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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 05 August 1999

Location PIETERMARITZBURG

Day 4

Names VUSUMUSI ROBERT NGCOBO

Case Number AM5628/97

Matter MURDER OF MR BONGANE KUNENE

CHAIRPERSON: We are going to hear the application of Vusumusi Rodneg Ngcobo, No 5628/97. The Committee remains the same, but could the legal representatives please put themselves on record?

MR NAIDOO: I'm Pete Naidoo, appearing for the applicant, instructed by the firm Jesak and Jesak.

MR MANZI: My name is Robinson Manzi, from Robinson Manzi and Company, appearing for the victim, Mosesiwe Esther Kunene, Mrs.

MR MAPOMA: Zuko Mapoma, still the Evidence Leader. Thank you.

MR NAIDOO: Mr Chairperson, I just want to clarify the name of the applicant. In some of the papers its reflected as Vusumusi Rodney Ngcobo. I am instructed that his name is Vusumusi Robert Ngcobo.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you going to call him now?

MR NAIDOO: That's correct, Mr Chairperson.

VUSUMUSI ROBERT NGCOBO: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR NAIDOO: Mr Ngcobo, before we start with these proceedings, would you tell the members of the Committee, the affidavit that's before them, is that the correct version of the events that transpired, or is there more to what you want to say?

ADV DE JAGER: Are you referring to page?

MR NAIDOO: Member of the Committee, it extends to the entire affidavit and the applicant wants to make certain disclosures in an attempt to curtail the proceedings.

ADV DE JAGER: Is that the affidavit appearing on pages 6 to 7 and the typewritten copy on 4 and 5?

MR NAIDOO: That's correct.

ADV DE JAGER: What was his reply to the question? Is there anything you want to add, or highlight in the affidavit?

MR NGCOBO: There are things that I would like to mention which were not included in the affidavit. This was because of my state of health and for that of my family's. There is something that I would like to add now which I could not include then because of the fear I had for my family's and for myself.

MR NAIDOO: Would you continue.

MR NGCOBO: I would like to be able to explain everything that happened with regard to this incident.

MR NAIDOO: Let us commence with informing the members of the Committee. What is your age?

MR NGCOBO: I was 24 years old.

MR NAIDOO: Was that at the time of the commission of the offence?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, at that time.

MR NAIDOO: What is your current political affiliation?

MR NGCOBO: The ANC.

MR NAIDOO: And what proof do you have of your membership with the ANC?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, I have, that is my membership card.

MR NAIDOO: Can you read your membership number out to the members of the Committee.

MR NGCOBO: 69249. It was issued on the 27th May 1993.

MR NAIDOO: When did you actually join the ANC?

MR NGCOBO: I joined the ANC when it was still in the form of the UDF, in the eighties.

MR NAIDOO: And when the ANC was unbanned, did the then UDF become part of the ANC?

MR NGCOBO: That's correct.

MR NAIDOO: What position did you hold in the ANC?

MR NGCOBO: At the time when the ANC was still banned, around 1986, I joined the UDF. In 1990 when the ANC was unbanned I became a Chief Martial, responsible for safeguarding the members as well as guarding when there were rallies or protest marches and to make sure that that area was safe.

MR NAIDOO: Did you receive any training by the ANC?

MR NGCOBO: I received training in the country in 1993, that was MK training.

MR NAIDOO: Where specifically did you receive this training?

MR NGCOBO: At KwaMashu?

MR NAIDOO: Now a person by the name of Mliko Sarakombe is mentioned in your affidavit. Can you tell the Committee who he was?

MR NGCOBO: This was the person who was in charge of this transition camp, he trained us in defending ourselves against opponents which were the IFP, SAP and SANDF.

MR NAIDOO: And was Mr Sarakombe subsequently killed?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, he was killed by the ZP.

MR NAIDOO: When was he killed?

MR NGCOBO: We were on our way back from the Sonke Festival, it was on a Monday, I think it was in October 1993.

ADV DE JAGER: Were you present when he was killed?

MR NGCOBO: I was absent.

ADV DE JAGER: So you said you were on your way, or he was on his way from?

MR NGCOBO: The Sunday preceding the day that he was killed, he had been at the Sonke Festival, as ANC security personnel.

MR NAIDOO: Did you know Mr Kunene, the deceased, prior to his death?

MR NGCOBO: No, I did not.

MR NAIDOO: Why was Mr Kunene killed?

MR NGCOBO: After the death of Mliko, there was a message that came from the Commanders that it was alleged that he had been involved in the death of Mliko, specifically that he had given information to the police as to Mliko's whereabouts, because at that time the police did not have an easy time finding people in the township because we used to assist one another and it was alleged that he had been involved in giving information to the police.

MR NAIDOO: How did this information come to be relayed to yourself?

MR NGCOBO: I received information from the Commanders on the day on which I had been collecting some money, contributions towards Mliko's funeral. As I arrived at home I got a message that some comrades had been looking for me and they had left a message that I should proceed to Bekilanga on my arrival. As I arrived there, that was a spot where we usually had our training and I found that the other Commanders were looking for me and I was informed that the instructors were looking for me. When I got there I found people like Nduna Gemba and Mbonesene who told me that they had received information from the Security Section that someone has been involved in giving information to the police. It was explained to me that this person had joined the police as an informer in 1986 and his house was at some point burned, so they had found out that this person had been involved in the death of Mliko. Moreover there were other ANC members who were still going to be killed as well as MK members, as SDU members. I was then given a gun and told that we should go to the Kunene household to kill Bongane.

ADV DE JAGER: Who gave you that order?

MR NGCOBO: Commander Nduna Mapomolo.

MR NAIDOO: Was he your superior officer?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, that's correct.

MR NAIDOO: What was your role in the killing?

MR NGCOBO: My role was to go out and kill as well as use that as a learning experience, because it was my first mission and I was going to receive instruction from my Commanders, or the people that I was with, how to go about it. I was given an instruction that when we get there, I would also shoot.

MR NAIDOO: Who was to accompany you on this mission?

MR NGCOBO: It was myself, Nduna, Mbonesene, Gemba and Mtu.

ADV DE JAGER: Could you kindly repeat the names slowly so that we can get it down. It was yourself, Nduna.

MR NGCOBO: Myself, Nduna, Mbonesene, Gemba and Mtu.

ADV DE JAGER: The last name? Mtu?

MR NGCOBO: Mtu. M-T-U.

MR NAIDOO: After receiving these instructions, what did you do?

MR NGCOBO: Mtu and Gemba went ahead first, particularly Mtu had to check as to who was present at the Kunene household. Mtu then took a certain girl by the name of Nomtandaza, whom he said he was going to use to check whether Bongane had a firearm or not. He thereafter left with that girl and Gemba. After about 15 minutes they returned and informed us that yes, he was present and indeed he had a firearm, therefore we, we should go and attack. I was informed that we should not use a lot of ammunition because we were not aware, we did not know just how many people were there who could assist him.

ADV DE JAGER: Please, could you ask him to speak sentence wise. It's got to be translated. Give the translator chance to translate it and so that we can get it down too.

MR NAIDOO: Mr Ngcobo, would you go a little slower and take it at one step at a time?

MR NGCOBO: Yes. Mtu went ahead first and he had to check who was present at the house. This they did and they returned and the three of us, myself, Mbonesene and Nduna were the people who were going to partake in the shooting of Mr Kunene.

ADV DE JAGER: The three of you, after they returned, the three of you, it was yourself and who?

MR NGCOBO: Mbonesene and Nduna.

CHAIRPERSON: Nduna or Gemba?

MR NGCOBO: It was Nduna and Mbonesene. Gemba was around, but I'm not sure what he was doing at that stage.

MR NAIDOO: Just to get clarity. Was it Mtu and Gemba who went to the home first together with the girl?

MR NGCOBO: Yes. They went to check, but Gemba was just accompanying Mtu so that he safeguards him, but Mtu was the person who was supposed to go into the house and do the checking.

