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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 07 December 2000
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MR MOKHELE: I submitted this statement to the TRC as one of the victims to the matter. I had investigated the matter up to a point that I felt there was something to put before the TRC for assistance.
MR MOKHELE: In this matter, I appear in three ways, one is as a spouse to Nomasonto Mashiya, secondly Nkosana Mokhele is my son, who we have now come to know that he was kidnapped with the mother and thirdly, the people appearing before the TRC, I have had encounters with them earlier in 1985 when I was in detention.
CHAIRPERSON: If I may come in, how would you be active in ANC and the MK structures before going into exile, because I'm asking you this in all fairness to you, because we know by then the ANC was banned, nobody belonged there inside, other than underground, to the ANC.
MR MOKHELE: I was one of the organisers of the 1984 mass uprising in the Vaal and added to that, I subsequently got involved in activities of the ANC, so by the time I was charged, part of that was the internal activities of the UDF and part of it was the ANC related activities.
MR MOKHELE: The police who were responsible for my arrest and who later served as the Investigating Officers, were from the Vereeniging Special Branch offices, which then served as a regional body of the SB's in the Vaal.
MR MOKHELE: One is Vanderbijlpark itself and then I was taken to a certain prison, it's a farm prison, called ...(indistinct) where I was kept for a number of months. At some point I was taken to Protea and also at what do you call, then the Sun City/Diepkloof Prison. I was - I spent time in Ladybrand itself and also when my trial resumed, I was kept in Pretoria at the Pretoria Central Prison.
MR MOKHELE: I think partly it was due to the fact that the State then had information that part of my activities had taken place in Lesotho and it was part of cross-reference in between the Vaal Special Branch with the unit that was based in Ladybrand, on my activities in Lesotho.
MR MOKHELE: Well in the sense that the Vaal police through a certain Erasmus, accompanied by Jabulani, they handed me over to the police in Ladybrand for interrogation and part of that interrogation, certain factors came into my stay in Ladybrand, like my welfare. I don't think it was a priority to them. My freedom was limited as one would imagine with a detainee. Conditions under which I stayed, part of those conditions, as I understand them, might have deliberately been meant to deprive me of sleep, but at a specific point I was taken out of the police station, accused of not co-operating with them, taken to a river, by the river bank next to the entrance into Maseru, next to Maseru bridge, just on the left of it and I came very close to being shot at by the police.
MR VISSER: Chairperson, Visser on record. All of this is very interesting, but no basis has been laid for its relevance to the present applications. I don't know why we're listening to this evidence or why it's being presented.
MR MALINDI: Chairperson, all I'm trying to do is to take Mr Mokhele through some of the arguments he makes in his statement. I don't intend to spend very long on the statement and I'm introducing the witness for the benefit of the Committee and Chairperson, as I may have indicated, our team and the victims are not particularly wanting to make any issue out of Mr Mokhele's statement, or the evidence that he's presenting orally. If certain parts of his statement or his evidence are irrelevant, I will go through them as fast as I can so that I leave him to the Committee and the other side to decide how they want to deal with this evidence.
CHAIRPERSON: No he's merely talking about foundation for the present information, that's what Mr Visser is saying. What basis have you laid, what foundation have you laid to meet this kind of evidence? Because as I'm going through the statement I may have missed something, but page 33 I think there's something on the statement as regards to that. But could you limit that and get to the issues, Mr ...
MR MALINDI: I will limit the issues, but may I say Chairperson that the way he was treated while he was at Ladybrand, will provide argument on our part, that the witnesses, the applicants were not truthful when they were saying every detainee who was ever at Ladybrand was treated with kid gloves and they were like in a very hospitable environment and no interrogation in the sense that we understand interrogation to be, was used in Ladybrand.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't know - are you suggesting that an inference could be drawn that Betty Boom, Nomasonto Mashiya, Tax Sejanamane and Mbulelo Ngono were not humanely treated, if I may use the witness's words, but we should bear in mind that the evidence before us is that as regards Nomasonto the others were turned into informers, so we should be very careful that does it necessarily follow that an informer could be treated like any other detainee?
MR MALINDI: Thank you Chairperson. Mr Mokhele you were at the point where you said you were taken to a river near Maseru and that you came very close to being shot. What happened after you had been - what happened thereafter?
MR MOKHELE: Part of what happened there is that the police kept on saying that because I was not co-operating, they were going to take me back to the ANC and taking me to the river, to them meant that I would then be released back to the ANC. They drove by the river bank. We were in two cars, one was the car from the Vaal and one was a local Ladybrand car. They first stepped out of the car but in their conversation I understood their intentions. Then they said: "You then walk across the river back to the ANC in Lesotho, because you won't co-operate with us". They took off the handcuffs. I was handcuffed at the back. They took off the handcuffs and then I was expected to march into Lesotho. The river was dry almost, to a large extent, you could see the river bed, very sandy, but it occurred to my mind that there was no way that it was going to be that easy, so I insisted, I said to them that I was arrested in Vanderbijlpark, if I'm going to be released I will not no be walking into Lesotho, I'll be walking back to Vanderbijlpark and in that whole situation there was a scuffle between myself and them. In my sense of preservation, I decided that whatever happened I was not going to walk into Lesotho, but I was going to rather walk to Vanderbijlpark.
After a couple of minutes, just a few minutes, they then said that: "We're now giving you a very last chance. If you don't co-operate with us, you will surely, surely end up outside South Africa, back with the ANC." I was then re-handcuffed, bundled back into the car and I wasn't driven back to Ladybrand but to the Vaal, so out of the river, the one car I assume was driven back into town and I was driven straight back to the Vaal.
MR MOKHELE: After a couple of more interrogations in the light of what the matter had ...(indistinct) in Ladybrand, it took a while then later I was charged, moved to Pretoria and then I appeared at the Supreme Court.
MR SIBANYONI: I'm sorry, Mr Malindi, before you move any further, are you saying in your understanding in the language of the police when they say you walked back into the ANC, they are your family ...(indistinct) saying you will be killed, is this what you are trying to say to us?
MR MOKHELE: In all the time that I was in detention, I refused to communicate in Afrikaans. I said: "I don't speak Afrikaans and I don't understand it" and whilst we were in the car inquiries were made within the group. I remember specifically Jantjie was in the car in which I was, then they started inquiring about whether you've got your "skietyster" and my understanding of a "skietyster" is: "Have you got your guns with you?" So by the time we got to the river, I was already aware that there was something much more sinister and hence when I got by the river bank, when they kept on - because they kept on pushing me away from them, I took a deliberate decision that I wasn't going to turn my back on them, thinking that the intention was to shoot me, either saying that I was going to run away from them, or to say that I had escaped from detention, so that's how I read the situation, right from a point when this communication went forwards and backwards on whether they had guns with.
MR MOKHELE: Before my - during the trial a number of witnesses were lined up. Two of which were people that had ... (indistinct) from the ANC and they said to me that those people were waiting for them and one of the two witnesses who I had met in exile, there was a technicality during the trial in the sense that they brought in a witness, but this witness was using names, his own names incorrectly, almost to the point of misleading the Court as to his true identity. As a result of that there was a need to now investigate the real identity of that witness, so the case was adjourned, I was out on bail, even though on being charged I was not being offered bail. I was put on bail and put on house restrictions, up until the investigation has been completed and the matter recommences in the Supreme Court. So once I was serving these restrictions of having to - my conditions were that I had to report to the police station every morning before 10 o'clock. On the eve of the declaration of the state of emergency I was attacked at home, or the police rather came to my place with the intention to have me arrested, but I happened not to be in the house. I reported at the police station the next morning and the police were all over looking for me even though I felt I had complied with the letter of the ...(indistinct), in that I even reported on the next morning. I then took a decision that I wasn't going to comply with the restrictions, that's why I left South Africa again.
MR MOKHELE: I went into Angola from Zambia where I was going to spend a couple of months within the camps of, training camps of MK. However in the time that I was in Angola, my health deteriorated badly to the point that I could not go back to Zambia, but I had to be taken to Europe for medical treatment.
MR MOKHELE: No, it wasn't. In the following year of 1987, in the last week of August, I met Nomasonto in Angola. At that time I was on my way to Europe as I've just mentioned. We met for a day, a couple of hours in that day and that was the last time that I spoke to her, that I saw her.
MR MOKHELE: Yes, basically this is the gist of what I did, but it wasn't confined into a newspaper article. I went about the country trying to meet people that we were with in exile, trying to find out what could have happened and out of all of that, I painted a picture and then an article was run in the newspaper and then subsequently information provided to the TRC.
CHAIRPERSON: If I may come in Mr Malindi. I see in the statement from page 30 of the bundle, that you are referring, if we could confine ourselves to page 33, you refer to Nogothula and I see here you say
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Mr Mokhele, have you told your legal representatives that a Mr Jantjie was present at the time when you were taken to the river to be shot, as you testified here? Did you tell them that?
MR MOKHELE: My statement, my presentation was, being on the statement that I've submitted. I had mentioned to my legal representatives that I can positively identify one of the applicants as being part of the team that was interrogating me.
MR VISSER: Well you see, you're quite right because this has absolutely nothing to do with this application, or these applications and I fail to see why this evidence has been presented to this Commission.
MR MALINDI: Chairperson, may I say something about the evidence of Mr Mokhele? We made it clear from the outset that we didn't think that we wanted to ...(indistinct) the evidence of Mr Mokhele. Mr Mokhele was subpoenaed and it was ...(indistinct) indicated that he's one of the witnesses that the Judge would like to hear. My role was really to introduce him to the Committee and I went through the evidence which is in his statement and I ask that Mr Visser must not assume that I presented his evidence because I regarded it as relevant or for wanting to make any point out of it. It is the Commission's witness.
MR VISSER: Chairperson that is no excuse for a legal representative to allow his witness to besmirch an applicant without even having put the allegations to him and we resent that this is the kind of thing that happens before this Committee Chairperson. I have no further questions for this witness.
MR MOKHELE: I can positively affirm ...(indistinct) affirmative way testify to the fact that one, she was a revolutionary and a very committed member of Umkhonto weSizwe, to the extent that on the day that I last met her in Angola, she was on her way back to Zambia and I knew that they would be going to one of the front concerts. I want to refer to something she said to me specifically then and that was to say, she was laughing at the fact that I was being sent to Europe when the struggle was intensifying in Southern Africa and she said to me that: "By the time you come back from Europe, we shall have freed South Africa", so that's one, the other one is the fact that there was a policy within the ANC therefore anyone who bears a child, she has to spend a period of not less than two years in Tanzania, if you were in Southern Africa, that is you could not undertake military training and you were not even deployed, but from the day that, even from the period when she was pregnant, she had a baby, she insisted on being trained and thereafter she made herself available to be deployed in Southern Africa at one of the frontline countries and the third point which I feel is very very specific, is her commitment to our child. When I was in Mozambique, after I skipped bail, I went into Lesotho, from Lesotho I went into Mozambique and somebody who had stayed with Nogothula, or Nomasonto for purposes of the records, told me something that I asked her later and that was the fact that it was being suggested to her that in the light that I've been arrested in South Africa and she was in exile with our baby, would it not be an option for her to have an abortion. That was put out to her and she said no. When I met her in Zambia on rejoining my family, I specifically put the question to her, so she said to me: "I didn't expect you to be back, at least in not less than 20 years". Then I said: "What it has been with a baby?" She said to me: "Your baby would have been 21 when you come out of prison, I would have raised your baby to be a man by the time you come out of prison." Now if you look at the points I've just put before the Committee and the fact that when she left the country she was not following me, I was very reluctant to, whenever she brought the issue up of wanting to go into exile, because she was working in the underground structures, because she said: "I'm not going there for you, I'm going there because I want to be able to free my country, I want to be fully trained up in a proper military camp of Umkhonto weSizwe, so out of all of this, having come to know her as much as I have, I had the confidence to pursue this matter vigorously, vigorously up to the point at least now we have got faces that we can attach to some of the events that led to her disappearance.
