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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 14 October 1999
Names NTOTOGO ERIC CHUNENE
Case Number AM5009/97
MR CHUNENE: There was violence in our area, Inkatha members or supporters used to come and attack us. They wanted to take over the area where we were staying. I was forced to have a firearm. At the time, usually we were making use of home-made firearms, therefore I decided that I should obtain a real firearm so that I protect my family and myself.
MR CHUNENE: If I remember very well, I think his last rally was in January 1992, if I am not mistaken. A certain comrade by the name of Temba Qoqo passed away and he was a good friend of mine. When he arrived in that rally, he addressed the comrades, he told us that had we realised that Inkatha is now fighting us and they don't want us to be ANC members and he said he didn't have the power to protect all of us, but he is not instructing us to go and have arms. He said to us farmers have guns and whites in the white areas, they do have guns. If we can kill farmers and try and possess those firearms, we will be protected, because we will have those arms in our possession.
MR CHUNENE: After the rally, the rally was held in Dundee. When we came back from the rally, myself and Piet Nkosi who is now late, we discussed about the arms and he said to me since he didn't have the arm and I do have a firearm, it was necessary for him as well to obtain another gun. He said to me he wanted me and him to go to the farm and try and attack farmers so that he can obtain a firearm as well, using my firearm.
MR CHUNENE: My aim was to try and attack anyone who had a firearm and Chief Molefe addressed the community in that rally that farmers had everything and we didn't have anything. As a kid who didn't have a father, I realised that we were struggling and they had everything which we didn't have, so I didn't actually mind to attack a farmer.
MR CHUNENE: In my knowledge and my belief, I personally didn't take anything because on that day when we attacked, we didn't even enter the house. Piet took the gun from me, I think he fired three times, but then he didn't fire at him and I told him that he must stop because he had failed.
MR CHUNENE: Whites in general, I didn't know Mr Potgieter, I don't even think that he knows me. Since I had learnt that all whites were oppressors and we were told constantly that we should be careful that every time we saw a white man, he is there to oppress you and so I knew that and I thought to myself if I kill someone like that, I don't think that I have sinned that much.
MR CHUNENE: What I can comment about is just one thing, the rest I don't know. I think it is number 9, where it is written "two leather jackets". These two leather jackets, I don't have that much idea about, I think I only know about one leather jacket. When we went there, he wasn't in his home and his house was lit, I think the kitchen and the bedroom was lit and I broke the house, I broke in. He wasn't inside, but maybe if he was inside, maybe I was going to kill him. I went to another bedroom, there was no one. There and there I saw a safe, I think it was in his bedroom and when I realised that there was a safe, I thought that there should be something valuable like a firearm and then I left.
CHAIRPERSON: This is a completely separate incident. I think we are getting a little confused here, aren't we? You asked him about the incident on the 16th of August, this took place between the 24th and the 26th of July?
CHAIRPERSON: That is what he has just been telling us, when he did not go into the house? If you look at the indictment you will see that he was charged with and convicted of housebreaking on the 24th to the 26th, of attempted murder on the 16th of August and of the, the next count, of the murder on the 22nd of August.
MR CHUNENE: Maybe I am the one who is confusing the Committee. Now I can see that there is 24/26 July and not August, but what I can tell the Committee is that the first day when we went in his home, he wasn't there. It was myself and Piet Nkosi, we broke in. I got inside the house and he wasn't inside the house and then the second time, he was because we actually guarded his place earlier on, so we realised, we saw him when he went to his home, and we went in because our aim was to go and kill him and take his firearm.
MR CHUNENE: In my knowledge I don't remember taking anything, but I do remember Piet taking a leather jacket. But the rest I don't know, I didn't take anything. Piet took the jacket and he was wearing it, in fact I didn't even realise and I said to him why was he wearing that jacket and he said it was cold.
MR LAX: Sorry, before you proceed if I may interpose, there is just one other thing, and you are saying all these other items listed here, except for one leather jacket if I have understood you correctly, neither you nor Piet took any of those other items, you only saw Piet with one leather jacket, have I understood that correctly?
MR CHUNENE: I would say so. The owner of the house wasn't present when we arrived there, I don't know who else came after we left. Maybe the labourers came after us and took their stuff, but because we were the ones that broke into that house, it looked like we were the ones who had taken these things.
CHAIRPERSON: And are you now saying that the other things which Mr Potgieter has apparently said, was stolen, must have been taken by someone who came to the house after you had broken in, but before Mr Potgieter had returned?
