it because when I arrived that had already occurred.

CHAIRPERSON: But you told us you actually went there to fight, because you heard that there was going to be a fight and you went there to fight and when you arrived it was all over. Thatís not true.

MR NGOBESE: Thatís the truth.

MS MTANGA: Who were you going to fight, Mr Ngobese?

MR NGOBESE: I was going to fight with the IFP members.

MS MTANGA: According to Zamukwakhe, there were no IFP members.

MR NGOBESE: As I have indicated I wonít deny and I wonít agree. What I do not know or what I know is that those people who were killed, they were killed because they were under IFP.

ADV SANDI: Mr Ngobese, when you came to this place where the two sons of Mahlatini were killed, did you see any IFP people there?

MR NGOBESE: Please repeat.

ADV SANDI: When you went out to participate in the fight which you were told was between the IFP and the UDF people, did you see any IFP people when you came there?

MR NGOBESE: When I arrived I found UDF because people were already dispersing after the death of these Mahlatini boys.

ADV SANDI: As I understand Mr Ngobese, I think heís trying to say that he was told that there is this fighting that was taking place between the IFP and the UDF people, he goes out to take part in that fight, when he gets there itís all over.

CHAIRPERSON: Thatís what he said.

ADV SANDI: Thatís what he said right from the evidence in chief.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but she is putting to him that there was in fact no fight. Sheís putting to him that on the information sheís got two of Xuluís sons were killed that day, but they were not involved in a fight with IFP, there were no IFP people involved in that fight. Thatís what sheís putting to him.

CHAIRPERSON: This information about the two sons being killed. I hear you put in your question that there were two others that were killed at that time.

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson. But I think the fourth person survived, but his whereabouts are not known.

CHAIRPERSON: So there were five people altogether?

MS MTANGA: There were four people who were attacked by this UDF group, who had also attended this meeting that they came from and the fourth person survived.

CHAIRPERSON: Three were killed.

MS MTANGA: Three died and two of the three were Mr Xuluís sons.

Mr Ngobese, in your evidence you were saying that you only heard that there was a fight. Subsequent to the death of these three people and injury of this fourth person, did you find out or did you learn what was the cause, what was the reason for them being killed?

MR NGOBESE: As Iíve indicated, it was evident to me that these people that were dead, were actually IFP because they were under Dingidawo Xulu and at that particular point in time I didnít actually make any investigation whatsoever.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Ngobese did your committee not discuss this incident? Surely it was a very important incident that had taken place? Three people were killed. Did your committee not discuss it?

MR NGOBESE: No, the committee didnít discuss this because we, as committee members, it was obvious to us that we were actually facing the IFP people that we were in actually in opposition with, so we actually perceived it as the continuation of such a struggle.

MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese, do you deny that the youth of your area, of Mahlabatini belong to UDF and it was their parents who were actually IFP members?

MR NGOBESE: Well I wouldnít deny that because when we started joining there in the organisation there would be people who are members and those who are supporters, so I wouldnít differentiate because when we had meetings, we would have people who are members who would have people who are supporters. So itís such a thing. I wouldnít actually differentiate or deny.

MS MTANGA: I wish to put it to you that, it's going to the evidence of Zamukwakhe Khuzwayo, that he himself, and the two sons of Mr Xulu that were killed, were actually UDF supporters, they attended your meetings and you must have known about that, because you were present at the very meeting where they were killed. What do you say to that?

MR NGOBESE: I wouldnít say that. I know nothing of that sort. All what I know is that those people who were killed were under IFP, that were actually guarded after they are dead. I wouldnít deny what Zamukwakhe is saying, but what I gathered myself is that the people who were killed were IFP and with us, if an IFP member was killed we would rejoice because we regarded these as our opponents, we wanted to live in peace and to be protected because there was this struggle or this fight between IFP and ANC.

ADV SANDI: Can you just clarify something here?

The two sons of Mr Mahlatini, did you see them immediately before they were killed?

MR NGOBESE: Can the speaker repeat the question?

ADV SANDI: I understand your evidence to be that when you came to the meeting, people were already dispersing and it has been put to you that the two sons had also attended this meeting, did you see them at that meeting where people were dispersing, going to the same where the two were subsequently killed?

MR NGOBESE: No, I didnít as Iíve indicated that the meeting was over because I wasnít there in the meeting. I only saw the UDF people.

MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese, regarding the killing of the wife of Mr Xulu and his children and grandchildren. What were you hoping to achieve as a UDF member?

MR NGOBESE: As Iíve indicated in the family as we were actually as a caucus, there was an opinion or a suggestion that came with Mfanange that children and wives must actually be considered in this regard, and then in the general meeting however, the majority agreed that everybody there was to be killed at the Mahlatiniís place and then if we leave those members of the family, what would be the reason. So because we actually want peace, we should actually destroy or kill everything because that was the agreement, because we wanted peace and we didnít want anyone to disturb us because these political organisations actually wanted to control the area.

CHAIRPERSON: We understand all that. I want to ask you personally, you personally as a man, were you in favour of killing children?

MR NGOBESE: Well, according to me, it wasnít my wish that indeed the kids should touched and the children as well, as a human being, as a Ngobese person. As Iíve indicated that Mfanange came with that opinion and then I gathered from the group, then I was overpowered and that, because we should be safe, we cannot leave these people, they should be killed. Thatís the situation or the circumstances that actually forced us. It was the majority, it wasnít my intention or my aim, rather.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you speak at the meeting to say children should be spared?

MR NGOBESE: No, I didnít however, the question was by Mfanange asking that if there were children and wives, what is it that we could do.

CHAIRPERSON: No Iím talking about you, Iím not talking about the views of Mfanange, Iím talking about you as a man. Because amongst those who were killed was Zandile Xulu, a 1 year old girl, Kolane Xulu, a 13 year old girl, Shitenbiso Khuzwayo, a 13 year old boy, Thokosane Khuzwayo, a 7 year old boy, Thokulunga Khuzwayo, a 7 year old girl, Ngobele Khuzwayo, a 5 year old girl, Sepo Khuzwayo, a 3 year old boy. These are the names and the ages of the children and you as an adult, responsible human being knew that that was what was going to happen, and you allowed yourself to be a party to it. You didnít speak against it. Arenít you ashamed of yourself?

