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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS
Starting Date 10 September 1996
I wasn't looking at you sir, I was looking in the opposite direction. Good morning. Goeiemôre. May we please rise so that the witnesses can enter. We remember those that are no longer with us. Headman Nontshinga, Thobani Gola, Vuyani Wesley Fulani, Jongile Mene, Mzwamadoda Tyhali.
Jesus said if you abide in My word and you are My disciples the truth will set you free. Let us pray. Father God we come this morning into Your presence and we ask that You would lift us above our natural sorrow and our natural anger and bitterness, that we would come into this place free of all the burdens of the world knowing that You our Lord and Saviour will guide and direct everything that we do. We commit this time Father God to You, that You would give us the truth and the truth would set Your people free. Comfort those who mourn, be with those who are angry and take that anger away from them and renew in them Your love, that love that we cannot be separated from, that love that guides and directs Your people wherever they go. Father God take this time and use it for Your compassion, for Your mercy and above all dear Lord, Your peace and Your love. Amen.
We welcome all of you very warmly to this the second day of this special event hearing around the Bisho massacre. As you all saw yesterday, we are going to have quite a few people who are going to come and give evidence and we want to welcome especially the former General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, the Reverend Dr Frank Chicane. Please stand so that they can see you. We reserve the better for the last, his successor as General Secretary, Ms Hlophe Baum You may also rise so that they can see how beautiful you are.
We would also like to welcome the Chief of the Magagabe Clan. Where are you sir? I would like to ask you to rise as well so that everyone can see. I was saying, I mean that you saw yesterday, we will have witnesses ranging from victims and survivors of the massacre and people who may have played a particular role in it. We are expecting that Brigadier Gqozo may in fact come. What I want to say, which I have kept saying throughout all our hearings ever since we started in April, that it is not always easy to give a fair hearing to everyone especially to people who may hold views that are different from your own.
We are learning and we have, I think, been conducting ourselves very admirably and so when that time comes it is important that whoever is a witness must be given the space and the freedom to be able to articulate their point of view and I will not permit any one to be intimidated by the remarks or the reactions of the audience. You have up to now, conducted yourselves well and it will be a very important test when the time comes because others who may be alleged perpetrators might not come forward if the treatment they think they will get is one that makes them uncomfortable, and so we appeal to all of you that for the sake of this promotion of national unity and reconciliation, we should seek to give every one a fair chance and without further ado I will hand over to Commissioner Bongani Finca but before I do that let me introduce the panel.
The extreme right Mcebisi Xundu who is a member of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee based in our office in East London. Tiny Maya, member of the Human Rights Violations Committee based in our East London office.
Denzil Potgieter, Commissioner, member of the Human Rights Violations Committee and based in our office in Cape Town. Bongani Finca, Commissioner, member of the Human Rights Violations Committee and convenor of our regional office based in East London. Mapule Ramashala, Commissioner, member of the Reparations and Rehabilitation committee based in Cape Town. Dumisa Ntsebeza, Commissioner, member of the Human Rights Violations committee and head of our investigative unit. June Crichton, member of the Human Rights Violations committee who has recently returned and we are very glad that that has happened. She is based in our office in East London. Ntsike Sandi, committee member of the Human Rights Violations committee based in our office in East London. Bongani Finca?
Thank you Your Grace, I report on the matters that are going to come before the Commission today as follows. The two matters that were held back yesterday because we couldn't complete our work, will be taken first. Ncumisa Alice Kali appearing on the matter of Tobile Kali, murder, during the massacre and we will take Busisiwe Veronica Gwayi appearing on the matter of Thembinkosi Harold Billie, also murdered in the same massacre.
Your Grace we would request that we take those cases together with the first three cases in today's order. Zolile Jonas appearing on behalf of himself for attempted murder and Sicelo Jonnie appearing also on behalf of himself, attempted murder. And Paulina Thandeka Gibe appearing on behalf of himself, attempted murder. Those are the first five cases that we will take at this stage and if we have time before tea, we will take the next five cases from 6 to 11 in our order and Your Grace I will announce that at that time, may I also report on the rest of the proceedings as per our schedule. We have after tea, a submission which will primarily be focusing on the perspective of the former Ciskei government.
We are expecting as per the letter that was delivered to us yesterday, Brigadier Gqozo to lead that delegation from the former Ciskei government in making their submission. We have confirmation that Mr M B Webb will be coming also. At the time he was Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ciskei. I confirm that we have already present in the hall, Mr P P Jacobs who was a Minister in the same government. Mr Zantsi and Mr Ngcofe who were also ministers in the same government. We are grateful indeed that they have come to give perspective of what that government thought about this massacre, before, when it happened and after it happened.
We will then also be taking a submission from the South African Council of Churches and we are most grateful that the former general Secretary, Dr Frank Chicane, is here accompanied by the present General Secretary Ms Hlophe Baum whom we have already welcomed Your Grace. They are going to be giving us a submission on a proposal that came from churches to try and avert the bloodshed that was eminent at the time, on this massacre. We will take lunch and then the afternoon we will devote to listening to testimonies of victims. I propose Your Grace that you accept that order?
Mr Chairman, I would like to call to the stand Ncumisa Alice Kali, Busisiwe Veronica Gwayi, Zolile Jonas, Sicelo Jonnie and Paulina Thandeka Gibe. Mr Chairman I would like to swear the witnesses in, starting with Ncumisa Kali. I'd like you to stand please.
Thank you very much. Here you are telling us about what happened on that fateful day of the 7th September 1992 and the slaying of your brother Thembinkosi Harold Billie. Let me start all over again Your Grace, my papers seem to be mixed up. Kali is Mapule's witness. I am speaking to Gwayi. I'd like to hand over to Mapule. Thank you very much.
Yesterday we heard detailed discussion on the incident surrounding the Bisho massacre and some of the witnesses described the incident from their perspective. What I would like you to do today is describe the incident from your perspective, specifically with respect to the death of your son Tobile Kali. How old was Tobile? --- Tobile was 26 years old at the time.
Could you then proceed Ms Kali and describe the death of your son in the context of the incident, from your perspective as briefly as you possibly can. --- I saw late that evening at approximately 6 o'clock while watching TV at the time, he was, a marshal was holding him, he was wearing a khaki shirt and a khaki jacket and holding onto his waist and looking up and that was the time that he was dying.
Proceed with your story. --- So much at that time I couldn't even talk after that because I was sitting at home with my husband who was alive at the time and while sitting there, my younger brother came to my place to ask me if I heard that the child had been injured in Bisho, and I said to him yes I saw this on TV but I don't know what I can do about it because my husband then already, was like someone that had suffered a stroke on the one side and his right arm and his mouth was all twisted and I didn't know what to do and he went, the following morning my brother and my cousin went to look for him and they found him in Cambridge. I'm not sure if it's Cambridge but somewhere near East London, the mortuary there. He was found there and they came back and told me that they had found him.
According to the information you got, your son was shot to death just when he was about to reach the Bisho stadium, is that correct? --- Yes he was shot when he came close to the stadium, when he was right near the stadium.
What was your son doing at the time, was he working, was he in school? --- He wasn't studying, he was in this group that had come back from Durban. When they came back from Durban they had been retrenched from their jobs.
Could you talk about the effect of your son's death on your family. --- My son's death caused me to regain my consciousness at the clinic and the following morning my husband had to be taken to the hospital because he couldn't even hear what was being said, he was just somebody that would sit next to the kraal not knowing where to go, he would just be sitting there and they had to take him to hospital. So much so that in 1993 on the 8th July he passed away.
Proceed Ms Kali. --- I am someone that suffers from blood pressure because this child was my firstborn and he used to help me at home, so much so that I used to always say that this was the child that would take care of me because his name suited him so well, Tobile, he used to take care of me at home, so much so that now I've battled so much since 1992 and 1993, not knowing what to do. That is how badly I suffered, and I went to social workers to ask for assistance as far as the children were concerned, and the three children were assisted by them and on the 17 September 1993 and the whole year went by and I had to get their birth certificates. I got copies of the birth certificates and submitted them in February. I don't know what the date was but it was in 1994 and the whole year went by, so much so that my daughter who comes after Tobile, Nunuvuo, I asked her to go and work because she was working for a doctor who was near the bakery, used to work near the bakery. Not the one that's there now, the one that was there previously. She had to leave school because I was battling so much because I used to work for two days a week and her aunt from Port Alfred said that if she worked, she wouldn't want to go back to school again. She should go and stay with her so that she could go back to school. It was even difficult for Tamsal Kali to go to school and I had to ask him to become a gardener at people's homes just so that we could have something on the table at night. He couldn't proceed with his schooling. Nunuvuo continued her schooling education and she is in standard nine now and Nomilikaya who comes after her and Nomilikaya is in standard three. The younger ones, the one is in sub A and the other in sub B.
In your statement you say that you have no source of income whatsoever but you have to take care of all of these children, is that correct? --- Yes that is correct, I even [indistinct] because I am battling so much now, I don't have a cent to even send to the one in Port Alfred.
Ms Kali was there a case through which you might have received some financial settlement? --- The money that I know about when my husband was still alive is only R600. I never even saw any other money.
Ms Kali is there anything else that you would like to bring to the attention of the Commission? --- There is nothing else now but what I would like to ask the Commission is if it is possible that it should help me with my children and my grandchildren.
These are the two children you are talking about is it, your son's, your grandchildren? --- Yes and I even battle with my own children because sometimes the money which I received in 1995 I received in March and by May or June, July or September I was told that it was finished, that I would have to re-apply and that I never got anything in January and I never got anything in March and I never got anything in May and I only got it in July.
In your statement you say that he was working at Mossgas. Had he stopped working at Mossgas at the time or was he on leave? --- He had already been appointed at Mossgas and my mother had said to him that he should go and finish his education at Zweletemba.
How did you hear that he was one of the people that were injured and had been shot and killed? --- On the morning of the 8th September, some elderly men from the location came and said that they had heard that Thembinkosi had passed away at Bisho and my mother didn't want to believe that and she said I should hurry and go and look for him.