MR MOKHELE: She's not the kind of a person who would become an informer. Even worse when people say within a day, nothing done to her, secondly she wanted to go to exile to be trained up and belong to structures of Umkhonto weSizwe.
MR LAX: Can I just say this to you, there are many other committed people who were very committed, who also became informers. It's not an unusual phenomenon within all ranks of any movement across the world actually, and so what I'm saying to you is, we've seen other examples of senior, very committed people who clearly became informers, who became askaris and so on, what makes you so convinced that she didn't become and askari?
MR MOKHELE: I'll say two very specific issues. One is the fact that if she disappeared in December of 1987, I had met her in August, end of August in the same year, that makes it a bit under four months and given the fact that under the conditions of exile, the worst that one could have been through, could have been being pregnant with the father of the child somewhere where you don't know, not even knowing if you'll ever see him. She sustained that and when I spoke to her there was absolutely no hint of a person who would have been disillusioned, so I'm saying, I don't see what could have happened in three months that I would not have picked up after my separation from her, because I went into detention in August of 1985. August of 1985 into August of 1987, she was all by herself and three months after I'd last met her, I don't see what could have happened. ...(END OF TAPE)
CHAIRPERSON: There are very committed people. I will tell you that I have just finished reading a book Rivonia's Children and that's the inception of ...(indistinct), even though it was not executed per se, then there were very senior people there who turned against people like Mandela, Braam Fischer, those kind of people and that is what led to the arrest and the uncovering of Lily's farm in Rivonia. Those were really committed people but they turned against the ANC.
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson, what I'm putting to the Committee now is I've just painted a context within which I think that if disillusionment was to have crept in, it could have crept in within that period and when we met, you can understand that being a father to a child that you've never seen, you always have this guilt feeling that: "I wonder how they are faring and what her own state of mind is", so I was specifically looking at finding out if that whole period of being on her own, would have led to aspects of demotivation or disillusionment, but I picked none of that up to the very last day that I met her, she was very up-beat about going down to one of the front countries, to begin to be active within the machinery of the ANC. So from where I'm sitting and unless something drastically was to be explained, they say no pressure was put on her, she was not interrogated to any effects of putting that pressure and putting options to her to say: "Either you co-operate" or something else, it means the only thing that should have driven that type of a person into being an informer, it can only be disillusionment with the structures within, not so much what was being offered to her and I'm saying that unless otherwise explained, I do not see the ...(indistinct) of her turning in the manner that has just been explained.
MR LAX: Just one last aspect. It has been suggested that one of the possibilities that might have happened to all four of these people, is that the ANC became aware of their activities as informers and that the ANC dealt with them in some way or other, either through MK or through ANC or disciplined them in some way and possibly even killed them and that is a possibility that is suggested in the papers. That has been suggested in evidence by some of the applicants. How does that accord with your understanding as an MK person of the ways in which people may have been disciplined either in Lesotho or in other areas?
MR MOKHELE: Yes. Chairperson, as a trained MK Commander, I really feel that MK, the police are explaining that they had their own modus operandi. ANC also functioned within said procedures. Before we joined in Nomasonto, I was myself in Lesotho and I had no way of getting out of Lesotho from the time that I skipped bail, up until somewhere in September, when I finally managed to leave Lesotho into Mozambique, so I can say that with the tension that was in Lesotho, we had to comply, to comply to the letter with what we called military combat ware, which was our Code of Intelligence and I specifically I do not see how she specifically, or they would have disappeared and no one questioned that, came back into - rejoined the ANC in Lesotho with Nogothula now carrying her baby, without raising eyebrows about that, because that would have been a very visible change in her status. She was now carrying this baby and having this baby around, then one day the baby is not there, that would have suggested that she had communication with somebody else who would have received the child, which would not be within the ANC network. So I just fail to see how, within that heightened tension in Lesotho and on the side of the ANC, heightened vigilance, they would not have picked it up that here are these people being taken into South Africa to spend a couple of days, back into Lesotho and they just disappear and nobody can testify to what could have happened to those people.
MR MOKHELE: In my inquiries, a couple of things became very clear to me. One was the abduction. I made this assumption that they'd been abducted. Long before there were any applications from anybody, there was a newspaper article to that effect. I checked with the structures of the ANC, with our now Commissioner, South Africa's Commissioner in Lesotho, because he used to come to our place. I checked with him as an elderly person, whether is there any possibility that these people have been sent back and disciplined within the structures of the ANC and that's Mr ...(indistinct) Ndlovo, he's the High Commissioner. I checked with my colleagues, some of whom may still be called by the Committee. People who logically, the two who would have reported back to in Lesotho. I went so far as, because I also ...(indistinct) same structure in Zambia before I went into Angola. I went to the people who were also in Zambia to say if nothing had happened to them in Lesotho why they were to be taken out of Lesotho for disciplinary purposes, into Zambia, who would have received those people? And I checked, they had not been seen, insofar as the info I could get from those people, but ever since we lost communication with them, they never reported back to Zambia, because they would have reported to us and as such we affirmatively say that they never reached Zambia, so that sort of firmed up my mind that I checked the Zambia checklist, to possibility is only that whatever happened would have happened in South Africa.
MR VISSER: You've given us an account of specifics in regard to what you did to try to ascertain what had happened to Nomasonto. Did you in fact inquire from the ANC after you came back to South Africa?
MR MOKHELE: The results were that I was able to ascertain whom she was with. You should understand that at that time I was not making an inquiry as to the whole cell, or any other member that she would have been with, but I was able to establish who she was with, in which specific country she was because I wasn't there myself. I wasn't, I could not say that she was in Lesotho, or she was in Botswana or she was in Swaziland. The second fact I was able to establish was the fact that they left Zambia, they were deployed in Lesotho specifically, so that was part of my own inquiries.
MR MOKHELE: After the ANC conference in Kabwe, Zambia, in 1985, a special resolution was taken by the ANC and I think in all ANC submissions, they do make reference to that, where a code of conduct was put in place, tribunals were set up, procedures of nominating Panel members were established, to say any other matter to be dealt with, that is regarded as treason to the Organisation, will be dealt with in a very specific manner and I'm saying now that in the period of the disappearance of Nogothula and her comrades, such structures were already in place and as such, they would have dealt with the matter, whatever the sentence would have been, but a Panel, a Tribunal would have been put in place to deal with those matters.
MR MOKHELE: I've just said it to you, Mr Visser, now that whatever the Panel - you can't ask me what the maximum and the minimum would have been, I'm saying a Panel would have been put in place, competently selected according to procedure. They would have decided what the fate of those people would be.
MR VISSER: It would be one of the sentences, that's all I'm asking, Chairperson. So - and espionage? If you suspected somebody of being a spy for the South African Government and the Tribunal found him guilty of that crime? Capital punishment as well?
MR MOKHELE: Mr Visser, I'm still saying to you now, that like any other Panel, they would have looked at the gravity, they would have looked at issues like the impact of what has been done on the organisation, they would have looked at circumstances and properly and competently applied their minds to that and decided what happens to those people. There were no mandatory sentences to say if you are caught in one situation, these are mandatory sentences that can be meted out for specific offences.
CHAIRPERSON: Let's say, on assumption that with the evidence before us that at some stage Betty Boom for instance said the ANC was aware of them collaborating with the SB's and they wanted them back into Zambia, taking that kind of scenario, if indeed Betty was found out that they were spying or collaborating in cahoots with the SB's within South Africa, if they were found guilty of that, what would be the ultimate sentence? Is that not what you are driving at?
MR VISSER: You referred to the Kabwe Conference of 1985 and you referred to the fact that changes were made, would you agree that at the Kabwe Conference 1985, it was recognised that there were serious inadequacies in the Security System of the ANC?
MR VISSER: Yes. And the Security Department was required to prepare reports and submit cases of persons suspected of unlawful activity of, or of being enemy agents of the new office created by the decisions of the Kabwe Conference, the Office of Justice, it was called, do you know anything about that?
CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I don't want that - I think we'll take a shorter time, that we abate whatever, you know it's an emotive thing that we abate any unpleasantness, if I may call it that. If you can tell us what you did not understand in what he was saying? I can say to you right now is that all what he was saying, it's documents we know of personally because we have dealt with this for such a long time and we have documentation to the effect of what was discussed in Kabwe from the ANC, so he was merely putting that to you. If you did not understand that, say: "Please Mr Visser, tell us what you say the ANC decided in Kabwe in 1985."
MR MOKHELE: Thank you Chairperson. When I said the question, it's because part of - he left something out. I understood all of that, then at the end of it he posed a question and I said it is the question that I requested him to repeat.
MR VISSER: Okay. The question is this. Did you know that what I read to you was the position? And I'll tell you where I get it from. It's from the report of the Mutsuanyani Commission. Have you seen that report?
MR VISSER: You know about it. Alright. Let me just continue because this is crucial to the evidence which you've just given here. The Mutsuanyani Commission at page 26 and paragraph 2 felt obviously unhappy with how the Security Department was run. The National Executive Committee created a provisional directorate of intelligence and security to run the Department between 1986 and 1987. Why this is relevant, I put to you, with respect, is that this is the time frame within which these incidents took place according to the applicants. I know that there's an allegation that one of them may have taken place in 1988, but it's that time-frame and I want to refer you to the reference of the Mutsuanyani Commission to the evidence of Mr Nhlanhla identified before that Committee ...(intervention)
"1. They mystery which surrounded its operations and its image. People were taken away from their work stations into the hands of the Department of Intelligence and Security and no information was given to them or those remaining behind regarding what was happening. ANC cadres taken by the Department or recruits who were being processed, would be moved from one place to another, even from one country to another with no explanation given to them or their associates, workmates, friends or relatives. Upon their release from the Department, freed prisoners would not be returned to where they had come from, nor were the releases relayed to anybody where the people came from. The result was that nobody knew what happened to these people picked up by the Department."
Do you agree in principle with the gist of what I've been putting that there was a lot of dissatisfaction and inadequacies in that time-frame where people simply disappeared and nobody was told why they disappeared?
MR MALINDI: Chairperson, before the witness answers, may it be made clear that that was the situation pertaining for the resolutions to tidy up during the 1986, 87 period. As long as the witness is clear that that's the context.
MR VISSER: ; Well that's just not so, Chairperson. One must read the report to know that that is not so. This continued long after that. In fact the Mutsuanyani Commission, was not specifically restricted to a period of time. There's no restriction of time, so the evidence relates to the situation as it pertained to, in particularly the Quatro Camp because that was where most of the complainants said their loved ones must have disappeared. But Chairperson, I'm going to deal with this in Argument. I just want to put to you Sir that many people disappeared, both inside this country and overseas, in the training camps or wherever and a lot of people have not been accounted for. Would you concede that?
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson, my apologies, I've - in the evidence that I've put before this Committee, I've laid out the whole picture as to what led me to this conviction that whatever happened, where it could most probably have happened and most probably not have happened and the circumstance ...(indistinct) through, so I'm still arguing that insofar as Nogothula is concerned and by relationship to her other colleagues, I would sort of begin to apply the same to them, I do not think that their not being accounted for, is adequately covered in that, because we have pointers now that they were known to have been abducted, the country where they were abducted was known, faces of their abductors are known and specific individuals have applied for amnesty. That makes it so much different from those who simply disappeared and people just don't even know where to start looking.
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson, I'm saying it's not speculative. The question that you posed is you said whether their case would be similar to those others who disappeared and I'm saying there are very specific things that makes this matter different from other matters, but in the sense that we've got specific people who've applied for amnesty and the TRC is sitting on that matter now, differently from many other cases of disappearances. We've got specific individuals who are giving us specific dates, they are pointing to specific houses where those people were residing and I'm saying this whole combination of facts before the Committee qualitatively made this matter different from a matter where someone would have disappeared, parents who don't know where to look, on the side of the ANC nobody says anything, on the part of the ...(indistinct) coming through, that this specifically makes this matter different from those of people who disappeared without trace.
