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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type 1 N CALATA, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 16 April 1996

Location EAST LONDON

Day 2

Names NOMONDE CALATA

Case Number EC0028/96

MR

NTSEBEZA: Before I hand over to Dr Boraine, there is a request here. Some people

take these things home with them. I know they are not doing that deliberately it's just a

mistake, if you go home with this equipment, it's not going to help you in any way. If you

mistakenly take it, please bring it back, so that they can charge it over night for further

use. I know that we understand each other.

DR BORAINE: As was announced earlier, there are three witnesses who will take the

stand together, and I'm going to call out their names and ask them if they will please come

and take up their seats. Mrs Nomonde Calata, Mrs Sendiswa Mkhonto, Mrs Nombuyiselo

Mhlawuli. I will speak to each of you individually in order to start the proceedings, and

Mrs Calata, would you stand please?

NOMONDE CALATA: (sworn states)

SANDISWA MKHONTO: (sworn states)

NOMBUYISELO MHLAWULI: (sworn states)

DR BORAINE: I understand that a request was made by Mrs Goniwe to hold over her

evidence until tomorrow, and we are respect that, but we are very grateful that you have

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1 CALATA

joined the other three because you belong together, as we all know. The 27th of June 1985

is a day which will be indelibly printed in your minds and in your hearts and in the minds

of many, many thousands and hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa. Many

people within this hall and many of us sitting at this table knew your husbands well. We

had met them, we had worked with them and like you we heard with horror of the

gruesome killing of those four, the Cradock Four. One of the reasons why we started the

hearings in the Eastern Cape, was because of the terrible oppression that has taken place in

this part of South Africa, and we thought, instead of starting in one of the big cities, as so

many other things are, it was right to start here. And you know as well as I do and as the

Commission knows, that everybody who comes to this Commission is as important as

anyone else. Everyone who has suffered is a sufferer, you have come together and you

will be answering questions about something that was very very painful for you. We're

hoping very much that you will find this experience helpful and healing and in the end

will enable the Commission to be of some service to you as well. Mr John Smith will lead

the questions and I'm going to hand over to him now. Thank you so much for coming.

MR SMITH: Thank you Mr Chairman. Good morning Mrs Calata, how are you?

MRS CALATA: Good morning Mr Smith. Fine thank you, and you?

MR SMITH: Mrs Calata, I've got a copy of a statement which you have made and I've

also consulted with you at length, we have spoken about this matter. So I'm going to be

asking you questions and trying to get some of the important issues

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2 CALATA

out in leading you. But I want you to feel relaxed and if there's anything you want to add,

to what you're going to say, please feel free at any time. If you should leave out anything

which is important I will alert you to it, so don't feel nervous about it at all. Okay? Thank

you.

Maybe we should start off by asking you to introduce yourself to the Commission

here, tell us who you are and where you're from.

MRS CALATA: I am Nomonde Calata, a wife to the late Fort Calata. My birthplace is

in Cradock, I met Fort in 1974 there in Cradock. Unfortunately we had child

unexpectedly and this child was unplanned, but we got married in 1980 and were blessed

with two children. The eldest is Dorothy, she'll be 21 very soon. We have Lukanyo, he is

14 years old, Thomani is going to be 11 on the 8th of August 1996.

MR SMITH: To correct you, you also have a third child. Your third child is 10 years old,

is that right?

MRS CALATA: Yes Thomani.

MR SMITH: Thomani. Thomani was born immediately after the funeral of your

husband, is that right?

MRS CALATA: Right.

MR SMITH: What are your children doing at the moment?

MRS CALATA: Lukanyo is at Adlidge Gymnasium doing standard 7, Thomani is in

Cradock Primary doing Standard 3.

MR SMITH: Thank you, now your husband Fort Calata has had quite a strong

background in his family in so far as politics is concerned, is that right? Would you like to

tell the Commission about it?

MRS CALATA: The grandfather to Fort was a general secretary to the ANC

organisation during the treason trial.

Fort was born during that period. This name Fort was given EAST LONDON HEARING

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3 CALATA

by the grandmother, because she used to pay visits during the trial and she informed the

grandfather that there is a child and he was named Fort, because at the time that he, the

grandfather was at the Fort Prison.

MR SMITH: When you got married to Fort in 1980, was he involved in politics?

MRS CALATA: In 1976 he was involved because it was the time of the struggle.

Everybody was conscious now. During the time when he was at school, he typed a letter

to the municipality in Cradock, trying to inform them about the way in which they were

overworked, the streets were dirty and also how they used to carry on with the bucket

system. He was detained for this involvement and for this explanation and then he was

cross-questioned and why he wrote these letters, which he wrote anonymously, but they

could traced that he was the source of these letters.

MR SMITH: At this stage, is it correct that at some stage you were living in Dimbasa

and Fort was teaching there?

MRS CALATA: Yes he started teaching in Dimbasa, in 1979 an din 1980. Before our

marriage he was detained in Dimbasa for three weeks. After he was released from

detention, I cannot remember very well, under which section he was detained, but he was

on his way to school in the morning, thereafter he was released for a few months and then

we got married in October 1980. He ...(intervention)

MR SMITH: Back to Cradock at that stage?

MRS CALATA: No I didn't stay with him in Dibasa, I was still in Dimbasa and he was

the only one who was teaching in Dimbasa, so that is why he requested that he should be

back to ...(intervention)

MR SMITH: In Cradock.

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4 CALATA

MRS CALATA: Yes he get a transfer in Cradock.

MR SMITH: In 1983 you related a story that he came back from school one day and he

was very happy about a particular teacher that he met.