And when you got there you found that it wasn't [indistinct] --- I came to King William's Town and when I got here the police said that he had been sent to East London and I went to East London. When I got to East London I was told that we should wait a while, that they would be shown to us. I waited because he was waiting for a specialist to come who was going to conduct a post -mortem. I waited there and after a while, there were other people present as well, I was called in after quite a while and someone working at the mortuary was called and was told to go and take him down and cover him and just show me his face so that I shouldn't see exactly where he had been injured. I saw him and then signed the papers there.
Was there any change in your mother's health thereafter? --- My mother was fine before all this happened but thereafter she became a nervous wreck, she suffered from high blood pressure and sugar diabetes and there are times when while sitting, she would ask to please help her get up because she was ... end of Tape 1, side A ... I used to take her to the clinic before but then I saw that these tablets that she was receiving there didn't seem to make any difference to her, so I went to a nursing sister there in the community and, or my sister, in the community and she would give me money so that I could take her to a private doctor in Fort Beaufort.
Did you people receive any kind of compensation from the government for the death of your brother, of Thembinkosi? --- No we did not receive any compensation besides R600 which was brought to us by the Red Cross.
If you were to ask this Commission for anything, what would you ask this Commission to help you with? --- My wish from this Commission is that I would like the Commission to help his two sisters. The one cannot do anything for herself, she is confined to a wheelchair and the other one is with my sister in Cape Town, she is still at school. I would also like to ask the Commission to help by giving us a tombstone for him.
Is there anything else you would like to say? --- I would like to ask this Commission to please investigate this event for us because we were once called to the attorneys' offices and when we got there we were told that the matter was being handled by the ANC attorneys and we have been waiting ever since and we have never heard anything.
And thank you for your presence. Mr Jonas, could you just briefly tell us, when looking at your statement, you said that you were also present there but you survived death while others were being shot dead, is that so? --- Yes that is correct. I escaped death but although I was shot.
Could we just go to where you say that you heard gunshots. Not knowing where the gunfire was coming from and thereafter you regained consciousness in hospital. Which hospital did you regain consciousness in? --- The hospital where I came to was Gray hospital.
Could you please tell us what the nature and extent of your injuries were due to this shooting. Where on your body, which parts of your body were injured? --- The nature of my injuries was that I was shot on my thigh and I found that when I was shot in the thigh the bullet could not be removed. It was, for a long time I used to go to the doctors wanting the bullet removed at Gray hospital.
And by coming here today Mr Jonas, what is your request to this Commission? --- I would like to ask the Commission to investigate for me what happened because I never took any steps in connection with my injury. I just sat there because I was afraid because of the circumstances at the time that we were injured.
Let us just go to the part where the shooting occurred. What happened to you? --- We heard gunfire and thereafter I ran and while I was running I was shot in my leg but I didn't fall. I realised that I could still run and while I was still, while I was running away I was shot in the head and then I fell.
Do I understand you correctly when you say that you were shot twice? The first time you were shot in the leg and you continued running and you said that while you continued running you were shot from behind? --- Yes.
What did the doctors say to you there at the hospital? --- At Frere hospital I was told that I have a bullet lodged in my head and that it would be difficult to remove it and thereafter I did not know what happened. I was called in once again and they examined me and found that they could remove it so they removed it.
Is there any treatment which you are receiving since you had this bullet removed? --- Yes I go to Frere hospital sometimes when my leg pains extremely due to this bullet that's lodged in my leg and sometimes my head also pains due to the injury.
On this day on the 7th, the day which we were talking about yesterday and today, the 7th September 1992, your son Mongise Gibe, he was there, is that so? Your husband, Mongise Gibe, was he there on the march to Bisho? --- Yes he was there.
Let us start now. According to what you've heard, what happened to him? --- They told me about this on Wednesday. My family told me that he passed away, my husband passed away and they told me while I was just thinking about him because he didn't come back home. I was so worried when I heard the news and they comforted me and they supported me and they told me what happened and I tried to be calm but I thank the Lord because I was able in time, even during the funeral because the funeral was in the stadium. I was comfortable and I did go to the funeral.
Did you say Ms Gibe, according to your request to the Commission - what are your requests to the Commission? --- My main request to the Commission is that since my husband helped me he was still building a house and he didn't finish it so I didn't have means to continue with that building and the house still remains the same. It's not finished.
Is there any other thing you want to say Ms Gibe about the shooting of your husband by the soldiers in Bisho? --- Yes I have a request. I would like the Commission to help me and I take this opportunity of coming here so that I can say what's in my heart.
According to your statement Ms Gibe there is a request with your house, the building of your house, since your husband was still building it during this time. Can you please explain. --- Yes I did make this request that since my house is not finished, I also told my attorney that, I asked the question who is going to build my house because my husband died and it's not finished. The attorney promised me that something would be done, I would get something in order to build the house and then when the money came in July, I started painting my house outside but the money was not enough because I don't have someone looking after me, so I had to keep some of the money since there is no one looking after me. So I couldn't finish the house because I had to keep the money.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Is there any other question? If all of you who just gave testimony, we thank you and your statements and your evidence the same. You expect someone to say that they want us to build them a double-storey and buy them a Mercedes Benz. Your requests are that you come to us and they really make you realise that our people have got the concept of mbuntu. They are so good natured and so humble. We appreciate that and we appreciate the fact that we are not greedy, where people are glutinous, although we heard someone say here yesterday ah shame this poor Commission hasn't got any money.
We appreciate that but we also appreciate the fact that you people have come here and come and share your pain with us and also with the people, even though as you had said, doing that, being here helps your pain. We thank you and thirdly we would like to say that even if we are, it is an up road in our attempts, we ask that God will strengthen you and comfort you and that the little things which you do, we will try by all means to ask the president to consider these requests so that they can see how they can be of assistance. Thank you very much. Thank you.
I'll ask if you could summarise and tell us how you were injured on that day. --- When I was injured I was in the march at Bisho. When we were going towards Bisho from the Victoria grounds we went up towards Bisho. When the other people had already entered the stadium and we were still walking towards the stadium from your left, closer to the Radio Ciskei route. When we were there we saw people entering the stadium. We were hurrying and as we were getting closer an unexpected helicopter rose up. It was yellow in colour. As it rose up, it was facing towards the Parliament, towards Pick 'n Pay. It then turned towards the Bisho police station. As it was rising, people were running towards Bisho. When it was up there we heard things like cricket sounds. They were coming towards the Pick 'n Pay direction. As they got closer we saw people running from the stadium towards us. As we were coming closer to the gravel road we saw people falling ahead of us. We then ran through the fence. As we got closer we saw smoke. As the smoke continued we saw a lot more people running towards us. We then turned back and ran as well. Next to me there was my colleague who was in standard seven with me. As I was with him we parted in [indistinct]. All of a sudden something hit my thigh. I did not realise that it's a bullet shot. I thought it was teargas somehow but I thought that there is something definitely wrong with my leg. As we tried to run towards Bisho, towards Red Cross, I came across marshals who were very shocked and I was shocked. I then realised that I was shot and my leg was really not functioning at the time. We were taken from there and we were treated by the Red Cross. They put Savlon and used cotton wool on our wounds. After that we were taken by ambulance to the Gray hospital. At the Gray hospital they said that we must eat water with ice cubes. We drank this water with ice cubes, I didn't know how it would help us. They registered our names. We went to a room where a nurse treated us. They took out my bandage and put Savlon yet again on my wound and Betadine. After they put Betadine on my wound they said I must come back the following day. I went home and slept at home. When I went back the next day they still put on Savlon and Betadine on my wound. After they put on the Savlon and Betadine, they gave me a letter that I should take to Bisho and I said this is the very place where we were shot, I am not going there. I then went home. I never went to hospital again.
What is it? --- I am studying now and as I am studying I would like to continue. If the present government could support me financially ... end of Tape 1, side B ... so that I could carry on with my education. At the same time if I could somehow know that I would be able to go for medical treatment.
Could you tell us what happened to you? --- On the 7th September 1992 we were marching as ANC members going to Bisho. We got there during the day at about 1 o'clock. As I was entering the stadium, I was ahead of most of the crowd. We heard sounds and we were told to lie on the ground and we started crawling. As we were crawling I sensed in my knee that it's very difficult to walk. When I looked, there was a hole. I was shot in my left knee. I tried to get up and run but my strength just left me. As I was trying to crawl on my right arm, I realised that my left elbow is bleeding, it had been shot. I crawled on my stomach and there was a helicopter hovering, a yellow helicopter hovering. The most bullets were shot from the helicopter. I saw a lot of cars, I think they were the leaders' cars. I tried to go towards them and I put in my head but my body was behind. The leaders put us in cars. As we were driving outside the stadium there were doctors from the Red Cross, they helped us and they took us in Kombi's with GCJ registration to the Gray hospital. When we got there we were given pain tablets and we took them. We went for x-rays. I was told that my - I was fractured and that I was to be taken to the Frere hospital. We went to Frere, we got there after five. Dr Watt told me to go to bed. At 8 o'clock I was going to go to theatre. I went to bed and I was operated on my knee and elbow. They took out the bullets. When I went back to bed - I stayed at Frere hospital for five weeks. On the last week, it was close to my examinations. I requested that I be transferred closer to Queenstown so that I'm close to my teachers so that I can write my exams. I stayed at the Frontier hospital for five weeks until I wrote my exams. I wrote in bed because I had to get bed rest because my leg had not healed. I wrote my exams and finished. I went back to Frere hospital. I was checked and I was discharged on the 19th November.
Did your arm and leg heal completely? --- Yes they've healed but it's just not the same. My one knee is bigger than the other and it's twisted. It doesn't bend properly. My arm as well, my elbow doesn't function well either.