MR NGOBESE: It was difficult at that point in time for you to forward certain ideas. As Iíve indicated, I was in a committee. Yes, certain opinions did come out, I would surely speak on my behalf. I didnít put forward my opinion at that particular point in time, however, what happened is that the majority was adamant.

CHAIRPERSON: I am talking about you, not the majority being adamant, Iím talking about you, that you didnít speak at the meeting to say that children shouldnít be killed, thatís what Iím talking about. Iím looking at the court papers and in all these crimes of murder, among them was only 1 adult male, the others were females and they were children. So youíre going to bring about peace in that area by killing little children and killing women?

MR NGOBESE: Well I didnít put it forward, thereís nothing I can, I canít comment on that because the whole programme was led by Mfanange. Yes, the killing or the death of children and women is not a good thing because I also have a child so thatís also a touching, however, because of the situation in the area and the way that things have occurred, and the way we have actually used this umuti and the conscience, we didnít have it, because this umuti that we had would actually finish the guilty conscience. It happened at that particular point in time and when the things were happening in the fight quickly, it wasnít my intention that this should occur.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Ngobese, what made that whole community, that particular evening, so angry that they could take such a cruel decision? What caused them to take this decision, if people spoke out like Mr Mfanange? ľ(indistinct)

MR NGOBESE: It was the situation, it was the way Dingidawo was actually harassing people who were ANC supporters, thatís the thing that actually gave people the idea to kill those people in the area, so that the peopleís needs would actually be erased accordingly so that ANC can rule or lead in the area.

CHAIRPERSON: What is difficult to accept is that in that house people are mourning the death of two sons and when they are mourning the death of two sons, that is the day when you decide to go and kill all the others. Your mother was going to attend that session of mourning. And you decide on that very day, whilst they are mourning the loss of two children, two adults, two sons, that you should go and wipe out the others, that you should be a party to that on that very day.

MR NGOBESE: It was the situation or the circumstances that led me to do this. The situation or the circumstances were forcing me that everything that was happening in the area, I was actually to do or to act accordingly. That was the situation that was between the two opposition parties, that is ANC and IFP. Iím not actually denying that that was hurting, what actually happened to the Xulu family, even myself as a person who was actually supporting my organisation, I should actually do something to actually promote my organisation so that eventually it controls or rules.

ADV SANDI: But Mr Ngobese, the other problem about this incident is that yourself and Mfanange and the other gentleman you have mentioned who were in the crisis committee, you were holding a position of responsibility as leaders, is it not the duty of a leader to lead his people, to do the right thing and not to be swayed by emotions of the crowd? You were the vice-chairperson.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, it is so, I wonít deny that. Firstly what I can say is that when we started actually being in charge, the situation in the area, no one would actually tolerate such a thing because there were killings moreover between IFP and ANC, anyone between the two wanted to control. At times we as committee members and members would actually commit crimes because it was that each organisation wanted to be in charge, or rather to control.

ADV SANDI: Is it not also true that even when there is a war, you still have dos and doníts of war, there are things people may do in the course of the war, there are also things which they may not do even if there is a war. One of those things is killing children and women.

MR NGOBESE: As I have indicated, yes, what happened at the Mahlatini, it was hurting, it was because of the situation or the circumstances rather that were forcing us because it was the opposition between these two opposition parties, so everyone or anyone rather in this area would do such a thing. That is how I actually ended up in such a situation myself, as a human being.

CHAIRPERSON: (ľ indistinct) was a man called Mr Xulu and that you were gunning for Mr Xulu and in the course of the fight Mr Xulu is killed, he is eliminated, but where women and children are killed and Xulu escapes, surely this group of 200 people that went to that house could have easily taken all the women and children and put them one side and go for Mr Xulu.

MR NGOBESE: I wouldnít deny that that was possible. It's just that what we experienced as people who were facing the IFP, you would actually find that when they were attacking the IFP, wouldnít be tolerant, they would actually kill children and wives so we actually had that knowledge and also at Boipatong as well, even children were killed in such areas.

CHAIRPERSON: No we are talking about your area just now and not of what happened in Boipatong. Do you understand? We are talking about you as a human being and what happened in your area. You didnít kill people because others killed somewhere else. Anyway, are you finished?

MS MTANGA: No Iím not yet Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Iím sorry about that, we though that you had finished. I think weíll adjourn at this stage, it is a quarter past one, and weíll resume at 2 oíclock.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

BONGANI GILBERT NGOBESE: (s.u.o.

CHAIRPERSON: You are still under your oath, remember.

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please proceed.

MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese, you have testified that the people who attended the meeting were about 250 to 350 people. Where did these people come from?

MR NGOBESE: The community, who were ANC supporters.

INTERPRETER: The speakerís mike is not on

MS MTANGA: Sorry. According to the Khuzwayo family there were several vehicles seen during the time you were having a meeting, and itís the same vehicles that proceeded to Mr Xuluís house. Where did these vehicles come from?

MR NGOBESE: I donít remember any cars but what happened is that there was a meeting and in that meeting thatís where the decision was taken that Mr Xuluís family was going to be attacked.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes we heard that. Just answer the question whether, as far as you are concerned, you didnít see any cars at that meeting.

MR NGOBESE: No I didnít see them.

CHAIRPERSON: And that night when all of you advanced on Mr Xuluís house, there were no cars that went with you?

MR NGOBESE: No, there were no cars.

MS MTANGA: According to Mr Khuzwayo, amongst the people who had attended your general meeting that evening, there were people who were not from Mahlatini, they came from other areas and were being conveyed in these vehicles, hence there was such a big number of people who had attended that meeting. What do you say to this?

MR NGOBESE: I donít know anything about that, the only thing that I know is that there were no people who were coming from other areas, the people who were in the meeting were the Mahlabatini people.

MS MTANGA: Did you at any time, Mr Ngobese, or did people from other areas at any time come and join you in your activities as the UDF in the area, or was it always just the people from Mahlabatini who participated in this activity.