MR CHUNENE: On our arrival, as I was standing inside the yard, I think it was the front side because it was facing the main road, the phone rang. I heard that and then I saw him coming out from the house and then he took the phone. What I said to Piet, I said "this is the man" and then Piet said I must give the gun to him and then I gave him that .3 revolver that was belonging to me, and he shot three times. Because I saw everything that was happening inside the house, I saw him stretching the hand nearby the passage and then he took the phone and then he disappeared there. What I said to Piet, I said "leave him Piet, don't continue with the shooting because you have actually failed to shoot him, let's plan another day for him where we will actually have to come back, probably we will have a bigger gun than this one." That is how Potgieter survived, if that is Mr Potgieter.
MR CHUNENE: With the late Piet Nkosi. On our arrival the lights were off. I appeared I think from the kitchen and then the burglar guard or the grill door, white in colour, it was closed. It was locked and there was a key hanging there. Then I proceeded to the front door. What I was looking for there, I was searching for the telephone wire or cord. I realised that it is on the front. I told Piet that he should actually lift me up so that I could cut this telephone wire. My aim to cut that telephone wire, was to not to be able to use the phone again, or to actually communicate with the neighbours or with the emergency. Indeed we did that, cut the telephone wire, and then I broke the window and then I went in, not knowing how many people were there. According to my thinking the man who was there, who died, I think he actually was frightened or woken up by the breaking of the window and then we met at the passage with him and then he shot, if I am not mistaken, four times, three times or four times, and shooting towards me, shooting at me. With my spiritual ancestors, I managed to shoot only once and then he was dead. I forced the female, I am wondering if that was the wife, I am not sure, and then I told her that she must actually give me all the guns that are in the house as well as the ammunition. Indeed she did so. The name - Piet Nkosi said to me was that I must actually also ask for the money and then she said it is in the box. We found the box on the table, there was R1 000 inside and a calculator if I am not mistaken, with other papers that I couldn't quite see what the papers were for. What I said to the wife then "I won't kill you because you are a female and you are old". I didn't know that I was attacking elderly people, I actually thought I was attacking younger people who can actually fight. I then left with Piet.
MR CHUNENE: What was in my mind was to get the guns and the ammunition that we needed and I didn't care about anything else, who was dead and who was alive, that didn't matter to me. I was young then and I was actually excited about the statement that was issued by our leaders that said "kill the farmer, kill the Boer."
MR CHUNENE: I didn't take the money, the box was taken by Piet. I took the gun from the white lady who was sitting on, in the bed. Piet took the money in a suitcase and then we left. On our way, we took out the money, I told him to take it out, we wanted to see how much was it and then I saw the calculator and I said "it is the money and the calculator" and then the box, I said "no, we don't need this", and then I threw it in the dam. That money I told him that, I told Piet that I bought the gun in East Rand, so I told him that we should do likewise. He said that he knows somebody who can actually give us the ammunition. I actually gave him R500 and then I took R500 which I was actually going to use to buy two guns at the Thokoza Hostel. Two days after or three days, when I was actually planning to leave for East Rand, I went to Piet's place and then I told him that I am leaving for East Rand to get those guns. Then he would have to meet me at Blood River where I would actually jump off, because I wouldn't jump off at Vryheid in town, carrying those guns. I didn't even reach East Rand, I was actually arrested in town in Vryheid.
MS LOONAT: Please bear with me one moment. Mr Chunene, on page 10 of the Bundle, point 3, you say that, the last line of point 3 that you were not the Commander, but you were the one who planned the operation, is that correct?
MR CHUNENE: Nataniel Nkosi I knew him as a comrade. We were followers of the ANC, I was actually surprised when I realised that he was a police informer and actually telling them that we are the people who did crime.
MR CHUNENE: Because previously I was still young, to me all that happened in that area, I took it as something that didn't matter, that is it didn't matter to kill a person. I just did not care. But as time went on and I have been in jail for a while and now I am growing up even mentally, when I was sitting one day, I was thinking, I was in deep thought and indeed I reacted to those thoughts and on the decision that I took, that I should ask to appear before the family as well as the friends of the deceased, so that they can actually listen to me and open their hearts, and accept what I will actually say to them and ask from them, and what I will say is the truth, nothing else but the truth, coming deep down from my heart, that they should please forgive me. I feel remorse about this. I came here to ask for forgiveness to the friends as well as the family of the deceased. Yes, I know it is difficult for them to forgive me and I know it is not easy to me to just easily forgive a person who killed my parents, but considering the time, what actually happened at that time surrounding us, I actually felt it is about time I should come and ask for forgiveness to the family as well as to the friends. However, I am prepared to take the discipline for the other acts that I have done. It wasn't my aim, but that was done by our political leaders who actually were indoctrinating us.
