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Amnesty Hearings


Starting Date 29 July 1997


Day 2


Case Number 3903/96


MR WILLS: Thank you. Mr Chairperson, I would like to call the second applicant, Mr Sibisi.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Sibisi, can you please stand up so you may take an oath. Can you please give us your full names.

MR SIBISI: Nhlanhla Joseph Sibisi.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Sibisi, please stand up. Can you please give us your full names.

MR SIBISI: Nhlanhla Joseph Sibisi.

NHLANHLA JOSEPH SIBISI: (Duly sworn in, states).


MR SIBISI: Thank you. Mr Sibisi, you are also applying for amnesty in respect of the murder or Mr Lombo and also in respect of an escape from custody charge. Is that correct?

MR SIBISI: That is correct.

MR WILLS: You have heard the evidence that Mr Motaung gave in respect of the murder of Mr Lombo. Do you confirm that evidence in so far as it relates to your activities?


MR WILLS: Is there anything that you would like to add as regards the incident, the killing of Mr Lombo?

MR SIBISI: I do not have much to add except that I would say what he said is the truth. We were given order and we had to follow it.

MR WILLS: Thank you. Now, if you will turn to your escape from custody charge. Can you tell the committee the circumstances surrounding, sorry, your application for amnesty in respect of that charge.

MR SIBISI: You mean I have to explain about my escape?

MR WILLS: That is correct, yes.

MR SIBISI: After we discovered that they are not going to give us bail ...

MS KHAMPEPE: Please wait for a moment. We are trying to...

MR SIBISI: After we failed to get bail, after trying for so many times, we decided that we should find a way to escape from prison. So I use to be ill for some times, I could not get out of the house or the room and I smeared some blood on my private parts as if I was bleeding and in prison they thought I had a problem, stomach problem. So they took me, bladder problem, and they took me for and then they took me into the prison hospital and I was kept there until the day when we were supposed to appear at the Supreme Court for the first time. Where I was terrible ill that I could not even appear in front of the magistrate at court.

I was taken in an ambulance, MBA ambulance and was taken to Edendale Hospital. I did not succeed in the first attempt, trying to escape. I was kept at the hospital and I was kept there for a month and after a month I managed to escape. I tried to use the telephone and was showed a phone outside, but it was not working and I was taken to a nurses home to use the telephone and I decided I will that telephone then and use that opportunity to escape as well. That is how I succeeded to escape.

MR WILLS: After you escaped where did you go?

MR SIBISI: I went to Imbalie at unit 13.

MR WILLS: I want you to tell the committee exactly where you went in the following days and where you ended up.

MR SIBISI: I slept at unit 13. On the following day they took me by car to Durban. In Durban one of the ANC workers took me to Chesterville one house. That is where I stayed with some other comrades and Sipho Motaung arrived at that particular place and we were taken. We were ten in number and three men who were ANC members came to take us. Those were MK soldiers from exile. They took us to Swaziland and they gave us money and food which they bought. They also gave us directions. They told us that we are going to arrive in Swaziland and go to the UN offices and that is where we are going to be given directions as to how we are going to skip the country.

After that we were taken to a refugee camp and preparations were made that we were supposed to leave for Zambia. We flew from Swaziland to Zambia. In Zambia we spent about a month. After that we went to Tanzania and we were trained in Tanzania up to the date where I returned back to the country in 1994.

MR WILLS: On your return you were integrated into the National Peace Keeping Force in Koeberg. Is that correct?

MR SIBISI: Yes, I worked with the NPKF, National Peace Keeping Force, in Cape Town.

MR WILLS: And you remained there until you were arrested in respect of this matter in August 1994?

MR SIBISI: I was not arrested in Cape Town. The NPKF was disbanded in Cape Town and we were taken to Bloemfontein. In Bloemfontein we had to short listed and they combined all the armed forces in South Africa and they took me to Zeerust in the North West Province. That is where I was arrested in August and I was arrested for murder and escape.

MR WILLS: Now, prior to the incident where Mr Lombo was killed, did you receive any form of training in military matters?

MR SIBISI: Yes, I did in 1989.

MR WILLS: And who was responsible for that training?

MR SIBISI: Sipho Motaung was responsible. However, he was not the one in charge, because in most cases Mandla was seen to be the one who was in charge and also Buyani Madladla, who has passed away.

MR WILLS: You made an affidavit in December in respect of this application. Do you confirm the contents of that affidavit? December 1995.

MR SIBISI: Yes, it is the truth.

MR WILLS: Thank you Mr Chairperson, committee persons.


ADV MPSHE: Mr Sibisi, the two escapes, that is the attempt as well as the successful one, were you aided by your organisation?

MR SIBISI: I did not understand that very well. Can you put it clear please.

ADV MPSHE: In both the attempt to escape as well as the successful escape, were you aided by your organisation?

MR SIBISI: Yes, it did help me. However, the person who was supposed to pick me in hospital did not come to pick me up and I realised if I have to wait for him, I cannot escape.

ADV MPSHE: Who was this person who was to fetch you?

MR SIBISI: I will be making a mistake if I say I knew his name.

ADV MPSHE: Is that all the assistance that was to be given to you by the organisation in the escape?