MR NAIDOO: Did both members return to the balance of the group?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, they did.

MR NAIDOO: Then what transpired?

MR NGCOBO: Thereafter Nduna issued an order that as a person who had been trained, I should take care that none of our members are shot at. I should make sure that we shoot him. So what I was supposed to do was, I was not going to be the first to fire a shot, because they were better trained than I was, they were the people who were going to fire first. Thereafter we left and as we got there I was placed in a position, so were the other two people. I saw Bongane going up and down the yard and Nduna therefore after that approached. He had drawn his firearm and he insulted him and called him an informer, telling him that he has betrayed a lot of people. Bongane also drew his firearm but there were no shots that were fired. As he was still attending to Nduna,

ADV DE JAGER: Was he still in the house? Where was he, the deceased at that stage?

MR NGCOBO: He was in the yard.

ADV DE JAGER: Was he alone?

MR NGCOBO: There were some people who were around, but I could not tell who they were.

ADV DE JAGER: Standing with him, or standing in the street, or where?

MR NGCOBO: They were inside the house because as this happened, some people ran into the house.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes but if they ran into the house they must have been outside at a stage. Were they standing with him in the yard and did they run into the house when you approached, or what happened?

MR NGCOBO: I would say they were outside and when Nduna approached carrying a firearm, they ran inside because Nduna was known. From their conduct, their running inside the house, I assumed that they must have known Nduna, who he was.

MR NAIDOO: Please continue.

MR NGCOBO: Gemba and Mtu were somewhere hiding, I could not tell exactly where they were positioned but Mbonesene was close to me. As Bongane was still talking, arguing with Nduna, Nduna was telling him that, "do you think that you're going to have all of us killed as you are betraying MK members", and they were arguing about this and Eric was denying this, defending himself. At the time that they were talking, Mbonesene fired two shots in Bongane's direction.

MR NAIDOO: Did any of the shots injure the victim?

MR NGCOBO: I think yes they did because as he fired and as Bongane turned, he fired and Nduna also shot and Bongane realised that there were more people and he tried to flee and he ran towards the car and at that time I also fired. He ran towards the vehicle and I could see that he was seriously injured from the way that he ran and as he got into the car Nduna fired as well as myself.

MR NAIDOO: Okay. Just take it slowly. From the time you said that Mr Kunene ran to the motor vehicle, could you tell us what happened?

MR NGCOBO: They had exchanged gunshots with Mbonesene because Mbonesene crept up behind him as he was still talking to Nduna and after Mbonesene fired, Bongane fired a shot and it hit Mbonesene on the leg and I could see that Bongane was also injured because when he fired, Nduna had also fired his gun. He started running towards the car next to where I was positioned. I also fired two shots as he was running into the vehicle.

MR NAIDOO: Did any of your shots injure the victim?

MR NGCOBO: I think so because he was not very far from me. I was in a concealed position and he was approaching towards me, running towards the car.

MR NAIDOO: What happened then after that?

MR NGCOBO: Nduna fired towards the car, at the back of the car, as well as myself and Mbonesene. Nduna then ordered us to stop. He approached Bongane and he finished him off by shooting him on the head and then he removed his firearm from him.

MR NAIDOO: Whilst he was removing the firearm, what were you doing?

MR NGCOBO: At that time we were standing. We were in a position of waiting, guarding, against whoever might come or approach.

MR NAIDOO: After the victim was shot in his head, what happened, and after the firearm was removed?

MR NGCOBO: We left the scene. I was ordered to walk in front and they followed me.

MR NAIDOO: Where did you all go to?

MR NGCOBO: We approached the route to Zake, to Mliko's house. After this incident we met up with Mtu and Gemba and I realised that they must have been hiding nearby and Mtu had a big gun, I was not sure whether it was an R5 or an R4. I do not know whether they had gotten it from Bongane's car or from his home, I'm not certain. We then proceeded towards Mliko's home where there was a memorial service for Mliko.

MR NAIDOO: Were Mtu and Gemba involved in the shooting of Mr Kunene?

MR NGCOBO: I cannot say it with certainty because there was a lot of gun shots going off, but from what I could surmise they must have been the security of our operation because ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: But they were involved in the whole planning and they were part of the group transpiring to kill him.

MR NGCOBO: Yes, they were present.

MR NAIDOO: The firearm of the deceased, did you retain possession of the firearm?

MR NGCOBO: It was retained by Nduna.

MR NAIDOO: When were you arrested?

MR NGCOBO: I think it was around 4 or 5, because I remember we were watching boxing on TV, I was with Sanzel at F Section.

MR NAIDOO: How many days after the incident were you arrested?

MR NGCOBO: Although I cannot be sure, but I think a week elapsed, I think it was about on a Monday after the death of Mr Bongane.

MR NAIDOO: The other members that were involved in this conspiracy, where are they today?

MR NGCOBO: Some are late, like Gemba, he died at a robbery scene in Newlands East. Nduna was killed by the police, who attacked him at night. Mbonesene is still alive, although I do not know where he is. Mtu was also killed in a robbery. I think most of them, when they left their training, their MK training, they didn't have employment and they got involved in crime.

MR NAIDOO: Now was Mr Nduna a senior member of the ANC at the time that you received this instruction?

MR NGCOBO: He was in a senior position in MK. I think he was a senior person in MK.

MR NAIDOO: Did you have any personal grudge against the deceased?

MR NGCOBO: No, I did not. It was because of the instruction that I received to go and kill him.

MR NAIDOO: And were your actions purely politically motivated?

MR NGCOBO: That's correct.

ADV DE JAGER: What was your motive? What did you try to achieve? Or did you kill him out of revenge because he'd killed, or betrayed a party member?

MR NGCOBO: I did have that, that I was keen that I would kill or shoot somebody who had been involved or implicated in the death of Mliko.

MR NAIDOO: Was that your only objective in killing, in participating in this death of Mr Kunene?

MR NGCOBO: Yes.

MR NAIDOO: Now you mentioned something about Mr Kunene's house being burned in 1987, where did you get that information from?

MR NGCOBO: I received that information from the Commanders that Mr Kunene was a troublesome person around that time in 1987, that is why his house was burned.

MR NAIDOO: Do you know who burned his house?

MR NGCOBO: I just know that it was the comrades.

MR NAIDOO: Is there anything else that you would like to say to the members of the Committee?

MR NGCOBO: Yes. I will say that with regards to the situation under which we operated when we were struggling and fighting against the apartheid regime, this government used certain people to kill those of us who were fighting, therefore you found that there was black on black violence, which was perpetrated by the same government. Even though they initiated negotiations, they still continued with the strategy of having people killed, for instance people like Chris Hani were killed in the midst of negotiations and in my case I was trying to protect the community of my area, that is the Besta area. I was prepared to take those actions that would contribute to the liberation of our people, and I will say Mr Kunene's death was a result of the situation that existed in South Africa, that he was used as an informer to kill us and we were therefore forced into a situation where we had to kill people, not because we loved to do so, but because we had to protect that cause.

Therefore I would like to apologise to Mrs Kunene. Today she is a widow, she does not have her husband to take care of her because of our action. The reason that I'm in prison is because of that crime, but I did this to defend the community of KwaMashu and the entire South Africa. I apologise for killing Mr Bongane Kunene in the manner in which we did. I ask them to forgive me. I do not have a personal grudge against them, just as much as I did not have any grudge against Mr Bongane, it was because of the political circumstances at the time. I will appeal to them to accept me and reconcile with me, particularly in this process of the TRC. I am determined to do the best I can to assist them, for instance if I were to get a job, I could contribute something to their family, because even myself, I have lost something, my family suffers because of my incarceration. I have children, two children. I have matured and I have turned over a new leaf now that I am in prison. I will appeal to them to forgive me, I am remorseful. Thank you.

MR NAIDOO: Mr Chairperson, I have finished leading the applicant.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR NAIDOO

CHAIRPERSON: Cross-examination?

