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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Starting Date 18 November 1996
Names BUSHY PETROS VANTYU
Case Number EAST LONDON MASSACRE II
MR POTGIETER: Before I ask Tiny Maya to announce the names of all the witnesses that we will hear now, can I just repeat a call on you when you leave the hall not to take the headphone sets with you, but to leave it on the chair when you go out. Can I please ask you cooperation in that regard. Leave it behind when you leave. Thank you. Tiny would you announce the witnesses please.
MS MAYA: Thank you Mr Chairperson. This morning I am going to bring forward names of victims of this human rights violation hearing in this Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I will name the victims in chronological order. We will hear seven victims this morning. Bushy Petros Vantyu, he will talk on behalf of himself, attempted murder. Ellis Nombeko Mfenqe will talk on behalf of her late son Monde Ben Mfenqe. Bongiwe Gloria Skepu will talk on behalf of Zanethema Skepu, the late. Nongaliphi Lenha Nzilane will talk on behalf of the late Ndodana Harold Nzilane. Kelvin Nokhumzi Khundulu will speak on behalf of the late Sipho Khundulu. And Lawrence Mangoma will speak on behalf of Mbulelo Mangoma. And Delila Matshamba will speak on behalf of the late Mxoleli Matshamba. These people either were injured or passed away on the Bisho Massacre in September 1992. Thank you Mr Chairperson.
MR POTGIETER: The testimony of Busy Petros Vantyu will be facilitated by Advocate Sandi. The testimony of Alice Nombeko Mfenqe will be facilitated by Ms Maya. Bongiwe Gloria Skepu will be facilitated by June Crichton, and Nongaliphi Lenha Nzilane will be facilitated by Ms Maya. I hand over to you in that sequence, thank you.
MR SANDI: Mr Vantyu before this Commission tell us what happened to you on the 7th of September 1992 at Bisho when you were a member of the crowd that was marching into Bisho. According to you on that day an attempt to murder you was committed in that when members of the Ciskei Defence Force opened fire you were also shot at. We also understand from your testimony, your written testimony which you prepared yourself, that you intend to give the Commission some light, some information on a number of aspects which you think are relevant when the Commission is looking into this incident. Now I hand over to you Mr Vantyu.
MR VANTYU: Thank you Advocate. First of all I would like to apologise to the floor because I will speak English to read my statement. I felt it is necessary to make some introduction, to give light into the situation that existed in the Ciskei prior to the march as I was employed in the ANC office at that time.
My name is Petros Vantyu and I reside at 11 Kudu Avenue, Theresa Park, Pretoria. I am currently employed by the National Intelligence Agency. Before the formation of the new agency I was a member of the Department of Intelligence and Security, that is DIS of the African National Congress, and was based on the Border Regional Office of the ANC. My responsibilities included, amongst others, office security, security of national leadership when visiting the region and information gathering. I lived in Mdantsane which fell under the former Ciskei. The information gathering duties led me to work mostly in the areas of Ciskei where there was a lot of repression. Repression in the Ciskei. Early in 1991 I learned from reliable sources in Bisho that Brigadier Oupa Gqozo had a unit called International Researchers, Ciskei Intelligence Service, headed by Anton Niewoudt. I believe maybe a lot of people know Niewoudt's background. He was one of the people who was responsible for the training of the Caprivi trainees. Brigadier Gqozo was reported to be really scared of Anton Niewoudt and was hero-worshipping him. That was according to the sources.
The unit had been formed around August 1990. Other members of the IRCIS that I can still remember were Clive Brink and there was a mistake here, instead of van der Bank, it should be Ted Brussels, Chris Wana and Colonel Gula. This unit was responsible for sewing a lot of disinformation in the Ciskei. I don't know whether Brigadier Gqozo was party to the disinformation or not.
was committed in creating acts of destabilisation in the Ciskei. They once staged a bogus raid in Metfort in Ndabatemba area. The took policemen from Zwelitsha and Widdlesea and told them that they were going to raid Mr N Mabusela and Mr M M Mjumbuntqla. This information I got directly from some of the police that were involved in that particular raid. In that operation Clive Brink shot from inside Mr Jombuntqla's house and he claimed, that is the IR, claimed that it was an MK terrorist who did the shooting. In the shooting that followed one policeman was injured on the thigh. I went to interview the old man Mr Mjumbuntqla and saw the bullet holes on the wall and ceiling. He told me that he and his wife were pointed with firearms and he was questioned about terrorists.
