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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 30 July 1997

Location PIETERMARITZBURG

Day 3

Names MANDLENKOSI T POSWA

Case Number 3641/96

CHAIRPERSON: I am sorry that we are late in starting this morning. We were told that the victims had not arrived. We were subsequently told that some of the victims had arrived, but that others, including their leader, was on their way, were on their way here. There was also some confusion as to whether they wish to be legally represented and had made arrangements to that effect. Can anyone tell me whether the victims who intend to be present are, in fact, present here today?

ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, I am told only two is present.

MR WILLS: They have not got their headphones.

ADV MPSHE: Thank you Mr Chairman. I will repeat what I said in chambers, that two is here and the two that is here informed us that the rest will be coming with their leader. The arrangement was that their leader will meet all of them here. So these came before the others could arrive, but they are on their way.

CHAIRPERSON: The trouble is that the notification that was given, as I understand it, was that the hearing would commence at nine o' clock. It is now a quarter to, 20 minutes to 11. There seems to be no certainty that this leader or the others are, in fact, going to be here. They have made no attempt, as far as I know, to communicate with anyone responsible for the organisation of this hearing, to explain that they have been delayed. Do you know where they were coming from?

ADV MPSHE: They come from Richmond.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, that is, what, 40km, 50km from here. If there had been a breakdown they would certainly have been able to get alternative transport by now. It seems to me, subject to what anyone may have to say, that we should commence this hearing. I see nods from the legal representative of the applicants and from the leader of evidence.

MR WILLS: I am ready to proceed Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: If they arrive later we will adjourn for a short while while an explanation can be given to them of the evidence that has been led. Very well. Could you, where is the lady, she is disappearing again. The lady who spoke to you, Mr Mpshe. Could you ask her to please ask the two victims who are here if they heard and understood what I said?

INTERPRETER: Yes, Sir, they said they did understand everything.

CHAIRPERSON: And are they happy with that arrangement, they appear to be. Could you interpret to, I see he has got his head.

INTERPRETER: Your Honour, they say there were nine victims, so there are nine families. They could say you can go on with your proceedings, but then they do not know how the other seven families will feel about it.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well.

INTERPRETER: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: We will continue. Before we do, Mr Mpshe, have you gotten a translation of pages 35 to 37?

ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, there is no translation. This I discovered last night when I read this ...

CHAIRPERSON: But I raised this last Friday.

ADV MPSHE: Yes, and it was said that the translation will be forwarded. I did phone Cape Town to check whether is had been forwarded and the person who was to assist in this, I am told, she is ill, she is not in the office.

CHAIRPERSON: But this is a statement, as I understand it, in Zulu which we could have surely had interpreted in 20 minutes here in the town. If we had asked the assistance of those sitting behind you I am sure one or other of them could have helped you.

ADV MPSHE: Mr ...

CHAIRPERSON: Can arrangements be made, because one of the members of the committee has had the benefit of reading this letter, addressed to the Committee of Amnesty and she informs me that it is extremely relevant.

ADV MPSHE: It is relevant Mr Chairman, I read it as well. An arrangement can be made with the people behind, they can in the meantime ...

CHAIRPERSON: Because I ...

ADV MPSHE: ... for a translation.

CHAIRPERSON: ... do not blame Mr Wills at all, because he and I, I think, both understood from, someone other than yourself, Mr Mpshe, that it would be translated and the translation would be available before the hearing.

ADV MPSHE: So I was told, Chair. That was my information, but I will cause it to be done.

MR WILLS: Yes, Mr Chairperson, if I could intervene here. I had raised that issue with the evidence leader prior to this hearing and the arrangement, as far as I was concerned, was at our pre-trial or pre-meeting, pre-hearing on Friday, that that would be done and, in fact, would be given to me at Monday lunch, on Monday lunch time together with certain other documents, but to date I have not received them.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Mpshe, I think it is a cause for concern that we should be given documents which have not been translated and the document by Mr Nzimande, I think, is an important document which should have been translated. There is no point in including documents when other members and also the applicant's legal representative will not be able to use that documents you have included in your bundle.

CHAIRPERSON: A further problem is that I imagine Mr Nzimande is going to be giving evidence before us shortly and I would like to have read what he has, the representations he has made to us before I hear him giving evidence.

ADV MPSHE: That is so Mr Chairman and Madam committee members, but I want to point this out, that the procedure the TRC office, Cape Town office has now changed. I do not, I was not given the opportunity to check the documents. I wanted to check everything myself to make sure that all is in order, but ...

CHAIRPERSON: No, it is not your, Mr Mpshe, we had a pre-trial meeting on Friday to avoid precisely this sort of thing and an undertaking was given by another member of our staff who had prepared the papers, as I understand it, that arrangements would be made. Mr Wills heard them and expected it to be done. It is not your problem. You have been up here leading evidence since we started and you also expected to be given this, but what, I wonder if we can get it, it is three pages, how long it would take to get that translated now.

ADV MPSHE: I am told it would take about 15 minutes. They have started with it.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, could we, perhaps, adjourn for 15 minutes and get that done so we are aware of what the applicants.

ADV MPSHE: Thank you.

MR WILLS: Mr Chairperson, possible, with respect I could suggest that we could continue with the evidence of the first applicant.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, before you do that, let us ask, I do not know whether the person who is going to do the translation is the person who will be engaged in interpretation for the hearing.