Do you have any wish that you would like to tell us? --- Yes I do. After I was discharged, the ANC told me to go to Mr M W Vabasa in Queenstown and make my claim. I put my claim in 1993 February. I have heard nothing from the lawyers. Can the Commission get in contact with Mr Vabasa and see what is going on with my case? A white man came to my place saying that he works for the government. Mr Vabasa knows this white man, he is an investigator. I would like the Commission to get in touch with this man and ask him what's going on. Lastly, we need tombstones from the Commission. Thank you.
Now I understand. So on the day of the march you were there in that march here in Bisho. --- On the day of the march I was in Queenstown and Mr Chris Hani came to us and asked us to come to Bisho. There were five men so we decided to come to Bisho and we saw four white men who were in Mr Gqozo's office and when we got into this office [intervention]
Could you continue. --- So when we got there we asked for him and they said he had gone to Johannesburg so we decided to go back home. Then the following month we, he told us we were going to come back to Bisho to join the march and we did exactly that and when we got to Bisho we found there was some fence that was there and it wasn't the fence of the march. We had water with us so as to drink on our way. It was for a time and at about 1 o'clock, not knowing what had actually happened, I still remember there was one young boy sitting next to me who was shot and there was a pregnant woman in front of me. She was also shot and she fell on her stomach. That was in Bisho. Then I really can't tell what happened because I also found myself lying on my back, not knowing what had actually happened. I had a shot on my leg and the person who assisted me, because we were very much afraid to go to places that could help us because there was a trap that people were looking for those people who had used their shots. So we feared getting to hospitals. Chris Hani took me to hospital and when I came out of hospital I realised that they had taken out the bullet from my leg.
And after the bullet was taken out, you were in hospital for a month and then you went home. --- Yes I went back to Queenstown. We were even scared to get to the Queenstown hospitals because white men were looking for people who had bullet wounds and then they would identify that person as a person who has been there in the march.
Thank you Your Grace. Mr Ncapayi, you have told us some further detail that we are getting for the first time that the hospital that you went to, were looking for the victims that have bullet wounds and they would identify that person with the march. The details we got yesterday was that all the hospitals here within the Ciskei were not accepting the victims of the Bisho massacre and you were coming outside Ciskei and I'm surprised that even in Queenstown all these things were happening. Were all these things happening even there outside? --- I don't hear you. Can I start afresh.
Now what I would like to know is, have I heard you clearly that you say you could not get to hospital because if you had a bullet wound you would be identified as one of the Bisho massacre's marchers? --- Yes that's exactly what was happening.
My second question is you look [indistinct] what actually lead you to join this march on the day? --- The reason for my presence there was that I was determined because I had been chosen as a minister to go and lead the people so I decided to go and join the fight and I accepted the challenge.
And then how did you get injured and at what stage did you get injured? Could you explain? --- I was shot right outside the stadium but not having reached the front as I had intended to, I just saw people dispersing and running away and teargas was being administered and that was an instruction that we should lie on our stomach and I was lying there in the stadium. I'm not certain whether it was a hand grenade or a bomb but there was a very loud sound I heard just nearby so I jumped up and ran away. Then I was hit on my leg with a bullet and I could not run further. Then there was a car there in the stadium so I crawled and got into this car to hide but as I was still crawling I was shot on my arm and then I hid under the car. I was there for about 20 to 30 minutes and there were bullet shots, it was, I couldn't see properly because of the teargas smoke. I was there and I was joined by many others. After a long time I then heard, I was also feeling dizzy at the time and feeling very weak. I couldn't even stand. Then some comrades took me into a van that had taken all day injured people. Whilst I was there we were taking more people, even the dead bodies and I was still very dizzy and I could hear that there were some who had died and I just couldn't believe it and I wanted to indicate that I was still alive so I decided to come out of the bodies that were on top of me to show that I was still very much alive. So we were taken in this van to Frere hospital, to Gray hospital and we were told that the Ciskei police had been there and I was advised to get to East London and I was not trusting and I didn't have any way to defend myself so I decided to get to East London at about five, that is how I got treatment.
How long were you in hospital? --- I got treatment that very same night and discharged because the hospital was very busy and some of us, they had to take out the bullet and so they did the same to me and they discharged me that very same night but I couldn't go home that very same night. I had to wait for transport to Queenstown. I had gone there in an ambulance so in the morning I went home.
Do you perhaps have a request or a wish to say to this Commission. What is it? --- I would like to say to this Commission that the period from 1992 up to now is too long and yet I haven't heard anything about the perpetrators.
What did your lawyers say about your claim? --- My lawyer, Mr Vabasa, who I gave my statements to used to call us now and again but would say there was nothing that he could tell us but he would call us later.
We have heard that the shots were first and not much mention of teargas. Can you tell me please when the teargas happened, when you noticed the teargas. Were you already shot? --- The teargas was before I was shot. When we were being shot, the teargas was being released as well.
Mr Kibi we'd like to greet you. Can you please tell us what happened on the day of the march. What happened to you? --- On that day in Bisho, before the Bisho massacre I was arrested here in King William's Town on the 13.8.1992.
Why did they arrest you? --- There was a roadblock in Bisho in front of the prison and I was with my friend Adam Campinga. We went to fetch our friend Nemamembelo Ntanzani and when we were approaching King William's Town we saw intelligence security passing by. When I parked the car near the prison, we went to the public phone to make a telephone call. While we were phoning, the white guys together with black guys came to us. Their cars were over 26. I told my friend Adam Campinga to withdraw to phone and to look back what was happening. These guys were carrying rifles.
Why did they arrest you? --- When they arrested us they told us, the white guy told us that we are guerrillas and they said we are going to intimidate Brigadier Oupa Gqozo in King William's Town. I asked this white guy how do you know me? Why did you say I'm a guerrilla and then he said that I know Chris Hani sent you to prepare for the Bisho massacre which was going to take place on the 7th. We were arrested there. They didn't release us.
How long did they arrest you? --- I was, what they did to me, they hit me with their rifles and they searched us with a machine. My friend was carrying something but I didn't know what it was. That caused us to be taken. Because I was the oldest and he was the youngest we were arrested together in King William's Town. On that night we didn't sleep. We were tortured by eight guys. There was a tall man from Transkei which claimed that he was from the National Intelligence of Security and he said that what we are planning to do with Chris Hani is going to end. They're going to sort the programme and they're going to shorten it.
Do you know this guy from Transkei? --- No he was just wearing private, he didn't wear a uniform. After that a coloured man came in. He also asked us what we are going to do and what is our business in King William's Town and he told us to say the truth and I was so scared at that time. I could see that these guys knew something and I asked them why did he call me a kaffir and he just told me that we are used to fighting and this was South Africa, not the outside countries. That guy left us and then the Afrikaner guy came in. When I tried to take off my shoes this guy asked me what am I doing with my shoes and I told him I was just taking out my shoes and then he said since I was Chris Hani's friend, we are going to kill you one by one and we are going to start with Chris Hani. You are not going to succeed with what you are planning to do to Brigadier Gqozo.
How long did you stay there in prison? --- We stayed the whole night and then they released us at half past three ... end of Tape 2, side A ... I was released that afternoon. Before they released me I asked a question to this guy Mr Adam Campinga about his whereabouts because at 12 o'clock at night I heard that he was sent to Berlin where people were killed and that Boer told me that the guerrillas' heads are cut off in Berlin and I asked them where is Adam Campinga. They said he is inside and then I asked them to brought him and I asked them why did they arrested him and then they said they found a gun to him and they released me. At half past three I went to Queenstown.
Let us come now to this day, to this Bisho massacre day. We were from Victoria stadium. I was in the front line. From Victoria stadium we came to Bisho and then we saw there were military guys standing there. My soul told me that there is going to be blood today. The Boers were carrying dangerous weapons although we were told that this was a peaceful march. I was just saying this inside me. We were lead by Chris Hani and the Minister of Defence, Mr Ronnie Kasrils. We followed them and we were right behind them. When we approached the Bisho stadium the gates were opened, we didn't open them but it was opened. The gates were opened and we entered there peacefully together with the leaders and we were singing. Others took different directions and were all over the stadium. It was only three seconds when we were there. What I noticed to the people is that they were after our leadership. They loved our leadership and most of the people were [indistinct] and I saw the helicopter up there and then I told myself that what I was thinking of is going to happen now. The white guy peeped in the helicopter but I'm sorry to say that, I'm sorry to say the Boer because it is the new South Africa now.
What did this Boer do? --- He fired shots at us. I went to cover and I went to the next steps. The shots didn't stop. My eyes focused on Bisho when I was in the steps and I saw the military soldiers. People were waiting in the valley and bullets were coming from Bisho and others were coming up from the helicopter but those who were with me, they were hit by the bullets from Bisho, not the ones from the helicopter. I tried to tell them to lie down because I told them that if they are standing up the bullets will hit them and I moved from that direction with the resistance that I'm not going to die there. There was a woman who was fetching water. The first bullet struck her and her eye popped out. It didn't really shock me because I was familiar with that.
Were you taken to hospital? --- I wasn't taken because what I did, after having been shot there, I was curious about the troops and the soldiers wanting to know in which direction they were going and I moved from the direction behind the toilets and I saw these black men lying there with R4 rifles shooting these people from behind and I was shot while in that position, when I saw them lying flat on the grass there shooting the people coming over the embankment.
Were you shot for the second time when you were behind the toilets? --- No I was shot when [indistinct] but I was resistant enough to go behind the toilets and see what these soldiers were doing. I was looking at the truck that had loaded the soldiers and I was looking at the helicopter and I saw them behind the stadium.
Did you receive any treatment for your injuries? --- Yes, when I finished there, before I finished, the way in which the shots were being fired there, there was a sound from the machine guns and explosives. There was also the sound of explosives twice or thrice. There's a difference between the sound of a gun and an explosive and there was silence thereafter and I realised that these aren't rifles any more, these must be some sort of explosives that are being thrown here in Bisho and after that [indistinct] I somersaulted and I saw a red car and I went there by myself and I told them that I had been shot at the back there and they took me to Gray hospital. When I got to Gray hospital there were a lot of casualties and there was a coloured person that I observed there.