On February 9 1991 I got information that a number of senior Ciskei Defence Force officers had discovered a huge quantity of arms in a house used by the IR. The house is situated within the ministerial complex in Bisho. The weapons which were of Eastern Bloc origin included AK47 rifles, RPG9's and SAM 7's. SAM 7's are surface to air missiles. And the Commission will note that some of the weapons mentioned here are similar to the consignment that was sent to KwaZulu Natal by de Kock.
The beans were spilled to the other officers by Sergeant Major Vuyumelane who is now deceased, who had been recruited into the unit. He also revealed a list of people who were going to be killed by the unit. The list, according to the officers, including MK members, ANC leaders and people within the Ciskei administration that were regarded as stumbling blocks.
took them to Battalion 1 base in Bisho they were shot at by a group of soldiers at the base. Brigadier Gqozo claimed that they were staging a coup and arrested them. In that incident Lieutenant Tqumata was killed. According to the officers the only thing that Niewoudt was concerned with when he arrived at the base was his weapons which he took away. Nobody knows up to now where Niewoudt took those arms. The arrested officers appeared in court on two or three occasions and the charges were dropped and Brigadier Gqozo fired them from the CDF.
One aspect that I've omitted in my written submission is that the said officers here had compiled a demand to Brigadier Gqozo that he should resign because they felt he doesn't represent their needs anymore. The only people who had not signed that particular memorandum were only Brigadier Jemangele and Mr Makuzana, I can't remember his rank. The charges were dropped because, according to my analysis, court proceedings would have revealed the conspiracy to murder people and derail the negotiation process in Codesa. It would also reveal the fact that some of the Ciskean officers were not happy with Brigadier Gqozo's authority.
The IRCIS was reported to have closed down at the end of August 1991 after Mr Breytenbach, the then deputy minister of Defence had visited the Ciskei. In reality they did not. Some people like Clive Brink left, but others moved quarters to house no.2 in Ballas Estate.
Other incidents of repression in the Ciskei. During the course of my duties in the region I used to visit community members with Peace Monitors of the ANC. In August 1992 I visited the Dwashu and Olifant families whose members EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE
were killed by unknown people using a BMW on 26 August 1992. When I enquired about the BMW I learned that it belonged to the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ciskei. At that stage I used to have the particulars of that BMW, the registration number and the colour, but I can't remember them now. And I also know the person who was responsible for the vehicle but I couldn't mention him here, because I didn't inform him that I was going to cite his name.
According the source in the morning following the death of Olifant and Dwashu the BMW had been used by two young men and it had dust, the (...indistinct) and another policeman had to drop these young men who were carrying Uzzi submachine guns at the Youth Training Centre near Mount Coke.
Another source of violence in the Ciskei was the Peace Force. The Peace Force was a group of youths which was recruited from the rural areas of Ciskei and were trained in Wesley and armed with G3's and pistols. And in this regard there's a similarity between what happened in KwaZulu Natal, the arming of people with G3's and some other firearms which were put around the chiefs for their security. I interviewed one Peace Force member who had volunteered information in Rocklands in the Ndabatemba area. He told me that only ADM people were accepted in the Peace Force security and their duty was to protect headmen and other government property.
During that period Brigadier Gqozo had imposed the headman system which was rejected by the people. The Peace Force people were involved in beating members of the community. I interviewed a number of people that had been
In November 1991 about 13 members of Umkhonto weSizwe who stayed in Mdantsane were arrested in an early morning raid by the Ciskei police. They were only released when President Nelson Mandela. During that period I had to be on the run because I was lucky I was not arrested. I don't know the reason for their arrest even today.