ADV POTGIETER: It is ten to 11. We may as well adjourn and have tea and stuff at half past 11.

CHAIRPERSON: No, not half past, he said 15 minutes. Is it the same interpreter?

ADV POTGIETER: Yes, it is the same interpreter.

CHAIRPERSON: I understand it is the same person. So we will adjourn now for at least 15 minutes, perhaps a little longer, till this has been translated and made available. Once again, I would like to apologise to members of the audience who have been sitting here patiently for a long time. The problem that has arisen now is that one of the applicants, the second applicant, when he made his application he put up a three page letter setting out what his grounds were. That was in Zulu and, unfortunately, we are not all conversant with Zulu and arrangements were made to have it interpreted, but there seems to have been some misunderstanding and it has not happened. So we are going to do it now and we hope within 15 or 20 minutes that we will start.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

CHAIRPERSON: I understand that this was not a matter of a simple interpretation, but it required the co-operation of a number of people including the applicant, but I gather we are now satisfied with the version that has been put up and we should, perhaps, mark it 35A so that it can go into the bundle after the original. I would like to thank those who assisted us. Carry on then.

ADV MPSHE: Thank you Mr Chairman. Thank you Mr Chairman. May I thank the Chair and the committee members for the time given in the, to effect that translation. Just some few things that I want to say before we start with the applicants. I want to refer the members of the committee to page 38 of the bundle. Page 38 of the bundle. On page 38 you will note, Mr Chairman, it is a report from the Investigative Unit and they indicate that there are three applicants, page 38 of the bundle, the last applicant being Tandukwazi Christopher Dlamini. I just want to explain that he did apply and his application was sent back to him, because it was not properly filled up. He did not respond and we served with another letter, reminding him that we still expect the application and that he needs to be enroled. I have got copies of those letters from Cape Town office. He did not respond. The information that I got, which my learned friend will confirm, is that this man died a long time ago in prison.

CHAIRPERSON: Surprising that the Prisons Department did not notify you.

ADV MPSHE: Kept like that and then moving to page 47 of the bundle. Okay.

CHAIRPERSON: Before we, I am reminded, we have not complied with the formality. So before we continue can I say this is the, Wednesday the 30th of July. The application of Mandlenkosi T Poswa and Mafoeka Anthony Nzimande. I, Andrew Wilson, am acting as Chairman together with Mrs Khampepe and Mr Potgieter. Would you two gentlemen please put yourselves on record.

MR WILLS: My name is John Wills, I am an attorney representing both applicants.

ADV MPSHE: J M Mpshe for the Truth Commission, particularly Amnesty Committee. Thank you Mr Chairman, members of the committee. Page 47 of the bundle. My Chairman, you will note when reading the court record, the transcript that I gave to the members the other day and when looking at page 47 the name of the Nzimande does not appear on the list.

CHAIRPERSON: He is number six is he not?

ADV MPSHE: I just wanted to note that he is number six.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

ADV MPSHE: Thank you. I then hand over to my learned friend.

MR WILLS: Thank you. Mr Chairperson, committee members I call the first applicant, M T Poswa, to give evidence.

MS KHAMPEPE: May you please stand up Mr Poswa. Please give this committee your full names?

MR POSWA: Mandlenkosi T Poswa.

MANDLENKOSI T POSWA: (Duly sworn in, states).

MS KHAMPEPE: May you be seated.

EXAMINATION BY MR WILLS

MR WILLS: Thank you Mr Chairperson, committee members. Mr Poswa, you are here today in regard to an amnesty application in respect of an incident that occurred in Gengeshe near Richmond on the 26th of September 1992. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: In that, in respect of that incident you were tried by the Supreme Court and found guilty of the murder of nine persons and the attempted murder of two persons. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: You were arrested and have been in custody in respect of this matter since the 2nd of October 1992. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, I want to go through the list of persons that appear on the indictment and I refer the commission to page 48 of the indictment. Do you know an individual called Anton Mohawu Shezi?

MR POSWA: Yes, I do. He is a member of an IFP.

MR WILLS: Do you know an individual by the name of Moentoe Mkhize?

MR POSWA: Yes, I knew Mkhize. He is, Moentoe Mkhize is also an IFP member.

MR WILLS: Do you know a person by the name of Mbuvani Nele?

MR POSWA: Yes, I knew Mbuvani Nele. He is an IFP member, upper Umkumazi.

MR WILLS: Do I understand it that this particular individual does not come from the Gengeshe area?

MR POSWA: Yes, he is not from Gengeshe.

MR WILLS: Do you know an individual by the name of Filapie Dlamini?

MR POSWA: I do not know Filapie Dlamini.

MR WILLS: Do you know the brother-in-law of Becker Poswa?

MR POSWA: I know Felise Dlamini.

MR WILLS: How do you, which political organisation does Felise Dlamini belong to?

MR POSWA: IFP member.

MR WILLS: Do you know a person by the name of Becker Poswa?

MR POSWA: Yes, I know Becker Poswa. He is an active IFP member.

MR WILLS: Do you know a person by the name of Mdudswa Madlala?

MR POSWA: Yes, I know Mdudswa Madlala. He stays at Umkumazi. He is an IFP member.

MR WILLS: Do you know a person by the name of Namawakwe Gillie?

MR POSWA: Yes, I know Namawakwe Gillie. He is a very active IFP member.

MR WILLS: Do you know a person by the name of Jabulani Sithole?

MR POSWA: Jabulani Sithole, I dot remember.