Thank you Mr Kibe. Is there any request that you would like to place before this Commission? --- Yes because the treatment that I received at Frere hospital, after I had left Gray hospital and then transferred to Frere hospital at a quarter to five, I obtained treatment and I was admitted.
For how long? --- I was admitted into hospital for 11 days. On the 8th I got a message from a nurse saying that people were being kidnapped from Cecilia Makiwane hospital and I was in ward 4 and I was changed to G3 where I was with the boys and the people that were in charge of us. The first, our first hearer that came there was Mr Ronnie Kasrils.
Can we just go to your request, we'll get back to your feeling hot. --- I was born, my mother gave birth to me and there was nothing wrong with this arm. I've got an iron plate in this arm now and I lost approximately a bucket of blood in Bisho so I would like help as far as my arm is concerned, in getting my arm back to what it was on the day I was born.
Are those your requests Mr Kibi? --- My request in connection with my arm, I want the Commission to investigate this matter about my arm since I spent so much money going to doctors when it's cold and so forth this arm pains and I eventually developed high blood pressure, something I've never had before and even if, when I speak to my wife at home, I speak incoherently.
Mr Kibi I'd like you to explain a few aspects to me because we are going to have to make this evidence tally. You spoke about Gray hospital but in your statement you mentioned Victoria hospital. You said you weren't taken, before Frere hospital you were in Victoria hospital. --- When I left Bisho we went to Gray hospital and we were told that it was full and we were transferred to Victoria hospital. Victoria is a stadium.
I do not want to disagree with you, I am trying to say that what is being said in this statement is that you were taken to Victoria hospital and thereafter transferred to Frere hospital. Is that a mistake? --- Yes that is a mistake, not Victoria hospital.
As far as your shooting goes, according to your statement you say that you were shot when you were crawling, when you were trying to dive for cover and in your statement you say that you were shot in your right arm. According to your evidence - I'll tell you why these things are important. When a person gives evidence here, there are certain reporters who sometimes have your statements and ask us thereafter how we can accept these conflicting versions and make a finding on that at the end of the day. They want to know from us, are you not sure that this person is trying to portray themselves as a hero over and above the extent of the injury, so I don't want it to seem as if I am trying to prosecute you but I am just trying to obtain some clarity on what happened. In your statement you say that you were crawling for cover when you were shot in your right arm. Today you say you were shot while you were trying to assist injured people. Did both these things happen or is there one of them that didn't happen? --- The lady that I was helping was at the tap and I was going towards her. I had dived for cover, I had dived for cover but there was someone being shot at that was at the tap.
And you had come to the march on the 7th September. --- In 1992 I was a student here in Bisho, resident here in Bisho and I was injured before the march. I was injured here in Bisho. We were toyi-toying on our way back from a meeting and I was knocked by a car driven by soldiers. Before then, the house in which we were staying I couldn't sleep at because they were saying there that I was housing people that were coming back from exile.
In your statement you say that on the 7th September 1992 you were injured at the Bisho massacre having attended a peaceful march at Bisho stadium. --- I hadn't reached Bisho stadium yet because I was knocked by a car on the same day in Bisho.
What did you do when you got to Gray hospital? --- At the time I was unconscious. I did not know what happened when I got to Gray hospital. I came to on the 9th when I was at Cecilia Makewane hospital.
--- Yes, while I was at Cecilia Makiwane there was something that the nurses were saying when giving us treatment. They were saying that they were fed up with me because the soldiers were coming up for me frequently and they would sometimes come and say that they were bringing me food and bringing me clothes and at the time I couldn't get into them because I had been severely injured. I had a pelvic fracture and another one, and one on my right arm.
Was there any investigation by attorneys about instituting a civil claim? --- Yes there was an investigation but there still hasn't been anything forthcoming up to this day and attorneys are always calling me up, wanting to know from me what the specialists say, what is the reply from Pretoria, what is the police's response.
As someone that never received any compensation and as someone that was knocked by a military vehicle, do you think that that violation of your right should be investigated by this Commission? --- Yes I would like the Commission to investigate this matter for me because I spent a lot of money because of this, up and down to attorneys because while I was at school in 1994 in Johannesburg doing some courses there, I was called up specially being told that attorneys in King William's Town wanted to see me and when I got there they wanted to know what the specialists in East London had to say. There was no assistance from anybody. I am the one that spent a lot of money. Even after I had stopped studying and tried to get some jobs, the attorneys would keep calling me up, yet there was no money forthcoming. I'm the one that kept spending money and I would like a thorough investigation to be instituted, even the attorneys to be asked what happened, what became of the claim because I spent a lot of money going up and down for something that, to which I don't have any answers.
What else would you like the Commission to do for you? --- I would like the Commission to investigate for me because Gqozo at the time he was trying to kill us. I'd like to know what his intentions were.
Thank you Your Grace. I would like to know, this incident in which you were involved, did it have something to do with the Bisho massacre? --- Yes we had come from a meeting and we were on the way to that meeting.
Thank you Your Grace. I would just like to get some clarity on a few things. You see the problem we have is that your statement as Reverend Xundu read it, creates the impression that at the time you were injured, it was after you had left the march which was proceeding to the stadium. Would you like us to correct that and say that you had not gotten there yet, you were still on your way there? --- Yes please.
Then again you say that approximately 2:00 p.m. you heard gunshots and you saw people who had been marching, running all around. Is that what you actually said? --- No I was still on my way there. I was still on my way there.
I do not want to punish you people. You have tried to behave but what has been reported you are going to spoil because you are humming, you are making a noise and we cannot allow that. Please. We thank all of you who were giving evidence here today and we even see those that were dosed with Savlon and we trust that your wounds would have healed, even though it seems you are going to be a surgeon because you would remove these things of yours with a razor blade. Let us say that one of the things which we find here, is that so many times it is the youth that was in the forefront of the struggle but we find that even older people were involved and that it was the whole country. The whole country had actually come apart.
We thank you for your contribution towards the liberation of our country so that we are a free country today and we will try and see what we can do about your requests and how we can be of assistance with the bit of authority we have and ask Madiba by letting him know, here are the requests that have been placed before us, how can you be of assistance to these people. And also, we would pray that you people will find comfort and strength in the bad experiences of the past, because of the change that we are experiencing today is thanks to the contribution of people such as yourself who have made these sacrifices. So we thank you.
We will adjourn for tea until half past. We would like you all to rise so that the witnesses can leave the hall first. Order! Please be quiet. We would like to ask you all to leave the headphones behind because as I explained to you, they become extremely aggressive when removed from the venue. Thank you.
Your Grace, I wish to report that there is of necessity a change in the order for today. Yesterday I reported to you that I received a letter from Brigadier Gqozo where he acknowledged our invitation with thanks and he accepted our invitation to attend at 11:30 on the 10th September accompanied by his legal representative and he asked that we advise if there is any amendment to the order of proceedings.
We responded of course thanking him and confirming that there is no change. Your Grace this morning at about 9 o'clock we have received an application by Brigadier Gqozo where he is requesting that the matter be not heard today and that his testimony be deferred until such time as he is fit to make such contribution to the Commission.
Your Grace, the letter, the application is accompanied by an affidavit which is signed by Elizabeth Anneways and I wish to propose on behalf of my colleagues that we deal with the application first before we deal with the next matter and we invite the representative of the applicant to take the podium, if you agree Your Grace.
We have no other option, I mean every, what I've got to say is that you confirmed Commissioner Bongani Finca, on the basis of the letter that you refer to which you received from Brigadier Gqozo, you confirmed to the media that he was going to be appearing this morning and in the Daily Despatch report on the front page he was still under, well we were still under the impression that he was going to be coming.
Your Grace, Honourable Mr Chairman, Commissioners. I appear as council on behalf of Brigadier Gqozo. I confirm that yesterday morning Brigadier Gqozo received your invitation to attend today's hearing and as you are well aware, he responded to yourselves and accepted such invitation. As his legal council, pursuant to his acceptance of your invitation and his willingness to co-operate with the Commission I embarked on consultations with Brigadier Gqozo. It became abundantly apparent to me during such consultations that Brigadier Gqozo was not in a fit position to make a meaningful contribution during consultation, to enable me to advise him as to his legal rights or to prepare him for today's hearing. He suffered from a lack of concentration, confusion and extreme fatigue.
Yesterday I consulted with Doctor Elizabeth Weiss who is a state psychiatrist, who confirmed that Brigadier Gqozo's behaviour is consistent with the major depressive episode from which he is presently suffering and in this regard, I refer to the affidavit of Doctor Weiss who examined Brigadier Gqozo, which affidavit is annexed to the notice of application served on the Commission earlier this morning. I place on record that Brigadier Gqozo is presently receiving treatment for his condition under the care and supervision of Doctor Weiss. Accordingly, it is for these reasons that I humbly request that the contribution of Brigadier Gqozo to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be deferred until such time as he is in a fit position to do so.
I shall ensure that the Commission is kept abreast of Brigadier Gqozo's condition. May I take this opportunity further Your Grace, Mr Chairman, Commissioners, to apologise for any inconvenience caused to this Commission. I submit that clearly Brigadier Gqozo, in his willingness to co-operate, underestimated the seriousness of his medical condition.
Thank you very much. We are grateful obviously for the fact that you, as his legal representative, was ready to come personally to express the apology for his non-appearance. You will, as I indicated to you, be aware that it has placed the Commission in some difficulty because it would have been I think better, obviously you are not to blame, nobody is to blame. I'm not trying to apportion blame, I'm just saying that it would have been better if we had been apprised of this position earlier, before Commissioner Bongani Finca was placed in what is a somewhat invidious position.
We do not want to apportion any blame. We are appreciative of your willingness to come here. We, because in a sense there is no legal obligation. We have not subpoenaed him. We invited him and we were grateful that he was going to come voluntarily but it may be that some of my colleagues have questions, just for clarification. I hope you would be willing to try and answer if you can do that. Would you be willing to do that?