MR MOKHELE: 1987 specifically. On coming back to Africa in 1991, a picture of my son was with my brother-in-law in Tanzania. He showed me my son's picture and my son was at that time at home in South Africa, separated from the mother. By then already the families had been to Shell House to inquire with the ANC, that was even before I arrived in 1991, on the unbanning of the ANC. They started making inquiries and out of those inquiries, they inquired with us who were in exile. Nomasonto's elder brother was himself in exile. My younger brother and my two sisters were also with us, so there was communication between South Africa and wherever we were, the only difference is that I personally took efforts to start looking on my return to South Africa, but awareness that there was a separation of mother and son and the fact that she was not - she has not been communicating with any of the people with whom she would have logically communicated with.
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson, really, this attitude from Mr Visser, I find it very, very unacceptable. He poses a question, in my efforts to respond to that, he then he picks whatever he wants in my uncompleted sentence, because I came back to South Africa, physically to be in South Africa in 1993.
CHAIRPERSON: Let me respond to that. Mr Visser, I prevail on you that let's not adopt court procedure. These inquiries are different and we wouldn't go for yes and no as you would know, because part of these procedures need reconciliation and largely emotive and we would allow a witness to probably give an explanatory answer under the circumstances. You are protected Mr Mokhele.
MR MALINDI: Chairperson, before Mr Visser continues, may I say that the record will show that Mr Mokhele says in 1991 he became aware that the son was separated from the mother through information that was coming from the South African side while he was still in Africa. 1993 he started with inquiries himself, that's what the record will show.
MR MOKHELE: I think, Chairperson, you will recognise that this part on Nomasonto Mashiya is but a part of an entire statement that i submitted to the TRC. That inclusion of my younger sister was for a very specific purpose. Her name is misspelled in the TRC's records. It doesn't come at Mokhele but as Mogebe and I'm requesting the TRC to set its record straight insofar as the spelling of the name is concerned.
CHAIRPERSON: Let me get this clear. Let's go back to page 30. Dolly Mokhele. Her death and burial in exile. She was entered wrongly in the ANC's submission to the TRC as Mogebe, so the error would largely emanate from the ANC when they made their submissions, if I read this - am I reading that correctly?
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson, I checked with the TRC whether it was a typo on their side. All I was doing here was to say that when the final record of the TRC comes out, I request that the spelling be corrected. That's the only reason why it was entered in my submission.
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson what happened is that prior to the establishment of the TRC, I started doing some work and when the TRC was established, I took all of that and I approached the TRC to say: "Here's information that I've gathered on a matter", so part of it went into the HRV and part of it was brought into the amnesty part of what we're about and subsequently when I made this statement, it was but part of what I'd submitted.
MR MOKHELE: Well, I want to request Chairperson, that we go a little bit up on the same page where the second paragraph commences, where I'm saying that the pieces I have gathered on the case suggest the following developments.
MR MOKHELE: My initial part are factual things that I've put through to the Committee but I'm also saying in the latter part of my statement and I specifically, I was very careful when I moved into this space, to say this is suggested by the work that I've been doing around this one.
CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask you, with the pieces you have gathered and the developments that followed thereafter, you say in paragraph 2 just after the pieces I have gathered, in Ladybrand she was subjected to interrogations, pressures, and inevitably ...I don't see the other part, it's pierced in my record.
MR MOKHELE: Form two things Chairperson. One is my specific experience with the same Unit, or in similar circumstances because reference is to the same place which is Ladybrand. I did not see any chance of them being treated differently to the exclusion of pressures and interrogations and so on so that is but one part of it. The other thing is the fact that once I was investigating, I'm not putting it to the Committee yet, but it did arise that once I was in the hands of the Security Police then, they underestimated some of the things that I would have been involved in and about a year later they arrested my spouse and the child. I suspect by that time a connection would have been made because records really were forwards and backwards between regions of the police, that by that time they would have found out that the person who was here, is a spouse to this one that we've just arrested and I fail to see how, under interrogation, you would not make that connection and say there's this person that we knew, that we had detained here, what is your relationship with the person and maybe even take it further to try and find out where that other person is because part of the interrogation is to get info from people and this, I find that it was a golden opportunity of having had this one being linked to somebody that they had detained earlier, so if they had a file on me, they could have opened a file on her and they started the connection between the two.
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson, out of the inquiry it's not yet conclusive, that in inquiring around Ladybrand it does emerge that around the same period of 1987 there might have been things like Pauper's funerals and I was trying to follow that lead, to say that could they have been part of the people who might have been buried without identification around the period. The unfortunate part in this whole matter is that I worked through a number of TRC investigators, the first one resigned before he completed the matter. Then the younger brother to Mphilo ... (indistinct), his name was ...(indistinct), took over the investigation and then he passed away just at the time when the TRC was winding down its own operations, so some of these, what I would call pointers, not hard evidence yet, there was nobody to follow up on those things, so they would be part of what I still have in mind to say outside of this hearing on abductions, because even if they were to be granted amnesty, we as families would still need to go further and say: "What was the final fate of our family member?", so that would belong to another process.
MR VISSER: Thank you. Thank you Chairperson, I do appreciate your assistance. You see, on the basis of what the Chairman, what you've just replied to the Chairman, what I find strange is why you should go so far, based on your investigations and assumptions which you made, why you should go as far as putting it in these words instead of simply saying: "I suspect the Security Police killed them". Why go to the length of saying
"Nogothula and her comrades were later taken for execution and killed. Unmarked secret graves were dug for them and their bodies discarded in them. Perhaps I think there is even one mass grave."
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson, I've mentioned that this specific statement is in two parts. One are the things that I say these are things that I know, but I'm also suggesting, in my statement I was suggesting to the TRC that there is a direction in which you could begin to look and when we take this process further than what this specific hearing is about, these are some of the leads that we as family, we will still try and pursue because if they were known that they were killed - if I was to simply say the police killed them, I don't think that in the light of what I've come to firm up my mind about, it would be any more useful to the TRC than to say to them that here we're dealing with something very sinister and the sinisterness of that, I tried to capture in the latter part of my statement.
MR MOKHELE: In my experience, Chairperson, I still, I'm not convinced that the way the matter has been put to us is the only way that we need to be looking at the matter. When I was in detention, I will refer back to that specific experience that I had, they pulled in other resources outside of the immediate unit that I was with. I was arrested in the Vaal, they roped in askaris for an example, to come and say: "Hey, we know you, you've met before", you know, all kinds of things. During my interrogation they used to bring in other police from other areas to come and find out if any matter of interest to them arises out of this one, so it lies outside my grasp that in this particular matter they would not have made use of available cross-referencing this thing, the medium that they have and that is cross-referencing in files. My son carries my surname, he's Nkosana Mokhele, on his birth certificate that's how he appeared, that's how he was born in Zambia and they had a Mokhele they had arrested earlier. Now these people, even in the most extreme circumstances that we were to think that they were informers, part of informing, they would have - she would have said: "This is so-and-so's baby", she knew I was in Ladybrand sometime before, so how they would have pulled in their information would inevitably have led to a link between me who was arrested earlier and my family.
MR VISSER: Thank you Chairperson. Now you see, why I asked you that is because you say at page 33 that there was a decision, there must have been a decision to send your son home to entrap you. Now I don't follow that because this is 1987,88 and you're sitting in Europe. How are they going to entrap you by sending the son home on the 24th of December 1987?
MR MOKHELE: Chairperson when I went to Europe, I didn't go to Europe under my real names and secondly I didn't make it a public relations matter to inform all and sundry and most definitely then I'm convinced that at that time, because we separated - the last time I saw Nomasonto was the end of August and something happens 3 or 4 months down the line and I was not even moving from an immediate front country, I was coming out of Angola into Europe, that in my own assessment of the efficiency of the intelligence gathering within South Africa, it would have taken time for them to pick it up that this person is in Europe and I don't believe that Nomasonto would have given that factor to them to say he is in Europe and this is what he's doing, so I'm approaching this matter to say that it would not have been out of knowledge that I was in Europe for an extended period and that it was outside possibilities that I could come back to Southern Africa, specifically.
MR MAPOMA: Thank you Chairperson. Chairperson before we proceed, I have made available for the Committee and all parties involved, a copy of a death certificate in respect of Mr Atwell Mazizi Makadeza who is commonly known at these proceedings as Mphilo. This document was, we pulled this document out of the documents which are in the system of the TRC. It was received from the late Dugard Makadeza when he made a statement to the Human Rights Violations Committee of the TRC, asking the TRC to investigate circumstances surrounding the death of his brother in Lesotho.
MR MAPOMA: We understand from the statement that you are an adult male, presiding at 567 Alexanderfontein, Diskobolos, in Kimberley and are presently employed in the South African National Defence Force and you are also a former member of Umkhonto weSizwe, is that correct?
MR NTHUNYA: No, I was not based in the Transkei. Temporarily I was based in the Transkei, but basically we were based in Maseru, operating from Maseru into the country and back to Maseru whenever necessary.
MR MAPOMA: Yes. You are aware that at this hearing we are dealing with an application for amnesty pertaining to the disappearance of others Mbulelo Ngono, or you able to shed some light to this Committee from the time you went back to Lesotho up until you say he disappeared?
MR NTHUNYA: As I indicated, we arrived back in Lesotho, as it was common practice, it was around the first two weeks of February 1988. We reported to our Commander then who was Atwell Mazizi Makadeza and then after reporting to him, we stayed at separate places, he at his own base. We had our own bases, but we would meet during the day in Lesotho, up till a day when a certain Joe Mapumolo arrived in Maseru from Roma University to report that Mbulelo Ngono has escaped from a certain ambush, or confrontation with some strange elements who were parading as South African Police.
MR NTHUNYA: Ja according to the information we got from Mbulelo Ngono, it was that they were from Mafiteng(sic) and other areas around Mafiteng. Basically they were distributing monthly allowances that we used to get from the Swedish International Development Agency. Those allowances were actually given to our - the former wives of our comrades who were either in exile or ...(indistinct), so they were in the process of delivering such allowances when on their way back from Mafiteng they had to stop the car and wipe off the windows.
MR NTHUNYA: Firstly I got that information from Joe Mapumolo who came to report this after the incident. Mbulelo was still in Roma at that time. He told us that Mbulelo has arrived in Roma, he had escaped from that ambush.
MR NTHUNYA: ja, from Mafiteng on their way back to Maseru and on the way around Masithe, I don't know the area but it's like around Masithe District, or village, where they had to park the car, wipe off the windows, the reason of wiping the windows without using wipers was that during that time, that road was under construction and there were so many detours that there was a lot of mud, so they had to remove the mud by hand. In the process of doing so, a certain 4 x 4 passed them on its way from Mafiteng also. After passing a few metres, plus minus 20 metres, made a u-turn, came back to them with headlights bright, stopped and four men alighted from the 4 x 4, two from the right, two from the left-hand side with rifles on the ready and they asked them who are they. In the process of answering ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: No, before you proceed, you say they came with, when they u-turned about 20 metres after passing them, was wiping the windows, they had their lights on, what did he tell you, what time of the day was that?
MR MAPOMA: So before they, these guys Makadeza and Ngono could respond, these strange people told them to face the ground and face the car and touch the bus so that the aim was to search them because they proceeded towards them, searched them all and ...(intervention)
MR NTHUNYA: Their own car. The car Mazizi and Ngono were driving in, their own car, they had to touch their own car and then they were searched and Ngono told us from him that they took the pistol. He's not sure what they took from others, but in the process of the search, Mazizi Makadeza told them that actually they are MK members, members of the ANC, instead of doing what he thought they would do to them, they would rather take them and deport them back to Lusaka and then these guys said: "No, you are the people we are actually looking for" and then from there, without any further discussion, these guys took steps backwards, some 10 metres away from them and they told them to face them and these guys took a kneeling position, these strange people and they started shooting at them. During this shooting incident, Ngono managed to escape and Makadeza jumped. When he was high, they shot him on his lower body. They actually destroyed his lower body. They thought, probably they thought that he was dead also because now they had to chase Mbulelo Ngono who was running into the mielie fields. During that time Makadeza crawled into the mielie fields himself. These guys failed to find Mbulelo Ngono. When they came back, ...(indistinct) Radebe was already dead on the ground. It means they shot him dead on the spot. So they drove off with their 4 x 4 back to wherever, I don't know where it is, but in the direction of Maseru. And then that is what Mbulelo Ngono told us.