MR WILLS: Do you know a person by the name of Dumisani Mthembu?

MR POSWA: I do not know Dumisani Mthembu.

MR WILLS: Do you know a person, and I refer the commission to page 49 of the bundle, a person by the name of Segen Pilile Sithole?

MR POSWA: Yes, I know Segen Pilile Sithole. He is an IFP member at Umkumazi.

MR WILLS: Do you know Tula Bhonwa Poswa. From the record it appears that he is the grandson of a Poswa, if the court, if the commission will just bear with me, I will withdraw that question. Do you know Tula Bhonwa Poswa?

MR POSWA: I do not know him very well. There are so many Tula Bhonwa Poswas.

MR WILLS: Thank you. Now, it is common cause ...

CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on, are these people all male?

MR POSWA: Yes, they are all male.

CHAIRPERSON: And are the all adults?

MR POSWA: Yes, because they are above 20 years of age.

CHAIRPERSON: Go on.

MR WILLS: It is common cause, Mr Poswa, that you are an ANC member. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, when did you first become an ANC member?

MR POSWA: From 1988 I was an ANC member.

MR WILLS: And my instructions are correct that you first received an ANC card in August 1992. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: I do not remember where, but I got my card in 1992. I do not remember the month.

MR WILLS: Thank you. Now, why did you join the ANC?

MR POSWA: I liked the organisation, because it was fighting for human rights and also for liberation.

MR WILLS: Now, do you know an individual by the name of Indaba Zimboeza Poswa?

MR POSWA: Yes, I know Indaba Zimboeza Poswa. He is a very high profile IFP member at Gengeshe.

MR WILLS: When you say high profile could you just explain to the committee what you mean.

MR POSWA: He was the leader at Gengeshe.

MR WILLS: And by that you mean the IFP leader at Gengeshe?

MR POSWA: Yes, that is correct.

MR WILLS: Do you know whether or not this Indaba Zimboeza Poswa, Indaba Zimboeza Poswa was, what his attitude was to the ANC members who resided in Gengeshe?

MR POSWA: He did not want anyone who was an ANC member in Gengeshe.

MR WILLS: Do you know if he did anything to any ANC members in Gengeshe?

MR POSWA: Yes, I know.

MR WILLS: Can you explain to the committee please.

MR POSWA: Indaba Zimboeza Poswa did not like ANC members. He wanted IFP to be the only party at Gengeshe.

MR WILLS: Now, in respect of the incident for which you have been convicted, and I am specifically referring to the incident which occurred on the 26th of September 1996, did you yourself get paid or get any personal gain for committing the deed that you committed.

MR POSWA: I did not get anything out of it or benefitted out of this.

MR WILLS: Now, I want you to tell us about the period prior to the incident in 1992. I want you to tell us how the violence started and what actually occurred and I am specifically am not asking you about the incident on the 26th of September, I am asking you about the period prior to that.

MR POSWA: The violence started in 1991. ANC members were being shot. Mantutu was one of the people who got shot. This was Mantutu Poswa at Strandkloof in Pinetown.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Poswa, Mr Poswa.

MR POSWA: Yes.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Poswa, we would like you to slow your pace, because we have interpreters who have to interpret what you say to English.

CHAIRPERSON: Give us that name again?

MR WILLS: The name given, as I understand it, Mr Chairperson, was Mantutu Poswa and I have got it spelt

M A N T U T U, Mantutu Poswa.

CHAIRPERSON: From Pinetown did he say?

MR WILLS: He was, if I can just clear that up. Sorry, what happened to Mantutu Poswa?

MR POSWA: I made a mistake, I will like to withdraw that statement about Mantutu Poswa. He was not killed in 1991, he was killed in 1992.

MR WILLS: Okay, let us try and start off at the beginning. You have indicated that the violence started in 1991. What happened in that year?

MR POSWA: In 1991 Msolwa Basi was shot, but he did not die.

MR WILLS: If I can just clarify that Msolwa Basi, is that M S O L W A, Basi, B A S I?

MR POSWA: Yes, yes. That is correct.

MR WILLS: And who, in your opinion, was responsible for shooting Msolwa Basi?

MR POSWA: It was Namawakwe Gillie and Keswa Poswa.

MR WILLS: These two persons you have mentioned, what political organisation did they belong to?

MR POSWA: Msolwa was an ANC member.

MR WILLS: And the other two people, Namawakwe Gillie and Keswa Poswa? What political organisation did they belong to?

MR POSWA: May you please repeat the question.

MR WILLS: You have indicated that two persons by the name of Namawakwe Gillie and Keswa Poswa were, in your view, responsible for the shooting at of Mantutu, sorry, of Msolwa Basi. I want to know, those two people, Namawakwe Gillie and Keswa Poswa, what political organisation did they belong to. If you know that please tell the committee.

MR POSWA: Namawakwe Gillie is an IFP member, very active. Keswa Poswa is an IFP member too.

MR WILLS: Now this ...

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Wills, is it Keswa Poswa or Becker Poswa?

MR WILLS: I, my understanding of the evidence at this stage is that it is Keswa Poswa.

MR POSWA: It is Keswa Poswa.

MR WILLS: Okay, now this Namawakwe Gillie, is he the same person who I referred to earlier who, in fact, is one of the deceased in the incident that occurred on the 26th of September?

MR POSWA: That is correct. He is Namawakwe, an IFP member.