I was involved in numerous interviews with people who had been assaulted by Ciskei soldiers. One time I went to one family in Gamneyba in whose house a handgrenade had been thrown by a CDF member who used to live in that village. A child was killed in that incident. I felt so useless when I talked to members of that family. Here I was being a member of MK talking to people who had been terrorised and maimed and yet could do nothing except pass the information to Peace Monitors.
I would like to expand on this point. You could imagine how people's hopes would be raised when you go with members of the organising committee and peace monitors of the ANC and you are introduced as an MK member to a person who has been attacked with weapons and the people, the high esteem they had for MK, and you know that the policy of the ANC at that particular moment was that all armed activities were suspended, you know on your emotional being that that particular person who has been there in that situation you really feel is working on your emotions, but there is nothing you can really do.
on the date which I've written was the 6th of August 1992. The Tripartite alliance held a march to Bisho to demand free political activity in the Ciskei. The march was led, amongst others, by the late Comrade Chris Hani. When we reached the border between Bisho and King Williamstown Ciskei security forces both soldiers and police refused us entry into Ciskei. Negotiations took place between the leadership and Ciskei police who were apparently in charge of the situation. The head of the march, that is the first column of the march was about ten metres from a group of soldiers who were in kneeling position pointing rifles at the marchers, a message came that Mr Pik Botha, then Minister of Foreign Affairs wanted to speak to Comrade Chris Hani over the telephone. I was amongst the people who accompanied Comrade Chris to Amatola Sun for the phone call. I could hear from Comrade Chris' conversation that they were talking about the prevailing situation, that is the march. After the call we went back to the march and it was decided that we should go to the Bisho stadium.
In this regard I would like to point out what has been put in the submission this morning that the RSA government was not able to intervene in matters of the Ciskei. As far as I could gather from Comrade Chris' conversation with Mr Pik Botha over the telephone, he was negotiating between Chris and the Ciskean administration, hence the agreement was reached that we should go into the stadium. Here I am in my mind I am trying to say I believe the South African government was able to intervene in matters regarding the Ciskei. I am using this as one of the examples.
I would like to refer to some testimony that was earlier given here by Major General Olschig(?) who in one paragraph refers to himself having drafted the report in which he set out his extreme displeasure at the situation with which the CDF had been confronted during that march, that is the August march. I would like to put on record, that is according to my experience, that is absolutely untrue. Some of the marchers at that stage even drank from a water truck that was provided by the Ciskean police. There was no confrontation at that stage.
Bisho massacre. The Bisho massacre occurred when the ANC was involved in rolling mass action all over the Republic of South Africa. As part of that mass action it was decided that another march to Bisho should be held. The purpose of the march was to occupy Bisho for 24 hours and hold a people's assembly there. Previously the Tripartite Alliance had occupied East London for 24 hours, and I was involved in that occupation of East London. I was involved in the preparations and the build-up to the march to Bisho. At this stage I would request to the Commission that I submit some photos that I still have of the march. Fortunately I have been keeping them as photos I have been having.
On the day of the march, 7 September 1992 we left the regional office of the ANC in East London for King Williamstown. There was a road block of the SAP on the road to King Williamstown. When we reached Victoria grounds in King Williamstown I learned from the marshals that there were roadblocks on the other roads to King Williamstown as well. At this point I would like to inform the Commission that I was involved in the training of those marshals in crowd control, as the person who was responsible for security in the region. I taught them how to conduct searches for arms and all those things, which most of the time when they were executing their duties I used to help them with.