MR SIBISI: That was not the only help that I got from the organisation. It also helped me to skip the country.

ADV MPSHE: Yes, I mean escaping out of jail. You did not tell this committee as to the role that your organisation played in your escape. You just told us that you escaped and you left and you went abroad?

MR SIBISI: We planned the whole escape with Mandla and Sipho while in prison.

ADV MPSHE: What was the plan about?

MR SIBISI: As I have explained, I pretended as if I were ill. In that way we knew that they were not going to be able to have the necessary medical help that I needed so they will have to take me out of prison into a hospital and I knew that I will get a chance to escape.

ADV MPSHE: Now, when you were in prison with this escape in your mind, was their communication between yourself and Mandla?

MR SIBISI: He use to visit in prison.

ADV MPSHE: Now, when you were told of the operation and you accompanied applicant number one, in your own mind what did you think the killing of Lombo would assist you with?

MR SIBISI: Firstly, I will say that I was not happy about the killing, but the way the situation was and also because it was a question of following an order, I did not see any way we could use to fulfil the mission.

ADV MPSHE: To fulfil the mission, what mission?

MR SIBISI: I mean the killing or the shooting of Lombo.

ADV MPSHE: Did you know or were you told the reason why you had to kill him?

MR SIBISI: Yes, I knew the reason why we had to kill him, but I did not ask many questions with that regard, because I was told what to do.

ADV MPSHE: Now, I am after those reasons. Tell us now. Tell us those reasons that you knew.

MR SIBISI: What I knew is that Lombo, he was a warlord on the Inkatha side and most of the attacks where families were killed and properties burnt, Lombo was also in front of such attack.

ADV MPSHE: Did you know this personally or were you told?

MR SIBISI: I knew him.

ADV MPSHE: Now, was he a, was he ...

MS KHAMPEPE: I think there is a correction that needs to be done. The witness said I did not know him personally and the translation came through as "I knew him".

ADV MPSHE: Let us put this right. Did you know Lombo yourself, personally. Thank you for the correction.

MR SIBISI: No, I did not know him.


CHAIRPERSON: Did you know of him? Had you heard about him?

MR SIBISI: Yes, I was told about him.

ADV MPSHE: Now, were you told by your commanders or people who gave you the order as to what his death would do to the organisation or to the community?

MR SIBISI: We were not going to achieve anything or anything that I was going to achieve personally.

ADV MPSHE: Anything that you were going to achieve for the organisation or for the community?

MR SIBISI: The community was going to benefit from his death, because what I heard was that they could not even organise in that particular area, the ANC members. If they happened to have a meeting they were going to be killed. One other thing is that the community was pleased if he will, when he was removed even if there were some further attacks things began to be calm.

ADV MPSHE: Well, did the, well, you said things began to be calm, but did the violence and the killings and the damage of property in the Edendale area stop after the death of Lombo?

MR SIBISI: It did not stop or it was not that calm.

ADV MPSHE: Will have arrived at, actually, his death made things worse in the Edendale area.

MR SIBISI: I will not disagree with you, because I do not know what is the basis of that statement, but I know that after his elimination many people were saved, because what I was told is that he was the one who instigated most of the attacks. Even if there were some other warlords we left behind, but he was the one who was considered as a high profile warlord.

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


MR MIRANDA: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Sibisi, had you been involved in any other murders before this one of Lombo?


MR MIRANDA: So this was your first one?

MR SIBISI: That is correct.

MR MIRANDA: Do you know why it was chosen to murder Mr Lombo at Joshua Doore and not somewhere else?

MR SIBISI: I could not ask from the commanders why they choose that particular place, Joshua Doore area, where we had to kill him.

MR MIRANDA: In your affidavit you refer to a gentleman known as Buyani Madladla. Was he your senior?

MR SIBISI: That is correct.

MR MIRANDA: And was the one that gave you the instruction to murder Mr Lombo?

MR SIBISI: Instructions came from Mandla.

MR MIRANDA: And if I understand your evidence correctly, you took the instructions, did not question the instructions and acted accordingly.


MR MIRANDA: Hypothetically, if the instructions from Mr Mandla were that you kill a personal friend of yours or somebody that you knew quite well, would you still have carried that out without questioning the instructions?

MR SIBISI: An order is an order. There is not much that I was going to ask, it means I was going to do it.

MR MIRANDA: How did you feel after you shot Mr Lombo?

MR SIBISI: You mean how I felt.

MR MIRANDA: Yes, how did you feel after you shot Mr Lombo?

MR SIBISI: I felt relief, because I did what I was supposed to do.

MR MIRANDA: And did Mr Lombo say anything before you shot him?

MR SIBISI: I did not say anything to him or discuss anything with him.

MR MIRANDA: And what was his facial expression just before you shot him?

MR SIBISI: I will be lying if I say I managed to notice his facial expressions.

MR MIRANDA: Mr Sibisi, would you have applied for amnesty if you were not recharged for the murder of Lombo?


MR MIRANDA: No further questions.


MR WILLS: No re-examination Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Although I had intended to take the short adjournment a little later, it seems to me this would be a convenient stage before we get onto the next. We will take the short adjournment now.


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