MR WILLS: Now, okay, turning to 1992 now and the earlier part of 1992, were there any further acts of violence during that year?

MR POSWA: Yes, in 1992 Spatelie, my son, was shot.

MR WILLS: Was your son a member of any organisation?

MR POSWA: Yes, he was an ANC member and he was also a leader.

MR WILLS: And what was his role in the ANC, for the ANC in the Gengeshe community?

MR POSWA: He was an activist who encouraged people to join the ANC at Gengeshe.

MR WILLS: Your instructions to me were that, in fact, he was an ANC organiser. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: And your ...

CHAIRPERSON: How old was he?

MR POSWA: He died at 27.

MR WILLS: That incident occurred on the 12th of the fourth 1992. Is that correct? That is the 12th of April 1992.

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, I believe that the day before this killing, the police came to, the South African Police came to Gengeshe. Can you tell the committee what they did?

MR POSWA: After the son was shot, they came to take him to the mortuary.

MR WILLS: Mr Poswa, please listen carefully, you have misunderstood my question. I am talking about the day before, ie, the 11th of April 1994. The day before your son was shot the police came to Gengeshe. Can you tell the committee what happened?

MR POSWA: Police came on the 11th at home. Those were soldiers. They searched the home. They were in, accompanied by Mr Matthyson, who is a farmer. They searched the house and went away and on the next, the following day my son was killed.

MR WILLS: When you say "the house", is that the house, are you referring, whose house are you referring to?

MR POSWA: They searched the whole homestead.

MR WILLS: Your homestead.

MR POSWA: Yes.

MR WILLS: And what were they searching for?

MR POSWA: They were looking for arms.

MR WILLS: Did they find any arms?

MR POSWA: They did not find anything.

CHAIRPERSON: What was the name of the farmer again?

MR WILLS: Please can you repeat the name of the farmer that was with the soldiers?

MR POSWA: He is from Gengeshe.

MR WILLS: What is his name? You gave the name Matthyson, is that correct?

MR POSWA: Mr Matthyson, Kongolo, it is Kongolo in Zulu.

MR WILLS: Now, did anything happen as a result of the death of your son, that attack involving the death of your son? I mean, what did the community, and by that I refer to those people in the community who were allied to the ANC, what did they do at this time?

MR POSWA: After my son was killed we all left Gengeshe and went to stay and Ndaleni. We were, those were the ANC members.

MR WILLS: And what happened to the houses of those members?

MR POSWA: The houses were burnt.

MR WILLS: Do you know who was involved in the attack on your son?

MR POSWA: My son was killed by Keswa Poswa. He shot him with a firearm and he was in the company of Namawakwe, Becker Poswa.

MR WILLS: Were there any other people involved whose names you do not remember?

MR POSWA: No, those were the only people that I know.

MR WILLS: Now, as I understand your evidence, it is to the effect that the ANC members of the community left Gengeshe and went to Ndaleni and this is the township which is just on the perimeter of Richmond. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, can you tell the committee whether or not the police investigated this, the murder of your son.

MR POSWA: Police got the message, the case was reported, but they did not do anything.

MR WILLS: Now, what steps did you take? You have been chased away or you had left your homes, what steps did you take in order to attempt to go back to your homes?

MR POSWA: We went back to our houses on the 26th and we were attacked.

MR WILLS: No, I am referring to earlier incidents. Did you take any steps prior to going back on the 26th to try and negotiate you returning to your homes?

MR POSWA: My son was shot on the 12th. On the 13th Armond Poswa and Vimba Poswa and Fana Poswa went to Gengeshe to try to find some peaceful settlement of the issue.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Wills, can we have those names again. He is rattling and we cannot keep up?

MR WILLS: Yes. Mr Poswa, thank you. You must remember that this process is being translated and people are also taking notes. So we want you to go more slowly when you are giving your evidence. So, can you tell us the names of the people who went to Gengeshe to negotiate?

MR POSWA: Armond Poswa, Vimba Poswa, Fana Poswa.

MR WILLS: Now, I am sorry, I might have misunderstood your evidence. I just want to clear it up. What did these people do? Just tell me what these people did.

MR POSWA: They wanted Indaba Zimboeza Poswa to try and call him to reconcile with me since they have killed my son.

MR WILLS: And what happened thereafter?

MR POSWA: They did not reach any peaceful agreement and they chose they did not want any peace.

MR WILLS: Now, were any other steps taken to negotiate the problems there and, specifically, I refer to in regard to a Chief Dlamini Mbulwa?

MR POSWA: After that Timothy Poswa and Vincent Poswa and Armond Poswa, they went to the chief, Konsingdaba Dlamini.

MR WILLS: Is that Timothy Poswa who is your father?

MR POSWA: Yes, Timothy Poswa is my father and he is a Headman.

MR WILLS: And Vincent Poswa, who is your blood brother?

MR POSWA: Yes, Vincent Poswa is my brother.

MR WILLS: And they went to Chief Dlamini who resides in the Bulwa area and whose jurisdiction covers the Gengeshe area?

MR POSWA: Yes, they went to Chief Dlamini at Bulwa.

MR WILLS: And can you tell the committee whether or not that attempt was successful. Did Chief Dlamini help, in other words?

MR POSWA: He did not help. They asked him to come and reconcile the people. He did not.

MR WILLS: Now, you referred to an incident earlier where you said you got confused in respect of Mantutu Poswa and you mentioned something about Pinetown. Can you explain to the committee about what, when this happened and what occurred there?