Now Advocate Collett, it appears and it's in fact common knowledge that the Brigadier appeared recently on a charge in court. Now when was that, when did he appear on that particular charge? When was the last occasion that he appeared on that charge?
The nature of the proceedings were that a statement in terms of Section 112 (ii)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act was prepared on behalf of Brigadier Gqozo and it was submitted to court. He did not testify in mitigation and he did not testify at all as a matter of fact. The psychiatric report of Doctor Weiss was also handed in at that particular criminal court hearing.
Now the letter that we have got which is signed by the Brigadier himself and was faxed to us yesterday seemed to have emanated from your chambers. It was faxed from your chambers according to the fax activity report, is that correct?
Now when you accepted the, when he accepted the invitation to come and testify yesterday, which reached us at about 11 o'clock, to be exact nine minutes to eleven yesterday morning. Have you already consulted with him to have been in a position to confirm that he would be coming to appear?
No I had not consulted with him. Might I point out Honourable Mr Commissioner, that Brigadier Gqozo was in Bophuthatswana until Friday last week. I saw him for the first time after the time that he surrendered himself to me on Monday morning after I had appeared in a court case in Bisho, and that was after 11 o'clock.
So must the Commission understand that the invitation was accepted and confirmation was given that the Brigadier would appear here at these proceedings, before you've consulted with him and before having ascertained whether, in fact, he is in a position to appear given the fact that he is receiving medical treatment and given this condition that he is suffering from.
Mr Commissioner, the invitation that was issued was not issued to myself, it was actually issued to Brigadier Gqozo. Although I technically received it through my fax last week Brigadier Gqozo first had sight of it yesterday morning. Pursuant to the invitation he made up his mind that he wanted to attend. It was pursuant to that, that consultations were embarked upon between us and in my professional opinion he was not able to make any meaningful contribution because of his medical condition and I consulted with Doctor Weiss yesterday pursuant to the symptoms that were presenting themselves in consultation.
I just want to understand the situation. So really what we must understand is that it's after you have consulted with him that you formed the opinion that he is not able to make a meaningful contribution to these proceedings, that you formed the idea that it would be better for him not to appear today.
It is not a case of me forming any idea with respect, Mr Commissioner. I merely advised that I was unable to get any cogent or any information from him which would, in my opinion as a legal professional, enable me to advise my client as to his rights or to make a meaningful contribution to this Commission.
Once again Mr Commissioner, I wish to say with respect that I never altered Brigadier Gqozo's opinion on anything. It became apparent to himself and myself during consultations that he was not in fact in a fit position to participate in today's hearings.
I want to conclude, Advocate Collett, just to understand what you are saying, would you be able to facilitate a medical certificate, alternatively is there perhaps a possibility of the Commission in fact being put in touch with the Brigadier?
Well we will have to consider what you have said and the application that you brought, I'm simply asking questions which could be considered when we go and consider the matter, because I am quite sure that the rest of my colleagues would want to discuss the matter before we form any final views on this. So I am simply exploring all of the possibilities that there are. Either perhaps a medical certificate otherwise possibly an interview with the Brigadier.
I appreciate your situation Mr Commissioner, I can facilitate a medical certificate if that is what the Commission requires. I can also, if the Commission so requires, bring Brigadier Gqozo here but none of us, I believe, are medical professionals who could formulate a better opinion than I have given in the circumstances. I am quite willing to have Doctor Weiss examine him.
I would just like to ask one question Advocate Collett. Doctor Weiss is she in a position to herself come and assist the Commission in fathoming the depth of Brigadier Gqozo's mental condition, other than just in the affidavit form?
Mr Commissioner sir, I did speak to Doctor Weiss yesterday about the condition of Brigadier Gqozo and the symptoms that arose. She confirmed, as I have said already to the Commission, that those were classic symptoms of the depressive episode that the Brigadier was suffering from. I am quite sure, she is a state psychiatrist and I am quite sure that she would co-operate and come to the Commission and clarify the condition further should the Commission so require it.
That is correct ma'am. She did come and interview Brigadier Gqozo. She, to form, I wanted an opinion from her as to his mental state. I was under the impression that there was something that was not quite kosher and I accordingly asked her as a state psychiatrist to come and evaluate Brigadier Gqozo. She interviewed him personally, alone, in the absence of myself.
I am a psychologist and apparently you alerted Doctor Weiss on Brigadier's condition and her observations are based on some kind of behaviour indication. In your opinion, what in the Brigadier's behaviour and demeanour made you conclude that he was not in a position to appear before the Commission?
Sorry? To appear at the Commission? Yesterday during the consultations that we had, as I've mentioned, the Brigadier was not coherent, he was very fatigued. He was not concentrating at all. He would jump from one aspect to a totally unrelated aspect and I formed the view, and I might add that it won't be the first time that I have referred people to state psychiatrists in my profession. I formed the view that something was not quite right. I was unable to take proper instructions from Brigadier Gqozo.
This was yesterday during the consultations. I continued for a while thinking that the situation might improve when in actual fact it simply deteriorated. I accordingly telephoned Doctor Weiss on her cell phone in Umtata yesterday and raised my concerns with her and she said to me, based on her observations and her previous clinical diagnosis of Brigadier Gqozo, that the symptoms which I had raised with her were characteristic of a depressive episode, such as the episode which Brigadier Gqozo is suffering from and that is why I brought the application.
You may not behave like school children whereby the teacher some of the times may have to resort to detaining you. I have got policemen here who are going to stop you from going out of the hall. Could you show that you are disciplined people which is something that our people have been able to do.
Now Advocate Collett I just want to get this sequence of events. This application which is being brought today, the notice of application was compiled today. It however has attached to it an affidavit that was deposed to on the 3rd September by Doctor Weiss, is that correct?
Mr Commissioner sir, when Brigadier Gqozo surrendered himself to me last week, I consulted with him at that stage to do with the matter, the criminal matter which he was expected to appear on in Bophuthatswana. It was during those consultations that I thought that there was some problem which necessitated me summoning Doctor Weiss.
At that stage I summoned Doctor Weiss for that particular case. When I spoke to Doctor Weiss yesterday, asking her what she thought I should do in the circumstances with the symptoms that had presented themselves during extensive consultations yesterday and I asked her opinion, she said her opinion is the same as the psychiatric report that she compiled on Brigadier Gqozo the week before.
No Mr Commissioner, she did not examine him yesterday. I merely contacted her telephonically in Umtata based on the report that she had given me and asked her what her opinion was. She gave me her opinion and she said to me her opinion remains as it is in that affidavit and that I should feel free to use that affidavit to support my contention.
It is my professional opinion based on the consultations yesterday, the information that was given to me by Brigadier Gqozo, which in my opinion did not suffice for me to be able to advise him properly of his legal rights or to prepare him for the Commission today which is backed by Doctor Weiss' report and Doctor Weiss' yesterday verbal opinion.
Now may I just ask if you concur with her opinion, in other words with Doctor Weiss' opinions in respect of the following conclusions that she makes? Did you yesterday get an opinion, formulate an opinion as Doctor Weiss had done on the 3rd that there is a marked feeling of worthlessness and guilt on the part of Brigadier Gqozo?
Yes, ja, in fact, yes you are protected. You are protected. As my colleague Advocate Potgieter indicated, we have to be satisfied as a Commission to whom an application has been made that we have applied our mind to the matter and that is why we are even relying on your assistance, even if it might tend to transgress the attorney/client or council/client relationship.
Now seeing that he would have been coming to testify before a Commission and you yourself see the evidence of the number of people who obviously would have been interested by his testimony, there is an opinion here that has been stated by Doctor Weiss, that he feels he is targeted to be killed. Did you get that impression in your consultations with him?
Thank you very much Your Grace. I think the evidence of Brigadier Gqozo is indeed, in our opinion, very crucial for the closure of this matter for report to the State President and I would just like to ask from Advocate Collett whether perhaps she has got any idea of how long this Commission will have to wait, indeed how long this country will have to wait until we hear the evidence of Brigadier Gqozo on the Bisho massacre. Will it be within the period of the life of this Commission?
Mr Commissioner, as I have mentioned I am not a psychiatrist. I certainly am not able to comment on how long a psychiatric disorder of this nature is to last. What I do understand from my consultations with Doctor Weiss is that [and I am sure the Commissioner who is a psychologist can support me on this] an antidepressant normally takes between three and four weeks to begin to work effectively.
I would then say if one were to base it on that, surely within a month Brigadier Gqozo should be in a better condition than he is presently, receiving the medication that he is and with the psychotherapy that he is scheduled to start, with Doctor Weiss this week. More than that I am unable to comment.
Let me again express our appreciation that you have come. We obviously want to consult amongst ourselves, as I indicated, I mean there is no legal obligation at this stage. We have not subpoenaed the Brigadier, he was coming voluntarily and we appreciate the courtesy that you have shown the Commission but we would like sort of to look at the implications of this and want to say thank you very much for coming and you are free to stand down.
Thank you very much. We are very grateful that that is the case. Thank you. Order please! We have to adjust accordingly. You have heard for yourselves, we are equally concerned but there is not a great deal that you can do about this.
Don't come and disgrace us to the nations because people are going to point a finger at the black nation and their leaders as people who do not want to listen. We therefore ask that you should behave because this will be a bad reflection to all of us. I have been saying the way we behave I can give you seven out of ten, sometimes maybe eight and a half out of ten. Don't spoil this record you have.
We are all disappointed because we have been expecting some explanation but you have heard that if it is, you may be angry and we are all feeling like that so I think you can vent your anger by running down into the stadium but not here. This is not the place for that. Here we just request you to calm down. Thank you very much.
Your Grace I propose that we take the submissions by the persons who served in the Ciskei Government together instead of individually, so that we call Mr Webb, Col Peter, Mr Jacobs, Mr Zantsi and Mr Ngcofe all at the same time and they can perhaps give their testimony.