The leadership held a meeting at the offices of the Border Council of Churches after which the march proceeded to Bisho. During this march I was not assigned to bodyguard anybody in particular but assisted the marshals with crowd control, hence I was always at the head of the march. I must point out that the stated objective of the march was that we are going to march into Bisho, and I wanted to make sure that I was always at the front of the march because I knew most of the marshals because of the position I held at the office. Along the route of the march there was a heavy deployment by both the SAP and SADF. They also deployed, that is the SA security forces in the ravine bordering King Williamstown. Comrades will remember if you go on the route to King Williamstown on the left there is a ravine that goes down there with bushes and there were soldiers
When we reached the Ciskei border we discovered that the route to Bisho, that is the tarred road was closed with razor wire. At this stage some negotiations took place between members of the national Peace Committee and some of the leadership. In the meantime deputy minister Ronnie Kasrils and other comrades went to the stadium. I saw them walking along the fence of the stadium. On their return they reported that there was a gap in the fence which we could use as an access route to Bisho.
Just behind the razor fence there were Ciskei police personnel, that is on the tarred road. I could see CDF members along the fence of the Parliament next to the building of the Fort Hare university branch and on the road leading from the other side of the Bisho stadium. It was decided that Ronnie Kasrils and other leaders would lead a group that should go towards the stadium and then change course and go through the gap in the fence. I went with this group. We went towards the stadium, that is we entered the perimeter fence of the stadium and we went inside and suddenly changed course to the gap in the fence. I was running on the right flank of the group, that is if the Commissioners can remember the geographical setting in Bisho. The right-hand side I refer to would be the one towards the tarred road, towards Fort Hare branch, I was at the extreme of that group, always running with the front people.
something terrible happening on my right flank, that is here. In actual fact at that stage I thought I was hit by a rubber bullet or something. ...(tape ends) ....but could get no answer. I called on Ronnie and told him that I was hurt. I tried to crawl to him and his bodyguard Toto, but couldn't move my right leg. Toto and Ronnie crawled to me and I showed Toto how to use my radio but still nobody answered. Ronnie said I should hold on until the shooting stops. When the shooting stopped I was carried by four people including Ronnie and Comrade Smuts Monyama. They put me under the entrance to the Bisho stadium, which was nearest to us, that is there are those tunnels that covered the entrance. As I could notice and later ascertain from other comrades I was the only person hit on the front group. Some injured people were brought from the stadium to the same entrance.
I would like to emphasise this point. As we ran through the gap in the fence the only soldiers that I could see were the soldiers that were deployed along the dirt road on the other side of the stadium, and in my experience if those soldiers had shot at us, if it was that column of soldiers that shot at us they would have hit us from the front and they would have hit most people in that column. Hence it is my belief that most of the people that were shot at in Bisho were shot by people who were either shooting from the Parliamentary side or the Fort Hare University side. And I also believe that I was shot by those people.
MR POTGIETER: Alright I will just place that on record. When Mr Vantyu took the stand after giving an introductory section of his testimony he asked permission to change his clothing, the top part of his clothing. He was dressed in a black top or black jacket when he came on the stand and he had with him in a shopping bag the clothing that he says he wore on the actual day of the incident which is a, looks like a beige to me from where I am sitting, a beige windbreaker and a beige skipper, sweater. And Mr Vantyu now wants to demonstrate the entrance and the exit wounds that he sustained on the particular day. Would you please go ahead.
MR VANTYU: With this I would like to demonstrate the fact that when we were running through the veld the Fort Hare University branch was on our right, almost at the back, and as the shooting started I turned towards my left to go towards Ronnie, and my analysis is that I was shot by a person from this angle. If you look at the clothes, though the inlet wound looks very tiny it's not directly on the spine if you look at it, the small dot here, it's a bit on the side.
MR VANTYU: The same thing you can see on the skipper, the sweater, it's not directly where you saw the dot, and my analysis is that as I was turning the bullet hit me on the muscle because I twisted and it went out on the other side, meaning which I was shot by somebody on the Fort Hare University side.
MR VANTYU: A group of comrades were on the entrance I could notice that others were close to tears. I could feel that something was terribly wrong with the right-hand side of my body just below my ribs and I could see blood on the skipper I was wearing. One Coloured guy tore the T-shirt I was wearing underneath and rolled it and told me to press it hard on my side. I felt very thirsty and asked for water
and as I drank it I immediately vomited. I was taken by three comrades, Mze Mbatemba, Kenenan one whose name I didn't know in an Audi to Grey Hospital in King Williamstown. As we moved out of the stadium people were crying and shouting that we should stop there were other dead people.