MR POSWA: Which time are you referring to?

MR WILLS: You mentioned earlier something happened to Mantutu Poswa in Pinetown. Can you tell the committee what happened there?

MR POSWA: The IFP members bought a car, I mean, referring to Becker Poswa and they went to shoot Mantutu at Grondskloof in Pinetown.

MR WILLS: And this Mantutu Poswa, what political party was he?

MR POSWA: Mantutu Poswa is an ANC member.

MR WILLS: And this Becker, you mentioned Becker Poswa bought a car and they went to Pinetown in that car. This Becker Poswa, is he one of the deceased in this matter?

MR POSWA: Yes, that is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, I want to refer to the actual attack on the 26th of or the actual incident, should I say, on the 26th of September 1992. Can you tell the committee what happened in the couple of days before that attack occurred?

MR POSWA: You mean before the 26th?

MR WILLS: Yes. Did you receive a phone call from anybody?

MR POSWA: Yes, Becker Poswa called me and told me that they are coming to attack us at Ndaleni and we are not going to see the Christmas of 1992.

MR WILLS: Sorry, I did not get the end of that answer. I wonder if I could ask if the interpreter could repeat it.

INTERPRETER: He said they are coming to attack them and they will not see the Christmas of 1992.

MR WILLS: And this Becker Poswa is the same person you referred to earlier as being a deceased and prior to that being a prominent IFP leader?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: So, what was your response?

MR POSWA: I said they should come and I am also coming to their side.

MR WILLS: Okay, now it is common cause that on the 26th of September you arrived early in the morning at Gengeshe. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, how many people were with you and by that I refer to the people in your party?

MR POSWA: We were about 31 or 32.

MR WILLS: And these were ANC members. Is that correct? MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: And the second applicant, Mr Nzimande, was among that group. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Can you remember the names of any others?

MR POSWA: It was myself, Mandlenkosi Poswa, Mafoeka Nzimande, Lolo Poswa, Fanake Poswa, Falane Imbona, Nandi Poswa, Tuffie Mshengu. I cannot remember the others and I did not know some of them. MR WILLS: Now, what were you going to do at Gengeshe?

MR POSWA: We were ...

MR WILLS: Now, I think it is common cause that a number of you were armed on that occasion. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct, we were armed, ...

MR WILLS: What ...

MR POSWA: ... heavily armed.

MR WILLS: What were you armed with, personally?

MR POSWA: I was holding a 303 firearm.

MR WILLS: And where did you get that firearm from?

MR POSWA: I bought it from Bovane at Nele.

MR WILLS: Sorry, can you slowly repeat that name for the committee?

MR POSWA: I bought it from Bovane Nele.

MR WILLS: When did you buy it from Bovane Nele?

MR POSWA: At the beginning of 1991.

MR WILLS: As I understand it, this is prior to the violence starting in Gengeshe?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, this Bovane Nele is, in fact, the person whose, the deceased in count three of the incident. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct, he is one of the deceased.

MR WILLS: You have referred to him as being an IFP member?

MR POSWA: That is correct, he was an IFP member.

MR WILLS: Now, as regards the other persons, can you just describe to the committee how they were armed?

MR POSWA: You mean the ANC people?

MR WILLS: I mean the ANC people, yes.

MR POSWA: They were armed with firearms, others with spears and hunting or bush knives.

MR WILLS: Was everybody armed with a firearm?

MR POSWA: Not all were armed with firearms. Few of them had firearms and others had spears and the bush, bush knives.

MR WILLS: Now, okay, it is common cause that you arrived at Gengeshe relatively early in the morning, I think before six a.m. Can you tell the committee what happened soon after your arrival?

MR POSWA: We arrived at Gengeshe. We left the others at their homes below and we proceeded towards Umkumazi to my tuck-shop to see the damage, how it was damaged. We came back going to one of my shop. Before we reach that direction people started shooting at us, the IFP members.

MR WILLS: And were the IFP members all separate or were they together, what was the position? Were ...

MR POSWA: They were near the family of Becker, just in front of Becker's family. There were many just next to the house.

MR WILLS: Now, my reading of the bundle here, it appears that they were in a camp on, from the evening prior to the incident until the morning when you arrived. Do you understand what a camp is?

MR POSWA: Yes, I know a camp. They were at the camp.

MR WILLS: And what do you understand by the meaning "camp"?

MR POSWA: It is a place where people sit and wait for the war to start. It is a waiting place.

MR WILLS: So, as I understand it, all of these IFP members were together when you first saw them?

MR POSWA: Yes, they were waiting. They were waiting ANC members. MR WILLS: Now, after this shooting started what did the ANC members do?

MR POSWA: While we were going towards a direction along the road they shot at us. We tried to protect ourselves by lying on the road. They continued to shoot and they stopped. When we tried to stand up they shot one of an ANC member, Mr Mtolo. He fall on the ground and we started leaving the road and we went, moved towards their direction after one of us was shot and we started shooting.

MR WILLS: Now, this Mr Mtolo that you referred to, did he die in the incident?

MR POSWA: That is correct, he died.

MR WILLS: And then you retaliated, you indicated you retaliated. You, yourself, were you responsible for killing anybody that day?

MR POSWA: Yes, we were lying on one of the fields and they shot at us and we returned fire and I shot someone. MR WILLS: And do you remember the name of the person you shot?

