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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 02 August 1999

Location PIETERMARITZBURG

Day 1

Names TOBIAS RONNIE MBANJWA

Case Number AM5967/97

CHAIRPERSON: You are now calling Mr Mbanjwa?

MR WILLS: Yes.

TOBIAS RONNIE MBANJWA: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR WILLS: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

Mr Mbanjwa, you also filled out an amnesty application on the prescribed form with your colleague and you dated that on the 10th May 1997 at Durban, is that right?

Sorry, Mr Chairperson, I place on record that for some reason the applicant isn't hearing his headphones.

Sorry, can I repeat? You filled out an application for amnesty on the prescribed form on the 10th May 1997, is that correct?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: Would you confirm the contents contained in that form?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I do.

MR WILLS: You filled out the form together with and in the presence of your co-applicant, Mr Ndaba?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: You then, like your co-applicant, gave further details in an affidavit that appears before the Committee on page 15 and 16 of the bundle, is that right?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: And that affidavit is largely a confirmatory affidavit confirming the facts contained in the evidence of -or in the affidavit of Mr Ndaba, is that right?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: Now would you confirm the contents of that affidavit?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I do.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, before you go on, did somebody fill this form in for you, this amnesty application form?

MR MBANJWA: Mr Ndaba was helping me.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you together?

MR MBANJWA: Yes we were.

CHAIRPERSON: Because I notice you filled in different forms and Mr Ndaba's form which is dated the 10th May appears to have been stamped with a date stamp by the South African Police on the - sorry it is the 10th - blank - oh, because you have no such date stamp on yours, at the end of your form?

MR WILLS: There is, Mr Chairperson, it's very faint on my copy but for the record on page 14 at the bottom right hand corner I can definitely see that there is ...(indistinct)

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, sorry, I see there is something there but it is a different person signing it.

MR WILLS: Yes indeed.

CHAIRPERSON: Now carry on?

MR WILLS: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

Now you've heard the evidence of Mr Ndaba?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I did.

MR WILLS: And do you confirm what he said in relation to this incident?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I do.

MR WILLS: Do you confirm what he says in relation to your involvement in the incident in that after he had shot you fired shots at the deceased and after which he fell, is that correct?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: And do you confirm what he says in relation to the fact that you were the only two involved in committing this murder?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: Is there anything in his evidence which you want to dispute?

MR MBANJWA: No, nothing.

MR WILLS: You too were a member of the underground structures having been recruited by the first applicant, is that right?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: And you too were integrated into the protection services department of the Department of Safety and Security, is that right?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: And I take it this must have been after the elections sometime in 1994, is that right?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: Is there anything you wish to add to this application that might be of assistance? Is there anything you wish to say to the Committee?

MR MBANJWA: In my knowledge I think he said everything and there is nothing that I would like to add on top of what he has already said.

MR WILLS: Now it's also so that you have come forward and disclosed this to the Committee and you have not been the subject of any police investigation, to your knowledge, in regard to this, neither have you been sentenced or tried?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR WILLS: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR WILLS

ADV DE JAGER: Do you know the mother of the deceased?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I do know her only by seeing her.

ADV DE JAGER: For a long time before the incident before you killed the son?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

ADV DE JAGER: And the sisters, did you know them?

MR MBANJWA: No I didn't know them.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAPOMA: You have just confirmed that it's only the two of you who killed the deceased. Is it only the two of you who made a decision to kill him?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

MR MAPOMA: You did not even consult with the ANC before killing him, is that so?

MR MBANJWA: We didn't consult with anyone about killing him or about the decision of killing him.

MR MAPOMA: After your commander said you must do something and when you thought of killing him, you did not even go back to him and find out if it is in order to kill him, is that so?

MR MBANJWA: Yes it is so, we didn't go back to him.

MR MAPOMA: For the record the deceased's family deny that their son was involved in the criminal activities which you allege. What do you say to that?

MR MBANJWA: I wouldn't dispute that but our investigations and the reports we received it is true that he was a criminal.

CHAIRPERSON: But then surely you must dispute it. If you had concrete information that he was a criminal then surely you dispute it when the family say he was not? Was you information of such a certain nature?

MR MBANJWA: He was a criminal.

ADV DE JAGER: Did he kill Mr Mbali? Or not Mbali, Mr Radebe?

MR MBANJWA: No he didn't.

ADV DE JAGER: Well who did he kill or didn't he kill anybody, only robbed them?

MR MBANJWA: In short I will say we didn't receive any report that say he killed someone but we received numerous reports that he had injured people.