MR MANZI: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MANZI: Mr Ngcobo, Sir, you are telling this Commission that you were a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: That's correct.

MR MANZI: For you to be member of Umkhonto weSizwe did not necessarily mean that you were a member of the ANC, are you aware of that?

MR NGCOBO: They are part of the same thing. The ANC is a political organisation and MK is a military wing of the ANC. They protect the ANC.

MR MANZI: I think you did not understand my question. My question to you is that, do you know that to be a member of Umkhonto weSizwe does not necessarily mean that you are a member of the ANC? I'll give you an example. For instance you can be a member of Umkhonto weSizwe but being a member of the South African Communist Party. Do you know that?

MR NGCOBO: I do not, I hear for the first time. I always understood this to be part of the same thing.

MR MANZI: I see. Also further, you could be a member of Umkhonto weSizwe and be a member of SACTU, South African Congress of Trade Unions, which was based in Lusaka, without being a member of the ANC. You are not aware of that as well?

MR NGCOBO: As I mentioned before, there is my ANC card. If that is the case, where would I have gotten this card, if I was not a member of the ANC?

MR MANZI: Yes, those cards were available in many places and many people obtained them, even ANC abandoned the use of those cards simply because people were using them fraudulently. Don't you know that?

MR NGCOBO: I would like to produce some documents which will explain, if the Committee allows me. I have some papers here.

ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, I just want clarity. Are you disputing that he was a member of the ANC at the time?

MR MANZI: Yes. My line of cross-examination, Mr Chairman, is to explain, to expose the fact that he was not sent by either the ANC or Umkhonto weSizwe to commit the crime, he was doing it because he was part of a group of gangsters that was operational in that area.

ADV DE JAGER: So you say that he wasn't instructed by the ANC, they were a group of gangsters operating in that area?

MR MANZI: Exactly, Mr Chairman. Thank you.

MR NGCOBO: I would like to produce some papers which indicate the type of person I am. Thereafter he can tell me if I am the criminal he alleges me to be. I would like the Committee to have sight of these papers, just what is contained therein about me.

ADV DE JAGER: You've heard what the learned legal representative put to me. He says he'll contend that you were part of a gang and that you didn't operate on this occasion on the instructions of MK or of the ANC. What's your response thereto?

MR NGCOBO: I will dispute that.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you seen these papers?

MR MANZI: I've had sight of them, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: I'll perhaps place on record what he has handed in before I pass them around. The first is a letter with a post box address and a date, the 21st September 1995,

"Sir/Madam, Robert Vusumusi Ngcobo, he lives at Besta Camp under Peter Makaba branch. He is a full member of African National Congress. He was working under the structure of community. He was a martial and he was on the cabinet as civic"

And it's signed by the Chairperson, it appears to be P M Majaba and the secretary, J M Buthelezi and there's a stamp of ANC Peter Makaba. The second letter is one with a letterhead Besta Civic Association, giving an address, postal box in Durban, telephone number and they are both hand-written in ink. This one says:

"To whom it may concern. This serves to confirm that Comrade Vusumusi Robert Ngcobo resides at Area 1, House no 1, 1151, since 1986. He has been one of the civic structures at the umbrella level as an organiser. He played a very big role in our community and to the development.

We as the community leaders are requesting a grace, hoping that our request will reach your favourable consideration. Thanking you"

and signed by Mr Lawrence Mutiane, Secretary, dated the 22nd September 1995.

MR NAIDOO: Mr Chairperson, there is one more document.

CHAIRPERSON: The last document is a printed document headed

"Identification of the Certified Personnel Register"

and it seems to have, I say seems because the lettering is very dim, I can hardly read it, it seems to have the surname Ngcobo, full names Vusi and it is stamped Natal Command. I hand that to you. Perhaps these should be numbered A, B and C. If you could put that on please. A will be the first one.

MR NAIDOO: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

MR MAPOMA: The first one is the one from the Makaba ANC branch, then the number 2 is the Civic one and number three is the one from the Commander.

MR MANZI: Thank you, Mr Chairman, they are so marked.

MR NGCOBO: ...(not interpreted)

MR MAPOMA: Okay you will get them later on Mr Ngcobo, don't worry about that. We'll make sure that we give them to your attorney very soon.

MR NGCOBO: I would like to have them returned now because I just wanted you to have sight of them.

ADV DE JAGER: We'll see to it. They've been handed in, they're in our possession now and maybe we'll decide to give them back to your attorney, but you can't demand it back at this stage.

MR MANZI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Now as you claim to have been a member of the ANC and a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, were you working under any political Commissar of the ANC?

MR NGCOBO: As I explained before, when the MK started operating inside, we were still training so that we are able to protect the community. This was a legal venture, there had been an instruction and authority to do this. The Commander is instructed to appoint people, responsible people, who would be trained as SDU members. I am one of the people who requested a letter from the Besta community, Civic community, recommending me for their training, that I was a responsible person who would be able to protect that community. You would have not been able to join that programme if you were not a member of the organisation because it was decided that the people who were going to be trained were to be members, just in case they train people who were not members, who would receive the training and would thereafter go and carry out attacks somewhere.

MR MANZI: Mr Ngcobo, the African National Congress was not training the killing machines, it was training people for a particular purpose, to achieve that purpose the ANC put up the structures such as political Commissar to teach their trainees as to what were the aims and objectives of the ANC. Do you know that?

MR NGCOBO: I would agree with you that the ANC was not opening the flood gates of killing machines, that is not how it happened. I am an ANC member. I was not instructed to go out and kill anyhow but I was trained to defend people from attacks, Inkatha and ZP attacks. This is what we were experiencing daily. People like Harry Gwala told us that we should train so that we are able to defend ourselves, not that we were going to be killing machines, no this is not how it happened.

MR MANZI: And that teaching was done in every structure, no matter how small it was, by a political Commissar and my question is, who was your political Commissar?

MR NGCOBO: The instructor was Mliko and Commander Bazuga was responsible for our political education.

MR MANZI: Did Bazuga on this day tell you to go and kill Mr Bongane Eric Kunene?

MR NGCOBO: Bazuga was present when the plan to kill Bongane was discussed. He was present when this matter was discussed.

MR MANZI: Did Bazuga tell you how Mr Bongane Kunene was going to be killed?

MR NGCOBO: He produced the firearm, giving it to Gemba.

MR MANZI: Okay. Having given the firearm to Gemba did he tell you how he was going to be killed?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, he said "Vusi, when you go out, you must ensure that whatever happens on this thing you must observe, because we may die at any time and after our death you are going to be the people who will be responsible for protecting the people, so you should go and learn from then what happens to informers, how they are killed."

MR MANZI: I see. Did he tell you how Mr Kunene was going to be killed? The plan, in other words, that would lead to the death of Mr Kunene?

MR NGCOBO: Maybe you did not understand how the military system works. Maybe you are not aware how things operated in MK, you are putting that position because you are a lawyer. Bazuga would have not produced a firearm and given me instructions that I should go with them, he would have not issued such instructions if he did not want this person killed, therefore all the instructors were in favour of this act.

MR MANZI: Yes, he wanted him killed to revenge the death of Mliko, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: That's correct.

MR MANZI: I will repeat this so that you do not say at a later stage you made a mistake, because my questions are not intended to catch you, do you understand that? Do you understand that?

MR NGCOBO: Yes.

MR MANZI: Alright. He wanted Mr Bongane Eric Kunene killed to revenge the death of Mliko. Are you saying yes?

MR NGCOBO: Yes.

MR MANZI: You yourself, did not have any evidence whatsoever that Mr Bongane Eric Kunene was an informer, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: Everything that I was told by the Commanders I regarded as truth because they, in their teachings, emphasised that we should always receive orders from them because they also receive their own orders, I do not know wherefrom, but they also received orders.

MR MANZI: And as you were from Besta squatter area, you knew of innocent people that were dying in the nearby squatter camp called Bambai, black on black violence, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: I knew that the people of Bambai were being attacked by police hit squads.