MR POSWA: Yes, it was Moentoe Mkhize.

MR WILLS: Yes, committee members, I refer to the pages 84 and 89 of the bundle which is the post mortem report of that deceased. Did you kill anybody else on that day?

MR POSWA: Yes.

MR WILLS: Do you remember who they were?

MR POSWA: It is only Moentoe Mkhize whom I realised I have shot.

MR WILLS: And the others you are not sure of?

MR POSWA: Yes.

MR WILLS: Now my understanding is, is that you had a, you used a 303 rifle on the day in question? Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Did you use any other weapons?

MR POSWA: I was only holding a 303 rifle. That is the arm, the firearm that I used.

MR WILLS: Now, after this incident or how long would you estimate that this incident, how long did it take? I mean, my understanding is, is that the fighting commenced at about six a.m. and when do you estimate that it was finished?

MR POSWA: We started at about past five, somewhere to six o' clock and it continued until six o' clock and the fight continued thereafter.

MR WILLS: And what happened after it had finished?

MR POSWA: We went back to Umkumazi and thereafter back to Ndaleni.

MR WILLS: And then shortly after that, in October, you were arrested?

MR POSWA: That is correct, I was arrested on the second of October 1992.

MR WILLS: Now, from my reading the bundle and the court record, it appears that there were, at the time of the, this incident, there were a number of women and children that were in the Gengeshe village at the time of the attack. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct, they were there.

MR WILLS: Did you, in any way, attack any of these women or children or you or members of your group?

MR POSWA: We did not wish to kill children and women, because we knew that they were not involved in the whole issue.

MR WILLS: Now, I just want to refer to the general politics of Gengeshe at the time and immediately prior to that. After you had left, after the ANC community had left in April 1992 after the death of your son, was it possible for an ANC member to reside in Gengeshe freely?

MR POSWA: They could not stay there peacefully, because they were killed.

MR WILLS: Now, what somebody who was not a member of a political party, somebody who was neutral, what would, would he be in a position to stay there?

MR POSWA: They could also not stay there, because only the IFP members were allowed to stay in Gengeshe.

CHAIRPERSON: Were there any neutrals, were there anybody there, at that time, who were not either IFP or ANC?

MR POSWA: There was only IFP and ANC.

MR WILLS: Sorry, on the day of the attack, the ANC people had, sorry, just immediately prior to the attack, the ANC people were not living there. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: May you please repeat your question?

MR WILLS: My question is, is that, in fact, I will rephrase it. From the 12th or from the day after your son's death, the ANC community had actually left Gengeshe. Is that correct?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

MR WILLS: Now, can you tell the committee why you took the action that you did on the 26th of September 1992?

MR POSWA: We went back to our homes and we did what we did, because we thought we had the right to come back to our place.

MR WILLS: Thank you Mr Chairperson, committee members, I have no further questions at this stage.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR WILLS

CHAIRPERSON: Could I clear up something with you? You have referred to your, on the day you went back you went to your tuck-shop. Do you remember telling us that?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And what did you find when you got to your tuck-shop?

MR POSWA: The tuck-shop was burnt down.

CHAIRPERSON: And you said then you came back and you were on your way to one of your shops. How many shops did you use to own in that area?

MR POSWA: I had a shop and a tuck-shop.

CHAIRPERSON: And what happened to your shop?

MR POSWA: We could not even reach the store or shop, but we knew that it was also burnt down.

CHAIRPERSON: And your house?

MR POSWA: The house was burnt.

CHAIRPERSON: And is this how you use to make your living before you were forced out of the area, running shops there?

MR POSWA: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And how old are you, please?

MR POSWA: I am 48 years old.

CHAIRPERSON: And did you have any alternative source of support?

MR POSWA: After my shops were burnt, I did not have anything to survive on.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you lose anything, apart from your shops, do you have any cattle, anything of that nature?

MR POSWA: I lost my shop and a tuck-shop, the house, my belongings, furniture and even the dogs.

CHAIRPERSON: Everything you possessed?

MR POSWA: Yes, everything that I had. They took everything, even the corrugated iron. They removed it above the roofs.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you.

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR WILLS

MR WILLS: Yes. Sorry, if I could just ask one question that I forgot to very briefly. Mr Poswa, how many wives do you have?

MR POSWA: I have three wives.

MR WILLS: And how many children do you support?

MR POSWA: I have 19 children.

MR WILLS: Thank you.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR WILLS

CHAIRPERSON: There is one other point I wanted to enquire about, but I thought it might be easier to ask you, Mr Wills, to, you might be able to supply the answer as to where is this place, Gengeshe?

MR WILLS: Yes, Mr Chairperson, I can supply the answer. It is approximately 16km from Richmond, travelling on the road towards, there is that famous little area just outside of Richmond, Burn Valley. It is more or less, I would ...

CHAIRPERSON: Is that the way to Elandsklip?

MR WILLS: I would not be able to answer that. I think it is in that general direction, but I am not exactly sure in relation to Elandsklip where it is. It is, I would estimate that Gengeshe, I have been there, it is I would say north-west of, slightly north-west of Richmond.

CHAIRPERSON: A long way from Bulwa?

MR WILLS: A fair, long way from Bulwa, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We will now adjourn for half an hour. We will start at half past one. Is that alright with you?

ADV MPSHE: That is in order Mr Chairman, thank you.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADVOCATE MPSHE

ADV MPSHE: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Poswa.