Will you please do that. Thank you. May I again repeat the welcome on behalf of the Commission and thank you gentlemen for being willing to come to help us in trying to understand one of the horrendous events in our very dark past, which we would like to be able to face up to and see how the healing of our nation can happen after the trauma of events such as the ones that we are at present examining together and so if you will, Mr Webb?
Your Grace may I obtain clarity please. The Honourable Commissioner Finca said that we should have the testimony together. Am I to understand that I am speaking on behalf of these gentlemen here or is it individual testimony but that we are doing it at the same time?
Okay, thank you for that clarification. In that case, Your Grace, Honourable Chairperson, members of the Commission, I was invited to testify by the Right Reverend Bongani Finca before your Commission as to the role played by the then government of Ciskei at the time of the march to Bisho.
I have explained to the Honourable Commissioner that I was retained by the government of Ciskei at the time in my capacity as an attorney. As such, I was concerned about professional privilege that exists between attorney and client. In addition, I further explained that on the fateful day of the tragedy I was attending a meeting in Pretoria and that any knowledge which I might have had about the march would have been hearsay and would lack the credibility of a witness present on the scene.
The Honourable Commissioner Finca telephoned me in response to my letter and advised that I should nevertheless testify as the Commission sought to understand the perspective of the Ciskei authorities and how the authorities saw the African National Congress at the time. I accordingly expressed what I understand the Ciskei government's position to have been and I respectfully ask the Commission to note that this was a position at a specific time in history, it was not necessarily my own position, and indeed my advice was not always followed.
Nevertheless subsequent events such as participation in the multiparty negotiating process, a member of the ten-man planning secretariat, the Transitional Executive Council will have identified some of my personal positions which I do not however, believe to be at issue at this Commission but which I am happy to record, found the support in some ways at the Constitutional Court last week. The relationship between the African National Congress and the government of Ciskei had appeared to me to be cordial in those months shortly after the expulsion of Mr Lenox Sebe in 1990.
Regrettably this relationship soured through differences of opinion and management styles and frequent outbursts of a mutually critical nature became the order of the day. The Ciskei government which I sincerely believed wanted to be a benevolent government, was literally caught on the one hand between the Nationalist Party government [i.e. the Pretoria regime] which communicated manipulatively through Foreign Affairs Minister, Pik Botha and who held the purse strings, and on the other hand between the liberation movements determined to destabilise until democracy was achieved.
Chairperson, Honourable Commissioners, at that time there was so much misinformation being disseminated, what with the National Intelligence from South Africa, South African Military Intelligence, Ciskei Intelligence Services and a plethora of confidential aides employed to sell false information and mislead. Indeed in retrospect sir, the cross-fertilisation of mystery and intrigue would have done justice to a best selling suspense novel. At the time however, it was serious business, conveyed with urgency and clandestine calls and covert messages.
Agents of the various intelligence services, each with a different mission in the total political activity, proliferated Ciskei government with information which could only have ended up in confrontation between the authorities and the African National Congress. These influences through the wholesale dissemination of misinformation, exacerbated the tension between all the groups. With the extremely manipulative South African government which became less and less supportive with its devious methods to mischievously undermine the Ciskei government.
Simultaneously Sir, the liberation movement strategically would keep government busy with demands, strikes, threats, boycotts, stay-aways and the like. All the while it is my belief that my client sought to achieve the best possible solution for the people. It made decisions, it provided concessions, it assisted with taxes, it had numerous development programmes, it abolished the death penalty, it produced and passed the first real Bill of Rights in Southern Africa. It past through consultation and a creative and innovative Labour Relations Dispensation, and generally speaking was focused in trying to create work opportunities for the local people.
Importantly Commissioners, it participated in every initiative in a lawful and responsible manner to bring about peaceful change. Chairperson, I trust that I have set the scene. Undermining, manipulation, misinformation from the Pretoria Regime which was in financial control, and strategic confrontation from the liberation movements desperate for democracy.
The march was planned and advertised. From the Victoria grounds, King Williams Town to Bisho. The purpose was declared by the marchers and leaders of the march. As far as I know not legitimate request was sought to obtain from the Ciskei authorities for permission for the march to go ahead on Ciskei soil. These requirements were consistent with those requirements throughout the greater South Africa and we are not just a Ciskei aberration. Legal advisors were called in to ascertain the proper legal processes to be followed.
For the safety of the people, it was considered critical that there be no unauthorised demonstration. It was not so long ago that the demise of the Sebe error had brought with it a euphoria which manifested itself in wholesale destruction and vandalism. The Ciskei government was determined to prevent and avoid any hysteria which would overflow into violence and anarchy. The posters and promises in speeches identified the goal as the removal of the Ciskei government and the destruction of Bisho. The legal advisors, Chairperson, in order to be proactive, addressed the ANC executive and advised the African National Congress that if it marched into Ciskei without the requisite authority, such march would be illegal and the ANC would then be accountable for the due process of law enforcement.
Application was made and ultimately the ANC approached the Supreme Court to request the magistrate to rule on the matter. The irony is that when the magistrate did make his ruling at the behest of the Supreme Court, the very organisation which had obtained the order, failed to observe it. It is common cause that the march was to be limited to the stadium. It is my view that the magistrate, under immense pressure and faced with protracted acrimonious debate, made a brave ruling. The Ciskei government had been made aware publicly and through its sources that the invasion of Bisho, the removal of the Ciskei government and the assumption of power were but three objectives of the march.
Newspaper reports told of plans to replace government. Information sources listed the names of the new Head of State and responsible ministers. Rumour had it that most of the buildings here were to be set alight so that Bisho would be raised to the ground. Frightening stories were prevalent and the mood of the Ciskei government, which included three high profile seconded ministers, absent here today, was to prevent an invasion, destruction, and insurrection.
On the morning of the march when I left to go to Pretoria, I felt that we had done everything possible from a legal point of view, to prevent a tragedy. Indeed it appeared that the magistrate had shown excellent wisdom to direct the marchers to the stadium and back. In order that the demonstration could proceed but would be contained and peaceful. The events later that day showed a disregard for the rule of law with tragic consequences.
In conclusion, Chairperson, Honourable Commissioners, I need to record in trying to sketch a perspective, that in the last few days prior to the march, there were numerous representations made to change the attitude of the Ciskei authorities. Clergy of national profile, Ministers from the Republic of South Africa, friends, politicians and councillors tried to persuade the authorities. ... end of Tape 3, side A ...
However no one would guarantee that the information about violence and insurrection, that the threats of destruction, that the promise to take control of government would not materialise and that the march would in fact remain peaceful.
Tragically, history has proved that the Ciskei authority's understanding of the purpose of the march was indeed correct and that the promise of a peaceful, controlled march could not be sustained. Your Grace, Commissioners, it was on Sunday night during my quiet time that I became aware of the awesome task which you have in the reconciliation process. This community, and I include myself as one of them, have agonised at the dreadful results of that march. I pray that what I have said will shed just a little light on the conflicting conditions which prevailed at that time.
I ask not for justification but that when you consider your deliberations at the end of this session, you consider the legal implications which prevailed. There is also my sincere hope that the testimony which I offer today may assist this Commission in its arduous task of establishing the truth and bringing reconciliation to our people. I thank you.
Thank you very much. I don't know, I mean my colleagues may want to ask some questions although we obviously have had your submission just now as it were but it may be that there are people who are able to respond or react quickly. Perhaps let me retrace my steps. My colleague here suggests that perhaps we should ask your colleagues accompanying you as it were, or sitting on the podium with you, who didn't have written submissions, I mean that they might in fact have a perspective by just a verbal submission, a brief verbal submission indicating the thinking and their own perspectives on this march and the tragic consequences.
Your Grace I am happy to stand down but I would like to make an observation that I have not consulted with any one of the gentlemen on the podium and I don't believe that there has been any common vision shared at this.
Thank you Your Excellency. My verbal submission does not run very far away from my colleagues. It is exactly what he has said, you know there was a high strong point of departure between the then Ciskei government and the ANC.
Now you of course I suppose because of manipulation in the dark because Ciskei was between the ANC and the RSA and the RSA was a domineering power which you have if you serve it you tow the line here and there otherwise they hold the purse.
Now many delegations came up to the then government, eminent ministers of religion, a Doctor Geldenhuys who was a peace monitoring officer and many others trying to persuade the government to allow the marchers to come up as far as Bisho. But the government was adamant because the government then feared that should they come to Bisho, what we think is that they may usurp everything as the placards were saying that. That was the fear now from this side of the government.
Now on the day of this, unfortunately I was with him in Pretoria. I cannot describe it very graphically the 7th September. On that day we attended a meeting on federalism but from what we heard, when the marchers went into the stadium, when a group of them went through a hole in the fence of the stadium and rushed towards the area where the soldiers had some kind of a road-block for themselves, then it is then that the shooting took place but we couldn't get the answer who gave the direction or the instruction to do this [indistinct].
Then after that day then there was a commotion, a high tension in the area. People's houses were burnt down, some of the security forces were removed from their houses to be housed at Mount Cook. That's my verbal contribution Your Excellency.
Thank you very much. Your Grace I would like to state categorically that at the time this event happened I was not involved in Ciskeian affairs. I was a schoolmaster at Hill Town. I gave my staff permission, they asked for permission quite early and I gave them permission, I said since I have got to go via Fort Beaufort I will follow.
When I got home my wife told me that in the news at 1 o'clock there was this announcement that all was not well at Bisho, so that the first that I got to know of what was taking place was what I got from my wife when I got home on the 7th September and I do hope that - I only came onto the government in February 1993, 1st February.
So that the goings on before, I was not aware of. It is only when I came in and even then the matter was now history so that I cannot contribute materially about what took place. But Mr Chairman, I do believe that the happenings of 7th September emanate from the event which culminated in the establishment of a Ciskei self-government.