MR NGOBESE: Yes, sometimes boys from Sindisweni used to come and join us.

MS MTANGA: Would these people form the majority or would the people from your area, that is Mahlabatini, be the majority compared to these people from Sindisweni?

MR NGOBESE: People from Mahlabatini will form the majority and people from Sindisweni, they will just come to other meetings and after the meeting, they will leave to their respective places.

INTERPRETER: The speakerís mike is not on.

MS MTANGA: Do you therefore dispute the view of the Khuzwayo family that most of the people who took part in the UDF activities were not actually from Mahlabatini, they were from the surrounding areas?

CHAIRPERSON: Bearing in mind that all this happened in the early hours of the evening or at night, how are we going to establish which people were from outside and which were not, if there were any from outside?

MS MTANGA: Chairperson, according to Mr Khuzwayo, it was common knowledge in the community that the UDF people were very few in the area and for them to have this kind of participation that they had on that day, they relied on people who came from outside.

CHAIRPERSON: Put it that way, that the information you have is that the UDF was not a very big, did not have large numbers in Mahlabatini and that the majority always came from outside. Put it on that basis.

MS MTANGA: Mr Ngobese, I put it to you that according to the Khuzwayo family, the people who formed UDF in Mahlabatini were largely people from outside and the people from Mahlabatini, whom you were part of, were very few in these UDF activities that took place at Mahlabatini. What do you say to that?

MR NGOBESE: I will deny this. I think statistics can show that UDF were the majority in Mahlabatini.

ADV BOSMAN: Ms Mtanga, youíve been referring to the Khuzwayo family. Just for the record, is that correct?

MS MTANGA: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, itís the son-in-law.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes carry on.

MS MTANGA: Chairperson, I will end my questions here and I would like to advise the Committee that I will be calling Mr Zamukwakhe Khuzwayo to testify on some of the evidence given.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, certainly. Any re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Just on three issues, Mr Chairperson. Mr Ngobese, in your capacity as vice-chairman of the Crisis Committee, did you have any reason to disbelieve people when they came to you with allegations that they were suffering at the hands of the IFP in your community?

MR NGOBESE: I believed them and I trusted whatever they were saying.

MS GABRIEL: Youíve told the Committee that at the meeting on the 9th, this was before the actual killings, at the meeting on the 9th you told the Committee that you arrived when the meeting was over. Did you ask members of your committee or members of the community what was discussed at that meeting on the 9th?

MR NGOBESE: I didnít ask, but one thing I gathered from one guy was that we were going to attack Inkatha.

MS GABRIEL: Where were you going to attack Inkatha?

MR NGOBESE: I would like you to repeat this question for me.

MS GABRIEL: You said you gathered that, at the meeting, or after the meeting, that there was a decision that members of the IFP were going to be attacked?

CHAIRPERSON: He said that he gathered from one person that they were going to attack Inkatha.

MS GABRIEL: Was that the same attack later that evening against the two sons?

MR NGOBESE: Yes.

MS GABRIEL: And you also told the Committee that you werenít a part of that attack because you arrived late?

On your arrival at the scene of that attack in which Dingidawoís sons were killed, did you ask people what had happened?

MR NGOBESE: No, I didnít ask but what I heard was that two guys were killed and they were from Mahlatiniís family.

MS GABRIEL: Why did you arrive on the scene late, is there any reason why you were told that IFP members were going to be attacked. How does it occur that you arrived there after the sons were attacked?

MR NGOBESE: Would you please repeat that question for me?

MS GABRIEL: Earlier in the day there was a meeting. You heard from one person that IFP people were going to be attacked. You had this information. You arrived at a scene preparing for a fight, that is the evidence you led earlier on to the Committee today, but you discovered on your arrival that Dingidawoís two sons had been killed. Is there any reason why you arrived late? Can you offer the Committee any reason for why you werenít there during the attack?

MR NGOBESE: As Iíve already explained that I owned a tuck shop at home, I was busy in my shop and also I was helping Bhekimugene. When I was supposed to go and take part in the fight it was too busy and I couldnít leave at that time, but later on I asked my sister to take care of the tuck shop and I went and joined the group and when I arrived there the sons were already killed.

MS GABRIEL: In your experience as, or in your capacity as vice-chairman of the Crisis Committee, did the UDF ever kill itís supporters in your community?

MR NGOBESE: No, it never happened.

MS GABRIEL: Would it have any reason to kill its supporters in your community, to kill itís own supporters?

CHAIRPERSON: That answer is implicit in the first one, that there was never any killing, so thatís the end of the matter isnít it. So whatís the point in looking for reasons?

MS GABRIEL: I dropped that question quite rapidly, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Ngobese, do you have any idea why the witness that the Committee will call, do you have any idea why Zamukwakhe Khuzwayo wants to tell this Committee that you are lying about the death of Dingidawoís sons? Do you have any reason to offer the Committee as to why he is saying this, or as to why he will say this?

MR NGOBESE: No, I donít have any reason but Iím just speculating. Probably itís because of political reasons or different view politically.

MS GABRIEL: So you are saying that he might hold different political views to yours?

CHAIRPERSON: Or he might have a political reason for it.

MR NGOBESE: It may be so, but this is just my speculation. Iím just saying so because he was also involved in the killing of Zethu Makoba. Thatís why Iím thinking that he will come here and say a different story from what Iím saying.

ADV BOSMAN: May I just inquire from you, did I understand you correctly that Zethu was a relation of the Mahlatini family?

MR NGOBESE: No she wasnít.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

MS GABRIEL: Just by way of explanation, Zethu Makoba, you earlier on told the Committee, was a marshal for the UDF. Am I correct in that?

MR NGOBESE: Yes, she was our marshal. Usually she would guard police in the area and inform us. The reason we used her was because it was difficult at that time to use a male, but it was easier to use a female, therefore she was our marshal.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS GABRIEL

ADV SANDI: Mr Ngobese, in the course of this conflict between the IFP and UDF, were there any instances, were there any attacks during which the IFP had attacked women and children?