MS LOONAT: Mr Chunene, finally you are admitting that you have received an indirect order which came about at the time of Chief Molefe's rally, therefore you say it was as a result of this indirect order that you attacked these ...
MR CHUNENE: No, not really, except what happened, I ask for forgiveness for what happened. The person that I actually considered as a friend, he was older than me, however he wasn't a friend indeed, who wouldn't actually show me the truth.
MR CHUNENE: I say Piet Nkosi was an elderly person, he was older than me, who wasn't supposed to allow me to say what I was saying to him when I was saying that we should attack the farmers, he was actually supposed to say "this is not a good dead or the political procedure to kill", however he did allow me when I said we should actually attack and kill Mr Heuer.
MR CHUNENE: I mean as a person who was older than me and as a person who has been an ANC follower for a long time, and I was in school at that time, he is the person who had the knowledge, all the knowledge regarding political activities, whether we are supposed to kill or not to kill and actually to sit down and discuss about these things.
That is what he said. You knew him for seven years, but you don't remember that he was a known criminal with previous convictions, you cannot even tell us whether he had had brushes with the law or not and this is the person you expected to give you moral guidance?
MR CHUNENE: I realised that when I was already in jail, thinking that as an older person, that he was supposed to do that, because I was still young and he was actually, I couldn't actually, I took it as something that was good, when it was said by Piet, an ANC person, I realised that as the IFP is killing us, it was collaborating with the Boers, and then I saw what we were told as the truth, not as a lie.
MS STRETCH: If I could just put that to you again, you did not bring an application for leave to appeal on the basis that you were admitting that you had committed the offences or - and that you felt that your sentence was too long or something to that effect. Your application for leave to appeal was on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to secure your convictions and that your convictions were therefore wrong, is that correct?
MS STRETCH: My question is, why at that stage, if you were already feeling remorse, did you not exercise your right to appeal on the basis that you had committed the offences, but that you felt that your sentence was perhaps too long in the light of the political motives which were the background of these offences?
MR CHUNENE: In answering that question, I would say I submitted my appeal application and I was being held by the people in prison, and they told me that they were going to send my application direct to the Judge who sentenced me. Therefore I was scared, because I remembered the words of the Judge telling me that I had killed my earthly god and I knew that if that Judge said so to me, in court, if I admit to the very same Judge, he wasn't going to reduce my sentence.
MS STRETCH: Mr Chairperson, it was an application for leave to appeal, which was refused on the 31st of October. It didn't actually, an appeal wasn't actually heard, it was refused. It was opposed and refused on the 31st of October.
MS STRETCH: That is correct Mr Chairperson. Perhaps if I can just follow up on that, you wrote a letter on the 31st of July 1995 which was the basis of your application for leave to appeal, so at that stage, as you have said before, you were already feeling remorse?
MR CHUNENE: I think we were going to be introduced to Cecil Sami and they were opening a branch for the ANC in Vryheid because we didn't have those branches or those offices in those areas, so we were told in that rally.
MR CHUNENE: We were introduced to Cecil Sami and then later the Chief started addressing all of us the usual way, preaching us, telling us about the oppression of this country, because this was his usual address of the meeting or rally.
MR LAX: The question was how many people belonged to the ANC at Banya? It is a simple question, we were not asking you about whether the place was divided up or not, just try and answer the question, we will get out of here a bit quicker. Do you understand the question? You were asked about the number of people living there who were ANC.
MR CHUNENE: I mean that Banya was an area which was an enemy to the IFP, because IFP wanted to take over Banya, and in that rally it was also addressed that should we allow IFP to take over Banya or not.
MR CHUNENE: After we left the rally at Dundee, in my mind I was certain that we were supposed to obtain guns or firearms and then we decided as to how we were going to obtain those guns. I suggested that if we were going to attack, we can obtain guns.
CHAIRPERSON: Can I interrupt you for a minute. You have told us now that you understood that you were told at the rally that you were to obtain guns and you suggested that you could do this by attacking people, correct?
MR CHUNENE: I had the gun since 1989 and I never tried to shoot anyone. Yes, IFP people used to come and attack us. I only had that gun to protect myself and my family, if they had come to my family, maybe I would have, but I didn't take the gun and just go and attack other people.
MR LAX: But you have explained to us the reason why you needed guns, was because your area was under attack, your people needed to defend themselves, yet here you are, you've got your own gun, and you don't use it even though you are being attacked? How can you explain that to us?