MR MANZI: Yes, but many of innocent people were dying there, those who were alleged to be informers only to find at a later stage that they were not informers, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: I do not know about that, I was not a resident of Bambai.

MR MANZI: Now also as you were from Besta squatter camp you knew of the nearby area Lindelani, where many innocent people were being killed by black people under the pretext of black on black violence, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, I heard about that but I did not reside at Lindelani.

MR MANZI: And in your teachings, as you claim to have been a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, you were told that innocent lives must be protected at all cost. You do not have to kill an innocent person as a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: You are telling me what you know and I am telling you what I know. Yes, we were taught to protect people if they are being attacked by hit squads, IFP hit squads or if they're just being attacked. It was our duty to protect them if they were being attacked. That was my duty and I did this.

MR MANZI: And the enemy at that time was the high white oppressive government, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: That's correct.

MR MANZI: Yes and Mr Bongane Eric Kunene was not a white person, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: Please repeat that.

MR MANZI: Mr Bongane Eric Kunene was not a white person, he fell in the category of the people that were supposed to be protected by Umkhonto weSizwe.

MR NGCOBO: I would like to ask, were the ZPs who were killing black people not black and we have seen some of them before the TRC, the other people who have been killing black people, were they also not black? The apartheid regime made it possible that black people attack other black people.

MR MANZI: Yes, as much as that was the case, you had to attack a ZP simply because you identified him as a ZP, but in this case you had no identification of Bongane Eric Kunene, either as a ZP or as a member of the SAP, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: I dispute that. We had information that he was an informer who worked in collaboration with the police in the township. We knew what the situation was in the township. The Commanders had their Security and Intelligence sections which collected information as to the goings on in the township. Even when we were attacked, we would receive that information that we are going to be attacked by such-and-such people.

MR MANZI: Okay. We will come back later to that, but let's come back to this. You were angry when you heard of the death of Mliko, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: During those days, yes, I was angry.

MR MANZI: And it was that anger that drove you to revenge against Mr Bongane Eric Kunene, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: There were over 600 people present and all of them were angry when Mliko died, I was also angry, but I did not request, I did not go to them and tell them that I should be appointed to go and kill Mr Kunene, they out of their own volition, appointed me, they ordered me to go and kill that man.

MR MANZI: To revenge.

MR NGCOBO: Yes.

ADV DE JAGER: Isn't his grace that he acted on the orders and he obeyed the order, would it then be a prerequisite for amnesty that he himself should have a certain opinion, but if he, in contrast to he believed what his Commanders told him was the correct position and he acted bona fide on what they told him.

MR MANZI: Yes, Mr Chairman, if that was the case, if he acted bona fide, but in this case as the questions are going to unearth at a later stage, that there was no bona fide belief that Mr Kunene was an informer, it was just a rumour as it could have gone against me, just in the township and it could have gone against anyone. That is not, the Act says that it must be a political motivation and of course, if that command was a genuine command, it will fall within that category, but this was not a genuine command and the cross-examination as it develops, it's going to show that it was not that.

ADV DE JAGER: But does this mean, Mr ...(indistinct - mike not on)

MR MANZI: Manzi.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Manzi, ...(indistinct- mike not on)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.

ADV DE JAGER: I'm referring to Mr, I think you pronounce it Bazuga, he's not one of the people previously mentioned, he's not one of the 5, so he's a separate person?

MR MANZI: Yes.

ADV DE JAGER: We know what happened to the others.

MR MANZI: Yes.

ADV DE JAGER: We don't know what's his position? Is he still alive?

MR MANZI: I'm going to find that out.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes, you see, I don't think he's been mentioned previously, so our staff couldn't give him notice of this hearing and he's now implicated because I think the witness said he was at the planning and we must keep that in mind as far as the Committee is concerned, so we would like, if you could find out whether he is still alive or where we could find him.

MR MANZI: I'll try and get it from the witness. Now, Mr Ngcobo, my instructions are that before the killing of Mr Kunene, a girl came running into Mr Kunene's yard, being chased by a boy who was then confronted by the son of the deceased, What do you say to that?

MR NGCOBO: I will not be able to comment on that, but I heard the Commander Mtu saying that they had used a certain girl to find out if Bongane was present, but I cannot really comment on the girl because I was not present.

MR MANZI: You were part of the dangerous mission, the conspiracy to murder Mr Bongane Kunene. Are you telling us that part of the information with regard to the actual commission or execution of the mission, was concealed or was not known to you, is that what you are saying?

CHAIRPERSON: Hasn't he said, they went off first to find out if he was there? They came back and told us. Do you expect him to say "well, we're going to go and knock on the door and look through the window" and tell every detail? Surely it's sufficient if they simply say we are going to go?

MR MANZI: Yes, Mr Chairman, but in this case the statement of the witness himself speaks of the girl called Nomtandaza. That is what I'm trying to establish from the witness, whether he knew of the plan of Nomtandaza. Did you know of that plan, that Nomtandaza was going to be sent first?

MR NGCOBO: I heard, but not the full details.

MR MANZI: Were you there when Nomtandaza ran into the house of the deceased?

MR NGCOBO: I was not present.

MR MANZI: Well, my instructions are that the death of the deceased was because of his intervention in the Nomtandaza saga, that is when Nomtandaza was threatened by a male who was chasing her, who in fact drew a gun in the yard of the deceased.

MR NGCOBO: Yes, that maybe what you heard but that was the trap that was sent to reveal whether he had a firearm. As I've mentioned before, I heard about it but I was not given the full details.

MR MANZI: But when the deceased was shot at, you were in front of other people that were shooting the deceased, were you not?

MR NGCOBO: We had positioned ourselves at different spots, Nduna I was in front, I was not.

MR MANZI: How far were you from the motor vehicle, the car of the deceased?

MR NGCOBO: It would be from the distance where you are seated and I would be behind that curtain and he would have passed that spot where I was positioned on his way to the vehicle.

MR MANZI: You see it was a question of 5 minutes, between 15 minutes and, 5 to 15 minutes, that the girl approached the house of the deceased and then that man went away. He came back to confront the accused 15 minutes later, what would you say to that?

MR NGCOBO: I only learned about his presence at his home when we received that report that yes indeed, he was present and we could proceed with the attack.

MR MANZI: Did you attack him whilst he was within his yard at his house, or when he was in the car on the road?

MR NGCOBO: The whole scuffle started inside the premises because he was arguing with Nduna who was telling him that he was not going to be able to finish off everybody in the MK and Eric was talking to him about this and as he was doing so, Mbonesene started firing. Bongane fired back and then Nduna shot at him as well. That was when he started running from the yard to his vehicle and he was going to pass the spot where I had hidden myself and at that point I also shot him and he got into the vehicle thereafter.

MR MANZI: That is not true, the deceased was shot at while he was seated in his motor vehicle. He was not shot at in the yard. He was not shot at in the house, he was shot at in his motor vehicle. That is why his motor vehicle was riddled with bullets.

MR NGCOBO: I was present at the scene and I'm explaining what happened at that scene.

MR MANZI: Do you know that Gemba as you have said if I'm not mistaken, died in a robbery shoot-out?

MR NGCOBO: That is what I heard.

MR MANZI: Gemba is the same person that you say was the Commander?

MR NGCOBO: That's correct.

MR MANZI: Nduna also died in Chesterville in a robbery, do you know that?

MR NGCOBO: No, he was killed by the police. Where would he have robbed in Chesterville?

MR MANZI: The other motive of killing, that is Mr Kunene, was to rob him of his firearm, what do you say to that?

MR NGCOBO: That is not so. From what I know, that is not so.

MR MANZI: From what you know from whom?

MR NGCOBO: From the Commanders. He had been involved, he had had a role in the killing of Mliko. People who had been trained, received military training, would not have just accused him of something that he had not done, they just want to kill him. Why would they want to kill him?