MR NGOBESE: Are you referring to the area, the Cottonland area?

ADV SANDI: Yes. Did the IFP group kill women and children from your side?

MR NGOBESE: Usually females were killed, but I donít remember children being killed, but Iím not saying it never happened, but itís just that I donít remember children being killed, but females were killed.

ADV SANDI: Thank you.

ADV BOSMAN: I have no questions, thank you Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, you are excused.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: Are you calling any other witnesses?

MS GABRIEL: We are not calling any other witnesses Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Mtanga.

MS MTANGA: Thank you, Chairperson. I would like to call

Zamukwakhe Khuzwayo.

CHAIRPERSON: Spell his name for me please.

MS MTANGA: Zamukwakhe.

ZAMUKWAKHE KHUZWAYO: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MS MTANGA: Would you tell the Committee your personal background as to how you are related to Mr Elias Khuzwayo and Mr Dingidawo Xulu.

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes. Dingidawo Xulu is my grandfather. Elias Khuzwayo is my father.

MS MTANGA: Can you give the Committee any explanation or evidence surrounding the background to the killing of the two sons of Mr Xulu, your grandfather?

CHAIRPERSON: Was he there at the time? Was he there? Get that from him.

MS MTANGA: Mr Khuzwayo, were you present when the two sons of Mr Xulu were killed?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, I was present.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you give me their names please?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes. Ngura Mahlatini, Bongani Mahlatini.

CHAIRPERSON: How old were they?

MR KHUZWAYO: I wouldnít be sure, they were older than me.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MS MTANGA: Can you tell the Committee the events leading to the death of these two gentlemen? What had happened before and what did you witness prior to their killing, up to the point where they were killed?

MR KHUZWAYO: We were in the hall at Umgababa

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know when?

MR KHUZWAYO: It was in January 1990 and it was on a Tuesday. I remember very well, it was on Tuesday.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes do carry on. What happened on that Tuesday?

MR KHUZWAYO: When we were in the hall people came from Mahuti, they were in three kombis and they were UDF members.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened Mr Khuzwayo?

MR KHUZWAYO: And we were told to go to the nearest bush.

MS MTANGA: What were you doing at the hall in Umgababa?

MR KHUZWAYO: The comrades came to look as to how we were staying or living in that area. It was the first time for me to see many comrades and also they came to see the Committee members.

MS MTANGA: What was your political affiliation at that time?

MR KHUZWAYO: At that time it was UDF in that area.

MS MTANGA: Were you also a UDF supporter or member?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, I can say so, I was a supporter of UDF.

ADV SANDI: Sorry, can you explain what you mean when you say that at that time it was UDF in the area?

MR KHUZWAYO: People had been told that they can now leave Inkatha and be UDF if they wanted to.

CHAIRPERSON: Told by whom?

MR KHUZWAYO: Told by the people who initiated UDF. Kolane Mhlambo was the first one, Mfanange Mahlatini and Kesa Gumede, these were the people at the forefront of UDF.

ADV SANDI: Do you mean to say that at that stage the area was a UDF stronghold? Is that what youíre saying?

MR KHUZWAYO: This is a small area. What I can say is that at that time the majority of the youth were UDF and old people, they never used to attend these meetings, the UDF meetings. They never used to attend those meetings.

MS MTANGA: Mr Khuzwayo you have said that you were told you could now join UDF. Before people joined UDF, what was their particular affiliation of your area before you joined UDF?

MR KHUZWAYO: When we grew up people were IFP.

MS MTANGA: When did you first hear about the UDF, or when did you know that UDF started operating in your area?

MR KHUZWAYO: It was in 1989.

MS MTANGA: Alright, you can go on about the meeting at the hall. What happened when these people arrived at the hall? Before we get there, what was the purpose of you being at the hall? What was the reason for your group to be at the hall prior to these people arriving?

MR KHUZWAYO: The reason I was in that hall, we usually held meetings on Mondays and Fridays. Usually on Fridays the meetings which were usually held were in the evenings, so as to accommodate people who were coming from work.

MS MTANGA: Were these UDF meetings that you are talking about?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: But now this meeting you are talking about took place on a Tuesday and not on a Friday.

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: What were you at the meeting for?

MR KHUZWAYO: We used to attend the meetings in the area.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, carry on.

MS MTANGA: Who called this meeting that you attended on that Tuesday?

MR KHUZWAYO: From the discipline committee, it was Mfanange Mahlatini.

CHAIRPERSON: Was this a UDF meeting, or some other meeting?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, it was a UDF meeting.

CHAIRPERSON: Carry on.

MS MTANGA: You said three Kombis arrived carrying UDF members from Mahuti. What happened when these people arrived?

MR KHUZWAYO: What they said, in fact the person who was talking there, it was someone from Mahuti and they appreciated the fact that UDF had many members there or supporters in that area, even though it was just formed.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. I think we should get on to the essentials.

MS MTANGA: Were Mr Ngura Mahlatini and Mr Bongani Mahlatini amongst the people who attended that UDF meeting on that Tuesday?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, they were present.

MS MTANGA: Can you carry on and explain to the Committee how you got to the point where the two Mahlatiniís were attacked.

CHAIRPERSON: No rather letís talk about a little earlier.

What was the decision taken at the meeting? Was there any decision taken at the meeting?

MR KHUZWAYO: There was no decision taken except for the decision that we were supposed to all move from the hall and go to the nearest forest so that the police wonít disturb us.

CHAIRPERSON: What were you going to go and do in the forest?

MR KHUZWAYO: They said we were supposed to go there to camp and not be disturbed by police.

MS MTANGA: And then, did you go to the said forest?

MR KHUZWAYO: Before we left we were told that as we were leaving the hall females and young boys will be told to go back home and only the adults will go to the forest.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you go to the forest?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, I went.

CHAIRPERSON: Ngura and Bongani, did they go with you?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes.

MS MTANGA: What happened when you arrived at the forest?

MR KHUZWAYO: As we arrived at the forest one guy from Mahuti started telling us that he knew that since UDF was new in the area, therefore he knows that there are enemies in the area, or people who were against the UDF.