The comrade I didn't know kept on asking me questions and I kept on answering but I couldn't understand why. When we reached Grey Hospital I was put on the floor and there were people lying all round bleeding. Some were crying and others were groaning. I saw Dr Sekupa and as she passed by I grabbed her by the dress and told her that something was terribly wrong with my side. She called and someone telling her that I had disembowelment. She put a bandage tightly around my waist. She also put me on a drip. Then came Comrade Joe Jongle and his brother Zwai and they took me to Frere Hospital. I fell asleep when we approached Berlin and woke up when we reached Frere Hospital.
I was told that I was going to be operated on and my relative had to sign a document. I asked to sign it myself as there was no one. The last thing I remember is lying on my back looking with interest at the bright light above me. The next thing I was lying in a ward with a huge operation scar on my stomach, the hole on my side. I would like to also demonstrate the operation that was made on my stomach.
MR VANTYU: Thanks. The doctor told me that the entrance wound was on the back and the exit on the side. A lot of people used to visit me at the hospital. Then Miss Lumika Makubalo a nurse in our ward noticed members of the Ciskei Police who were looking for an injured soldier called Bushy. Bushy is my MK name. She noticed that their behaviour was suspicious and informed the authorities. They did not tell her their names but she knew they were Ciskei Police.
The hospital authorities informed the ANC office and I was secretly moved into a private ward. Only my family members whose names were registered at the hospital were allowed to visit me. Even my colleagues at the office could not visit me. I missed those visits a lot.
Two of my younger brothers had to take turns in being my security guards. They had to stay literally on my bedside all the time. I was discharged from the hospital on the 17th of September 1992. I insisted on being discharged. My wound on the side was still open and I walked painfully and slow. I couldn't go back home and had to stay with a friend in town.
In conclusion I would like to make various appeals. The first appeal would be to former Ciskei soldiers. It appears to me that the Bisho massacre was a pre-planned incident judging by the manner in which the security forces were deployed both on the RSA and Ciskei side. The declaration of certain districts of the Border region as unrest areas by the RSA government on the 5th of September 1992 can only lead one to conclude that they were privy to some secret information. This has been corroborated this morning by Minister Kriel when he says they had information that there was going to be problems and trouble. I would
I would like to appeal to the soldiers who were involved in the shooting to come to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and tell the citizens of this country what orders did they receive prior to their deployment. I sort-of believe that the testimony of the commanding officers only around the Bisho massacre won't lead us anywhere near the truth. If possibly the people that did the shooting could come and seek amnesty and forgiveness and give out their sincere understanding of the events on that particular day would be the better option for me. I plead with them to come and tell the people what exactly happened during the massacre. I also appeal to Brigadier Gqozo to cure himself. I have learned that on some occasions when the Brigadier was asked to come it was reported that he was ill. To my analysis you know his illnesses are caused by the various things that he keeps inside. Maybe it's going to help him when he lets them out. Quote to the Brigadier the arc defenders of apartheid are telling it, why not you Brig?
I appeal to leaders of political parties to stop making political mileage of our tragic past but to tell it as it is. The process is costly, that is the TRC process, but worth it of course. The sooner it is completed the better.
Then my appeal is also to the TRC. The compensation given to some of the victims of the Bisho massacre is pathetic and a disgrace. I have read from Press cuttings that people, some people who had their relatives killed in Bisho got as little as R500,00, and I must state that that hurt me. I mean I got R8 000 which I was not really
worried with, but how come can I get R8 000 and somebody who has his relative killed and gets R500,00? Logically I can't understand that. Let the Ministry of Defence and the attorneys representing the victims come public and tell the people how much was the settlement amount, I mean the whole amount and why did some of the families of the deceased receive as little as R500,00?
I would like to thank the Committee for giving me this opportunity to come and give my side of the story. Of course I didn't have enough time to prepare and I wouldn't have loved to go beyond my terms of reference, but there's a lot of information I would have loved to gather around the events of the day, but I feel the best people are the perpetrators to tell the truth. Thank you Mr Chairman.