MR NTHUNYA: We got the news, that is the day after the incident took place and whilst we were still worried where Mazizi Makadeza might have been, we got information that this was announced over the Lesotho radio that some Transkeians, I don't know how it was actually announced, but some Transkeians, or some people who were having Transkei passports had a clash with the Lesotho Police and during the shoot out one of them died, one of them was injured. We never saw any document reporting the incident ourselves.
MR NTHUNYA: I think a day or two after that I went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We were actually planning to jump him out of hospital, so I personally met him, I told him about our plans, so he discouraged us because he said he doubts that we have prepared a correct place where we could put him safely, or place him safely and while we communicated, we had to exchange a lot of information. I went back to one of, to my colleagues who were still in Maseru, reported this situation to them. We agreed that we are not going to jump him out of hospital, so the best way according to his advice was to contact our Head Office in Lusaka as well as the United Nations, to try to find ways of taking Mazizi out of Lesotho, to better hospitals outside the country, possibly in Europe.
MR NTHUNYA: Then what happened after that is whilst we were still busy negotiating with the United Nations, basically through our Head Office in Lusaka, that they facilitate the process of taking Mazizi Makadeza out of hospital because we felt that the people who tried to kill them all in Masithe, would follow them up. We had a conviction, we were convinced that that could possibly happen, but for some other reasons beyond my understanding, there was a delay both from our Head Office in Lusaka and I'm not sure what moves the United Nations was taking to save these people, to save Makadeza from the situation, but ultimately we heard that he has been shot in hospital. There was a shuffling of beds. His bed was ultimately next to the window and then from outside that window, somebody came and shot him dead.
MR NTHUNYA: Ja, a few weeks after that, I'm definitely not certain how long was he arrested after that, but we learned again from the same Joe, because Joe used to deliver our messages from Roma, that some people arrived in a kombi and arrested Mbulelo in Maseru and moved away with him, together with his girlfriend.
MR NTHUNYA: Ja, after learning that his girlfriend has been released from detention, we tried to find out what information she had gathered from that prison or detention. She didn't have much to provide us except that she last saw Mbulelo at that police station, you know whatever and then that was the disappearance of Mbulelo, there is nothing much that we got from her after that and nobody actually ever came with any evidence or information to the effect that Mbulelo is at such and such a place.
MR NTHUNYA: At this - as we were part of the ANC, we relayed information into the country, information I mean that the Head Office was already aware of that they should know that Mbulelo Ngono has been abducted and we fear that he may be killed because we had a strong feeling that the people who had abducted him, actually wanted to eliminate him because he might have seen them, we fear that it is the same people who tried to kill them during that ambush, so they were making a follow up to eliminate both guys so that there's no information exactly what happened and who was involved, so as to which further steps that the organisation took from my office, definitely I don't have proper information at this stage, but I'm aware that movements were done, some efforts were made, both from inside and outside, but the relevant structures of MK, I think, would better know what was happening, what happened.
MR NTHUNYA: I'm saying so because he would either have come to us to report his disappearance, or his abduction, or he'd have contacted his sister who was at that time in Lesotho, or contacted some of our structures inside, or some members of MK who were in Lesotho, or informed Head Office which would definitely have informed us that this is the situation about Ngono, we have found Ngono, or Ngono is safe, so that we rest assured that he's safe, he's around, or if he had been turned maybe to an askari, also we'd get informed to that effect.
MR NTHUNYA: Normally what used to happen is that as I indicated, there were other structures of the ANC and MK, which were operative also in Lesotho, they would have alerted us that Mbulelo has turned into an askari. That was common practice, so that we should change our positions, inform our contacts inside the country for their safety, or otherwise Mbulelo himself would have tried to contact us because if, according to our analysis, the people who had abducted him, released him or turned him and released him back into Lesotho, one of their main missions would be to eliminate the whole unit, so one way or another he would have tried to come to us to lure us into some traps, or otherwise, with the aim of exposing us to elimination, but that never happened, nor did any of our contacts in Lesotho report any sight of Mbulelo Ngono, so that's what convinces me that Mbulelo never came back.
MR NTHUNYA: Nothing happened to those operatives. They were all safe. Nothing disturbed our bases. We still had bases inside the country. Nothing interfered with them. They suspected nothing. They had nothing, up till today, nothing happened that could relate anything to Mbulelo Ngono.
MR NTHUNYA: No that is, that should come, either it's a distortion or it comes from people who don't know what happened, because I know that we were with Mbulelo during that time, inside the country. We only left the country in the beginning of February, first two weeks of February 1988 we left South Africa. There are incidents in January of 1988 which took place in the country where I was with Mbulelo Ngono.
MR MAPOMA: Thank you Chairperson. There is also evidence from the applicants that after they arrested Mbulelo, after Mbulelo was arrested in Lesotho, some of the applicants took him to Ladybrand, where they negotiated with him and agreed that he's going to work for the Security Branch and thereafter, during that December, they returned him back to Lesotho to work for them. What is your comment on that?
MR NTHUNYA: Shortly after arrival in Lesotho in February 1988 our Commander Mazizi Makadeza briefed us about the security situation in that country and in the process of this, he did mention that there was one MK Commander who was supposed to head the Free State Machinery there, who had disappeared from her house. To my understanding she was still trying to establish herself, she was not yet established, when she disappeared and there were doubts as to where she may be, what she might be doing and that's all I know about Betty Boom.
MR NTHUNYA: Nogothula Nkomo? No, no, I doubt that I know her because from conversation with some members of MK it seems they are a group that arrived during the mid eighties and during that time I was, as indicated, already, I arrived in 84 back to the front-line ...(indistinct) in Lesotho, so people who left during 84, 85, I may not possibly know them from ...(indistinct)
MR VISSER: Chairperson, may I suggest that Mr Malindi should go first? This appears to be a witness with whom they probably consulted as well and let me hear what the evidence is going to be before I cross-examine.
CHAIRPERSON: May you just assist them, Mr Mapoma. Mr Malindi what's the position because I know it's you and Mr Koopedi. I saw you speaking, I thought you have come to an agreement who would go first.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR KOOPEDI: Mr Nthunya, do you know what type of training did Mbulelo undergo and perhaps one should clarify this question, not necessarily military training, but was there any other training that you know of that he underwent which would assist him in dealing with situations where, situations like the present where it's alleged he was asked to be an informer?
MR NTHUNYA: Let me start like this. During our conversation with Mbulelo Ngono, during our stay in the country and in Maseru, he indicated to me that he also did his basic training in Kakulama, but some time after we had either completed our training, or he arrived when we were about to complete our training because it's like at some stage we were together in Kakulama, so it was not for the first time for him to see me and I could vividly recall that I might have seen the face in Kakulama myself, but I can't confirm that, but from conversation we knew common people who were in Kakulama during that time, so I'm convinced that at some stage we were together in Kakulama, but I left for my special training abroad and the information I got from him that he got training in military intelligence and other causes and he was dedicated in that, because even in our unit he was a military intelligence officer, he was sometimes independent from the unit in one way or another, but directly reporting to Mazizi Makadeza.
CHAIRPERSON: Because he's saying other training in respect of the situation in which we are today, it's a very difficult question. We know from where we sit that MK members were trained militarily and in respect of intelligence. Would there be something more? I don't know, but I won't stop you.
MR KOOPEDI: Now during your interaction with Mbulelo, you may have formulated certain opinions about him. Now what I need to know is regard being had to the training that you know he had and your interactions with him, what are the possibilities that he could have turned into another Mamasela?
MR NTHUNYA: I won't say it was impossible, but it was highly unlikely. He acted and sounded like a highly skilled person, highly dedicated in his work. He had a glorious background as far as fighting for the liberation of South Africa is concerned. He came from a fighting family. His mother was a fighter, well-known in his area. I learned that during our contact with him and I knew that his mother is a person who was referred to as General in Port Elizabeth around that time, a very staunch member of the ANC, most possibly working with MK members. I cannot confirm that, but she was all out, her mother was all out and Mbulelo came from that background. Mbulelo himself had escaped. That was not his first escape. Whilst he was working with other units in the country, I learned that he had escaped from another operation and he was the only man trapped or encircled, but he managed to escape and he walked distances back to his unit then, I'm not sure whether his Commando was inside or outside, but he survived that and later again he survived poisoning in Lesotho. He survived that again and he was a survivor and this ambush was also one of his narrow escapes and they indicated to us that if any similar thing like this happened to him, he could see that death was actually tailing him, he was prepared to die, so I'd be convinced that is what happened. He was not likely to turn to an askari and as I indicated, if he had turned, something would have shown or indicated, nothing has shown, there was silence after his disappearance.
MR NTHUNYA: Mbulelo expressed our common opinion as a unit, that this group of strange people, were operating like bandits in Lesotho, who were - who did not want to operate above board and who could not present themselves clearly as police, South African police, who had a mix of South African Police and Lesotho police, were all in one agents of apartheid, bent on destroying the structures of MK in Lesotho, Free State Machinery and the Cape Machinery that were in existence in Lesotho at that time. So we regarded them as apartheid agents. What the composition was, there were askaris involved as well, but the one thing they were agents of apartheid.
MR KOOPEDI: I know that you were not present during the first part of this hearing, I will briefly tell you what the evidence from the applicant is with regards to Mbulelo. The evidence is that he was arrested, then transported by two of the applicants into South Africa. They crossed the border in broad daylight, they took him to the farm. When they crossed the border there was no resistance from Mbulelo. They took him to the farm, spoke to him, convinced him and within a day or so he agreed to work for the police. Do you have a comment on that, or an opinion on that?
MR NTHUNYA: My opinion is that Mbulelo Ngono was not a fool. During that time, during his arrest he could not be foolish enough to resist arrest. I'm sure he complied, as I would have done, complied with these guys. In fact it was not even complying, he was forced to comply because he had no chance of escaping because even the environment in Lesotho, from the Government's point of view, the Government of Lesotho then, the environment was hostile to us, so he just went along with them, but I think his intentions were to see what comes out of the whole thing. He had no chance - he stood no chance of fighting, or shooting, he was disarmed and he had no way of fighting, so he just complied, but not with the turning into an askari. He could have done something, because as I said, he was not a fool, he could have done something that he could indicate to us that: "I'm around".
MR KOOPEDI: Now yourself having been a member of the MK and having interacted with such people, if you had to consider the evidence which is that Mbulelo agreed to work for the applicants as an informer and at that stage gave no damaging information about anyone and was returned to Lesotho, I'm asking for your opinion again, do you not think that Mbulelo would have come back to your unit, would have come back to the fold and said: "I was arrested, I agreed to work, but there's no information I've given"?
CHAIRPERSON: Where would that line of asking questions take us, because the witness says Mr Ngono was in the Transkei during December month, came back or went back to Lesotho during the first two weeks of February and I take it the point of dispute here is that the applicants maintain that he was abducted in December. What would the relevance of Ngono coming back after being abducted in 1988, which is not the subject of what I've got to adjudicate upon, what would the relevance be?
MR KOOPEDI: And be that as it may, Chairperson, I thought for completeness sake, if there is a witness who knew Mbulelo who worked with him, I would want him to tell us, tell this Committee about the character of the man and to reiterate what I just said, that the issue is not only around the date, the issue also involves a particular person who would have behaved in this particular fashion.
CHAIRPERSON: .... (indistinct) I've been lax in certain questions asked, certain evidence led, because of the nature of this process, but I would say counsel should not take advantage of that. Let's ...(indistinct) on the issues before us because my fear is now that we'll go on and on and on and on without an end to this.
MR KOOPEDI: Yes, the last question that I was asking is, regard being had to Mbulelo, the type of person he was, and the fact that the evidence before this Committee is to the effect that he agreed to work for the applicants and did not at that stage give the applicants any damaging information whatsoever. Now Mr Nthunya, would Mbulelo not have come back to the unit, come back to the fold and say that: "I was arrested, I agreed to work with these people and they let me go"?