INTERPRETER: The speakerís mike is not on.

MS MTANGA: Carry on and tell the Committee. And then what happened after this person had said this?

MR KHUZWAYO: He explained to us that the reason they came by these three kombis is that they were going to leave their 10 members and he also said we must also select 10 people from our area and they were going to use one kombi.

CHAIRPERSON: To do what?

MR KHUZWAYO: He said they were supposed to go to Ndwedwe area because there was a certain gentleman who was going to help them, but he didnít say as to what kind of help they were going to get from the gentleman.

MS MTANGA: Were these 10 people selected, Mr Khuzwayo?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, they were.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened afterwards?

MR KHUZWAYO: The person who was speaking on behalf of the Mahuti supporters chose their 10 people and he said to us we must also choose our 10 people and combine them and then let them go to Ndwedwe.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened after that?

ADV SANDI: Did you choose your 10 people as he was telling you to do?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, we were chosen because I was one of the 10 people.

ADV SANDI: Who else was chosen?

MR KHUZWAYO: Ngura Mahlatini, Bongani Mahlatini, Aubrey Motetwa, Mbegeni Makoba, Sbu Khuzwayo, Joel Gumede, these are the only names that I remember, but we were ten. I just remember seven of them. I remember these names because I was used to them.

MS MTANGA: Who was selecting these ten, Mr Khuzwayo?

MR KHUZWAYO: We were simply chosen and if your name was called you were going to go and sit at the centre.

CHAIRPERSON: What did they do after they were chosen?

MR KHUZWAYO: After we were chosen and we waited to hear as to how we were going to go to Ndwedwe or what we were supposed to do and then we heard them calling Ngura Mahlatini, because at this stage the people were in groups.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened?

MR KHUZWAYO: The group which called him started attacking him. I only heard the scream and thatís when I realised that he was being attacked.

MS MTANGA: When you say the group that called him started attacking him. How did you divide yourselves into groups, how did this happen?

MR KHUZWAYO: As Iíve explained, we were sitting in a circle and if your name was called as someone who was chosen, you were going to sit right in the middle of the circle, and we were there and there were other people in groups.

MS MTANGA: The group that called Ngura, where was it sitting? You were all sitting in a circle and the group of ten sitting in the middle. Where was the group that called Ngura sitting? The ones that called Ngura, where were they sitting?

MR KHUZWAYO: Maybe I need to explain this over again. As we were sitting in a circle, it was a big circle. Some people were a distance, more especially if your name wasnít called or if you were not chosen to be in the group, so those were far and then the group which was chosen was right in the middle of the circle.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on. Did you see the attack on Ngura?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes. I saw that.

CHAIRPERSON: How was he attacked?

MR KHUZWAYO: They grabbed him and they slayed him, but he was also fighting back or struggling with them.

CHAIRPERSON: I didnít hear the word. You said they Ďslayedí him?

MR KHUZWAYO: They cut him.

CHAIRPERSON: Did they stab him or did they cut his throat?

INTERPRETER: They cut his throat.

MS MTANGA: Carry on. Then what happened?

CHAIRPERSON: Did they say why they were doing it?

MR KHUZWAYO: At that time no one was talking.

CHAIRPERSON: What happened after they cut his throat?

MR KHUZWAYO: They grabbed Aubrey, he was also chosen.

CHAIRPERSON: Was he also attacked?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes he was attacked. Yes he was killed.

At that time others had grabbed me and my hands were behind my back and I realised that they were chopping Mbhekeni, using a panga.

CHAIRPERSON: How do you spell Mbhekeni?

INTERPRETER: Mbhekeni.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened Mr Khuzwayo?

MR KHUZWAYO: The people who had grabbed me were not the people from the community of Mahlabatini. They were the people who came by Kombis.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you told why you were being grabbed?

MR KHUZWAYO: No, I wasnít told. The only thing I heard is that they inquired from the people who were from Mahlabatini, as to what they were supposed to do with me.

CHAIRPERSON: What happened after that?

MR KHUZWAYO: Some said they didnít know, but one person said I must be killed, his name is Joel Gumede.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened Mr Khuzwayo?

MR KHUZWAYO: One guy, his name is Mbuso Mahlatini, explained to them. He said that I wasnít involved in this whole thing which was happening there.

They had already grabbed Bongani Mahlatini and we left those two down there and they had Bongani.

MS MTANGA: When you say in your evidence Mbuso stood up and said that you were not involved in what was happening,

do you know what they were referring to? What was happening?

MR KHUZWAYO: No, I didnít know.

CHAIRPERSON: Did they do anything to Bongani?

MR KHUZWAYO: You mean the one they have grabbed?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, after they grabbed Bongani.

MR KHUZWAYO: They took him towards a tar road and thatís where they killed him.

CHAIRPERSON: How?

MR KHUZWAYO: They took him near a bush there and I think they were kicking him and beating him, because he was crying out loud.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened Mr Khuzwayo?

MR KHUZWAYO: After that, the people who came by three kombis, they boarded the three kombis and they left the place.

MS MTANGA: Was the applicant present at any time at the hall and at the scene, where this crime was carried out?

CHAIRPERSON: Whatís the question?

MS MTANGA: Was the applicant present at the hall at any time and also at the scene where the crime was carried out?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes.

MS MTANGA: Did you see him?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, he was present and I also spoke to him and I was told that as a witness if there could be any one of them arrested, then they were going to come after me.

MS MTANGA: Who said that to you?

MR KHUZWAYO: Kolane Mlambo said so.

MS MTANGA: The applicant says that you are making a mistake, he wasnít at the hall and he also didnít come to the scene of the attack until after you had been attacked, the Mahlatinis had been attacked.

MR KHUZWAYO: I deny that. I know that even people who were there, who were present, they know that he was there and theyíve witnessed him being there. I am not the only one who can testify so. Other people who were there can also testify that he was actually present.

CHAIRPERSON: When you left the hall to go to the forest, did you see him at the forest?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And when the attack on Mr Xuluís two sons took place, did you see him?