MR CHUNENE: I didn't use the gun because when IFP people come to attack the community, they will wake us up late at night and we will try and chase them as to find out where they vanished and we wouldn't get hold of them.
MR LAX: But you have just told us that your comrades used (indistinct), home made firearms, you said that right at the beginning of your evidence and that wasn't good enough, that is why you needed to get proper guns? It still does not explain why you didn't use your own firearm which you had specifically there to protect yourself?
MR CHUNENE: Yes, at the time most comrades were using home made firearms. I didn't possess this gun in order to go around and shoot people, but I needed the gun in order to protect myself and my family, and also I didn't want to waste those ammunitions, because I knew if I just shoot, I will be wasting those ammunitions and I won't get them anywhere.
MS STRETCH: Because Ms Heuer who is present, will testify if necessary that you removed the shotgun from the room, but you left it behind when you fled from the scene, and that is also part of the summary of substantial facts which is attached to the indictment at page 6, paragraph 7? What do you say to that?
CHAIRPERSON: So when the Prosecutor was drawing up the indictment in connection with the charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances, for some kindly reason he decided to leave out this firearm, but he charged you with taking the 38 Special? Is that what you are telling us now?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. The indictment says on page 3, count 4, that what you stole was a Rossi Special 38 firearm, ammunition and a suitcase containing about R1 000 in cash, a pocket calculator and books and yet at the time, they knew you had taken a shotgun, it had been found in your presence, the police had it and were going to give it back, but they didn't want to charge you with the robbery, is that what you are saying?
MR CHUNENE: What I can clarify here is that the gun which was used by Mr Heuer was taken by us and that was the only gun I know and it had five ammunitions. I don't know about the other gun which was left behind.
MR CHUNENE: I think I am not certain about different types of guns, that is why I said to you we took that gun that he had in his possession after we shot him, and that gun had five ammunitions. That is the only gun that I saw in that house.
MR LAX: You see, we were talking about a shotgun, a shotgun is a long gun that fires big cartridges approximately half an inch in diameter, roughly the same thickness as this microphone in front of you. It is the same kind of bullet that a (indistinct) would take, do you understand?
MR LAX: Now the question you were originally asked was, Ms Heuer gave you a shotgun, why didn't you take it with you? You said you were interested in any firearm you could get your hands on, why didn't you take the shotgun with you? Do you understand the question?
MR CHUNENE: Now I do understand your question and my answer is the only gun which was taken from that house was the one which I personally took from Mr Heuer, and I gave it to Piet. I don't remember Ms Heuer giving me a gun. I did question her about firearms and she answered back and said this was the only gun they had at that house. I didn't see any other gun and if there was any other gun, I was going to take it, I wasn't going to leave it behind.
MR LAX: In her statement she says that you took in addition to her husband's, her late husband's firearm, you took the shotgun and then she goes on to say that you then left it behind when you were fleeing, and you dispute that?
MR CHUNENE: My aim was to find him inside the house, because Piet had already told me and Piet had an idea and full knowledge of that farm, I didn't know that farm very well, and Piet told me that he knows that Mr Potgieter usually carries a gun, he's got different types of guns.
MR CHUNENE: I saw a safe in a wall and that safe was long. I realised that Piet was right, probably he had locked his guns in that safe, and then I started looking for the key for that safe, to unlock that safe and see if there were guns.
MR CHUNENE: I don't remember how long it took us to come back, but when we returned, it was late at night and it was cold. He was inside the house. Even though we couldn't get inside the house, but he was there.
MS STRETCH: You said in your evidence-in-chief that you told Piet that after three shots Piet hadn't managed to kill him, you would therefore have to return and kill him at some other stage? Is that right?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS MTANGA: I do Chairperson, just a few questions. Mr Chunene, in your evidence you have indicated that you lived at Banya and Banya was mostly dominated by ANC people, am I correct?
MS MTANGA: Did you have a person representing you at Dundee, that is a person who would be the leader of your youth formation from Banya when you go to these rallies, did you have anyone representing you or leading you?
MS MTANGA: On page 6 of the Bundle, you were sent a letter asking you to give us the name of a person who can confirm your membership and your response to that letter was that the only person who could confirm your membership was Cecil Sami who is now late, therefore there was no one else who could do so. If you were such an activist from a very small area like Banya, where you were youth who would attend rallies together, you were well known that you were involved, why is it that you were not able to provide us with the name of a person who can confirm your ANC membership?
MS MTANGA: Are you saying Cecil Sami was the only person, the only senior person at that time, who could confirm your membership, there was no other person in the ANC in the area who could confirm your membership?