MR POTGIETER: I thank you in anticipation Mr Vantyu. I am not going to entertain questions at this stage. I am going to first take the testimony of the remaining three witnesses and then I'll ask the panel whether they would have anything in particular they would want to put. I assume that you are finished with the questioning Advocate Sandi? Thank you.
MS MAYA: I greet you today. You are also going to talk about your son, Mlungisi Harold Ndodana Nzilane who was shot and passed away on the 7th of September 1992 in Bisho. Could you tell us exactly what happened to your son.
MS NZILANE: On the 7th of September I did not go to the march but my two sons went. A lot of people were coming back from the march but my son. Even my other son came back. I asked where Ndodana is, he then said he doesn't know, the last time they saw each other was at the stadium in town. They did not see each other again.
MS NZILANE: I found out the next day. One of his friends told me that he saw him in hospital in East London. His brothers had already looked in Grey Hospital and also Cecilia Makoena Hospital in Mdantsane. They came back saying they did not find him. His friend found out that he was in East London. People came to me on the second day, people from the community came to tell me.
MS NZILANE: I am sure I could give you the details, I don't have them handy but they often come to me because the father used to support them totally. He worked in Da Gama, was paid weekly and he would give them money weekly.
MS NZILANE: Nongisi was paid weekly, he helped me a lot by educating his sisters. The one went to Mxenge and the other was at the Border Tech. He helped me support them. When he passed away they were not through with their schooling but I did that.
MS NZILANE: What I want you to know is that Mlungisi has these two children, that is what is troubling me the most. Mlungisi would support me as well. But what is most painful is to see his children, won't these children please be educated and be put through school. The one has started in Mdantsane but the youngest has not started school yet. I
MR SANDI: Thank you Chairperson. My question is addressed to all the witnesses as they are sitting there. As you have heard that a man who was Head of State in Ciskei when people were shot is going to be here tomorrow, do you perhaps have requests to put forward to this man, Gqozo.
MRS NZILANE: Yes Sir. I have a wish that Gqozo speaks out. We have given the burden to you that you help us, feed us, support us, but this all should be Gqozo's burden because he is responsible for all this. Maybe he can tell us what caused him to kill so many people. After that I have never been well. I had a picture that would never go away from my imagination of my children, our children, and people's husbands, Gqozo should somehow give an answer to tell us what happened.
way back then when we would go to Bisho with our leaders that he is not very wise. Could he help himself please and liberate himself from all the pains that he's going through and tell the truth. This is not his burden, it is not his fault, it is the White man that were oppressing the Black man. These White men committed the worst of crimes, worse than him. He is just last in a string of bad things that were committed by the White man. That is all I have to say to the Brigadier.
MS GOBODO-MADIKIZELA: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Bushy that is what I wanted to touch on as well. As Mrs Nzilane said that the burden is on Gqozo's shoulders, but what we must investigate is that the burden of the then South African government where does it start and where does it end? You were all here in the morning when Mr Kriel told us about how he sent his men to Ciskei so that a police force would be built and also a Ciskean Defence Force. My question is when he told us that this would take over the Ciskean Government why was it then necessary that a Ciskean Police Force and Defence Force would have to be built up? What was the point and what was the motive? These are the things that I think the Commission should investigate. Because according to their statements to day and their submissions they say that they blame the ANC and Gqozo, but I think we should investigate properly why it was that people were deployed to Ciskei, what was the cause and what was the motive.
what is it exactly that we are going to reconcile? What are we going to look at? When people come here, people who have lost husbands, people who have lost children that were breadwinners, the deaths of these people impacts on the lives of these people. It is not only a gross violation of human rights, but people as a result of this have been disempowered. The Black man has always been a social outcast, without citizenship, without anything. People were oppressed because they were powerless. When we say that we are reconciling what happens to the dynamics of power of the time? If those power relations are still intact how are we going to talk about reconciliation if people are suffering to this day? We should therefore go further than the point of just apologising and saying sorry, but look at the fact that people are impoverished and look at how these people can be helped.
