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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type 1 D MPUNGA, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Starting Date 19 November 1996
Names DESMOND MANZOLWANDLE MPUNGA
Case Number EAST LONDON MASSACRE II
REV XUNDU: Mr Chairman I want to call to the testifying desks the following persons, Desmond Manzolwandle Mpunga, Wandile Nebe, Thobeka Magoloza and Bennette Ndyundyu Jack. DESMOND MANZOLWANDLE MPUNGA: (sworn states)
MR POTGIETER: Thank you. Desmond Mpunga will be facilitated by June Crichton. Wandile Nebe by Ntsiki Sandi. Thobeka Magoloza by Mapule Ramashala and Bennette Jack by Ntsiki Sandi. I hand over to you in that sequence.
MS CRICHTON: Mr Mpunga good afternoon. As our Chairman has apologised I am sorry that it is so late. I am going to be posing questions to you related to the statement that is in front of me. When my light goes on you will know that I am ready to ask you a question, do you understand that?
MR MPUNGA: Our stories are very similar because I am also going to say that I never got to the stadium. I joined the march on the way, just turning around from the robot on the main road towards Bisho we marched on and we carried on with no chaos. What we saw was a yellow helicopter hovering above the crowd. This helicopter was hovering above us the whole time. On the way there were soldiers that I was positive they were not Ciskeian ones because their uniforms were different, they were wearing red berets. All the roads were closed. The only road that was open was the one that was going towards Bisho. When we were approaching the stadium we were told to wait. There was a lot of us. We were impatient and we just walked on because we could see the stadium, but unfortunately I never got to the stadium. When I came close to the gravel road a helicopter emanated from the stadium. There were already a lot of people in the stadium who were in a hurry to go in, but what happened is that as more people got into the stadium a helicopter emanated, when I looked up there were about five or six men in the helicopter, the doors were flung open, as I was trying to detect exactly what was happening we heard a terrible sound like a radio off station. Then there was shooting. People were moving up and down. I also thought I should start running. I went back.
Across there were soldiers, Ciskeian soldiers, those were the people I saw were going to attack us. Even though the sound coming from the helicopter was different from the gunshots, after about a three minutes there was yet another sound. I was positive that these were machine guns, a lot of them. I think those were one of the bullets that shot me EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE
We were told that to dress warmly because we might have to sleep over. We never really asked the reason behind this. I had a warm anorak and also a bag with my laundry because I used to work in East London and I would go home every weekend. After I had been shot I thought that this cannot be rubber bullets. I could not feel my chin. I looked around to see if maybe I could see my chin lying around. I had false teeth. I thought perhaps what I was touching was a piece of my false teeth. I got up and carried on running. Unfortunately I ran towards a bush. Unfortunately it was a tree that I fell over that tree and I fell with my backside. I thought it was safe because there was a hole there. I thought I was safe from the gunshots but it was sore, my backside was sore.
I then started bleeding. I lost every ounce of my strength. I thought the way I am bleeding nobody has ever bled like this before. I realised then that it is my jaw, it was just hanging over together with a bullet. Fortunately it did not fall off, it just hung on my face. I tried to put my jawbone back. The comrades then realised that I had been injured. It was obvious. It was a distance of about ten metres, somebody else got shot and fell over. Another man got shot on the leg. My motives were such that I did not think anybody else would help me. I thought I had strength. What was difficult was for me to breathe because my whole chin was totally finished and I was famished.
one stage you said that your story was the same as everybody else's, but in fact your story is unique for yourself and for your family. What I want to know from you now is how this event left its mark on you? What was the effect of it on your life?
MR MPUNGA: Gee, even now I can't even eat because when I got to the hospital I had a hole on my neck. There was a pipe that they had inserted in my nose. They had also stuck yet another pipe. Around my chin was a bandage. I have never been the same again. My chin is not that well sensitized. Even when I do eat I have to have something around my chin because my chin hardly has any feelings. I have a plate that holds my chin up. I am not myself, I have never been myself.
MR MPUNGA: I don't get any treatment because I thought that - I never mentioned that my backside fell hard. When I am at home and I think about my condition I think that the doctors are going to charge me some money therefore I don't go to the doctors. I am suffering to this day.