MR POSWA: Yes.

ADV MPSHE: You told us that when you were proceeding, going back to your place after you had inspected your tuck-shop, shots were fired and then you retaliated. Are you in a position to tell us exactly what happened during the retaliation? Whether it was only the shooting or it was the shooting and the destruction of property or what.

MR POSWA: We shot them and they also shot at us and one of them by the name of Mkhize was shot and also some other people whom I have not seen, but I heard were shot and one of them was by the surname of Jama at Umkumazi and some of them whom I have not come close to. Some of them were shot at, some of them were stabbed and there were about six. We also burnt one of the cars that they used when they were going to kill ANC members in Pinetown and we also burnt it to ashes. We also burnt one house, because some people ran into the house while we were shooting each other. We burned the house asking them to come out. When they came out we shot at them. They managed to escape, because it was, there was smoke, we could not see them very well. Unfortunately, they ran to a direction where they meet those who were on the lower part of the area and they also killed them.

ADV MPSHE: Now, you testified that not all of you had firearms. Others had ...

MR POSWA: That is correct. We were not all arms, armed with firearms. Others were armed with spears and hunting knives.

ADV MPSHE: Does it mean that at a particular stage the two groups came face to face physically fighting?

MR POSWA: Yes, we did face each other and shot each other. They shot at us and we shot at them.

ADV MPSHE: Yes, but was there a stage where you came face to face in order to enable your people to use their assegais and to use the kirries that they had?

MR POSWA: We did not come that close, because they realised that the war was a bit difficult for them and they started running away.

ADV MPSHE: Will I be correct to state that amongst those who died are those who were stabbed either with the assegais or hit with the kirries?

MR POSWA: Yes, others were shot, others were stabbed.

ADV MPSHE: Which then would mean there was a physical contact to use umkhonto?

MR POSWA: May you please repeat your question.

ADV MPSHE: Which would mean that there was physical contact in order to enable you to use the assegais?

MR POSWA: Yes, others managed to run to a closer position where they could stab a person.

ADV MPSHE: Now, in your evidence earlier on you made mention of a camp. These people whom you say were in a camp, were they attacked after they had left the camp or whilst they were still in their camp?

MR POSWA: We found them at the camp. That is where we started shooting at each other.

ADV MPSHE: Does it mean that you, sort of, ambushed them as they were sitting in their camp?

MR POSWA: On the 26th, no we did not ambush them. We were walking along the road. They saw us coming. So they were sleeping in one of the family, they got outside and took their firearms, started shooting at us and we lie down on the ground, on the road. When we try to stand up they shot Ntolo and we retaliated.

ADV MPSHE: Now, all this incident, that is before the 26th, you testified that your son was killed, some of the members were killed, some of them were injured. Were these incidents ever reported to the police?

MR POSWA: Yes, we did report these incidents to the police, even the burning of houses in April 1992. About 52 houses were burnt and we reported the matter to the police and we also opened cases on these particular instances, but police did not do anything. They did not arrest anybody. We knew who burnt the houses and we knew who were the leaders in the whole violence. However, the police did not do anything about it, because police from Richmond were supporting the IFP and it was like they were brothers.

ADV MPSHE: Now realising that the police at Richmond were supporting IFP, could you not have gone to another police station?

MR POSWA: We did not have that information that if that is the case we have to go to another police station. We only knew the only police station, that was the Richmond Police Station. We did not know that we have the right to go to another town to report the matter.

ADV MPSHE: Now, if you can still remember, how many times have you been to the police to report the incident? How many times?

MR POSWA: I will say three or four times we went to the police to report the matter and even when they burnt my shop I went to the police to report this and also went back to enquire whether they arrested someone in connection with that, because I knew I saw those people in court and I knew these were the people who burnt the shop, but they were not arrested.

ADV MPSHE: Thank you Mr Chairman. No further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADVOCATE MPSHE

MR POSWA: I do not know maybe, I may be allowed to say something which I might want to say before the committee. Do I have that right to do so?

ADV POTGIETER: Yes, you may.

MR POSWA: Between April and August these people have done a lot of things to us and we were patient enough. They came and shot one of our brother in the Sappi company. This man was a truck driver with the Fire Fighting Department. They knew that he stayed in that compound. Therefore, they went there and burnt, light some fire around the place so that he can come out and they went outside and shouted and said there is fire and when he got out of the compound they shot at him. They failed to shoot him. He ran with the truck and he managed to call the White man through the two ways radios and the people ran away.

The following day soldiers came and arrested the people, those leaders, especially the leaders in the IFP rank in Richmond. We knew and we heard that they were in Richmond Police Station. I went there, I saw them personally and I greeted them inside the police station. I found firearms lined on top of a table. Some of them were unlicensed firearms and I knew those arms, because I was from Gengeshe. On the following day the very same arms or firearms, I had seen them in Gengeshe with a very big, plastic carrying the ammunition and I asked one of the police, while knowing the truth, and I knew them and I saw those firearms. I knew they were not licensed. However, when I arrived at Gengeshe on the 26th I found the very same arms and some of them were left inside the house while they were running and they burnt with the house.

Those people were collected by Mr Matthyson and he said they must not arrest them, they must release them and be given their firearms, because he was a person who did not want them to be disarmed and Mr Matthyson himself, he was also a police reserve and the police were very much afraid of him.

FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADVOCATE MPSHE

ADV MPSHE: Do you know as to the whereabouts of this Mr Matthyson now?