In 1972 when Koornhoff and De Wet Nell dug the first soil here saying they are making self-government possible and it will interest the Commission to know that those of us who were [indistinct] then, stood up vehemently and opposed this. We said we want to remain as part of South Africa and I really cursed the day that the Ciskeians decided and labelled some of us as traitors because we could not accept the concept of self-government. And from then during the Sebe regime we were sidelined because we believed we were part of South Africa and this dividing of South Africa into states was not conducive for us so that, Mr Chairman, I was in no way connected with it but my views which are known even to the Supreme Court in Grahamstown when I contested the legality of the elections which were held to set up this homeland. Mr Chairman sir, that is all I can say.
Colonel Peter please have the podium. I am going to give you a warning. If I have to repeat - we have come here, I don't know what you have come for, but we came here because we have been given a job to do which is to hear every point of view. Whether we like that point of view or not, that is not the point. We have to hear everything so that we are able to describe as fully as we can what it was that happened. Now I don't, I am not yet cross but I am going in that direction. I don't want that to happen because I know that you are also interested and your feelings are strong feelings but if your feelings affect how we listen here, we are then going to ask you to take your feelings and leave with them. But I am asking you again that it is a democracy that we are trying to build up and many of us are believers and believers say that it is possible for all kinds of people, all of us, to change and be different. That is why we are talking about reconciliation.
You don't get reconciled [indistinct] you get reconciled with someone with whom you disagree otherwise there would be no point in having reconciliation. You do not reconcile with someone whom you have no discordance with. We would not have a Commission if there was reconciliation already. This Commission exists because all kinds of painful things have happened on all sides and we are being asked to do a small job in a process [indistinct]. It is all of us who have to accept the pain of what happened in the past to try to move into the future. I will then ask you, please I beg you, will you give everybody a fair chance and don't let anybody feel under pressure. Yes Colonel?
Reverend and all the Commissioners, unfortunately I think everybody should be expecting a lot from me because I was on Brigadier Gqozo's side but there is little I know personally in connection with the incident we are about today of the 7th September.
I apologise to those who thought they would get a lot of information from me but I will not hide anything, I will speak freely. As we know, I am one of those people that were present when there was a coup in 1990. At that time after this happened, there was great joy amongst the people, some were saying this is happening and it is good. The late Mr Sebe is removed because of us and the soldiers were saying it is because of them that Mr Sebe was deposed.
Everybody who was in Ciskei at the time knows what was happening especially before 1990. They know also what happened on that particular day of the 4th March 1990. As things went on and we were working with people, things were going well but there were a lot of people who had grievances who did not agree with the way the government was doing things but they did not speak freely or outwardly, but most voices were saying you helped us, Brigadier Gqozo. Things continued in that manner, these people with different opinions but it was clear that most people were pleased because we were even going to...
There were a lot of people who came to the offices when I was there. Some of them were coming in the evenings asking Brigadier Gqozo what was happening and what he was doing, saying that the people that were leading us were too young. These were Ciskeian citizens that were uttering these statements, elderly people. Brigadier Gqozo, you are letting young people lead us, do you know what is going on in the villages? There is no order in the villages. There is discordance. There is continuous discordance. The side that was constantly asking why Brigadier Gqozo was letting us be led by young people were not saying anything but there were vibes that they did not want this.
They gave me stares when I walked home, when I was home and some of them who did have the guts to ask me what we were doing. I am very outspoken and I would say to them you are the ones who feel this. If you come and tell me as an individual, there is nothing I can do, you must forget it. What you must do, get up, make noise so that there will be direction but if you just sit at home and catch us an individuals and ask us what is happening, nothing will happen, there will be no progress. It went on like that. There were a lot that we saw that was going on in the village.
People started killing each other in the villages. Other people came. When Brigadier Gqozo formed an organisation so that we could also be heard, this organisation was called ADM, this party. People started killing each other in Ciskei. People really started killing each other. People were dying. It is these two parties that were killing each other. It was the African National Congress against the ADM. The PAC also came to our offices asking Brigadier Gqozo what is happening. Brigadier Gqozo said that they did not count and they were told, they said they came as the PAC party but they were turned away.
There was the ADM and the ANC. Those were the major parties that were fighting against each other. People died. Then the South African government intervened. I went a lot with Ministers to the South African government. There was a day when it was clear that we were working with the ANC, I remember when we were going to a meeting which Brigadier Gqozo was meant to attend and Minister Pik Botha but they could not go to that meeting even though they were waiting for him. I led the delegation then because Brigadier Gqozo could not make it.
I am trying to form a picture. I was then asked what is going on in Ciskei. I said there is no problem there. They asked me if I know Mr George, I said yes. I told them there is no problem. We are working with people, we even give them vehicles, they are using them. There is absolutely no problem. Good he said. I don't know what else they said beyond that with Brigadier Gqozo.
There are not too many meetings that I attended where there was, that there was discussions with the then Minister Pik Botha. We got there all prepared, the delegation from South Africa was not meant to meet all of us. We were supposed to meet at tea. I told Brigadier Gqozo that I don't like the way things are going, that we are not fully involved. His deputy Mr Schoeman insisted that he wants to see Brigadier Gqozo on his own. It was difficult that day. I then entered to hear what was going on. It was very difficult, Mr Schoeman didn't know what to do. He didn't want me to be present.
Brigadier Gqozo then said you can talk in his presence. I don't really know what was going on. I just want to say what I know. That kind of situation carried on with the discordance between the African National Congress and the ADM. There was then an intelligence that was constructed. It was clear that this discordance was going to cause trouble but sometimes when something is happening around you, you don't recognise it or acknowledge it. It is at a distance that you can be objective and see what is going on.
We just realised the magnitude when we looked from a distance and we were told by other people what was going on. It was very difficult at the time. The African National Congress wanted things done in a particular way and there are other people, the ADM that wanted things to be done in another way altogether. They did not come out in the open to say exactly what it is they wanted. All they said was that they have been intimidated. I pleaded with them to try and talk in the open.
Going back to the 4th March, or rather 7th September, before that as a security council, we used to get reports as to what is going on in Ciskei. Intelligence reports, security reports, army reports, we would then ascertain what is best to take it to the City Council as a constructive report. There were a lot of things that were being said as to what was going to happen on the 7th September.
On the 7th September there was a rumour that the Ciskeian government, there was going to be a coup, that the MK was going to take over, that it is going to take all of us and take us where we don't want to be taken. Whether this was true or not but there were such rumours. This was a security report. We didn't know where it came from, we didn't have sources but these are the reports that came to us. They came to us and told us that it is a fact. In my memory as I remember these things. In my memory the march was not committed to pursue, to continue because there was these rumours that there was going to be a coup.
There were certain people that were provoking us but we were told by the leadership that these were not members of the ANC. Some would go to marches with bad intentions and wanting revenge. We then asked them that they should look at these things. We asked the magistrate to consider these things as well. At the time we were at the offices when the march was going on. It is the soldiers that prepared how this march was going to work and where the soldiers were going to be deployed. We then wanted to know what preparations the soldiers had made, that people were going to loot and that Bisho was in danger.
They then told us what was going to happen, where the soldiers were going to be deployed and the police. They told us how they were going to prevent people from going to Bisho and that there were going to be people standing at the fence where there was a gap. We could see all this from the office and there were a lot of people. As we were watching, there were people that did not enter into the stadium. We could not see properly, we just heard shots and people were falling over. We were at the offices at the time. That is how people died, from my perspective and people were injured.
Thank you very much. We are running out of time. We would like to suggest that we take a lunch break. We have Doctor Frank Chicane and his successor. We will then listen to their testimonies immediately after lunch because they have to fly out. Can we just continue with you after we are through with them because there are questions that the Commissioners would like to ask you. Do you permit us to do that after lunch?
Let us take a break then. As we were doing, we would like to give reverence to our witnesses. Can we stand up please. Please stop the people from leaving please. Nobody should move until I say so please. Thank you. Please leave your headphones behind on your chairs. Thank you very much, we will resume at 2 o'clock. ... end of Tape 3, side B ...
Mr Chairman I am glad to call on the stand Lungisa Welcome Matiwane, Chemist Nontshinga, Ntombikayisa Gola, Norman Fulani, Nokuzola Mene, Phindiswa Tyhali and Mphithizeli Potyo. Mr Chairman, Tyhali is not here.
On the day of the march you were also in Bisho. You say you were one of the people that went through the hole in the fence at the stadium. What happened thereafter? When did you get hurt, could you just explain to us? --- I went through the hole and we went into the stadium and when we passed something that looked like bridges, we heard things like fireworks and when we looked around to see what was happening, there were people that were running out of the stadium in our direction and when I turned around to run away as well in the direction from which I had come, I fell and when I got up I couldn't. I attempted to get up but I couldn't and two men came, one of them was here recently, and he helped me get up and told me that I had been shot in the back and he took me closer to a car.
And thereafter were you taken to the hospital for treatment and did you obtain treatment and did you go home thereafter? --- I was taken to Gray Hospital in this car to which I had taken and drips were put in both arms and thereafter I was transferred to Frere Hospital. When I got there they operated on me and they removed the bullet.
How long did you remain in hospital for? --- In East London I was hospitalised for seven days and then I was transferred back to Gray Hospital. At Gray Hospital they said that they didn't have any room and that I had to go home.
It seems that, appears that there was some other treatment that you received from another hospital. Which hospital is that? --- When I came back from Gray Hospital I couldn't walk properly and my father is in Cape Town and I live with my mother and my brother. My father phoned and said that I should go up to Cape Town and live with him so that I could be close to doctors there and he kept on taking me to specialists.
Do you think that you recovered completely after the shooting incident? --- No because it is bad weather, when it is cold and raining, I experience pain and I get told that the inside of where I had the operation, swells up.
Were you able to go back to school thereafter, did it not disturb you? --- In 1992 I didn't go back to school and not in 93 either. I didn't go back to school in 1993 either because I was in hospital in Cape Town for six months and I went back to school in 1994.