MR MPUNGA: Yes I did, I spoke to some attorneys. The week after the Truth Commission had been in Bisho I went to the doctors, they gave me a bit of money, but it left a lot to be desired. They told me that the money that was left in the fund was left for specialists that were going to attend to my chin because Dr Webber rejected me. The attorney then said to me that the rest of my money would pay specialists for my face.
MS CRICHTON: Since the shooting and since you have been left in this condition you have made a special request to the Commission that consideration be given to helping with the education of your children, is that correct?
MR MPUNGA: My request to the Commission might be different from the others. I hear people asking for forgiveness but I am still heartbroken. Do you realise that I will never be the same Manzolwandle that I was before I was shot? I was shot for nothing, I was innocent. I requested the Commission, pull up your socks, you must sift as what you should forgive people for. You can't just forgive perpetrators of violence. In my life and our lives in South Africa we want peace but if the government, together with this Commission will just forgive people, perpetrators of violence, people are going to carry on being murdered if murderers are being forgiven.
Even if it's one person that you do not forgive so that we also can have peace in our hearts and say that, yes justice has been done. There are 18, at least 18 people who died and it is only one person who is responsible, but you are going to come out and say that that person is forgiven,
People just want their rights. We went there unarmed, all we had was our fists up. I didn't have sword, I didn't have a gun. So I request that this Commission, I know that you are here for peace, peace is good but you must sift and choose who it is that should be forgiven and for what.
MS MAGOLOZA: Health wise I have never been the same again. My health deteriorated especially when it is cold. I cannot even go to the clinic when it is cold. Sometimes I have to just buy Grandpa and have to do with that because my leg would hurt so much. When it is not so bad I would go to the Berlin Clinic, they would help me there.
DR RAMASHALA: Your education was disrupted. Are you all right? Could you give her some water please. Miss Magoloza let me try and guide you through your request to the Commission and tell me if that's correct or not. You'd like to continue your education, but you are unable to do so because of financial problems and you would like the Commission to help with that, correct?
MS MAGOLOZA: I never went to any attorneys, but two boers came to my home. I tried to make a claim - they offered that I should make a claim. I was not able to respond because I thought money would be needed.
MR JACK: I ran to the stadium when people were being shot. My shoelace was loose, when I was looking towards the tar road trying to tie my shoelace I was looking towards the Fort Hare University, a man came to me who greeted, as I lifted my head I got shot. I realised that it was coming, the bullet was coming from the helicopter hovering above. Everybody was trying to hide under the other people. I fell over. It was a while afterwards that I realised that I had been shot. It was almost like I was paralysed.
MR JACK: Sir what I am grateful for is that the Lord sees even in the darkest places where nobody else sees. A lot of things would not be revealed if the boer government had not been defeated. The perpetrators of violence now have come forward because a lot of things were investigated, investigated by the perpetrators and the truth would not
come out, the Lord sees even in the darkest places. People have been requested to come forward and told that they would be forgiven, I am thankful for that. The Lord will deal with Gqozo. I can't say I detest him. Maybe what he did he did because he was obeying his employers, the previous government.
MR POTGIETER: Thank you very much Mr Sandi. And thank you Mr Jack and also the rest of you, and in her absence Thobeka. Just when one thinks one is able to handle this process and one is able to handle the situation then you are confronted at the end of a long session like this with your testimony, and it brings one right down to earth again.
Mr Mpunga you throw out a challenge to us. You raise a very, very fundamental and difficult question, forgiveness, amnesty, those issues and you do it at a time when you share the podium with Thobeka who shares her story with us, the way in which this incident has affected her and the situation she is experiencing at this stage. And again it brings that human element into what is regarded academically otherwise as an incident, statistics. It is very difficult that you have raised. The question of forgiveness we will never be able to resolve. We are faced with a situation where there was compromise, compromise means that you don't get everything that you want, it's give and take, that's what a compromise is all about, and that is where most of the difficulty of the question that you have raised comes in. But thank you for the challenge and thank you for reminding us of how difficult this process really is. I wish you luck, all of you. Thank you very much for coming.