MR KHUZWAYO: I will be lying if I can say I actually witnessed someone killing him, but he was present, but I cannot say who actually killed him.

CHAIRPERSON: We are talking about the applicant being present. You saw the applicant when Bongani and his brother were killed?

MR KHUZWAYO: I donít understand the question clearly.

CHAIRPERSON: Iím sorry. Take your time. You have told us that you saw the applicant at the hall.

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: You told us that when they left the hall and went to the forest, you saw the applicant there?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Now my question was, when Bongani and his brother were attacked, was the applicant present?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes he was present.

ADV SANDI: What was he doing? Or what did he say, if he said anything.

MR KHUZWAYO: No, he didnít say anything but he was present.

ADV SANDI: You mean to say that he was just standing around?

CHAIRPERSON: He may have been doing something, on the other hand you might not have seen him doing things.

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, what I know for certain is that he was present, but I would be lying to say to this Committee that Iíve heard him saying something or doing something, but he was present.

ADV SANDI: You say he was at the hall. What was he doing there, did he say anything, did he play any role in the events at the hall?

MR KHUZWAYO: No, he didnít say anything in the hall. The people who came by kombis were the people who were speaking in the hall.

MS MTANGA: And then what happened after you had left the scene of the crime Mr Khuzwayo?

MR KHUZWAYO: Would you please repeat that question?

MS MTANGA: After you left the scene where the Mahlatinis were attacked, what happened?

MR KHUZWAYO: I went home to sleep.

MS MTANGA: Is that all you want to tell this Committee about this incident?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes, thatís all.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you not tell your grandfather that these two men were killed that night?

MR KHUZWAYO: No, I didnít tell him on that night.

CHAIRPERSON: You didnít tell your father?

MR KHUZWAYO: I only told my father on the second day and I was scared because I was told that if someone was going to be arrested, I was going to be killed, but then after a day I told my father and they had already discovered their bodies and then I told my father and I ran away from that area.

MS MTANGA: That completes my questioning.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS MTANGA

CHAIRPERSON: Was he not present on the night when the murders took place?

MS MTANGA: No Chairperson, he had fled the place as he stated now so when the second attack took place, he was away.

CHAIRPERSON: So his evidence really has nothing to do with the offences with which we are concerned here. It is really to challenge the credibility of the previous witness.

MS MTANGA: Well Chairperson I would say it discredits the applicant on the background he has created about the conflicts between them and Mr Xulu.

CHAIRPERSON: Well he hasnít really, he really talked about what happened in respect of the killings of Xuluís two sons and his story differs. The applicant says he wasnít there, he arrived there after the scene, this witness places him at the scene.

MS MTANGA: Chairperson, the family is of the view that the

reason for Mr Xuluís house to be attacked was that he was going to avenge the killing of his sons and his sons were not political enemies to the applicants or to their organisation, they were members of that organisation so there couldnít have been political grounds or a political motive for attacking Xulu.

CHAIRPERSON: Well why were these two boys then killed, Xuluís two boys killed by UDF supporters?

MS MTANGA: That is what the family does not understand and they feel that the applicant is not ľ(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: See the applicant doesnít seem to have played a part in the killing of those two boys. Here is a young chap who is a nephew of those two boys, a relative of theirs. He doesnít throw much light on the matter except that those people who arrived in the kombi had apparently formed a view that certain of the young people who had attended that meeting were not UDF supporters and among them were these two that died and one of the other companions that was killed.

MS MTANGA: Chairperson, the evidence of the applicant does not say that and the evidence of this witness is that the applicant had always known that they were UDF members, so there was no grounds for them to have killed them. As such, when they went to attack the family they were in fear the Mr Xulu was going to revenge the killing of his sons, because they were killed because they were IFP, and according to the family that was not so, so they had no ground at that point in time to fear Me Xuluís attack, because the incident that instigated his attack was never politically motivated.

ADV SANDI : Yes, but is Mr Ngobese, the applicant, is he not disputing that the two sons were members of the UDF?

MS MTANGA: He said he couldnít really deny.

ADV SANDI: This appears to me to be a safe issue.

CHAIRPERSON: Any cross-examination of this witness

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL: Yes, Mr Chairperson. Itís around four basic areas.

Mr Khuzwayo, you lived and you grew up in Cottonfields, Mahlabatini?

CHAIRPERSON: Cottonland.

MS GABRIEL: Cottonland, pardon me. Isnít it correct that there were disputes between the ANC and the IFP or the UDF, that there were political disputes in that area. Do you agree with that?

MR KHUZWAYO: I disagree with that.

MS GABRIEL: So what you are saying is that the community that you grew up in was a very peaceful community, that there were no political disputes, is that what you are saying?

MR KHUZWAYO: Yes. The first time I experienced violence was in 1990.

MS GABRIEL: What was this violence about? Wasnít this violence really about belonging to different political groups?

MR KHUZWAYO: As Iíve already explained, I only experienced violence in 1990 when this attack was done, I saw it in January 1990, this was the first time or the first experience. The only time Iíve experienced it is when I saw it.

MS GABRIEL: Then why then, if you community was such a peaceful community up until 1990, why then did you join the UDF in 1989?

MR KHUZWAYO: I didnít know anything about politics, but then we took it as a fashion, we were soccer teams and we would go to these meetings, not that I had more knowledge or politics or political knowledge, I didnít have, but then everyone used to go for meetings and when UDF came I also joined the group.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Khuzwayo I have only two last questions?

Were you present at the meeting, the applicant tell us is was on the 11th or the 12th of January, when a decision was made to kill Dingidawo, were you present at that meeting?

MR KHUZWAYO: No I wasnít present.

MS GABRIEL: So then you really know nothing about the reasons why the community made this decision and what could have prompted them to make this decision?

MR KHUZWAYO: Maybe I need to clarify. I was still young but I remember and I know this very well. When I am talking about political issues, I am referring to the fact that at the time I was still young and I didnít even know any policies of any political organisation, but since I was young and I was a youth at the time, most youth belonged to UDF and at the time when the meeting was held where the decision to attack Dinidawoís family, I wasnít in the area, I had run away.