MR MANZI: Were you told perhaps as to how Mr Kunene passed information from whatever quarters to ZP, to KwaZulu Government Police, or to members of the SAP, that is South African Police, then?

MR NGCOBO: Mr Bongane did not work alone in this department. As I mentioned before he couldn't communicated with the police. From the information that we had, Bongane did not work alone but he was involved in a covert operation. If you looked at him, you would just see a normal innocent person, but he was not that innocent because in general after the death of Bongane, we discovered that there was someone, just as someone who had a video camera which he used to take our training. The KwaZulu Government wanted to know why people were being trained therefore they would use innocent people to obtain such information. That Justice was one of the people who'd use a video camera to tape our training and unfortunately he was caught and that video camera was removed from him and the tape was taken to senior people in the organisation. I'm just trying to explain that yes, the government would use people, even people like yourself, an attorney, you would be used as an informer so as an attorney you may tell me that he was an innocent person as you described him, but from the information that we had, we knew that he was involved in the death of Mliko and even in 1986 his house was burned down because of that information that he was an informer.

MR MANZI: Thank you, Mr Ngcobo. I understand your position and you problem, but you see today the Chair over there, the family and all of us want to know the information that you're talking about, what information did you have to justify the killing of Mr Kunene? Not only that, don't tell us about the rumour that he was an informer, but concrete information, did you have any? This is what the Chair wants to know, this is what we want to know, this is what the family wants to know.

CHAIRPERSON: As I understand it, he's already said that he had no information, he personally had no information whatsoever, he relied on what he was told by his Commanders.

MR MANZI: It then, Mr Ngcobo, you relied on what you were told by your Commanders, are you telling this house that you would believe whatever you were told by those you claim to be Commanders?

MR NGCOBO: As you say, yes, everything that they informed me of, I'd believe them, because they had been authorised by senior people in MK to train us. They would have not been given such powers if they were not reliable. When I went wanting to join, I went to the offices and I was given forms to fill and I was directed to them because they were the people who were going to be responsible for training. In fact I wanted to receive my training outside the country but because of the fact that the arms struggle had been suspended I could not do so, so all the information that I received, everything I got from there and we did so, we worked together trusting one another.

ADV DE JAGER: Could you just help me for a moment? You made an affidavit on the 16th November last year in Westville prison. Was it when you were approached by the investigator of the TRC?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, I did make an affidavit, although I was not satisfied with it, I had been coming from the gym and I discovered that some people were looking for me.

ADV DE JAGER: I'm not asking you a long question, I've asked you whether you've made an affidavit, I don't want to know whether you came from the gym or where you went to. Could you look at page 4, please?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, I did make an affidavit.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you know Nomtandaza?

MR NGCOBO: I would not say that I know her because I used to see her from afar.

ADV DE JAGER: But you knew her name at least?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, I do.

ADV DE JAGER: Were you under the impression that she was in love with one of the Commanders?

MR NGCOBO: It is possible but I cannot say it with certainty.

ADV DE JAGER: Well you stated that in your affidavit: "To me she appeared to be in love with one of the Commanders."

MR NGCOBO: I would not comment fully.

ADV DE JAGER: Then you further said

"She was in front and they were following her. Since I was an escort, I was in the back taking charge of the situation."

Is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, I did say it.

ADV DE JAGER: So you saw her walking to the deceased's house?

MR NGCOBO: From where I was, yes I could see them.

ADV DE JAGER: Then you said

"She knocked at that house."

So did you observe her knocking at the door?

MR NGCOBO: When she turned the corner I could not see her thereafter.

ADV DE JAGER: Could you hear her screaming?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, I did hear her scream.

ADV DE JAGER: Now you said in your affidavit too,

"She knocked at the house"

I see in the original it's that house and not her house. "... and she screamed".

MR NGCOBO: I heard her screams, that is what I heard.

ADV DE JAGER: Then you continued to say

"When the owner of the house whom it is believed was Mr Kunene, opened the door and that is when he was shot at by these three."

Now could you tell us, he opened the door, he was shot at by these three after she knocked. Who were the three who shot him?

MR NGCOBO: As I mentioned earlier, I did indicate that there are things that where not written as they should have been in the affidavit.

ADV DE JAGER: Who took this affidavit down?

MR NGCOBO: A certain woman.

ADV DE JAGER: You were not afraid to tell her the truth because she'd been connected with the TRC?

MR NGCOBO: I thought that I would be called to give the true version of events as is happening today. I was not in a position to tell her the whole truth.

ADV DE JAGER: Why did you tell her that he was shot at by the other three and you didn't mention that you shot at all? Why didn't you mention it that he was shot at in the car?

MR NGCOBO: As I've already mentioned, I assumed that I was going to divulge all the details here because I was afraid if I spoke then, this information may leak out.

ADV DE JAGER: So you were prepared to tell a lie at that stage? Two months ago, 6 months ago, to the TRC?

MR NGCOBO: Not that I was prepared to, but I was afraid because when she said she came from the TRC I was not sure whether she was a detective or a police officer and it could be that that information would be leaked and my family would be harmed, but as I say, most of what is contained in the affidavit was not the true version. I am recounting the true story as it happened now.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Ngcobo, you had been tried and convicted, hadn't you?

MR NGCOBO: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And you had heard the people give evidence at your trial?

MR NGCOBO: Yes, although it's been a long time.

CHAIRPERSON: And you had heard the deceased's wife giving evidence about how he was shot and how she was sitting in the car at the time.

MR NGCOBO: I cannot recall. There were a lot of statements that were made. She made a lot of statements. She put different versions or statements in court, I cannot recall whether she specifically mentioned that they were in the car.

CHAIRPERSON: But I find this a little difficult to understand and the Judge had no hesitation in accepting her evidence and the evidence of her daughter, who spoke about how the shooting took place in the car. You heard that evidence didn't you?

MR NGCOBO: Yes. She did mention that and she also mentioned that she was in the house, inside the house.

CHAIRPERSON: The daughter said that, not the wife. But this had all come out in 1995, why do you now say you couldn't put it in your affidavit which you made in 1998 because it might leak out?

MR NGCOBO: The investigator did not ask me on the other issues, she just inquired about what I wrote, or what I told her in that affidavit and with regards to his wife being in the car.

CHAIRPERSON: Why didn't you tell her the truth? You started off your affidavit saying

"I wish to state that all the information contained in the police docket as well as in the court records, are not true. The true facts are as follows."

And then you set out a version that makes no mention of the deceased being in the car, being shot at in the car or anything about it. You say here, as my colleague has ...(indistinct), that he was shot at by these three as he opened the door of his house. Why did you give that version Mr Ngcobo?

MR NGCOBO: A long time has elapsed, I cannot recall what is in there or not in there. Even that investigator did not read that statement back to me.

ADV DE JAGER: And you continue to say

"I don't know whether they took the firearm or not because I was on the look-out for the people who might interfere."

Here you said you don't know whether they've taken the firearm. Today you told us they took the firearm.

MR NGCOBO: Yes, they did take the firearm. It is not that at that time I was intent on lying, but the way in which she arrived and what happened I was in a bit of fear and even my state of health was not right.

ADV DE JAGER: One is not lying if your state of health is not right because then you may die with a lie on your lips. When you're about to die, you'll speak the truth.

MR NGCOBO: It is not that those were lies, but there were mistakes that were made, but as I have mentioned before, I was not in a right frame of mind, I could not have told her to return some other day to take the statement as she wanted it there and then.

ADV DE JAGER: I'm sorry for interrupting.

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.

MR MANZI: Mr Ngcobo, in conclusion I'll put it to you that your killing of Mr Kunene was not motivated by any political, there was no political motivation whatsoever but it was a revenge attack as you have stated, two, it was aimed at robbing the deceased of his firearm.

MR NGCOBO: I dispute that.

MR MANZI: No further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MANZI

MR MAPOMA: Thank you, Sir.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAPOMA: Mr Ngcobo, did your co-perpetrators know Nomtandaza?