Did you institute a claim with attorneys at any stage and if so, did you receive any compensation? --- Yes when I went to Cape Town my mother was left here and she went to attorneys. She was called to Berlin to attorneys and she instituted a claim on my behalf and now in 1996, just before January I was called to the attorneys and I received compensation from the attorneys.
Is there any wish that you have that you would like to place before the Commission? --- Since my father is unemployed and he suffers from chest problems, last year he applied for a pension, my mother is the sole breadwinner. There are seven of us in total at home and five of us are at school. Five of us are still at school and the other three are living with my dad in Cape Town and I live here with my sister. So I would like to ask the Commission that if it has any means of assisting me so that I could continue with my studies.
Good day Mr Fulani. In your statement to the Commission you stated that you are going to talk about your son Vuyani and when he was injured here at the march in Bisho on the 7th September, and he was a student teacher at the College of Education in …[indistinct]. How old was Vuyani? --- He was 20 years old.
How did he get injured? --- At first when I got there in West Bank they told me he was not there and then I saw his shoes and his jacket. They told me the left side, they cannot open the left side but I could see his clothes. At last they opened the door and I saw him. He was shot in the stomach.
What happened after that, did you go there? --- Yes I did and they asked me the details and I told them. I went back home. It was last year and then this year they wrote to me again and they told me that the money they can give me is ten thousand and they asked me whether it's fine and then the lawyer told me he doesn't know. He didn't even respect us, just left that matter.
I am sure that you have a request to put in front of this Commission. What is your request? --- I have a request because I am not working at the moment. I would like the Commission to help me. I have a son who is still at school.
The other two requests in your statements, you said that you want people to investigate what happened to this money and you also requested the Commission to build the community hall. You requested the Commission to build the community hall. --- No I don't know about that. I only asked the Commission to investigate about what happened.
You are going to tell us about your brother, your younger brother Jongile who came to the march and he didn't return home and his body was found in Greenfields together with other corpse. How did you hear about this? --- Jongile came to the march on Monday and he didn't return back home. On Tuesday we went around asking people whether they didn't see him and others said they just saw him when he was going there. I went together with my mother and my father went to East London. My father found him on Wednesday. He was injured in the head.
In your statement you said that you don't know the employ, the name of your brother's employers. --- He was working in the Red Island and he got another job but I didn't know the name of that company.
What actually happened, when, how did you get injured? --- It was, I was one of the marchers and there was the late Mr Hani and as we were moving up Jungle Road, Mr Hani gave instruction that we should sit down because they were still talking together with the Ciskei chiefs, so we sit down. So we moved on with the march and we went through the gate but just before I get into the yard I waited outside talking to one marshal that I knew. As I was talking we saw a helicopter flying out and then thereafter I didn't know what happened. I just saw people coming out of the stadium. They were running and I heard some gunshots. In fact I wasn't even sure of the sounds, what sound it was. It was rain of whatever and then I saw a lot of people running away. Just before I turned, watching and looking at what was happening and I was facing the police station and I could see that there were people on the grandstand of the stadium watching and it was an extremely hot day, so I just felt something hitting my leg and I fell down but I struggled and jumped up. I was dressed in this very attire I'm wearing and I tried to cover my face but I noticed that I couldn't use my leg and I could hear the noise, it was continuing, so as I was running there was an instruction that we should crawl, so I rolled and I became dizzy but I felt this was of no help to me. Then there was shooting on the way then I tried to run away then I rolled and I went into the forest and I drank water and I found that there was blood in my shoes and I, the people were still running and I could see that there was war. So I ran towards the forest and met a certain man and asked for assistance and this man decided to leave me as soon as this helicopter came back, so I decided to run as fast as I could so I met some men who were soldiers there and they asked what was happening. Then they said there was nothing wrong. Then one of them shot me at the back, then I decided to tell them that I was injured. Then he instructed me to lie on my stomach. Then as I was resisting, then a policeman came. It was a white man and he was armed. Then I lifted my hands up and I said to him I've been shot already and he held me and only to find that these were members of the Red Cross and they took me into a van together with another one and they left the door of the van opened and they drove to a certain field and put us there and I was so scared and my leg was getting swollen. Then a certain lady who I think was a member of the ANC gave me some tablets to swallow and as I was still intending to run away, I saw some soldiers who were on guard and then there was this helicopter that was hovering over the, all the time. Then as I was trying to run away I was held and I was asked to lie down. Then they promised to call for an ambulance which came and was sent to Gray Hospital and it was full there. I couldn't trust anyone and I decided to hide under a bed. Then as we were getting in I could see some bodies that were covered with white sheets and I was worried about my family and didn't know what to do. So as soon as I got discharged from hospital - Where exactly did you get help? --- I got, at Gray Hospital they just stitched my wound and later the day they referred me to East London which is my home. That is where I was admitted for a day and in the morning I was attended to by the doctor and I was discharged because the hospital was full. So I went to look for my relatives and I was followed once more by the soldiers and I was afraid and I tried to escape. I ran to the forest and I was helped by other men there.
Did you heal completely so as to be able to work? --- No I can't work because I once had an operation long ago, I had fallen from up the roof so I can't work even now and I have some dependants on the other hand.
Is that the only request you have? --- We don't have parents, I am the only one at home. My mother died and my father died and my request is that if only I could get means to support my siblings because I cannot afford, I'm even hungry, even at this very moment. We live on selling fish. I'm now even very worried and hurt about this whole situation.
Did you ever institute any claim or hand this matter to some lawyers? --- Yes I did, to Mike here in town and to a lawyer Van Heerden. They did give me some money but it was too little and I used it. The amount was two thousand. Then I also decided to put up a shack so as to accommodate my children and my family, that is why therefore I feel I need the pension because I did work in Johannesburg some time and I left that work, that is when I got injured here. So I've got no one to help me. I'm starving, I must say, so I'm telling the truth that I have got these children and if my sister has not managed to sell anything then we do not have anything to live on.
Thank you. Mr Nontshinga I have your statement before me in which you talk about your younger brother who died on the 7th September at the Bisho massacre. His name was Headman Nontshinga, is that right? --- It's like that, that's true.
And where did you? --- I started at Cecilia Makiwane. From Cecilia Makiwane I went to King William's Town and he was not there. The next day I saw in a list in The Daily Despatch that was listing the deceased that died at the Bisho massacre. I then went to West Bank. When I got there my father was leaving the place where the corpses were and he said that his corpse was there indeed.
Would you like to tell the Commission what it is you would like us to do for you? --- I would like that a compensation be given to my mother and father because they are struggling. We can't support them fully because we also have our own families.
In your statement to the Commission you refer to your son, Thobani Gola who participated in the march and died in that march. Would you tell us how old your son was? --- Thobani was 20 years of age at the time.
And how were you informed about his death Ms Gola? Take your time, it's all right we will wait for you. --- I felt great pain because he was my child, my only child. The others were very, very small, two of them. He was the only older one. I was educating him so that he could relieve me once he had a profession. He was in standard eight at Nohow.
I can see that the pain is still very much with you Ms Gola and we empathise with you but we need to move to what your request is because you have given us a tremendous request here which I'd like you to put into words because it is such a lovely request. --- Thobani left a baby. Please can you educate that child. As Thobani's mother, could you also help me because I am not working, and educate my two other children.
You added something else that you asked of the Commission that you put into your statement. Are you able to talk about what you would like the CDF members to do because I think your message to them is an important one and one that we need to hear? --- I went to the attorneys at Berlin. After that they sent me to a lawyer in Grahamstown. I had never seen this lawyer before. From 1993 up to now actually up to January, I was called in. People were given their moneys but because my name was not in the computer according to them, I was not given any money.
Would it be all right with you if I read out what you said about the CDF members in your statement, may I read that and then you can tell me whether you agree that it's correctly noted here? --- Yes, please read it for me.
The statement is as follows: I wish all the CDF members of the 7th September 1992 Bisho massacre who participated in the massacre would come forward and identify themselves so that we could talk peace and reconciliation. Thank you for that. Is there anything else you wish to say to the Commission Ms Gola? --- I'd forgotten about that part you just read. Yes I do admit that I did say so but I have nothing further at the moment.
What do you think of his answers? Is there perhaps something you would like to say in response to the information that he gave. If there is nothing you would like to say Ms Gola ... end of Tape 5, side B ...
Is there perhaps something you would like to say in response to the information that he gave? If there is nothing you would like to say Ms Gola. Would you like to say something? --- I've heard your questions but I don't want to say anything.
We thank you all. I was going to say what grieves me about these incidents is that when somebody loses a family member, being sent up and down, not knowing whether, if the member of your family is at hospital or has already died. You go up and down until you find out from newspapers.
This causes great grief but you are special people because even though we've gone through all these experiences we can, we are even able to love if somebody cracks a joke. We would not be implying that we've taken lightly what has happened to us but it's a God given gift that we are able to laugh even though we are so grieved.
It's God's way of making lighter what is so heavy in our hearts. We thank God for this gift. We also thank you that in your pain you are able to come here without bitterness and now as we heard that as one of you testified that the perpetrators of this violence should come to the Truth Commission so that there is reconciliation. We thank you very much. Knowing as we said that most people that went through the most pain was the youth. The blood that was shed was watering the grounds of freedom, such that all that has happened did not happen in vain.
Today we are able to see this nation as a people that is in freedom. We thank you very much. We know that your pain is not lighter but I'd like you to know that you talked to people who empathise with you. May the Lord strengthen you and comfort you and may His Holy Spirit be the bandage of your wounds. We have listened to your requests. We will try our best to help you. Thank you.
We are going to adjourn until 9 o'clock. Commissioner Finca has suggested last night that we should please ask you to be seated by half past eight so that we can start on the dot of 9 o'clock. I would just want also to say a very big thank you to the police who are providing security. These are new things that we are able to thank the police because it was very difficult during the past times. We thank you very much. We thank you all at the back and the whole place. Let us get up.