MS GABRIEL: Right, so then you know nothing about the decision. You had fled.

ADV SANDI: As I understand him, he is trying to tell you Ms Gabriel, that he agrees with the applicant who said that at that stage he was still very young and did not really know much about these things.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but he didnít know about the attack on the house of the deceased. Simply because by that time this terrible incident which he saw where these two boys were killed, that experience he had caused him to flee because he thought he might get involved if he discloses who were responsible for the killing.

MS GABRIEL: Thank you Mr Khuzwayo.

NO FURTHER RE-EXAMINATION BY MS GABRIEL

CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination?

MS MTANGA: None Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: What schooling have you had?

MR KHUZWAYO: Standard 5

CHAIRPERSON: What are you doing now?

MR KHUZWAYO: Iím not doing anything.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you gone back to the area where you used to live?

MR KHUZWAYO: No.

CHAIRPERSON: Where are you now living?

MR KHUZWAYO: Iím staying with my aunt at Ndwedwe

CHAIRPERSON: That night at this gathering when these people from the Kombi said that they want to select ten from each group because they want to go to Ndwedwe. Did they say why you were supposed to go to Ndwedwe?

MR KHUZWAYO: No they didnít explain.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You are calling no other evidence?

MS MTANGA: No I am not calling any other person Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Gabriel do you wish to address us?

MS GABRIEL: Very briefly Mr Chairperson.

MS GABRIEL IN ARGUMENT: It is our submission that the applicant has made a full disclosure. The crimes that he has been sentenced for were gruesome and chilling and he did not withhold any of that evidence and admitted quite openly to the full extent of what happened that evening. It is also clear that the applicant was a member and acted in his official capacity of what may have been the banned ANC or the UDF. It is clear that he was an ANC supporter, that he was a UDF supporter, both of which were political organisations, publicly recognised at the least. It is also clear that his actions arose as a result of a meeting of supporters and the leadership of these publicly recognised political organisations, that the decision was taken in response to political tension in that area and that he acted in furtherance of this decision.

The evidence, as you rightly pointed out Mr Chair, of Mr Khuzwayo really does not refute the disclosure made by the applicant and in a sense does very little to indicate that the applicant acted out of a selfish motive or a personal motive, or a non political motive and indeed there has been no suggestion that that was the basis for his actions.

In the circumstances and given the fact that the applicant has made a full disclosure we submit that the requirements of Section 20 of the Act are met and we would urge this committee to grant the applicant the amnesty he requests.

ADV BOSMAN: Ms Gabriel, what would your submission be to

a suggestion that Mr Khuzwayoís evidence may be relevant to the issue of proportionality of the actions of the applicant?

MS GABRIEL: If Mr Khuzwayo is to be believed, his version is disputed by the applicant, if he is to be believed, on Mr Khuzwayoís version there does not seem to be or he cannot dispute that the sons were killed on the basis of the membership of being IFP. Mr Khuzwayo also cannot place any of those events in perspective so it is difficult to balance what the applicant says, was a long stream of oppression by the leadership of the IFP in that area, and so even if its taken in isolation that the killing of Mr Xulu was in fact quite shocking, and of his family, and it appears to be quite disproportionate to the events that went on two days before, I would submit that the committee should take into account the fact that there was a steady stream of complaints and very severe allegations about the political turmoil, political oppression in that community.

CHAIRPERSON: There is some evidence of ongoing conflict between two groups, two rival political groups. Two sons of a man are killed and on the night when there is a vigil in connection with their deaths, people have gathered to mourn the death of the two sons, that is the night heís chosen to go and wipe out women and children in that house.

What was expected to be achieved and was what done, what was done not totally disproportionate to any objective which they hoped to achieve?

MS GABRIEL: The objective, on the applicantís submission, was to rid the area of the ongoing turmoil and the oppression.

CHAIRPERSON: That could have been done by getting hold of Mr Xulu himself.

MS GABRIEL: That much is true.

CHAIRPERSON: But to kill children and women because they couldnít get hold of him.

MS GABRIEL: With respect Mr Chair, on the evidence submitted by the applicant, their marshals were sent to check on whether the deceased was there with his group and I took that to mean his group of IFP supporters. The marshal came back with the information that they were present. It is not disputed that the applicant knew that there was a vigil and that the rest of his group knew that there was a vigil and that there would be bound to be many people there. My submission is really that the decision was made to rid the community of the deceased and all that surrounded him.

ADV BOSMAN: But Ms Gabriel, sorry to interrupt you, if I recall correctly, the evidence was that the marshal had reported that his wife or wives and children were there, not just simply an undefined group.

CHAIRPERSON: There was a wake as a result of the death of the two sons. They were mourning, that is what was taking place there. I think there was no hint that there were a lot of armed people who were supporters of Mr Xulu himself who were at the house providing protection or security or anything of that kind. There were just women and children there and they were mourning the death of these two people.

MS GABRIEL: On the evidence admitted by the applicant, it was clear that they expected a counter attack by Mr Xulu.

CHAIRPERSON: Thatís one of those rumours that might have spread in that area.

MS GABRIEL: These were the rumours, in my submission, that fuelled the ultimate decision.

CHAIRPERSON: And so they send somebody to go there and that person comes back and says that there are women and children there in the house.

MS GABRIEL: Mr Chairman, my recollection from my notes is that the person came back and said that Mr Xulu was there along with his group. I am not disputing that the applicant and his group did not know that there was a vigil there that night, itís clear that they did know

CHAIRPERSON: Not only that. As a matter of fact there was a discussion by the Committee. We will attack Xuluís house. What are we going to do with his wife and his children? Some say we must kill them, some say no. So they said no, letís not take a decision, letís submit that decision to the meeting, so long before they sent out anybody the question about what is going to happen to the women and children was discussed and decided on. I want to know whether that does not indicate a sordid course of conduct which is totally disproportionate to what was hoped to be achieved, the political objective that was to be achieved.