CHAIRPERSON: You've told us of one incident or your colleague has where he allegedly shot the owner of a bottle store. Can you tell us of any other?

MR MBANJWA: No I wouldn't be able to give you names but what I know is that he was harassing and torturing people but there was no single person who came to the offices and said he was shot by him except for the bottle store owner.

MR MAPOMA: Thank you Sir, I've no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MAPOMA

MR SIBANYONI: Mr Mbanjwa, did you also know that the ANC did not have policy of killing criminals?

MR MBANJWA: Yes.

MR SIBANYONI: When Entela said you should do something about the deceased, what did you understand him to mean about doing something?

MR MBANJWA: In my knowledge or our knowledge, me and my co-applicant, we thought that it included even killing the deceased.

MR SIBANYONI: After killing the deceased your co-applicant says you reported back to Entela, is that so?

MR MBANJWA: Yes, it is so.

MR SIBANYONI: What was his reaction, was he surprised that you killed the deceased, did he do anything? Did he show anything that he was against the action you have taken?

MR MBANJWA: No, he was not surprised and he didn't show any signs that he was against the action we'd taken and we took that he understood and we were according to the order or the instruction that we had to do something because people had already reported about the deceased many times.

MR SIBANYONI: I heard your co-applicant saying that these complaints were received at an ANC office, which office was that?

MR MBANJWA: ANC office, the one in Maritzburg, the original office in other words.

MR SIBANYONI: Did the regional office know that you took some steps of killing the deceased? Was it reported to the office?

MR MBANJWA: We reported this to Comrade Entela Skosane because we had already discussed this issue with him before or prior to the killing therefore he was the only one we reported to after the incident.

MR SIBANYONI: Apart from being a commander of your unit, did Entela hold any position in the ANC office or in ANC structures?

MR MBANJWA: He used to be a member of the REC in the ANC office, executive.

MR SIBANYONI: At what stage was that, was it before this killing or during the killing or after that?

MR MBANJWA: I wouldn't be very sure because the positions were continuously changing. I don't remember very well whether it was prior to the incident or after the incident but he was the member of the REC.

MR SIBANYONI: Now if you knew that the ANC policy was against killing criminals, why do you say when Entelas said you must take action you thought it included killing the deceased?

MR MBANJWA: The truth is more especially if I'm referring to the ANC, they don't allow killings but the situation at the time was forcing people to do so.

MR SIBANYONI: In your mind did you believe that what you were doing was in line with what the ANC would approve?

MR MBANJWA: Yes it is so.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, no further questions Mr Chairperson.

ADV DE JAGER: Do you know whether the mother of the deceased was an ANC member?

MR MBANJWA: No I do not know her political affiliation.

ADV DE JAGER: Did she stay in an ANC area?

MR MBANJWA: Yes it is so.

ADV DE JAGER: Where there any IFP members staying in that area?

MR MBANJWA: No.

ADV DE JAGER: So why did you not - didn't it cross your mind that the deceased may be an ANC member?

MR MBANJWA: It wasn't possible for us to think along those lines because his actions were far away from the ANC actions because for one, he used to harass and torture ANC people, sympathisers and supporters.

ADV DE JAGER: But you see, every political party in this country has the bad apples so to say, there are criminals in I would say every political party existing in South Africa? So the fact that he had been a criminal wouldn't necessarily mean that he's not an ANC member? Isn't that so?

MR MBANJWA: That is so.

ADV DE JAGER: So you don't know whether you've killed a bad ANC member, one that could even be a criminal, but he could have been a member of your own party or a supporter of your own party?

MR MBANJWA: I grew up in that area and I was an active member. I can tell if someone is an ANC member and he believes in the ANC as an organisation or the objectives of that organisation but what the deceased did, it was clear to us that he was not a member of the ANC because if he was he wouldn't have tortured and harassed ANC members.

ADV DE JAGER: Well can you tell us who did he torture?

MR MBANJWA: Committee members who were residing in the area were being harassed by ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: No but what's their names? Give me the names of those people who had been tortured, let's leave the part of harassment now. Torture, you've said he tortured people?

MR MBANJWA: We used to hold meetings after we had received reports and later we would meet as members or committee members and discuss about issues and they will report everything when everyone is there and then later we will discuss.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes, but you've told us now that he'd tortured people. Can you give us the name of one of the people that he had tortured?

MR MBANJWA: If I remember very well I think there was Comrade Vuyesili.

ADV DE JAGER: What did he do to him?