MR NGCOBO: I think so, from what they told me.

MR MAPOMA: Who appeared amongst the co-perpetrators, who appeared to be in love with Nomtandaza?

MR NGCOBO: There were several Commanders, but I cannot be certain as to who was in love with Nomtandaza, because these two, romantic life and military life were very separate. Even if I could suspect or from what I saw, suspect that there might be a relationship going on, I was not in a position to ask.

MR MAPOMA: And is it your evidence as well that Nomtandaza ran into the yard of Mr Kunene as, being chased

by one of your co-perpetrators?

MR NGCOBO: That is correct.

MR MAPOMA: Why was she being chased and assaulted?

MR NGCOBO: I was told that they were going to use her to find out if Mr Bongane is present and who else is also with him and when this took place, the actual chasing of Nomtandaza, I was not there, but I was informed that Nomtandaza would be used to find that information.

MR MAPOMA: But the evidence is that Nomtandaza was being assaulted, she fell and she woke up being assaulted. Do you dispute that?

MR NGCOBO: I would not dispute it.

MR MAPOMA: Do you still maintain it is possible that it was a trap, when somebody gets assaulted and being chased, falling and waking up, can that be a trap?

MR NGCOBO: I do not know what happened after they turned the corner. I could hear her screaming. I cannot explain everything that happened. The last time I saw them was when they turned. I heard her scream but I cannot say what happened there, because the houses are positioned in such a way that you are not able to see everything that happens in another house.

MR MAPOMA: For your information Mr Ngcobo, Nomtandaza was interviewed by the TRC investigator and in the report that we received is that Nomtandaza denied any knowledge of you and your co-perpetrators. What do you say to that?

MR NGCOBO: As I said before, I would agree with her if she says she does not know me personally because I do not reside at L section, I resided at Besta. She may be telling the truth that she doesn't know me and it is quite a distance from L section to Besta. She would not be able to know everybody who stays at Besta whereas she resides at L Section.

MR MAPOMA: She denies knowledge of your co-perpetrators as well. What do you say to that?

MR NGCOBO: I do not know, she may be defending herself, I do not know. She can say whatever she feels like saying. She may acknowledge knowing them, or deny knowing them.

MR MAPOMA: In fact she denies that she was ever involved in any political activity and was not aware of what you call a plan. What do you say to that?

MR NGCOBO: I am not going to dispute what she says, but it's only a matter between her and her conscience.

MR MAPOMA: Who is Bazuga? What are his names?

MR NGCOBO: I know him as Bazuga, that is his combat name.

MR MAPOMA: How did you happen to know him?

MR NGCOBO: Amongst the MK instructors he was one of the people who lectured at classes. He used to assist and be involved in providing education.

MR MAPOMA: Where did you meet him?

MR NGCOBO: I met him at that training, the very first day on which I joined.

MR MAPOMA: Just for my recollection, where was this training where you first met him?

MR NGCOBO: At Bekilanga.

MR MAPOMA: Thank you Chairperson, no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MAPOMA

CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination?

MR NAIDOO: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR NAIDOO: Mr Ngcobo, were you involved in mainstream politics or were you merely just a soldier?

MR NGCOBO: I played quite a role. I started at Martial level, protecting the community and thereafter I was elected on to other positions and in the community I was elected into the Civic Organisation and I was part of the committee that encouraged development at Besta and installing facilities like toilets and bringing water, because it was also within the scope of our struggle that people should be able to have access to these other facilities.

MR NAIDOO: Were you the most junior member of the team that went to Mr Kunene's house on the fateful day?

MR NGCOBO: That is correct.

MR NAIDOO: Now, when Mr Manzi cross-examined you, you testified that the only reason Commander Bazuga wanted Mr Kunene killed was because he had killed Mliko. Was this mentioned by Bazuga or is it just what you assume?

MR NGCOBO: All of the Commanders were in favour of that decision. There were many of them, all of them.

MR NAIDOO: When these Commanders took that decision, did they ask for your input as well?

MR NGCOBO: No, they did not request my opinion, they just gave me an order.

MR NAIDOO: Did you not question the orders of Commander Bazuga?

MR NGCOBO: As a soldier you are not in a position to question an order even if you're just told to lie on your stomach, you do so without question, therefore I accepted that order without questioning him.

MR NAIDOO: Okay, just one final ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: You were told you're going to kill this man. In your affidavit you say the following

"I did not know much about Mr Kunene, but I just overheard them alleging that he was an informer working with former ZP, Zululand Police and South African Police Services, since he was living at C-Section where his house was burned down."

Is that correct, that you just overheard them that he was an informer?

MR NGCOBO: They were speaking in my presence because they sent Comrades to my home to collect me because when I arrived I saluted them and I heard them talking about Eric Kunene but at that time I was not aware that they were going to order me to go and kill him, but they returned later and informed me that yes, there is this person who is implicated in the death of Mliko.

CHAIRPERSON: Why don't you mention that in your affidavit?

MR NGCOBO: The investigator did not question me on some of the other matters.

CHAIRPERSON: But you said

"I did not know much about Mr Kunene, but I just overheard them alleging he was an informer".

Why didn't you then say? You ...(indistinct) telling them what you knew about Mr Kunene, why did you not say, "and I was told he was responsible for the death of Mliko"?

MR NGCOBO: As I mentioned before the investigator found me whilst I was not in a correct frame of mind, my state of health was not its best and she proceeded asking me questions. She didn't give me a copy of what she had written down, of what I had said to her.

ADV DE JAGER: You're also serving a sentence for the illegal possession of a firearm, or the robbery of the firearm, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: Please, what are you referring to?

ADV DE JAGER: You've been charged in a court for murder and robbery of a firearm, is that correct? And you've been sentenced on those two counts.

MR NGCOBO: Yes.

ADV DE JAGER: For the murder charge you've been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and for the robbery to 3 years imprisonment, is that correct?

MR NGCOBO: That's correct.

ADV DE JAGER: Now the robbery charge, are you also applying for amnesty on that?

MR NGCOBO: I do not understand.

ADV DE JAGER: You were found guilty of robbing a firearm, is that correct? In the court.

MR NGCOBO: With the gun from this dead man.

ADV DE JAGER: You were charged, can you remember why you went to jail? You went to jail because on the 31st of October 1993 you killed Mr Kunene and on that same day, the 31st of October 1993 you assaulted Mr Kunene and with force and violence took from the said person one Luger pistol number so-and-so-, which was his property. Is that right?

MR NGCOBO: That is correct.

ADV DE JAGER: Now did you take his pistol or not?

MR NGCOBO: It was taken by Nduna.

ADV DE JAGER: Now in this affidavit of yours, you say: "About the Inanda case, I committed..."

and the Inanda case is you robbed at Inanda on the 31st:

"About the Inanda case, I committed it solely with an intention to get a firearm in order to protect ourselves. However, it was seized by the police. I am also serving for the same offence."

MR NGCOBO: No, I think you are making a mistake. There is a case, a crime for which I was sentenced 5 years, that is robbing a firearm from a policeman. It was a, It involved a Sgt Ngoma. With regards to this hearing, I am seeking amnesty for murdering Bongane Kunene. I have not mentioned anything about seizing a firearm. I was involved in two cases, maybe there is a misunderstanding somewhere.

ADV DE JAGER: Thank you.

MR NAIDOO: One last question, Mr Chairperson. Mr Ngcobo did you know why Nomtandaza wasn't called to testify in court during your criminal trial?

MR NGCOBO: I do not know because I mentioned it in court that I wanted Nomtandaza to be brought but she was not.

MR NAIDOO: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR NAIDOO

FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAPOMA: I'm sorry, I picked this up very late. On page 1 of the application form, paragraph 9, where it is required to furnish particulars of the acts or omissions, two murder and robbery. If I may ask for clarity, to which two murders is he referring to?