MS MTANGA: Mr Chunene, surely in your area there were people who were organising at Banya, in your area, who were more senior than you, those are the people we wanted to confirm your membership for us, in your area at Banya, not someone at Dundee. In Banya, who were the people who were senior to you who could confirm your membership besides Cecil Sami who was at Dundee?
MR CHUNENE: I wouldn't be certain that if I give you names, those people will confirm that because I don't have a membership card. Maybe it may be difficult for someone to say so if he knows that I don't have a membership card. One will ask himself if I was a member of the ANC, why didn't I obtain a membership card.
MS MTANGA: Mr Chunene, we do understand the situation then that people would be supporters and active supporters of an organisation and therefore you may not have a card or be a card carrying member of an organisation, but you would be a well known activist. You have testified here that you used to attend rallies with other youths from a very small area of Banya with 32 houses, what I am asking you is who are the names of the people from Banya who were organising you there, who were senior to you, who can confirm that you were an ANC activist even if you were not a card carrying member, you attended their rallies, they know you as you have already indicated that you were well known in the area.
MR CHUNENE: I can recall one person and his name is Joe and TRC Investigator told me that Joe was no longer in that firm which I referred to him. I think he had changed jobs. Now, I think he is no longer residing at Banya.
MS MTANGA: Thank you Chairperson. You have given evidence that the jacket, the leather jacket that Piet Nkosi took from Mr Potgieter's house, was left by Nkosi at your house. How did it get into your wardrobe?
MS MTANGA: Is it your evidence that Piet Nkosi left this jacket at your place for two months, because at the time of your arrest, the same jacket was still in your wardrobe, that was two months after the incident? Piet Nkosi just abandoned the jacket at your place?
MR CHUNENE: Yes, it was always at home after he left it. When I was arrested, it was still in my place. I had already told him to come and fetch his jacket, it was bigger than me, it wasn't even my size. It was his size.
MS MTANGA: Mr Chunene, I put it to you that you are lying about why the jacket landed up in your wardrobe, the true facts are that the jacket was taken by you, you had taken possession of the jacket, hence it was found in your wardrobe two months after the incident, what do you say to this?
MR CHUNENE: I think this is your opinion and your view of the situation, I will explain this. Piet is taller and bigger than me, I am smaller and that jacket is big. I couldn't' have worn that jacket, because it is bigger than me. In fact, if it was mine, I would have sold that jacket.
MS MTANGA: You have also told us that the R1 000 cash that you obtained from the Heuer's household, was split between the two of you, you got R500 and Piet got R500, what was the reason for splitting the money when the purpose of stealing was go, go and get weapons and ammunition, why did you split the money?
MR CHUNENE: The reason was because I had already told Piet that I was going to Johannesburg and I told him it was easy to obtain a gun in East Rand for about R200 and for R500, I can obtain two guns. I told Piet that he could use that R500 to buy ammunitions. Two days later, he gave me one box full of ammunition, I think there were 31 inside.
MR LAX: Just hang on a second, you told us earlier in your evidence under cross-examination when you were talking about splitting the money and so on, that you didn't see Nkosi again because you got arrested very soon after that? Now you say you did actually see him because he gave you a box of ammunition that he had bought with some of that money. Please explain this for us.
MR CHUNENE: Maybe I didn't understand or you misunderstood me, I said I gave Piet R500 and I took R500 and I explained to Piet that I was going to take that R500 and go to the East Rand and buy guns, and I told him that he must use that R500 to buy ammunition. Two days later, we met, that is when I went to him and I told him that I was leaving for the East Rand and he must come and meet me somewhere, so that we carry those guns, because I wasn't going to go straight to Vryheid with those guns.
CHAIRPERSON: But didn't you want to help to protect the comrades? You have been asked about this before, I have great difficulty understanding that you would get a gun but you will only use it to protect your own house, not the comrades who were being attacked in the area? Can you explain that?
MR CHUNENE: I didn't have enough ammunition because my worry was if I make use of all the ammunition, I wouldn't be able to get more because I didn't know where to get more ammunition. I was scared that if I used the gun, I will finish the ammunition and the gun would be useless. I wasn't going to convert that gun into something else to be useful without ammunitions.
MR LAX: Mr Chunene, please, you have told us yourself that you knew you could get ammunition from the hostel, that was your earlier evidence? So you knew exactly where to get ammunition if you needed it. Piet said to you "hang on, you don't need to go to the hostel for ammunition, I know where to get ammunition from around here", that is why you gave him the extra money to go and get ammo while you went and got the firearms from Thokoza, not so?