MR MBANJWA: Vuyesili used to receive reports because he was a member of the committee and he as well was harassed by this gang and therefore he couldn't go out and get reports and he used to come to the office and tell us that now he can't conduct his job because these people are harassing him, he cannot get the reports from the community.

ADV DE JAGER: Well what did he say, what did they do to him? Did they attack him, did they assault him, did they throw stones at him? What did they do?

MR MBANJWA: Sometimes they will just threaten him.

ADV DE JAGER: Alright, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: And the two of you decided to kill him, so you went looking for him, is that correct?

MR MBANJWA: Yes that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Where did you go?

MR MBANJWA: In Dambuza, he was carrying a battery or the battery was in a wheelbarrow. We saw him leaving his house and then we kept on looking at him and we followed him. We found in a road between the houses.

CHAIRPERSON: In the middle of Dambuza?

MR MBANJWA: Yes, in the middle of Dambuza.

CHAIRPERSON: Or the area you lived in yourselves?

MR MBANJWA: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And you were walking around this - with balaclava hats on in the middle of the morning? You must have drawn a great deal of attention to yourselves? Didn't you?

MR MBANJWA: No it is not so.

CHAIRPERSON: Why not? People didn't think it odd that you were walking around, the two of you with balaclavas over your heads in the middle of the morning?

MR MBANJWA: We didn't walk a distance so as to attract attention from people.

CHAIRPERSON: I thought you told us you followed him along the road?

MR MBANJWA: We watched him as he was leaving home and we looked at him as to see which route he was taking and then that's when we followed him.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR WILLS: Yes thank you Mr Chairperson, if you would just bear with me, I'm trying to think of a way to phrase my question without it being too leading.

At what stage - sorry, when you were following the deceased did you have your balaclavas on all the time?

MR MBANJWA: Yes, they were on our heads.

ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, didn't he say he put it on at his house or something to that effect?

MR WILLS: I honestly can't remember that.

CHAIRPERSON: No, now, now, now, I thought I heard the word house?

ADV DE JAGER: Ja, "khaya".

MR WILLS: In the interpretation?

ADV DE JAGER: Yes.

INTERPRETER: No, not from me.

MR MAPOMA: I'm sorry, the word was "kanda"

INTERPRETER: Head, not home.

ADV DE JAGER: Thank you.

MR WILLS: At all stages was this balaclava pulled down or what was the position?

MR MBANJWA: At that time the balaclava was just on our heads, not covering the face.

CHAIRPERSON: So anybody who knew you and passed you would have been able to recognise you, you were not concealed so people could not recognise you? Is that the position?

MR MBANJWA: Yes it is so.

MR WILLS: And at what stage did you pull the balaclava down or if you did, did you pull the balaclava down at any stage prior to killing the deceased?

MR MBANJWA: Yes we did pull the balaclavas just before we arrived to the deceased.

MR WILLS: Were there other people around that you could notice?

MR MBANJWA: Yes there were.

MR WILLS: And where were they when you - in relation to the place when you shot at the deceased, I'm talking about the time you shot the deceased at that moment?

MR MBANJWA: The only people I saw, I saw them after the deceased was running away, it was after the gun had been shot or fired.

MR WILLS: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR WILLS

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Now what are we going to do now, we've now come up against the problem, it's half past 3, I understand you have other witnesses whom you had arranged to be here on Wednesday which was the date you understood the hearing was to be held?

MR WILLS: That's indeed so, Chairperson, I would request an adjournment until such time as I can lead those witnesses on Wednesday.

CHAIRPERSON: I think it would probably be in the interests of clarity that we should do that rather than invite the victims witnesses to give evidence now before you have completed your case, I think it would be better, do you agree?

MR WILLS: Yes, thank you Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: So if we could adjourn till 9 o'clock Wednesday morning.

MR WILLS: Yes Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: The applicants are not in custody as I understand it from the evidence so you will arrange that they will be here?

MR WILLS: Yes Mr Chairperson, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: We cannot conclude the hearing today because Mr Wills was told that the hearing would only be on Wednesday and it is arranged for his other witnesses to be here on that day. We are accordingly now going to adjourn this hearing till 9 o'clock on Wednesday morning when we would ask all of you who are interested, who are potential witnesses, to be present as perhaps from half past 8 so people who want to talk to you can have a chance to consult with you before the hearing commences at 9. So that is the deceased's mother and the other witnesses who are going to give evidence on her behalf, if they could please try to be here at half past 8 on Wednesday morning. Would that suit you?

Very well, we will now adjourn this hearing till 9 o'clock on Wednesday and we will resume tomorrow with a fresh hearing. We will be sitting at 9 o'clock.

WITNESS EXCUSED

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