MS GABRIEL: My submissions are the following Mr Chairperson. This was a community racked by violence, this was a community racked by political tension. It was a process of ongoing tension, it was clear that it was supporters of the IFP and the leadership was identified. It is true that the Crisis Committee could not reach a decision about the killing of the women and the children. On that basis they refused to make a decision and took it back to the general body of the IDF supporters at which point they discussed the problems experienced by the community all the time.

CHAIRPERSON: That was an artificial discussion

INTERPRETER: The speakerís mike.

CHAIRPERSON: talk about the other problems, that Xulu is forcing members to become IFP and so on and so on, when that night the discussion centred around whether they are going to attack Xuluís house or not. Previous grievances had been aired at meetings because meetings were held regularly. These were not new grievances.

MS GABRIEL: On the applicants evidence

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, he can say what he likes, but Iím just trying to say that what triggered off the whole thing that night was not a repetition of the previous grievances. What triggered it off was because somebody came and said that because we have killed his sons, we fear now that there is going to be a counter attack and before there is a counter attack, letís go and wipe them out. Thatís what happened.

MS GABRIEL: My submissions Mr Chair are that this is a decision that was not lightly taken. It was presented to the community, it was on balance decided that the only way that they could do this was to destroy him and the people that surrounded him and it had to happen before the counter attack.

ADV BOSMAN: It was appreciated that the people who you refer to as having surrounded him, were women and children.

MS GABRIEL: That much was appreciated, the decision was not made lightly. The only submission that I can make is that the community must have suffered enormously to have been driven to a point where, after general deliberation, they endorsed the fact that they wanted stability in the region and that the only way to do it was to kill everybody present.

CHAIRPERSON: Letís just talk about the enormous suffering that the community went through. He is a vice-chairman, he is an experienced man and when he is asked to give, how many people were killed, how many ANC people were killed, can you give us the names of people that were killed by Inkatha, and he had a pathetic answer. Were any women killed, any children killed? No, no children were killed by Inkatha. But no that there is ongoing violence and this violence is not something that is premeditated. It erupts like boils erupt on a humanís body from time to time and there is no rational explanation as to how people react whenever these things boil over. We, from time to time are caught in having to make a decision on a matter of grave important and from time to time we have to ask this question, taking into account the fact that there is ongoing violence, sometimes did the parties not resort to a method or resort to the degree of violence which far exceeded what the circumstances required? When 1 year old children, 3 year old, 5 year old girls are killed, one canít help but ask this question that wasnít what they did totally disproportionate to the political objective?

MS GABRIEL: The political objective, on the applicantís evidence, was to rid the community of ongoing problems. The severity of these problems were not fully addressed by the applicant. It is something however that I submit that this Committee can take notice of, given the Final Report of the TRC. These issues were never clear, the attacks and the counter attacks. The fact that the applicant cannot remember off-hand the names of ANC supporters that were killed in that area, I submit, does not really reveal either way, the severity of the suffering that went on in that community. All I can submit on behalf of the applicant is that this was a decision that was not lightly reached. It was made at a public meeting, by public supporters, it may well be that it was disproportionate but that is for the Committee to decide, but it was made by people who had suffered at the hands of that IFP leader, Mr Xulu was the leader of the IFP. It is clear that it came after years and years of turmoil in that community. The very formation of the Crisis Committee itself would give some indication of the extent to which UDF supporters were made to pay, as it were, in that community.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Is there anything else you wish to say.

MS GABRIEL: Those are my submissions.

CHAIRPERSON: You did say earlier on that you were not in possession of the information which concerned the granting of indemnity to the persons who were accused numbers 1, 2 and 3 in the trial with the applicant.

MS GABRIEL: Neither those instructing me, nor I, have any information on that. The only information we have is from the applicant. In our consultations this morning I did ask the applicant, and I specifically asked "Was that amnesty or indemnity granted by the State?" and his response was in the affirmative.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Do you wish to reply?

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson.

MS MTANGA ADDRESSES: It is my submission on behalf of the victims that the applicantís amnesty application has failed, or fails to comply with the requirement of proportionality in that the applicant, in his testimony, has testified that the particular objectives sought by his organisation was to maintain peace in the area. He has also testified that the person who disturbed, or whom they believed or heard in a rumour, disturbed this peace, was Mr Dingidawo Xulu. Instead of dealing with Mr Dingidawo Xulu, the applicant and his organisation killed Mr Dingidawoís family and they have not given any evidence to show how the grounds for killing the family and how the family of Mr

Dingidawo, had disturbed the peace that they were seeking to achieve. And it is therefore the submission of the family that the applicant had no political objective in killing the families, surely the children of Mr Dingidawo.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that all you wish to say?

MS MTANGA: That is all I wish to say Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: The Committee has already considered some aspects of this matter but we are concerned about the fact that we donít have enough information on the question of the grant of indemnity to his three compatriots and I would like to place on record that you will make inquiries diligently and place as much information before us, in writing, relating to the grant of indemnity to these three persons.

MS MTANGA: Yes I will do so Chairperson, but if I may also put it on record that our office had made endeavours with Mr Konke, I canít pronounce the surname, and he had indicated that he would try and obtain these copies for us.

CHAIRPERSON: Heís going to try and obtain them?

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson that was the agreement he made with our office.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Konke. Thatís very generous of him.

MR KONKE: I tired to obtain them but I couldnít.

CHAIRPERSON: You couldnít.

It seems that we must have some record.

MS MTANGA: Weíll take it further Chairperson. Iíll make a follow up to that.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes please. Thank you very much.

Any question you wish to put?

ADV BOSMAN: No questions, thanks Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you have anything to say?

The Committee will not take a decision in this matter until it has had the benefit of the information we seek on this question on the grant of indemnity to the others. Once we have that information, we will then consider the rest of the evidence and take a decision in the matter and in due course it will make known its decision to the applicant and to those who are here as members of the deceasedís family and relatives of the victims.

Before I adjourn to tomorrow morning, what can you tell me about the programme for tomorrow?

MS MTANGA: Tomorrow we will be hearing the amnesty application of Mr Thusi and it was indicated that we should start at 9 oíclock, this application is likely to be very long.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well this Committee will now adjourn till 9 oíclock tomorrow morning.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

 
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