MR NTHUNYA: That would have happened, or could have happened and what we would have done then as a unit operating inside, would be to inform the MK Head Quarters in Lusaka because we were not having authority to accept these reports that he did not agree on anything and the arrangement would be made for Mbulelo to go back to our Head Office, where he could report and decisions would be taken there what to do with him, so we had nothing to do. We would not be able to take any decision concerning the report. We wouldn't agree or disagree with him, but we wouldn't believe him up till he's cleared by our Head Office up in Lusaka.
MR LAX: Just while we're here, wouldn't that be a reason why he might not tell you that this is what had happened to him, because he knows he would be subjected to this scrutiny and sent back to Zambia? Wouldn't that make it less likely for him to come clean? Do you follow me? You're looking a bit puzzled.
MR LAX: He would know that that's what would be expected, that would be the process he would have to go through before he could be "clean" again and then allowed to continue with his military work, military combat work. That's why I'm saying to you, wouldn't the nature of that process, the fact that he would have to be sent back to Lusaka, fall under DIS, fall under their scrutiny before he could be cleared, wouldn't that be quite an onerous process which would be a dis-incentive to report the fact that he had been abducted and that he had been turned or that he had in some way agreed to work for the apartheid forces?
MR NTHUNYA: The way I know him, I don't think that would have acted as a dis-incentive, I think Mbulelo would have easily come to us, told us what happened and he knew the procedure that would be followed as an intelligence person himself and according to me, in my judgment, he had done his stint against apartheid, he would be pleased to go and have a break. He would willingly go back to South Africa because the repercussions of being a threat to us, would be no worse than coming to us and he was sensible enough to have come to us.
MR NTHUNYA: What I'm trying to say, that he was not the kind of a person, according to my judgment, who would easily be an askari and be known in the country to be selling his own people out. I think he'd rather prefer to come to us rather than operate under the name of an askari, that would be worse for him, a worse situation for him.
CHAIRPERSON: No, no, you said he had for instance, if that would have happened, he would have come back and he would be taken back to Lusaka and the question was if he hadn't done that which was a dis-incentive and you said the repercussions would have been worse. What are these repercussions you are talking about, which would have been worse?
MR NTHUNYA: From reports concerning people who were askaris, they were - their life was almost hell and Mbulelo knew that. You were never allowed to do what you want to do, you were like a police dog who would do whatever you are sent to do and if you don't do that, you would be killed. That is the repercussion I'm talking about. I don't think he would like to be in that situation.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Mr Nthunya, could I perhaps ask you a few things please which are unclear to me? It would appear that you were in Lesotho from 1984 until you left there in approximately 1990. Am I correct?
MR VISSER: So you had a long span of time and experience about the circumstances in which MK members found themselves in Lesotho. Would I be correct in saying that? About their conditions in which they operated there, etc.
MR VISSER: Yes. I'm going to ask you who the members of your unit were, but can I first refer you to a press report that was made by the ANC after receiving the Motsuanyani Commission and all I want - I don't want to confuse you, all I want to say is that that press report, Chairperson we haven't got copies but if you need them we can make them available.
MR VISSER: It refers to the difficult conditions under which all cadres and other people under the care of the ANC, lived, "given our meagre resources". Now would you say that that would have applied to you and other cadres in Lesotho in 1987, 88?
MR NTHUNYA: I see. During that time members of my unit were the Commander Makadeza himself, the other member had been taken to, or abducted, I don't know what happened but he was forcefully removed from Lesotho back to Zambia, which was Mazola, or Dumisani Mafu now.
MR NTHUNYA: Also that depended on the situation because you'd find that there are people inside the country, there were MK cadres inside the country who were not necessarily trained in Angola or wherever, so it depended what kind of operation that would be. You could go alone, you could go four of you, you could go two at a time, it depended what specific operation that was supposed to be.
MR LAX: Can I make it easier for you, just so we don't go into details about that incident, because that incident was where Ngono escaped, it's a separate incident that you were referring to. The question really is this, during the period September to about February, you were in Transkei. Ngono was with you, as far as I understood your evidence earlier.
MR NTHUNYA: Ja. I don't have the details of that but that is where I was pointing, or indicating his experience Before we met with him, he had been operating before, a year or so before and he was operating with a different unit that time. It is where that unit was cornered somewhere and he somehow he could not get into the arranged transport and they left him there. He was surrounded and he fought his way out, so I was not there, that is the incident that I am referring to.
MR VISSER: Yes, alright. Now you see, you say when you, in your paragraph 19 at page 58, you say about three weeks after Makadeza's death, that's Mphilo - now can we first establish when that was? That was the 15th of March 1988?
MR LAX: Can I help you, if you'll allow me Mr Visser? What Mr Visser is asking you is, in anticipation of this hearing and the incidents that form the subject matter of this hearing, have you held any discussions with Major Buthelezi around the matters contained in her statement or your statement or things of that nature? Have I put it correctly?
"The Lesotho police who were on duty round the 15th March 1988 can also prove beyond reasonable doubt that they were the ones who handed over Mbulelo to the then South African Police."
MR NTHUNYA: No, I cannot confirm or agree or compare that she's referring to the abduction and if she's referring to the abduction, I'd probably, I would disagree with her, because I would more agree with the certificate as it is, what is appendage H, that he was killed on the 15th and it took time for - he was killed on the 15th and Mbulelo was abducted some time after that.
MR VISSER: ; Yes, some time after, well that's the point, you see. Now about the - after you came back you told us that in the first or the second week of February, you reported to Mphilo, your Commander and you stayed at separate places. Now does that mean that all the members of the unit stayed in separate places in Lesotho?
MR NTHUNYA: Yes, let me put it this way. You had a choice, depending on the availability of funds, to stay alone, to decide where you want to stay if you felt insecure with staying with one of the members, like say for example I know Sotho, I could easily call myself a Sotho in Lesotho and I would stay with people whom I may convince that I'm their relative, so in that situation I wouldn't necessarily stay with a Zulu or Xhosa speaking person who is trained because we knew that we were being hunted down.
MR NTHUNYA: They were there. Let me put it this way and explain it further. In the beginning there were quite a number of bases that were under Mphilo's command, so we were sharing those bases, sleeping here today and sleeping there the following day and so forth, so in the beginning we shared common safe houses, up till we established ourselves and found our own houses.
MR NTHUNYA: That was, that happened shortly after the ambush, that is immediately after our arrival in Lesotho, we started looking for our own independent places, so that process continued and during the process, people were being abducted and shot and stuff like that.
MR VISSER: Okay. Now you say that at one of these meetings which you had, there was a report by Mapumolo, I think you said, and he reported the roadblock, or what we refer to as the roadblock incident here and you, in this regard, referring to the people who shot at Fana - sorry at Radebe and Mphilo and Ngono on that evening, you have given three different explanations as to who they were. Let me tell you what you've said. In your statement at page 58, paragraph 16, you referred to them as strangers who allegedly portrayed themselves as Lesotho Security Forces. In your evidence today, you used the words and I'm not sure whether my notes reflect the exact words that you used, but you said they were people who paraded as South African police and thirdly you said later on they were a mix of South African police and Lesotho police. Now do you agree that those are three ways in which you described those people?
MR NTHUNYA: What I can say is that during that period it was not immediately possible to establish what these people are. Are they South African police, are they Lesotho police active under the instructions of the South African Police, are they askaris, or who are the people, up till it is made clear, I could have used any other explanation, but they had something to do with South Africa.
MR VISSER: I seem to recall evidence that there was and yes I think I'm correct, that there was evidence yesterday before this Committee to the effect that this incident in which Mphilo was wounded and Radebe was killed and Ngono escaped, that incident was reported in the newspapers in Lesotho at the time.
MR VISSER: Correct, and you said it was - thank you Commissioner Lax, and you said it was broadcast on the radio and you said today, and thank you, I'm reminded now, you said that the radio broadcast said it was the Lesotho police, or the Lesotho Security Forces, I'm not sure.
MR NTHUNYA: Yes, I said that we heard that the incident was broadcast over the Lesotho radio and we had no reason to believe the Lesotho radio announcement during that time because the Government of Lesotho was opposed to the struggle of the people of South Africa during that time. It had, it was operating like it has signed an Nkomati Accord, so we could not believe in what they tell us, we believed more in our analysis of the situation at that time, so we did not believe what they were saying. We were not relying on their information, we had our way of finding information, so we put their announcement aside.
MR VISSER: Well, is the short answer what you're saying not this? You didn't trust the Lesotho Security Forces, nor did you trust the South African Security Forces and it could have been any of them, or a combination?
MR VISSER: Thank you. Now you see the applicants, there was some suggestion during this hearing, the previous hearing, that it might have been one or more of the applicants that were involved there and they deny that they were involved in that incident. I'm just putting it to you to make you understand why I'm asking you these questions, if you want to respond to it, you can respond to it. Can I go on?
MR VISSER: Now, you see, the other thing that is part of this issue of this, what we call the roadblock affair, is that there was also a suggestion, I think, by one of the applicants, by Mr Jagga, that he heard from the Lesotho police that they had taken Mphilo to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Maseru. Now that's only hearsay and we don't have direct evidence, but whether that is so or not, can you shed any light on the truth or otherwise of that statement that the Lesotho police took Mphilo to the hospital?
MR VISSER: ; That's right, yes. And Mr Jagga said that he heard that the police had, the Lesotho police had a roadblock there and that something went wrong at the roadblock, the car with Mphilo and Ngono and Radebe in it, did not stop at the roadblock, they stopped somewhere else and for some reason or other, shooting broke out and there was, I think you said there was an exchange of fire. Does this accord with what Mphilo told you?
MR NTHUNYA: Yes. According to the description, the name Tax Sejanamane is new to me, but the description of the person and that his wife was Esther, that is, according to the explanation I get from the comrades who were there, I know that person, then I physically met him. He was- he had just arrived in Lesotho, according to my understand, and he was still trying to establish himself and we parted ways with him there. I don't know what happened to him up till this story that he was also abducted and there was Betty and stuff like that. That's the only thing I know about him.
MR VISSER: You see and just to add to what the Chairman is asking you, I want to read the next sentence to you. "The former, that is Tax Sejanamane, I first met in 1984 in Lesotho, whilst the latter was working with me under Makadeza's command."
MR NTHUNYA: Ja from - no, I cannot be certain. Since he told us this when we were still very fresh in Lesotho, a few days, two or three days after our arrival, to us sounded like a recent thing, the disappearance of Betty Boom was so recent and so fresh in his mind and to an extent that it had caused tension generally amongst our members who were in Lesotho and it was still fresh and it was still a mystery, so to me it sounded two weeks.
MR VISSER: Alright. There has been evidence before this Committee that this disappearance of Betty Boom, well, I want to be as fair as I possibly can here. There was evidence that Betty Boom, Nomasonto Mashiya and Tax Sejanamane were removed from Lesotho and taken to Ladybrand to a farm and that all that happened in December 1987. Okay? My point to you is this, if that evidence is true, and if Mphilo told you about that incident as being the disappearance of Betty Boom, then I say you must have been in Lesotho long before the beginning of February 1988. Do you follow what I'm saying?
MR VISSER: Alright. You see, I must now - let me give you the full picture, because I think it might confuse you more. The applicants testified that these three people were removed from Lesotho and placed back into Lesotho in December 1987. Do you know whom I'm talking about now?
MR VISSER: Yes. That's the one thing they said. Jagga and Jantjie also told the Committee that they still had contact with Betty Boom into the new year, 1988, the early part of January 1988. As far as they are concerned, she disappeared in January 1988, that is now Jagga and Jantjie. Do you follow? Let's take this later date. If you take two weeks from the beginning of January that brings you somewhere in January still, after the disappearance of Betty Boom, if that is what Mphilo was referring to and I'm saying to you that if he told you that, within two weeks after her disappearance, you were in Lesotho prior to February 1988. That's the point I'm making.
MR LAX: But I don't see the logic of your question because if she was returned at the end of December and they had contact with her in the first week or so of January, you then take two weeks after that, it's the end of January, or the early part of February, which ties in exactly with what exactly he says.