MR POSWA: When they were running out of Gengeshe after the 26th incident, he also ran away with them.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know where they, he is now, I think was the, do you know where he is now?

MR POSWA: Mr Groenewald, was an investigator, mentioned that he is somewhere, but I do not remember exactly where, the name of the town which he mentioned. He said he is somewhere in one of the towns.

ADV MPSHE: Thank you Mr Chairman, members of the committee.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADVOCATE MPSHE

CHAIRPERSON: Did you say he was there on the 26th and that he ran away with them or do you mean he ran away after the 26th?

MR POSWA: He ran after the 26th.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Poswa, who is Keswa Poswa, the one who killed your son? Are you any relation to him?

MR POSWA: Keswa Poswa is the young brother of one IFP member, it is my brother. Indaba Zimboeza Poswa is my brother.

MS KHAMPEPE: So, Keswa Poswa is your nephew?

MR POSWA: Yes, he is, I would say he is my son, but it is nephew.

MS KHAMPEPE: And did the police not investigate the death of your son which led to the arrest of Mr Poswa?

MR POSWA: Keswa was arrested. He went to Sipling. He was, appeared before the court. On the 6th of October he was found not guilty by the court. Witnesses did come and give evidence that they saw him killing the young boy. They said he shot him with a rifle, 16 bullets from front.

MS KHAMPEPE: Now, you have testified that the reason why you went back to Gengeshe was to go back to your homes and you also ...

MR POSWA: Yes.

MS KHAMPEPE: ... went to inspect damage to two of your shops. One at Umkumazi and one at Gengeshe on the 26th?

MR POSWA: That is correct and also to stay there, because we had the right to go back to our places, because we were born there.

MS KHAMPEPE: When you went back did you not anticipate or realise that you could meet with some kind of resistance from the IFP supporters who were, at that stage, the only people who were staying at Gengeshe?

MR POSWA: We expected that to happen, that they might attack us, because we knew they were staying there, those IFP members.

MS KHAMPEPE: Thank you.

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Poswa, it appears from the post mortem reports, which were prepared for your trial, that most of the people were shot. You remember that?

MR POSWA: I will agree with that statement even if I did not saw, see that some of them were shot or not, but I knew that some were shot. I know how many there were and there were those who were stabbed with spears.

CHAIRPERSON: It seems that quite a lot of them, quite a number of them, in addition to being shot, were stabbed with spears or cut with bush knives. Is that so? After they had fallen down did people come and stab them?

MR POSWA: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, can I just clarify just one aspect. Thank you.

FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADVOCATE MPSHE

ADV MPSHE: Mr Poswa, on the names that you have referred to by you on page 48, I note that there is a Becker Poswa, the deceased, there is another too Lebona Poswa. Are they not your relatives?

MR POSWA: Becker Poswa, he was a brother and a very good brother of mine. Unfortunately, he was an IFP and I was an ANC. That is why we had the conflict.

ADV MPSHE: So you were divided by the political affiliation?

MR POSWA: We have different fathers, but I will say he is a real brother even if we had some family ceremonies, you have to be invited.

ADV MPSHE: What is the relationship between yourself now and Becker Poswa's family?

MR POSWA: I do not know very much, because I am still in prison, but my brothers who are outside and my children, they are saying they have a peaceful relationship. They even visit each other and live together.

ADV MPSHE: And I can take it that you are also in a position to, if you are released, if you meet them to go back to them and to get engaged in some kind of reconciliation with them? You prepared to do that?

MR POSWA: Yes, I will have to continue where they are from now. I also wanted to add Indaba Zimboeza Poswa came twice to me in prison. We shake, we shook hands and he said, he asked for forgiveness that his son has killed my son and that we were also affected by the political situation and this what created this. This was not suppose to have happened and that he is sorry about it. We shook hands and he also gave me money and food.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADVOCATE MPSHE

CHAIRPERSON: So would you say that this, these two groups are now reconciled or in the process of reconciling to one another?

MR POSWA: I think they have reconciled, from what I know, because I heard it a long time ago that they live together and have reconciled and I have not heard that there is any among them who want to do anything bad, because they are now living together.

MS KHAMPEPE: Does that mean, Mr Poswa, that your family has now gone back to Gengeshe?

MR POSWA: Even if my family have not fully returned to Gengeshe, my mother and her other children are back in Gengeshe. My, could have been there at this time. Unfortunately, they do not have a place to stay, because my house was burnt down.

MS KHAMPEPE: Are those who have been able to build something for themselves, have been accepted by the alleged IFP members who remained at Gengeshe and there are no longer conflicts between the two groups?

MR POSWA: After the 26th of 1992, the IFP people moved out of Gengeshe. They went to a place called Patenie. So, it was only an empty area, like, there was nothing. There was nobody staying in that area. During 1994 the ANC supporters went back to the area and they also asked the IFP members to come back. The IFP members refused to come back to Gengeshe and they continued staying at Patenie. So, all the ANC members are back to Gengeshe and they are still waiting for the IFP people to return. IFP people do go there, but they have not returned to stay.

MS KHAMPEPE: So, we can say that these people are reconciling? I mean the two parties.

MR POSWA: Yes, that is correct.

MS KHAMPEPE: We appreciate it if it is like that, because it is a painful situation where people have been born in same family are to be divided because of this.

CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination?

MR WILLS: No re-examination Mr Chairperson.

 
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