MR CHUNENE: Yes, most people who are residing in Thokoza, the hostel dwellers there, are IFP or were IFP supporters, but my brother-in-law who was there, was my friend, he was not, he was an ANC and it was easy for me to ask him to get guns and ammunitions for me.
MR LAX: Let me just explain to you that I have sat through many, many amnesty applications, some from Thokoza, some from Sebokeng, those places - it wasn't possible to be ANC and live there. You would be dead very quickly. You had to be IFP to live in those places and the conflict in those areas, is legendary.
MR LAX: There were separate hostels for people that were ANC, they couldn't stay together? There were ANC hostels and there were IFP hostels and the IFP hostels were very different places to the ANC hostels. In some places like Sebokeng, the hostels were ANC and the IFP people were chased out and that is why they went and made other places for themselves to stay. These are facts of our history which we have come to hear, but let's proceed in any event.
MS MTANGA: And you have heard about the Court finding that this Piet Nkosi you were hanging around with, was a known criminal, was apparently a known criminal and if he was a known criminal, surely he would have been a known criminal at Banya, not anywhere else and you say you were never aware of his criminal activities, is that your evidence?
MR CHUNENE: I wouldn't say that he was a criminal or not, but what I can say is that he was older than me, and when I first knew him, I was still in school and I don't know of his criminal activities.
MS MTANGA: My question to you is, despite his well known status of being a criminal in the area, and in your evidence that in the seven years that you have known him, you were never aware of his criminal activities, is that what you are saying to us?
MR CHUNENE: The Court found that he was a criminal, I personally didn't see any of his criminal activities and him as well, didn't come to me and tell me about his criminal activities. I wasn't a criminal myself, maybe if I was, he was going to reveal to me that he is a criminal as well, but he did not because I was not a criminal myself. I never asked him about his criminal activities, because I didn't know any of his criminal activities.
MR CHUNENE: Myself as a supporter of the ANC, I never believed in stealing and I never stole anything before these two incidents. Maybe Piet was a criminal and maybe he had criminal convictions before, but myself, no, I didn't.
MR CHUNENE: It is because I was indoctrinated by Chief Molefe that in order to get something, in order to get something ... (tape ends) ... because the white man has everything. Because of that, I didn't have the conscience of being afraid of killing a person then.
MR CHUNENE: What I can say regarding that is that when these things happened, I was still young. I didn't know politics that much, I didn't know whether it was, we were supposed to steal or not steal, whether we were not supposed to kill or kill. That was on my mind.
MR LAX: I want to take you to page 5 of the papers, this is your letter you wrote from prison on the 25th of June 1998 and in answer to question 3 and that question we have in front of us now - "did you do the killing by your own or together with others? If other people took part in the killing, we need their names." Your reply was "I personally shot the deceased in the presence of my two colleagues." You have told us in your evidence so far that you were alone with Nkosi, there were only two of you. Why did you answer that question that you shot the deceased in the presence of two colleagues? If you have made a mistake, who was the other colleague that was with you?
MR CHUNENE: I think it was when they were taking down the reports, because there was no time, in a hurry, to finish it and the person who was actually to get this was leaving. At that time I was in a hurry and I was told that the person who is taking the details, who needs the letter, was about to take off or leave. He was about to take a leave or be off and actually told me that this is in a hurry, he is supposed to fax it the very same day that he was actually giving to me, and I was writing that in a hurry. I couldn't actually sit down, have enough time to sit down and read it again carefully and check the mistakes or the errors.
MR LAX: This is a simple matter, you were either with one person or you were with two people. It is nothing that rushing or not rushing will make a big difference to whether you are going to make a mistake or not. Either you were with two people or you were with one person, it is very simple.
MR CHUNENE: As I have explained that I was in a hurry, I didn't have the time to reread this and check if I have written correctly, and then there was nothing that was left within me and he actually didn't even give me time to read or to check it because he was in a hurry, because he was about to leave for home.
MR CHUNENE: It is not for the first time that I talk about this, there was an Investigator who actually came to me, and I explained to him that Patrick Qoqo was stabbed by the time when this incident occurred. I am the one who wrote wrongly, I actually want to explain that Patrick was late or dead by then. That actually led us to killing and then doing all these things, it is only me and Piet who would assist, and because Temba was late, then we are the ones who have to actually carry on with such jobs or activities.
MR LAX: yes, and that leads to my next question, the last rally that you went to in January 1992, you told us was because Temba or Patrick had been killed and this was his funeral rally, so if that is so, how could he have been present at your planning which then took place after that?