MR NGCOBO: I have one murder case and one robbery case. I don't know whether the person who wrote here made a mistake or something. I can show you my prison card.

MR MAPOMA: No further questions, Mr Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MAPOMA

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR NAIDOO: That is the case for the applicant.

WITNESS EXCUSED

MR MANZI: Mr Chairman, I call the wife of the deceased.

MRS KUNENE: (sworn states)

MR MANZI: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

EXAMINATION BY MR MANZI: Mrs Kunene, the deceased in this matter was your husband, is that correct?

MRS KUNENE: That's correct.

MR MANZI: How many children did you have?

MRS KUNENE: 6 children.

MR MANZI: What was the occupation of the deceased?

MRS KUNENE: He was a senior clerk at Port Natal after which he resigned and then became a business man and he had a bottle store.

MR MANZI: Apart from the bottle store, did he have any other means of getting an income, or did he derive any income other than that from his business as a bottle store owner?

MRS KUNENE: No.

MR MANZI: Before his death how long had you been married to the deceased?

MRS KUNENE: 15 years.

MR MANZI: Did you know your husband well, and his daily activities?

MRS KUNENE: Yes, very well.

MR MANZI: Was he working with members of either the South African police or the KwaZulu police, known as ZPs?

MRS KUNENE: No, he never did that.

MR MANZI: On the date of his demise, were you with him?

MRS KUNENE: Yes.

MR MANZI: The shooting did it take place in your yard or in the car on the road?

MRS KUNENE: It took place on the road.

MR MANZI: About how many people were involved in the shooting?

MRS KUNENE: Are you referring to the people who shot at him or the people who were just present in the vicinity?

MR MANZI: Those who shot at him.

MRS KUNENE: Although I cannot estimate the exact number but a group of boys just approached, but the one that I saw clearly was the one seated in front here.

MR MANZI: What caused the fight, or the shooting, what was the reason for the shooting?

MRS KUNENE: We were coming from the bottle store on the Sunday evening. There was a soccer match going on at the time and we were residing at L section and we were on our way to...(intervention)

MR MANZI: I'll ask you to be a little bit slow because they have to take the notes, right?

MRS KUNENE: We were supposed to go to F section where he was going to watch the soccer match. He had requested me not to alight from the car because I may delay inside the house and he would run late.

MR MANZI: And then as you were sitting in the car, what then happened?

MRS KUNENE: As I was seated in the car, a girl by the name of Nomtandaza came hurrying past and she was being chased by a certain boy who had on a long off-white coat. He was kicking her.

MR MANZI: Therefor this Nomtandaza was being assaulted?

MRS KUNENE: Yes.

MR MANZI: How was she being assaulted?

MRS KUNENE: He slapped her and he also kicked her and she fell.

MR MANZI: Did anybody intervene?

MRS KUNENE: A certain boy by the name of Ndwele, who was a relative approached and he intervened and said "please do not him this girl in front of our parents, you are showing disrespect to this family if you hit a girl in front of our parents."

MR MANZI: And then what happened?

MRS KUNENE: After that this boy drew a gun, wanting to shoot Ndwele and Ndwele ran into the house. My husband then approached and as he approached, on seeing this boy with a gun, he withdrew his firearm, but he told him that you should not start something that you are not going to be able to finish and this boy asked "Are you now intervening in this matter?" and my husband said, "Do not start something that you are not going to be able to finish. Put your gun away and leave my house." This boy then left. We then reversed the car because we were about to leave.

MR MANZI: Did your husband then leave the house and come to the car, to you where you were sitting?

MRS KUNENE: Yes. At that time the car was parked in the yard. Thereafter he got inside the vehicle and reversed the car. A certain boy by the name of Kholane approached. He had come to watch the soccer match.

MR MANZI: Your husband reversed the car onto the road, is that correct?

MRS KUNENE: That's correct.

MR MANZI: Okay, did the car then reach the road?

MRS KUNENE: That's correct.

MR MANZI: Then what happened?

MRS KUNENE: After the arrival of Kholane we then - Kholane took the other smaller kids to the shop. He said he was going to buy them sweets. As we were still waiting for them to return, these boys approached.

MR MANZI: Now both of you, that is your husband and yourself were in the car at that time, is that correct?

MRS KUNENE: That's correct.

MR MANZI: On the road?

MRS KUNENE: That's correct.

MR MANZI: Outside your yard, is that correct?

MRS KUNENE: That's correct.

MR MANZI: Yes, tell us please,

what happened?

MRS KUNENE: The car was stationery. The boys approached from the toilet side and as they approached they were already firing. I was facing their direction and my husband was facing my direction and as they were shooting, my husband got out of the vehicle and because of the firing that was going on, I did not know what was happening, but because of a number of reasons, the person that I managed to see clearly, was Mr Ngcobo seated here.

MR MANZI: Now you say after that you don't know what happened because of the shooting, is that correct?

MRS KUNENE: That's correct. I think I had a black-out at that time for a short while but I became conscious again and I alighted the vehicle and I fell onto the ground.

MR MANZI: This must have been a traumatic incident. Have you since recovered from it?

MRS KUNENE: It traumatised me greatly.

MR MANZI: Have you recovered from it, and your children?

MRS KUNENE: I have never really recovered because even now it disturbs me, it comes back to me, whenever I am not well it comes back to me. I cannot even face a person who has a firearm in his possession because it just brings back those memories. Even now I haven't recovered.

MR MANZI: That is the evidence, Mr Chairman.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MANZI

MR NAIDOO: Just a few questions Mr Chairperson.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR NAIDOO: Mrs Kunene, were you involved in the daily affairs of your husband, his business affairs?

MRS KUNENE: Yes.

MR NAIDOO: It's been mentioned by the applicant that at one stage he resided at C-Section and the house was burned down. Is there any truth to this averment?

MRS KUNENE: Please repeat the question.

MR NAIDOO: It was mentioned by the applicant that at one stage you and Mr Kunene resided at C-Section and the house was burned down due to political reasons. Is there any truth to this averment?

MRS KUNENE: That is correct.

MR NAIDOO: Why was the house burned down?

MRS KUNENE: Up to this day I am not sure, but there was a rumour that circulated that my husband was an informer.

MR NAIDOO: Thank you Mr Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR NAIDOO

CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?

MR MAPOMA: No questions, Mr Chairperson.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAPOMA

CHAIRPERSON: Just one question to raise Sir. Thank you.

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR MANZI: Did your husband belong to any political organisation?

RS KUNENE: He was an ANC member.

MR MANZI: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MANZI

CHAIRPERSON: Do you have further witnesses?

MR MANZI: No further witnesses, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mapoma?

MR MAPOMA: I have no witness Chairperson, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: I take it argument won't be very long?

MR NAIDOO IN ARGUMENT: Mr Chairperson and Members of the Committee, the applicant in this matter is 29 years old with two minor children. He was only 24 years old when this offence was committed. As we have heard evidence earlier, he was indoctrinated into politics at a young age, 1986, when he joined the UDF at the age of 17. He is affiliated to the ANC and was so affiliated at the time when this offence was committed, when Mr Kunene was killed.

It must be borne in mind that the killing took place at a time when political violence was rife and even friends became enemies due to different political beliefs. There were many rumours and it may be that there was no truth in the rumour that Mr Kunene was an informer, but the applicant acted merely as a soldier and acted under instructions of a superior officer.

The applicant being a member of the ANC believed very strongly that the Zulu police were destroying the ANC and to further the objectives of the ANC he acted accordingly. I submit that he acted in terms of Section 20 sub-section 2(a) in that he removed an obstacle in the path of the struggle. My further submission that he has conformed with the requirements of the Act specifically in that firstly the act committed had a political motive and objective and the applicant was an active member of the ANC at all material times and secondly the applicant has made full disclosure of his involvement in the killings, obviously showing remorse for his past actions.

It is therefore my respectful submission, Members of the Committee, that the applicant does qualify for amnesty and amnesty ought to be so granted.