MR LAX: But he arrives in February and this happened two weeks roughly he thinks, based on the attitude, because his evidence isn't that he was told it was two weeks ago, he just assumed that from the attitude.
MR VISSER: Thank you Chairperson. Well, I'm just putting it to you that the most benevolent interpretation is that Betty - is that Mphilo could have told you of Betty Boom's disappearance in January, in the beginning of January 1988 and on your evidence it would appear that you would have then been in Lesotho at least as early as the last week in January 1988, to hear this from Mphilo.
MR VISSER: Yes, I was going to ask, well let me first just finish this issue. You see, but there's another interpretation and that one reads from the other statements for example Maj Buthelezi, I'm sorry, it wasn't Maj Buthelezi, it was the person who said that, ...(indistinct) thank you Chairperson. According to Mr Pitso, Trevor James Sepo Pitso, do you know him.
MR VISSER: ; I see. Alright, so you may or you may not know him. The point is that he says in paragraph 3 that when he made the inquiries and he went to a certain house, he was told by a domestic worker that Betty Boom was last seen on the 16th of December 1987. Do you see that?
MR VISSER: No, what I've said here is true, so this, whatever is said here is relevant to our arrival. Our arrival was on the second, more or less second week of February 1988, whatever this statement can say.
CHAIRPERSON: No, he's taking it from your freshness, that when Mphilo related about Betty Boom where you created that it could have been two weeks, if you read that in conjunction with the statement made by Pitso, you should have been in Lesotho in January.
MR NTHUNYA: Oh yes, okay. No I understand that. I cannot dispute that. You know what made it so fresh in our minds is that it's precautionary measure that Mphilo too is not informing us or alarming us whilst we're still int he country, because certain developments, if you tell us while you are still in the country that this and that has happened in Lesotho, so when he told us, it sounded so fresh to us, but I can't dispute that it may have happened in December. I definitely cannot argue.
MR VISSER: ; Yes. When you - in your evidence you've made quite a few references today to being in the country. Can we just for the record purposes specify that when you talk about being in the country you mean being in the Republic of South Africa?
MR VISSER: I'm going to suggest to you and I know we're talking about matters that occurred thirteen years ago approximately. I'm going to suggest to you that it's possible that you're making a mistake about the dates when Ngono disappeared and that in fact he disappeared in December of 1987.
MR NTHUNYA: That's correct. So Mbulelo is the person who could have easily got information on what actually happened, but at the same time, I had to take him to a doctor on that day, that is when we got the news that this has happened. It happened around that period and we were still a team, then we were left a team of three. We were inside the country.
MR NTHUNYA: I was supposed to take him to a doctor and he's the person who could conveniently find out what happened, because I'd heard that there was a shoot out and we didn't have details. We were left, we were two with him when that thing happened, so he was the best person placed to inquire on what actually took place.
MR NTHUNYA: Because as I stated before, I had been around longer than him in those territories, so it was more possible for me to be identified in case there were askaris and I still, I'm convinced there were, or the latest information is that there was an askari there in the name of Baby Luck, so it was a security risk for me to go there, but since he was new in the unit and not known around that place which I had created, he could easily go and find out what was happening.
MR VISSER: ; Alright. You see Ms Mabece gave evidence to this Committee that she saw a photograph of Ngono which had a healed scar over one of its eyes on the photograph and she saw this photograph in the possession of Ngono's mother at East London, I think she said it was.
MR VISSER: Alright. From a police station in Port Elizabeth, visited the mother, her mother and after that visit, her mother told her, that's the sister, that the policeman had showed her a photograph of Ngono with a scar over one of his eyes on the photograph. That's the background. Now the point about that is that Ms Ngono then said that she thought that the reason why Mr Bobelo visited her mother, was to tell her that Ngono was in the Transvaal at that time. Now if that is so, what do you make of that?
MR NTHUNYA: To me that is a very strange story. I actually don't want to associate myself with that story except to say that to me it may have been an attempt by the people who abducted Ngono to mislead those who were still searching for Ngono. It doesn't sound honest. I don't know what they're doing in the Transvaal and with whom.
MR NTHUNYA: I don't have enough background, but the police used to work, that member, if it was a member of the South African Police, he was a member of the same organisation most probably with those who abducted Ngono, so there was a ploy to mislead people, or merely disgruntled elements, a stole a photo of Ngono after he has been possibly battered by the abductors and show it to the mother, that's also possible.
MR NTHUNYA: Yes, we did have, we were only supplied with information without it being mentioned what the source is. MR VISSER: If - Mr Maharaj gave evidence in Durban in a matter, Mac Maharaj, what did I say? Mac Maharaj and he said that the ANC had many spies in the Security Branch. Would you accept that that is so?
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) we've got a recording, if he says it's correct to agree with him, don't nod your head, say correct or make some response because this is mechanically recorded, so we want everything that was recorded. Okay? ...(indistinct) Mr Visser.
MR NTHUNYA: He described them as people who were driving a 4 x 4, who were probably military or Lesotho police or the people who were after us, carrying rifles, all of them, so they were some sort of armed forces, that kind of description. Whether they were soldiers, or what, but they were trained people, they looked trained.
MR NTHUNYA: I'm referring to the situation that we found in Lesotho and the debriefings that we got from Mphilo, that he - something that had compounded the tension amongst our members is that he said that there were people following him himself. He was running short of funds. He was not able to buy a new car. He was using only two cars, he could not buy a new car just to mislead the people who were actually following us, so he warned us to be cautious. to be careful about our movements and stuff like that. So by that time we are aware that there is a group of people hunting us, looking for us and they have got easy access into Lesotho, so those people - that may have been the continuation of the same situation.
MR VISSER: Now you know I find it strange to believe that for example at this roadblock incident, that four people with automatic rifles, 10 paces away from three other people, could shoot, kill one, wound one and miss the other one completely. Don't you find that strange?
MR NTHUNYA: What happened, according to Mphilo was ...(indistinct) Mbulelo's story that when they started shooting, Mphilo jumped up and Radebe dropped and they missed Ngono and he ran away. Then they all pursued Ngono and Makadeza crawled into the mielie fields, but because these people were acting, as I said clandestinely, they didn't want these things to be known, when they come back, because of fear, they didn't realise that Mphilo was still alive. They drove away from the scene because they wanted to do this thing so quickly that there's no evidence so that's why they missed Mphilo, because decent policemen would have seen that there's a trail of blood into the mielie fields and they would have realised that Mphilo was still alive and Mphilo was only 10 metres away from the road.
MR LAX: The Chairperson asked you about the lights and why the lights were on and you said you thought it was at the time of day when it was becoming dark and I actually wrote nightfall in my own notes around that time.
"I refute any suggestion that the victims in this case were ever brought back to Lesotho to infiltrate the ANC."
MR NTHUNYA: Because we arrived after their abduction and thereby, during our arrival, they had not yet reported anywhere in Lesotho to Mphilo or to anybody, to our contacts, there was no information from the Head Office, Head Quarters in Lusaka, nor from inside the country from our contacts inside the country, so we had been there up till 1990, we have been in Lesotho. From that period we never came back home, we have been in Lesotho. Anything that could have happened, we could have possibly picked it up, as I indicated before, but nothing of the sort happened, nobody reported seeing Ngono, nobody reported seeing Betty Boom. We were already informed about Betty Boom. That Trevor I was asked about was in the Free State with, according to the explanation, his mission was to replace Betty Boom, so he could have also picked it up if Betty Boom was around, nothing happened.
MR NTHUNYA: I'm trying to get around ...(indistinct) Morally yes, because she was abducted when she was working closely with Mphilo. Mphilo was in the process of helping her establish a cell and from Mphilo's explanation there were other things which were not quite finished which they were settling with Betty Boom, so if she had come, decently she should have reported to Mphilo, or one of his contacts. Mphilo had a lot of contacts in the country, you know, but nothing happened.
MR VISSER: well let me tell you what the applicants' evidence was. They said that on the acceptance that she was the Commander in Chief of the Free State Machinery, she didn't have to report to anyone.
MR NTHUNYA: For security reasons, she had. I don't know Betty Boom, but any reasonable MK Commander or however high she could have been from the National Office, if anything like that had happened to him or her, she would report and that would be a very strange MK Commander.
MR LAX: Mr Visser, with the greatest of respect, it's your client's case that she was caught, that she was in contact with people because they wanted her back in Lusaka. So on your client's version, she must have reported to somebody, otherwise how would she know that she was required in Lesotho, back in Lusaka? That's their case. You can't honestly put to this witness that she never reported to anybody on that version.
MR VISSER: Well, alright Chairperson, I will leave that. Now in any event, your statement in paragraph 23, rests on an assumption that she was sent back to infiltrate the ANC. Now that hasn't been the evidence here. Who told you that?
"Even if they had gone to Lusaka without informing us, our comrades in Lusaka would have informed us about their presence there."
MR NTHUNYA: So that it can be believed, because most of our members were panicking, not knowing where they are and so that if she's still on our side, we should know, so that there's no repetition of reporting again if she comes back to Lesotho that Betty Boom who disappeared and was abducted, is back again, or maybe ...(indistinct) do her any harm, so we were supposed to be informed on time.
MR VISSER: Yes. You made this statement. When you made this statement, you're making comments here, what are you making comments about? Was it a statement of one of the applicants that you had and you read and you said: "No, this I disagree with, or whatever the case may be" and you made your statement, or did somebody tell you what the applicants' case is?
MR VISSER: I see. And he would ask you: "What do you say of the suggestion that the ANC should account for the disappearance of these people"? Then you would say: "Well, I say that's just futile to make that suggestion". Is that how it worked?
MR NTHUNYA: I want to put it right. I understand what you're saying. This is not the responsibility of the ANC. The ANC can go as far as explaining that it sent its soldiers to fight and they disappeared. That's how far they can explain.
MR LAX: Sorry, you're misunderstanding the question. The question is just really about the process of how you made your statement and what Mr Visser is asking you is, did the investigator, you said the investigator briefed you, so he must have told you roughly whatever he told you, I don't know what he told you, but did you then, in response to whatever he told you, or in response to questions that he may have asked you, then answer him, which was then reduced to writing and then sign a statement. That's really what you're being asked.
"The ANC has been a forgiving organisation, especially to people who confessed their collaboration with the enemy, while those who refused to confess were usually sent to detention camps."
CHAIRPERSON: What I'm trying to say, we're hearing speaking of a trained cadre who followed the procedures and disciplines laid by the ANC outside the country and I find it difficult that that, because the impression you have given is that the ANC outside is disciplined and equate those disciplines with people who are merely followers here, who don't necessarily know the disciplines of the ANC outside and say now these people within the country on mere suspicion, which I know too, would eliminate you, I don't think it would accord.
MR VISSER: ; Yes, point taken, Chairperson, point taken, but may I then just put this question. Are you aware that some of the leaders in the ANC have condoned publicly the killing of people who were suspected as informers by the rank and file ANC people, supporters and followers on the ground, do you know that.
MR VISSER: Yes, alright. You see, you then go on to say that people who refused to confess were usually sent to detention camps. Now what happened to a poor fellow who is innocent and he says: "I'm not an informer, I was never a collaborator with the enemy", he tells the ANC in Lusaka that, is he also one that is sent to a detention camp because he refuses to confess?
MR NTHUNYA: That is a delicate question. I cannot have one answer to that question. I can rather explain the situation that at the same time the enemy had infiltrated us and there were still members, enemy elements who were still safe and who were causing confusion to the extent that innocent were sometimes detained, that is the impression one got when you were back from training, that we are still operating with the enemy and the enemy would rather create the situation that the ANC was a bad organisation, confused correct ...(indistinct) and led into people being arrested unnecessarily, as a result innocent people were arrested, who were not supposed to be detained, but the normal policy of the ANC would be if there is something dubious about a person, he would be detained up till he's clear.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAPOMA: Mr Nthunya, I've got three incidents I'm going to refer you to. The incident where the shooting took place where Radebe was killed, the incident where Makadeza was killed in hospital and the incident where Mbulelo Ngono was abducted. Are you able to recall with certainty the chronology in which those incidents took place?