"... nobody gave the order for the killing. I personally invited some other comrades to discuss this and a decision was taken to attack the farmers. Piet Nkosi and Patrick Qoqo were there, but they are now deceased."
MR CHUNENE: The explanation is there, as I have already explained, that the mistake occurred when I was writing. Qoqo was killed and he was killed by the IFP and Piet was killed by the police. I am the one who failed to explain when I was writing down because I didn't have enough time to do this.
MR CHUNENE: I can say he was an exile, although I didn't know about exiles by then, what type of people are they, by then, but then I take that he would be a person who actually would expose himself in the community or probably by going to town, going public.
MR LAX: You see in 1989 the ANC was not yet a public organisation, that only happened after February 1990. It wasn't operating above ground in 1989 at all. However, there were other structures that were pro-ANC, that were operating and people who called themselves comrades and those structures were well established in Northern Natal at that time, in Vryheid, in Dundee, in Glencoe, all over the show. You didn't know about that?
MR CHUNENE: I became an ANC supporter, that was on my mind. I didn't know where the other people were coming from, whether it is the same or not. He did not explain that to us. We actually loved the notion or the idea that this person is from Mozambique and is the ANC person and then we knew that as he was amongst us, we should support him and we shouldn't actually let him to get arrested. Although he was moving around us and considering the fact that the neighbourhood or some people are police, would actually see him and probably tell on him.
MR LAX: You see, in 1989 there were youth congresses in all those small towns around the Northern Natal, there was Glencoe Youth Congress, Dundee Youth Congress, Vryheid Youth Congress, Newcastle Youth Congress, they were all in those areas. They were well organised structures. They were involved in youth boycotts, school boycotts, rent boycotts, over a long period of time. You don't know that?
MR LAX: When I asked you to tell us what structures you were part of, you couldn't say the name. If you were part of a youth congress, you would have said "I was part of this youth congress or that youth congress". This man Sami, Cecil Sami, you said that he could vouch for the fact that you were an ANC member because he was your leader? Is that right?
MR CHUNENE: He was not introduced to me personally, but he was introduced to the comrades who were at the rally because we didn't have an office at that time, therefore they were telling us that there will be an office which is going to be opened and he is going to be the leader. He is going to be the Chairperson there.
MR LAX: Mr Chunene, there was an ANC office in Vryheid for a long time, it was in the Union office, it had been there for years, it had been operating as a UDF and a Trade Union office in Vryheid and when the ANC was unbanned, it assumed offices in the same place. It had been there for a long time? You didn't know that?
"... regarding the issue of money that we got from the house of the farmer, I wish to clarify that the amount was R1 000, not R2 000 and this money was in fact used in buying ammunition to arm two comrades, not that it was handed over to particular comrades in cash."
CHAIRPERSON: But that is not what you have said in your affidavit, that I have just read to you? There you say the money was in fact used in buying ammunition, not that it was handed over to particular comrades in cash? But you say your R500 wasn't used at all and the other you handed over R500 in cash to Nkosi?
CHAIRPERSON: So what you have put down, was not true? Let's go back a bit, in your application for amnesty at page 3, paragraph 10(c) you were asked the normal formal question, "did you benefit in any way financially or otherwise" and your reply is
"... firearms and money, amount of R1 000, that money was used to buy ammunition and firearms, were given to the comrades."
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, so that money hadn't been used, why didn't you say I had the money in my possession, I was going to buy firearms? What you say is the money was used to buy firearms and ammunition and these were given to the comrades. That is not so, is it? Nothing was given to the comrades?
MR CHUNENE: The money which was going to be used to buy guns, was with me, and the money which was going to be used to buy ammunition, was with Piet, therefore I don't know how he used the money, because when I was arrested, he was still outside and I don't know as to what happened to that money.
MS LOONAT IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Chairperson and Members of the honourable Committee, my learned colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, my client was of a tender age when the political situation around the country was at its height.
MS LOONAT: Mr Chairperson, Members of the honourable Committee, my learned colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, my client was of tender age when the political situation around the country was at its height. He attended the rally which we refer to on page 4 of the Bundle and which was called about by Chief Molefe. He left school in standard 7, but it was after the death of his comrade, Mfaba Masego and other friends that he had been hearing about, that this became the final straw so to speak in his young mind. Chief Molefe's call at the rally was "kill the Boer, kill the farmer". The whites according to him, had all the privileges, so he was brainwashed into believing, therefore he believed he was being instructed indirectly to disarm them and use their weapons to defend themselves against the IFP. He also lost his comrade Patrick Qoqo to the IFP. He admits he had no direct instructions. That indirectly yes, that was the message he perceived from Chief Molefe's speeches and others who belonged to the ANC and who came to spread propaganda amongst them. The reason for the attacks were politically motivated. Cash was to be obtained and used to procure firearms and ammunition. Nothing was for personal gain.