MS MKHIZE: Mr Vantyu I just have a few questions. You, in your statement you indicated that you were a member of the Department of Intelligence and Security of the National Congress, can you just indicate to us as to for how long did you hold that position? That is my first question.
A second question which I am not sure whether it's appropriate or not to ask but I am compelled to ask you, as a person who played a major role in this region did you anticipate any problems while you were facilitating the march? If you did, did you take any precautions? By saying EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE
did you anticipate any problems you have just said to us that you planned to occupy Bisho for 24 hours, so when I say did you anticipate any problems I am just wondering whether you anticipated an armed reaction on the part of the establishment, and if you did you know what precautions were taken? Or now as you are looking back how do you see that kind of a strategy?
MS MKHIZE: Actually as I am asking this question I wanted you to tell us as Commissioners, in a way to assist your credibility, you know for how long have you held this position, both outside and inside the country?
MR VANTYU: I have been a member of DS since 1987. In response to your second question, you know the problem in the Ciskei was not the soldiers or the police, the problem in the Ciskei was the leadership and its advisors. Hence you saw the top cream of the CDF being discharged from the army. When we were organising the march, like you would remember there were a lot of repressive incidents in the villages but we still could go to the villages and we were compelled, because our people lived in those villages, they wanted to be part of the transformation in South Africa. They were members of the ANC, they wanted to strengthen their branches, and they had that resolve to go to Bisho and make the statement to the Bisho administration that the vast majority of the Ciskean people do not agree with the administration of Brigadier Gqozo. And I was happy with the measures that were taken. We had more than 1200 marshals
many of which I have worked with, and I was sure of their capability. And I've put it on record that that particular day I was not assigned to bodyguard any particular person but to assist with the marshals, with the marshalling. We didn't, I didn't really think that we would be shot at at Bisho, not at all. I never got indication that we would be shot at, hence I was running in the forefront. I wouldn't just run into gunfire, I love my life. I still value it, and I valued it then. I was surprised. In actual fact when I was hurt I thought I was hit by a rubber bullet. It's only during the process of being hospitalised or when in the process of getting out of the stadium when people started saying, calling on us that there were dead people, you know I couldn't really believe. I was telling my friends and colleagues yesterday when we went to inspect the spot where I was shot yesterday that I am happy that I was shot. I am happy that I didn't have to experience what they experienced, to see all those people dead in front of them. Thank you Commissioner. I don't know whether I have answered your question in full.
MS MKHIZE: Well just as a follow-up I really do not understand what exactly do you mean if you say you didn't anticipate an aggressive reaction on the part of the establishment, I mean given your experience in intelligence surely you knew in this country how committed the Homeland leaders were in their small little islands which had been created for them?
MR VANTYU: To the contrary, like I put initially, that some of the soldiers and policemen in Ciskei were against Brigadier Gqozo, but they were employed by him. In actual fact they were favouring the ANC. So in that sphere I
didn't anticipate that they would shoot at us. Of course I'd expected maybe if they were so foolhardy in preventing the march they might fire teargas or something. But in terms of firing live ammunition I didn't anticipate that. In actual fact we received utterly no information on our side as members of DIS that people were - or the measures that were going to be taken.
Well it just remains for me to thank you for coming and testifying and to thank you for reminding us that it was flesh and blood, it was people who were involved in this incident because it's so easy if one listens to the politicians, if one reads the Commission reports, it's statistics. It tells you nothing of what actually happened. We thank you for bringing that back to us and for demonstrating that even now, even up to this stage you are still very, very deeply affected by what happened. We thank you for that.
We have taken to heart your appeals, the appeals that you have made, the various points that you have raised. At least the positive thing about this Commission's involvement in this incident is that a lot of the unsatisfactory ways in which this incident was handled before can be addressed through the process of the Commission. And there is at least a bigger probability of doing justice and undoing some of the injustices that flowed from this incident. We thank you for coming and we wish you well. Thank you very much.