MR SIBANYONI: Mr Nthunya, in your opinion, if I understand you correctly, you are saying Mr Mphilo, whom it is alleged that he showed the picture or the photo to the family, might have done that because he was disgruntled.
MR NTHUNYA: Because I don't have the actual background of the person and how he did this, I was just indicating that he may have been a disgruntled element, or that the people who were involved, were trying to mislead, or confuse information, so I'm not sure why he did that.
MR NTHUNYA: December 1987? No I can only indicate that we had a mission which we - that our unit had a mission of preparing bases, laying foundations after which Makadeza would give us further instructions whereby we'd possibly now be engaged in serious operations, but we were just laying foundations, so we have been together, that's the kind of operation we were involved in. There's no other.
MR NTHUNYA: One of, yes, no he didn't, one of the reasons being that we had avoided using cars or using common routes, what you call, the gates where you have got to produce a passport or things like that, we used to walk over the mountains for 24 hours, so when we walked, we walked as a team, so with him, he could not walk alone, he was not well conversant with the route, so he couldn't have gone alone, there was no time when he left or any one of us for that matter.
MR NTHUNYA: Yes, we had contacts, we had - we were working with one advocate Mphutana, he had his own contacts himself and a certain Mr Galake, also he had his own contacts which do that kind of investigating, who were Lesotho citizens, who could go anywhere, so the report was Ngono is not in Lesotho.
MR LAX: If, it's a question I put to the applicants, it seems to me that it's possible that maybe one person may have been sent back to Lusaka and your structures may not have heard about it, DIS may have taken one person, but it certainly seems, I find it a bit strange that four people would all disappear round about the same time, all back to DIS for interrogation and your structures would not hear about it. What is your comment on that?
MR NTHUNYA: Yes, I find it very strange myself because you couldn't, even if they were flown to Lusaka, somebody would see them at the airport, that is what usually happened. Whichever way he went, he would go through certain structures of the organisation. If you go by road, you'd need a new Passport prepared for him and he would go through the normal roads and somewhere along the way we had our people. It was not impossible but very difficult for one to leave from Lesotho without anybody indicating to us that this person has arrived or has passed point a or point b, very difficult.
CHAIRPERSON: You also spoke I think of Mazolla, Dumisani, that I can remember well, that he was recalled and you said something about, you were making an example of how a person would be recalled, did I hear you correctly?
MR NTHUNYA: Yes, he was not necessarily recalled, I would say he was lucky to have been sent back to Lusaka because the story I get that he was arrested by the Lesotho Military, there was no roadblock necessarily because it's a certain situation where he was arrested and they were forced t deport him. It just happened that swiftly, little bit tortured and sent back to Lusaka, so roughly that's what we normally expect.
MR VISSER: Chairperson, there is one issue which does arise from the questions of, perhaps in an oblique way, of Commissioner Lax. May I just put this? Chairperson it's page 54 and it's part of paragraph 8, it's the last sentence.
FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Can I just ask you Mr Nthunya, do you have any knowledge of the ANC leadership pressurising the Lesotho Government through the United Nations and the OAU demanding that Mbulelo be deported to Lusaka or to Tanzania, do you have any knowledge of that?
MR NTHUNYA: The impression I got from that, if you are referring to Ms Mabece's statement yesterday, is that she may personally referred to somebody as Bra, but he had a name. I don't know who that person was.
MR MAPOMA: Now during - before I go there. In the paginated bundle we have a document which appears on pages 53, 54 and 55 of this paginated bundle. This document is titled Confidential Comments by Maj B B Buthelezi. This Maj B B Buthelezi, does it refer to you?
MS BUTHELEZI: I got a statement by a so-called Mr Jantjie, so that statement was sent to me by Maj Mati, commonly know in the ranks of Umkhonto weSizwe as ...(indistinct), he's working the Defence Head Quarters. He sent it to me ...(indistinct) Army Head Quarter where I work.
MS BUTHELEZI: He said I should comment on that statement and at least assist the people in the investigation about the disappearance of people in Lesotho so that the only statement I got, then I commented on that particular statement.
MS BUTHELEZI: I was to be an intelligence officer and because of my background about Lesotho and my mother being a Sotho, I was to naturalise myself and have less contact with lots of people and certain people were indicated that were going to contact me and I was going to work with them. ...(indistinct) everybody.
MS BUTHELEZI: Well I first met Betty in Angola when she was going through a training course in ...(indistinct) not very far from Luanda and from time to time they'd go to Vienna and that's where I first saw her and when I went to Lusaka, she was in the youth section and she was in charge of ...(indistinct) little children who may be under the age of 13.
MS BUTHELEZI: Normally Mphilo and Betty were members of Umkhonto weSizwe. They had one thing and they had to sustain that thing, they had a good working relation, especially when it came to matters of logistics, finance and any other matter that would affect the MK members in and outside the borders of Lesotho.
MS BUTHELEZI: I cannot say precisely when Betty disappeared, but I remember according to Mphilo around November there were two guys who had a problem with the police. They claimed that they were working with Mr Ronnie Kasrils and that they were stationed in Bloemfontein and that they had a problem with the police, then Mphilo regarded that matter not as a matter of the Cape, but as a matter of Orange Free State. He then handed those two guys to Betty and later those guys, it was reported in the media according to ... (indistinct) died. So around the 10th November, it was normal for Mphilo and Better because they had to reconcile the receipts because when people were given money they had to sign. He wanted to see Betty for two reasons, that he must actually give an account of these two guy who had been shot in Bloemfontein and to reconcile so that he must be able to go to ...(indistinct) and get money for December month for MK cadres.
MS BUTHELEZI: Ja, November, December I'm not very sure, but those died. They arrived late in the year like maybe in mid November, but those guys, Betty sent them back to South Africa and those guys died and then I think Mphilo got it around between, around those days where he was supposed, they were supposed to reconcile the receipts, that's when Mphilo went to Betty's place on several occasions but he could not locate Betty.
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, I did comment after reading ...(indistinct) that he said, Jantjie stated in his statement that he said Betty was in dire straights. Betty really needed money. I, Mphilo, we knew very well that Betty had operational funds, because when he went to Lesotho, she was going to study her Machinery which was disorganised by the overthrow of the ...(indistinct) government, so somehow all the Machineries were disrupted and they were to start, somehow they had to start functioning, that's why Betty was appointed to be a Commander of the Orange Free State Machinery and she had money and she afforded to stay in a place that some of us could not stay in. It was an expensive place. I think in 1987, when you paid R500 for a type of accommodation, according to Lesotho and according to the currency there, that was a lot of money and apart from that, there was a position irrespective of gender equality, MK was sensitive about women who went to the front and they had to take care that - it had to take care that Betty had sufficient funds to keep her going until she has put her feet on the ground.
MS BUTHELEZI: I want to say, in my mission, I was not ...(indistinct) Betty, but on several occasions I did see Betty where Betty could not see me. I saw her. I knew Betty very well. She was driving in a blue BMW car and if ...(indistinct) there's a possibility that with her operational funds, she could have hired it, there are two possibilities.
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, because Betty, it was not for the first time that she went to Lesotho. She was in Lesotho prior to 1985 and she was established inside the country of South Africa and then I don't know when did she come back, but when I was in Lusaka around June 1987, Betty was in Lusaka. She went to the Soviet Union, she had to be operated. That is hearsay, but I know she went to the Soviet Union, she had cancer, not serious cancer but the signs that she was developing cancer of the breast.
MR MAPOMA: The applicants' version is that they approached Betty and had some communication with her over a certain period of time, whereafter she agreed to work for them as their informer and they promised her money because she was disillusioned with money, that's what she said to them. What is your comment to that?
MS BUTHELEZI: My knowledge of Betty then, I don't think that Betty could have easily been recruited along financial lines. She had her own commitment, she survived in South Africa. I don't know whether the applicants are aware that Betty was an inside operative, she survived, she went back to Lusaka and really I would like to dismiss the question of finance, maybe with another person, but not with Betty.
MS BUTHELEZI: That's a view of the applicant that had to put before the TRC, but I don't see myself reasoning with the applicants or agreeing to that, but when I went through Mr Jantjie's statement, I was left with two questions, that if ever Betty did, or was disgruntled with the ANC, there would be two responses to that, it's either Betty was trying to give an impression that she was disgruntled with the ANC, maybe in order to penetrate and know more, or a person who talks like that about his or her own organisation, could have as well have been an enemy in general, but I could not conclude. It's a question that up to today remains unresolved in my mind.
MS BUTHELEZI: When I spoke to, when I wrote this thing, I didn't speak to Maj Mati, but when I spoke to Maj Mati, and I said Nomasonto Mashiya was still living, because the only person that who was pregnant and had a baby in this ...(indistinct), then Maj Mati said no, Nomasonto gave birth to her baby in Lusaka, as Mr Mokhele said in the morning, so I think that was a mistaken identity.
MS BUTHELEZI: Well Mphilo did say as, you know because we had a problem with money, but we got money from Lusaka and as Mphilo was distributing the money, he realised that Esther was missing, Nomasonto was missing, but he did not say it was Nomasonto, but I cannot remember whether he said it was Nogothula, but what he said is that that girl, that's the person that he spoke about, was a close connection of Betty.
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, because when Mphilo was going to deliver her money, monthly allowance to Esther, he then found out that Esther was missing and then Mphilo asked Esther's sister. The Esther's sister described some situation, she said there were some guys riding in Betty's BMW and one of the guys resembled Mphilo. They are the guys who came in and that they left with Esther, but I think two days before Esther left, she made mention to the sister that she got a telephone call from Tax saying that Nomasonto should come and join ...(indistinct)
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes. You see, I have a problem with Tax disappearing because as early as June, or earlier than June, we were sitting in a house with Fana, Mphilo, Sizwe, ja the four of us and we read in the newspapers because that was a part of our team, we read that Tax was being arrested by the QwaQwa police and then you know it was very strange that he could be arrested by QwaQwa police, it was that he could have out manoeuvred them and you know we talked about that and then it was over and then, from then henceforth, we knew that Tax was inside the Republic of South Africa arrested by the QwaQwa police, so it was very difficult for us to relate as to how did Tax, whilst he was in prison, phone Nomasonto, phone Esther.
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, around that time, June. You know unfortunately one could not really focus on the date because that's what we knew in June. We knew in June that Tax was arrested by them, by the QwaQwa police.
MS BUTHELEZI: I am not sure because if he was infiltrated into QwaQwa, I don't know whether he was infiltrated into QwaQwa or through the Transkei, I'm not very sure whether Tax really belonged to the Cape Machinery or the Orange Free State Machinery, but what Mphilo told me that this guy was infiltrated and he was in QwaQwa.
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, normally, according to Comrade ...(indistinct), they would contact the ...(indistinct), the UN, but it would be very difficult if Betty was taken by the South African police, because there was no way in which the ANC could have pressurised the South African Police to be... (intervention)
MS BUTHELEZI: Actually I would be informed, like when Ndadima Geta was abducted and when he returned to Lesotho, I was immediately informed that Ndadima Geta is now in Lesotho and that for a moment when we do not know what his situation is, we should try and keep away from him.
MS BUTHELEZI: No I say When Ndadima Geta was abducted and when he came back to Lesotho, as soon as we learned that he was in Lesotho, I was informed that Ndadima Geta has been brought back to Lesotho and that for now we and not only myself, but we should not try and make any contact with him because we don't know what is his situation. We do not know what was the situation then.
MS BUTHELEZI: The normal procedures were that Ndadima Geta would go to Lusaka, give his story and then maybe ANC through its other organs, tried to confirm the story of Ndadima Geta and then we would then be given a green light, whether people should associate with him or not.
MR MAPOMA: Thank you Sir. The applicants' version, I want a comment here, is that after they abducted or after they took Betty, they took her to a farm in Ladybrand and they agreed with her that she's going to work for them and then they took her back to Lesotho to work for them as an informer, what is your comment about that?