CHAIRPERSON: I take it that you submit that the discrepancies or contradictions between the versions of the applicant and the widow do not indicate a desire to lie, but merely that in the confusion of the moment the parties' recollections may differ?

MR NAIDOO: That is correct, Mr Chairperson,. It must be borne in mind that at the time when this took place, Mrs Kunene would have been in a traumatised state and her recollection may be somewhat vague. Obviously her first interest would be the well-being of her husband.

CHAIRPERSON: Equally well the applicant may be, as I understand it, this is the first time he had been involved in an incident of violence of this sort and guns going off and bullets flying might make one a little apt not to recollect things in the proper order.

MR NAIDOO: That is also correct.

ADV DE JAGER: What about the differences in the two affidavits, that the other people shot and he didn't shoot and the involvement of the girl and whether he could see her or not see her and hear her or not hear her?

MR NAIDOO: Mr Committee Member, at the outset we tried to bring to the attention that the affidavit differed from the evidence that was to be given today by the applicant, solely on the basis that when he initially made the affidavit at prison, he was sceptical as to the person who was actually taking it down.

ADV DE JAGER: If you're sceptical, is that a reason for lying under oath?

MR NAIDOO: Member of the Committee, that may be true but I think the applicant tried to give a version to this Committee today as to the reason why. I can take that point no further.

ADV DE JAGER: Why should he be sceptical and lie about the gun for instance?

MR NAIDOO: I think in all probability, he didn't want to implicate himself in the statement, but as he mentioned when he was brought before this Committee, was that he wanted to make full disclosure to the Committee.

ADV DE JAGER: How can you not implicate yourself while you're asking amnesty for that very offence? He's asking for murder and robbery.

MR NAIDOO: I think merely just being scared. I think that point has been overcome by him coming out before the Committee today and making full disclosure of his involvement in the actual shooting and the fact that he didn't fire and he went even so far as to admit that his bullet may have struck the deceased.

MR MANZI IN ARGUMENT: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I'm asking this Committee to dismiss the application by the applicant on the grounds that 1, the applicant has not made a full disclosure of the events of the day.

1) Before this Committee we have three statements all of them under affidavit, one statement in court, which the explanation we may accept that it was in a criminal matter, a different scenario compared to the application made now by the applicant.

2) We have an affidavit by the same applicant of the 16th November 1998 which affidavit differs materially with the statement as disclosed by the applicant today here in court. Up to today he wants us, in his evidence today he wanted us to believe that it was a well-planned mission which had an intention to achieve a political goal, but he also accepts that the ANC was not training killing machinery, killing machines, as such there was politics involved and as such there would be a proper planning for a proper achievement of goal, of a particular goal and in this case we are also aware of the fact that there were gangsters who were operating in various townships, which gangsters are still taking advantage of misunderstandings between various political organisations in the township. If we take that into consideration, the question is, doesn't the applicant fall under that category? He wants us to believe that there were people who were Commanders, some of the people he does not know their names properly, he knows them as Bazuga and there is also evidence that some of those he wants us to believe that they were Commanders, died in fact in execution of robberies. I wonder if those people did not die, they would not be here today making application for amnesty for the same robberies under the pretext that it was under politics.

Now here is a man, a head of a family, a responsible man. Only on a rumour a man is killed. There is no concrete evidence, it's just that "I was told by the Commanders". The purpose of the act was not to give amnesty to all those people who would go about with rumours. That would be dangerous even in the township today. The purpose of the Act was to solve the feelings of those who were affected by ...(indistinct) and by previous incidents and bring about reconciliation and in order to achieve that the act had to show that it was a political act and there was a full disclosure and then the reconciliation would be brought about by the acts of the Committee.

In this case there is nothing whatsoever that could bring about reconciliation. We are told not the truth and as and when the applicant was subjected to cross-examination in piecemeal evidence was coming which was contradictory in itself, therefore up until now we do not have full disclosure.

2) It is clear even from the evidence of the applicant, that there was a revenge of the death of one Mliko and that revenge, whether it came from a Commander or it came from a Commissar or it came from a man who called himself a Commander, the fact of the matter is that it was a revenge and the purpose of the Committee is not to give amnesty to those people who sought revenge, because revenge, if it were to be sought, many people would die even today.

ADV DE JAGER: About 99% of all the killings in KwaZulu Natal, wasn't it related to revenge?

MR MANZI: Yes, be that as it may, but this particular killing, if perhaps it was a revenge with political connotations in it, with concrete evidence or evidence that would cause this Committee to consider the fact that those people were somewhat ignorant, those who were participating there, then this Committee would be sympathetic, because this Committee is, consists of objective people, but this Committee can not be sympathetic to a person coming from a township, listening to the rumours in a dangerous situation, then acting on those rumours of the people who died in robbery circumstances, because this comes from the applicant himself, then that will tell the Committee that the applicant and his gang were dangerous people, not unless of course we do get evidence and information that would persuade the Chairpersons here that no, indeed this young man as the applicant wants us to believe, was mislead. No, but we had a group of gangsters here.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mapoma.

MR MAPOMA IN ARGUMENT: Chairperson, regarding the political motivation, the political objective, it has been shown Chairperson, that there was a perception of some kind about the deceased person along the lines of being suspected as an informer.

It is not the duty of this Committee, Chairperson, to establish whether such perceptions were actually true or not and if now the applicant for amnesty acts along those perceptions which were arising from rumours, it will be recalled, Chairperson, that during those days it was a very dangerous situation. If unfortunately somebody has been rumoured to be an informer, it was very unfortunate for that person. Once, one in the circumstances may understand the circumstances which lead to that perception, rightly or wrongly, Chairperson, a perception.

Now coming to the applicant himself. This is a case where we are dealing with a foot soldier, he is not a person actually who took a decision to attack the deceased person but an order flew from above to him to obey and it is very difficult in the circumstances even to say that let us put his bona fides in question because an order is an order. That is the rule of the army and that is the kind of a person we are dealing with here.

In the circumstances, it is my submission that the Committee may have to acknowledge those circumstances, that we are dealing with a footsoldier here acting under the command, which command was based on a rumour which, during those days, led to these unfortunate circumstances. That is the only areas I wanted to address the Committee on.

I may also deal with the question of revenge. This revenge spoken of in this particular instance, differs to a certain extent from a revenge where a person revenges for what he or she personally suffered.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Mapoma, I've got problems with that. If I would revenge the death of my brothers because they've been killed by my enemy, you say then I would be in a worse position for killing the enemy than another person who's also killing the enemy but he hasn't suffered the same loss?

MR MAPOMA: No, Sir, I'm just putting it in a context of political organisation as against another political organisation or political enemy then. I'm saying that ...(intervention)

ADV DE JAGER: So you could revenge the death of a friend or your Commander, but you can't revenge the death of your brother, even if it's political, if he died in a political battle?

MR MAPOMA: Perhaps you can, I won't take it further.

CHAIRPERSON: But isn't here, aren't we getting a little bit confused by the use of the word revenge? What they were doing as I understand it, was killing him because he had acted as an informer and thereby enabled the police to bring harm to their party?

MR MAPOMA: Yes, Chairperson I was about ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: It's not killing, revenge, because you've killed my brother and my feelings ..., here it is this man is an informer, he has given the police information, because they think it was his information that enabled the police to bring about the death of this man, so your revenge is for his actions as an informer, not for your emotional feelings of having lost a friend, which is a different sort of revenge.

MR MAPOMA: Absolutely, that's what I was trying, that's the point I'm driving home and in this case, these rumours, the basis of these rumours was only on the incident of the death of Mr Mliko, but apparently some cognisance had been taken of the rumours even before that, unfortunately in this particular situation. Thank you Sir, that is my submission.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(microphone off) had asked in other matters and I don't know if we've been passed on on this one, that we can please have the full names of all possible victims. We've got the name of the mother but I gather now there are children as well who might be for reference to the other Committees, so if you could let us have details of all the family.

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