He takes full responsibility in his statement on page 4 of the Bundle, for his part in the attacks. He was relatively young when he lost his father, therefore he lacked guidance and discipline. He did not pack up and run away when his area was being attacked by the IFP, in fact he stayed to protect his mother and his younger sister and brother. He was convinced by Chief Molefe that this was the only way to stop them, arm yourselves whichever way you can, to get everlasting peace. That is what he firmly believed. He felt no emotion when he shot the deceased. He could not because he was so young and so angry with the persistent attacks on his family at the time. It is a different story today. He is ashamed ...
The apartheid regime to him was the cause of all this grief, coupled with the fact that political parties were not unbanned at that time. Today he realises, especially in the new South Africa, that violence was not the answer to attaining peace. Yes, he blames Piet Nkosi who after the death of his father, was his role model. He repeats that he was never informed of Nkosi's criminal activities, he wishes Piet Nkosi did reciprocate and teach him tolerance, not violence, discourse and education in politics. Now that he is older, more mature, he humbly requests that this honourable Committee considers his application for amnesty and afford him an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to society in the new South Africa. His young mind was distorted by rage and pain and also he was confused about what message was actually being sent across to him at that time. He reacted, his punishment is life sentence.
My instructions are that he today can honestly say he is full of remorse for the trauma he inflicted upon the victims' families and he would hope they would accept his plea for forgiveness. He has no previous convictions and in spite of owning his own firearm from a tender age, he never used it to enrich himself. It was a precious commodity to him, together with its six bullets, which he was, he had decided he was going to use in dire emergency to protect his widowed, blind mother and his sisters.
I submit to the Honourable Members of the Committee that my client complies therefore with Section 20(1)(a), (b), (c), (2)(a), (b), (d), (f) and (3) and he hopes that you would consider his application for amnesty. Thank you.
MS STRETCH IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Mr Chairperson. The applicant in this matter in my respectful submission is blatantly dishonest. Firstly it is clear that he has very little or no knowledge about the framework or the policies of the ANC. After the two rallies, assuming that he did attend them, he did nothing for six months to obtain firearms. After six months, assuming again that he attended these rallies, any emotional affect that they may have had on him, would clearly have dissipated considerably. Mr Chairperson, he lied about his motive for murdering Godfrey Heuer, he quite clearly stated that it was to obtain firearms and yet he doesn't take both firearms with him.
I also wish to refer the Panel to the proportionality clause in Section 20(3)(f) of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, which we know relates to the relationship between the act and the omission of the offence and the political objective pursued and the directness and the proximity of such relationship to the commission of the offence. I respectfully submit to this Panel that if one looks at what was done to Potgieter in particular, he was shot three times. The applicant decided that probably that his accomplice was not such a good shot, we will come back later and make sure that we will kill him, we will bring a bigger and better gun. Potgieter did nothing to deserve that, if they really wanted firearms from him, they could have confronted him, obtained the safe keys from him and with minimal force, obtained the firearms and made their way off. They didn't do that. The people he refers to that would confirm his allegiance to the ANC, are all conveniently deceased.
He also distances himself conveniently from the other objects which were taken in count 2 of the indictment, namely the video machines, cassettes, money, two jackets, various other objects which quite clearly had nothing to do with his alleged political cause and therefore he cannot really justify for taking those objects and so simply says that it did not happen, although it was found by the Honourable Mr Justice Lievensohn that those objects were taken and his allegation that somebody would have taken them afterwards, is highly improbable and should be rejected by this Panel.
Again as quite correctly pointed out by the Panel, he contradicts himself severely regarding his friendship or knowledge of Patrick Qoqo. He know that Patrick Qoqo was killed by the IFP and there is no doubt in my mind that he refers to Patrick Qoqo in his letter so that this Panel could find that he obviously knows something about the ANC and has friends in the ANC. I submit that his friendship, his reference to any friendship with Patrick Qoqo should be rejected as it has been pointed our quite clearly by the Panel, that he has contradicted himself in that regard.
MS MTANGA IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Chairperson. I will be very brief. The issues that I wish to cover in my submissions, have been covered by my learned friend, Adv Stretch. What I would like to submit is that the Committee should see this matter as a matter where the applicant set out to benefit himself personally and his friend Piet Nkosi, it was never to further any political objectives of the ANC as he has so alleged. This is my submission.