MS BUTHELEZI: Chairperson, can I give a comment from my own subjective point of view? Betty was a young woman, she was the Commander of the Orange Free State Command, as I've stated, she was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. At that age it was very fulfilling and as I have stated earlier on, that Betty had in a way established structures in South Africa and know the South African Government then, had they captured a member of the South African Communist Party, a member of the Central South African Commonwealth and managed to break all the cells of the South African Communist Party, that, on its own, could not have been a secret. They would wish to let the world know that they are in possession of a member of the Communist Party who has agreed to work with them, who has revealed the structures inside South Africa,. I therefore don't think that Betty really worked with them because the first thing the South African Government knew that the focus of ...(indistinct) was ripe inside South Africa itself and really they wouldn't be interested in what's happening, really be very very interested in what's happening in Lesotho, rather on the Communist Structure or MK structures inside South Africa and I say Betty never revealed those structures. Nothing happened to the people who worked with Betty inside South Africa, therefore I say, Betty gave them no evidence, that is why Betty is still missing today, that is ...(indistinct)
MS BUTHELEZI: Those names might have been isolated incidents and I don't want to corroborate what I never read about, what I never saw. Tony Yengeni was in the Western Cape. Betty was supposed to operate in the Orange Free State. Betty was once in South Africa and those people whom Betty directly worked with were never affected, irrespective of that. I think the Government then, or the police then, could have made a massive arrest of people who were known to Betty, but who else outside Betty, was arrested, outside those two cases which I don't know about?
MS BUTHELEZI: You see, those people went to Mphilo, Mphilo took those people to Betty. Mphilo does not know what happened, but apparently they were sent back to South Africa. That is where they were killed. But that does not mean that Betty was behind the killing. That is why Mphilo was looking for Betty to ask her what had happened to those people.
MR LAX: Just while we're on your sources. One of the things the applicants say is that there were suspicions about Betty. There is subtly different versions about where the suspicions emanated from when I read the transcript. There are two possible versions. The one is the version that it was the people in her cell who were suspicious of her. The other version is that it was a wider suspicion within the ANC cadres in Lesotho. Whichever of the two versions it is the fact remains that it is the applicant's version that there were suspicions about Betty which was one of the reasons why the applicants decided that she should be "abducted" to the farm in Lady Brand and she apparently because of those same suspicions agreed to this. Now through your sources, did you ever come to hear of any such suspicions about Betty?
MS BUTHELEZI: Rumours fly by, especially when people are arrested. As a matter of fact I know that you were told that when you're arrested you should be able not to talk for a certain amount of time. And when you think those people that you work with have dispersed or have moved away from the places then you can - if you cannot withhold torture then you can actually say ...(indistinct). People are people. People think differently. Once a person is not seen, once a person has disappeared, people who are not on the situation are likely to come up with their own versions.
MR LAX: Yes. Sorry. Just to interrupt you. Maybe you misunderstood my question. The suspicions about Betty were suspicions that was circling in the ANC circles either in her own group or broader than that before she disappeared.
CHAIRPERSON: And the likelihood that towns would be ...(indistinct) her cell members, for instance Nomasonto was lured to go to Ladybrand at a farm and the same with Tax Sejanamane, so it would have eliminated most most of the tongue wagging.
CHAIRPERSON: I say in as far as Betty Boom is concerned when she was kidnapped by the South African Police, Nomasonto was also kidnapped and taken to the place where Betty was and the other person who was Tax Sejanamane, he was phoned by Betty and when he was kidnapped in Lesotho he knew that he was going to see Betty. If there was going to be a rumour that one of the cell members have been arrested, the people who would know first would be Nomasonto and Tax Sejanamane. But now because they were together with Betty where they were, there wouldn't be that kind of rumour spreading. Do you understand what I say?
MS BUTHELEZI: You see the first time when we noticed that Betty was not there, it's what I've already stated that were circumstances that made Mphilo to go and look for Betty, and that's when Mphilo discovered that Betty was not there. He went on various occasions. He could not find Betty. And there was a financial problem then, he could not give people money because the receipts and everything could not be reconciled. But as soon as he got money, when he was in his process of distributing the money to different people, it across him that Esther was missing and this other girl was missing as well.
MS BUTHELEZI: No, the only time when Tax was again mentioned is with regards to the disappearance of his wife. It was said that his wife got a phone call to two days ago, two days ago from Tax, that he should ...(indistinct) Tax wherever he was.
MS BUTHELEZI: I would have known and that is why according to my knowledge of Betty, I had to go to look into Betty's prior experience, Betty's prior operations and the only conclusion that I had was that Betty is not an enemy agent, because as I've explained that this and this and this and this could have happened.
MR MAPOMA: Yes. Now there is also a view from the applicants to the effect that if at all Betty's whereabouts are known, the ANC would know better of what happened to Betty because they brought her back to Lesotho. She might have been sent back to Lusaka. Had she been send to Lusaka, would you know that?
MS BUTHELEZI: Because I reported that Betty was missing and it was a matter of interest for me to know that Betty came back and I would be given detailed information that Betty is back and what story he has to tell. I would have been briefed if Betty went back to Lusaka.
MR LAX: Would you have been responsible - let's assume that there were rumours that Betty had compromised her position in some way and it was necessary to ensure that she went back to Lusaka to give an account and an explanation and to face possible disciplinary proceedings, would you have been responsible for making sure that happened?
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, I would, but - you see, as I said initially that I had nothing to do with Betty. A number of people I was to work with, a very sensible number of people. Those were the people Mphilo, Fana, David earlier on, David who died, and those were the people that I worked very closely with.
MR LAX: What I'm trying to find out is this. Is what would have been the disciplinary structure that would have ensured that Betty and any other collaborators, assuming for one moment that what the applicant say is true, okay, - you see what I'm saying? I'm putting the hypothesis that what the applicant say is true, which would have been the instance, in other words which authority in Lesotho of MK or the ANC, would have been responsible for disciplining her and making sure she got to Lusaka so that the necessary steps and processes could be taken?
MS BUTHELEZI: Under normal circumstances Betty had working relations with Mphilo. He'd then suggest that Mphilo could have came to me for my advice because I had nothing to do with Betty. He would have came to me for my advice, what are under normal times that Betty should have followed to reach Lusaka where he would undergo such procedures.
MR LAX: You were all - because Mr Visser read us from the Motsenyane's Commission's report that after the Kabwe Conference, a separate structure dealing with these kinds of judicial matters was set up. And the question I asked you was, would you have been part of that structure to deal with matters as an intelligence officer?
MS BUTHELEZI: No, maybe if I was to give evidence as to what happened, I was going to give them certain information according to what I know what happened then. But to discipline Betty, no, I was not part of that structure ...(indistinct).
MS BUTHELEZI: No, I wouldn't. I was instructed when I left Lusaka, Maputo as well, that I had nothing to do with Betty. I was told that I'm going to work with ...(indistinct). I assisted Mphilo - I advised Mphilo on certain issues. That's how the question of Betty came to me, not that I directly worked with Betty.
MR MAPOMA: Just a moment, I just want - we have evidence here that, which is common cause, that he was arrested by the Lesotho Police who handed him over to the South African Security Forces including the applicants, two applicants actually, and then taken to Ladybrand. Do you know when did that arrest of KK took place?
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, it was around - it is after Mphilo's death. Around March, around - when I say the 15th of March and I stated in this commentary of mine that I did not have an idea that this statement will be lying here at this TRC on this day, I was just commenting to assist the people and I was busy with my normal routine in the office. In my last paragraph I did refer to the fact that there are lots of mistakes, errors that I made and some of the errors are due to the fact that when I read Jantjie's statement I became very emotional because I knew that it was not the truth and then as a result I did not check the mistakes. I gave this to somebody to fax it for me.
MR LAX: He's just - when we are using different names of different people sometimes it can be confusing for example if we're talking about Mbulelo Ngono, one talks about KK, one talks about Ngono, one talks about Mbulelo, one talks about Ntsizwa, they're all the same person and it can be a bit confusing and that's what led to the confusion.
MS BUTHELEZI: Okay, I'm talking about Mbulelo. After his disappearance, really it became very difficult even for me to operate because if all the people like Mphilo, Fana, Mbulelo is is dead, it was really going to be traumatic. My stay in Lesotho was going to be very traumatic. I then went back to Lusaka. My mere going back to Lusaka was that I should see to it that justice is done. The Lesotho Government should be pressurised to release Ntsizwa like many other people who are released by the Lesotho Police back into Lusaka. That was my dying wish. I wanted to do that. In most cases Mr Steve Tshwete promised me that are talking with the Regional ...(indistinct) of the OAU and of the United Nations. He assured me that they are handling the matter.
MS BUTHELEZI: Yes, I would have been able to know for example the people who - the military ...(indistinct) would be in a position to inform me and the people who were remaining in Lesotho would have been in a position to inform the military institute. And as I was an interested party, I think that situation affected me a great deal. I would have been informed.
MS BUTHELEZI: Normally in Lesotho Mphilo would be my Commander but there are things that I as an Intelligence Officer had to ... directly to Lusaka. There are many things that I shared with Mphilo, but my channel was from Lesotho directly to Lusaka.
MS BUTHELEZI: As I said I had my sources on the ground and sources which I'm not able to disclose because of the current state of affairs. Some of them are Basothos. They could have reported but the question of Betty Boom having been an informer before her abduction I really - it doesn't really go down very well with me.
MR MALINDI: The evidence given by the applicants is that they made payments of R250 at the time or something to that effect to Betty Boom for her information given to them. In your understanding of your needs or a unit's needs in Lesotho would R250 had been enough to cover the logistical needs of a unit?
MR VISSER: Chairperson, yes. My recollection was that they were paid R250 on two or three occasions, but you're correct that it wasn't - in fact I think Jagga was asked that specifically, was it paid for information and he said no. At that stage it was paid to her, first of all for winning her over and thereafter when she started giving information. So there was that evidence. You will recall that there was evidence that she gave information about Tony Yengeni and then Mr Lax asked, I think if Jagga that wasn't there a scale according to which they were being paid for a person and he said: "Yes except that she was still in the process of being registered and we couldn't pay her out more than R250". So whether it's for information or whatever reason we couldn't pay more than R250. But there was - the evidence was two or three occasions. The one was - one or two were before they were brought back and on the day that they were taken back there was R750 they handed over, one for each. That's how I remember it.
MR VISSER: I just must add, Chairperson, that the evidence wasn't that the money would be sufficient to cover a unit or an operational unit. That wasn't the evidence. The evidence was that it was money for them for their personal needs.
MR LAX: Can I just say this much, there's no evidence that Mashiya or Sejanamane got anything more than R250. The only and there was a great lack of clarity as to how much Betty Boom got. They really were - the applicants were very unsure about that. They couldn't say with any certainty how much she had been paid. But what we can assume is that she at least got the R250 on the day they all were returned and possibly something more prior to that. But there really wasn't any clarity on that.
MR MALINDI: Thank you, Chairperson. I will rephrase the question anyway to make it as broad as possible. Colonel, would you say any amount of R250 would be adequate in Betty's situation to address her apparent financial needs according to Jantjie's statement?
MS BUTHELEZI: I think it's an insult to think that Betty could give information for R250. That's my comment and I do not go further than this. Really, I feel very bad about it. Not R250, I'm very sorry.
MR VISSER: Chairperson, the only hope that I can hold out is if one has time to reflect on the evidence tonight, it might serve to shorten the proceedings. But at this stage it doesn't look like thirty, less than thirty minutes, that's for certain. Well, twenty five minutes.
CHAIRPERSON: Lieutenant, and I don't know why I make you an exception, I never call anybody by their professional name in these proceedings, but I'm making an exception with you to call Lieutenant Colonel. I want to adjourn at five and I don't want people to be asked questions halfway and concluded the next day. To me it sounds much better if people start with their questions and finish the same day. Unfortunately we have reached such a situation. Bear with us. We will then adjourn for the day and recommence tomorrow at nine. I'm saying this because Mr Visser and Mr Wagener will be aware that Fridays we have the large contingent from Cape Town who have to make their way back.