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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS

Starting Date 19 November 1996

Location BISHO

Names B. SKEPU

Case Number EAST LONDON MASSACRE II

1 B SKEPU

MR POTGIETER: I will now move on to Bongiwe Gloria Skepu, and hand over to June Crichton.

BONGIWE GLORIA SKEPU: (sworn in)

MS CRICHTON: Good afternoon Mrs Skepu. You have come to tell us about the murder of your husband on that day, the 7th of September 1992. He was a 29 year-old man and at the time he was working as a postman and his name was Zanethemba Skepu, is that correct?

MS SKEPU: Yes it is so.

MS CRICHTON: In your statement you say that you were not there at the time, can you tell us how you heard about it and what the result of your hearing about it was?

MS SKEPU: On the 7th of September my husband got up in the morning and went to the march in Bisho. We stayed together with our little child. Our child was seven at the time. I looked up to my husband, even the child looked up to the father. My husband then went to Bisho. At about one o'clock I listened to the news. I realised from the report that there were shootings in Bisho. I saw the people that he had gone to Bisho with coming back and he was not amongst the people. I just assumed that he is still coming. I slept without seeing him, without hearing any news.

In the morning of the next day a lady from our area came to me, she asked me if my husband had come back, I said no he did not come back. I was starting to feel restless because a lot of time had elapsed. I went together with a lady and a gentleman from my family, we got onto a taxi to Grey Hospital. Before we got to the Grey Hospital I realised that the people I was with were talking about something. I was not sure what it was they were talking about. The taxi then stopped and I was told to get off the

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

1 B SKEPU

taxi. There's a lady they were talking to in the taxi. I was told to get off the taxi because my husband is in Frere Hospital. They told me he was injured in the leg. I then went home. I had no hope at all. I got home. My mother-in-law wondered why I had come back and I told her that I was told to come back home.

These people came back after a short while. They said they saw Zanethemba in Frere Hospital, he had been injured in the leg. I realised that people kept on talking to each other and excluding me. I then went to one of them and asked exactly what happened, then they still would not tell me.

I then was told to go to my mother-in-law. Two men came, if I am not mistaken, but before they came the ladies from our area came to my home. It was a very hot day. I was sitting outside. These women came in and sat in the house. Then two gentlemen came by. They told us that my husband had passed away in Bisho. That was the last time I heard about him.

MS CRICHTON: Just take your time.

MS SKEPU: It was not my wish to break down because my child told me not to cry but just to talk. He is now eleven years old.

MS CRICHTON: .... have broken down, we do understand that. I'd like to move on now. In your statement you say that your husband was buried at a mass funeral, is that correct?

MS SKEPU: Yes it is so.

MS CRICHTON: And then subsequent to that you approached attorneys, Smith Tabatha and van Heerden and you asked them for their advice, is that right?

MS SKEPU: Yes.

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

2 B SKEPU

MS CRICHTON: What was the outcome of that? (The speaker's mike is not on) What was the result of that approach to the attorneys?

MS SKEPU: I went to the attorneys in October, I don't remember the dates. The attorneys said I must bring my ID and my marriage certificate, also the death certificate. My son's birth certificate as well. I brought all these documents to the attorneys. I waited. I don't remember whether it was in May or June but they called me. I went to them. When I got there I went to Mr Smith. Mr Smith gave me a cheque, it was worth R69 000, that is the last time I liaised with the attorneys.

MS CRICHTON: Please speak up, some of the Commissioners are not hearing you.

MS SKEPU: The attorneys in June called me, either in June or May. I went to them, they gave me a cheque of R69 000, that is the last time I liaised with the attorneys.

MS CRICHTON: You mention that as a result of the incident it has left you with depression and as you said earlier on feeling very lonely without your husband, are you on any kind of treatment for the depression?

MS SKEPU: No I am not under treatment.

MS CRICHTON: Where are you staying at this time?

MS SKEPU: I stay in Mlakalaka, back home.

MS CRICHTON: Your statement said that you didn't have proper accommodation because you've had to move away from the place you were in before when you were being supported by your husband, is that correct?

MS SKEPU: Yes it is so.

MS CRICHTON: And you say that you have a request to the Commission what is that?

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

3 B SKEPU

MS SKEPU: My request is that my child be educated.

MS CRICHTON: You just have the one child?

MS SKEPU: Yes I have one child.

MS CRICHTON: What standard is your child in now?

MS SKEPU: He is in standard three.

MS CRICHTON: Thank you Mrs Skepu. I am going to hand you back to the Chairperson now.

MR POTGIETER: Thank you June. Thank you Mrs Skepu.

 
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