MRS CALATA: Yes he came back in 1983, he told us that there was a new teacher at

school and he loves this teacher very much. They are communicating very well and they

share the same interests. I was also interested about this teacher and then one morning

when I was going on duty this teacher came to visit us. He introduced him as Matthew

Goniwe. He and Fort then became friends thereafter.

MR SMITH: Yes they started to be friends ever since. At that moment there were some

houses that were being built there in Cradock, so we decide to get one of the houses and

then we took it as accommodation. There was a sliding scale and rentals were charged

according to earnings and it ranged from R24.99 to R89. Because my husband was a

teacher he paid the R89. The community of Cradock felt that this was too much for them,

because it is a small place and the people were not earning much, even if they were

employed. So they decided to put this and present it to all the teachers there in Cradock,

and tried to request them if they could assist in trying to negotiate for a reduction of the

rentals.

Then a meeting was organised to discuss this issue. that is where the committee

was elected which was going to handle all this and Matthew was the chairperson of this

Committee and Fort was a treasurer. There were also other members.

MR SMITH: You're referring to the formation of Cradora?

MRS CALATA: Yes. This organisation then started to become more important and then

it was named as Cradock Residents EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

5 CALATA

Association, abbreviated as Cradora. There was also the youth organisation which was

also in existence, and this organisation was trying to bring about discipline and morals to

the youth which was beginning to disintegrate, and Fort was the president of that youth

association.

Time went on and people agreed together that this will be taken up in court, this

rent issue. R5,00 were gathered so that we can get ourselves a lawyer. As this carried on,

preparing to challenge this in court, time went on, UDF started. Our organisations

decided that we should get into UDF because it was strong at that time, and it was the

organisation with a vision, and we affiliated with the UDF.

Whilst still affiliating with them, things went on and I was arrested in November 1983. I

was fetched from work. I was wearing a T-shirt on which was printed, "Free Mandela". I

was then arrested and charged just because of that T-shirt.

While waiting for the case it was postponed and postponed, My lawyer was Mr

Suwisa at the time, and Mr Booysen Weranni. In December 1983, the schools were

closed, Matthew received a telegram, informing him about his transfer to Graaf Reniet,

but he dearly wanted to be

in Cradock to be with his wife. It really didn't appeal to his lawyers that Matthew should

be the chairman of this organisation. This was taken to the officials and the Department of

Education and Training was involved in these negotiations. While negotiating, there was a

new school built which is now known as Matthew Goniwe High School, but at first it was

Lengelishle High School.

In January when the schools reopened...(intervention)

MR SMITH: Did anything happen during the process of negotiations between the

community and the authorities

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regarding Matthew's transfer?

MRS CALATA: During that time of negotiations with Education and Training to

reinstate Matthew, instead of him receiving a letter telling him that his transfer will be

cancelled, he only received a telegram saying he has been dismissed.

MR SMITH: On that particular year?

MRS CALATA: Yes it was in December. Now in January, when the students went back

to the schools, they found out that Matthew is not available, it was true that the

Department fired him. The schools reopened, school boycotts started, pupils were not

going to school, they wanted Matthew to be reinstated. Parents were at the same time

negotiating with the Department of Education and Training. But you know nothing

actually never came up from the Department of Education, whether to reinstate Matthew

or not. On the 31st of March, in 1984, it was 10 o'clock in the evening, we were sleeping,

we heard lots and lots of cars outside, I said to my husband, "No let us not wake up, let's

wait and see what happens." We heard knocks at windows at the front of the house, all

over.

Because I was always close to him I tried to be very strong. We stood up and lit

up the house. I said to them. "If you are not going to knock at the door only, I'm not going

to open". They knocked at the door, Mr Venter stepped in, he had a paper in his hands but

he never showed it to me, what was written on it, he said to me, "Where is Mr Calata,

we're here to detain him in terns of the Internal Security Act."

My husband was in the room, he already had his clothes on and he was wearing

very warm clothes. There policemen, EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN

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6 CALATA

I can remember, it's Mr Venter, Mr Kawia, a black man, it was Mr Strauss who was

wearing uniform and had a small stick in his hand. They were not very patient with him,

they were pushing him, they were really hurrying and I requested that they must please not

push him or handcuff him because he's got a chest problem.

MR SMITH: Would you like some time Mrs Calata, are you fine to continue? Let me

just assist you with this whole process, I'll put...(intervention)

MRS CALATA: After leaving with him, they handcuffed him behind his back. Because

I was also waiting for a trial for wearing a T-shirt, I didn't know where he was taken to,

there was no word about my husband.

The following morning I woke up to go to work and tried to ask the police where

they took him because I wanted to give him some tablets. They said they would come and

tell me and I went to work but there was absolute silence. I went for my own case on the

11th of April in 1984, the case was discussed and I was charged for three months

imprisonment or a fine of R800. I paid R250 a month because I couldn't leave my

children alone at home without their father.

The following day I went to work after this case of mine. When I arrived at work,

I was working at the Provincial Hospital at Cradock, they said the matron would like to

see me. Well I went to the Superintendent with the matron, there was a form on the table

which they said I must sign. I asked them to read me the form but they refused. They

informed me that they want to make me leave the job. I asked them if we could wait until

the case is finished, but they never gave me the chance and just dismissed me with

immediate effect. They said that I shouldn't be seen

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anywhere around the premises in the hospital and I went home.

MR SMITH: After your dismissal on that day, your husband was still in detention at the

time. Did you manage ...(indistinct) after your dismissal?

MRS CALATA: The police came to tell me he was in Diepkloof Prison in Johannesburg.

We applied for a permit to go and see him. I went to see him in May for the first time.

The second time when I asked for a permit to visit him, it was after supper time, the police

said to us they don't take permits after their meals. I went home, and just at the entrance

police took me, and put me into their cars. I tried to shout to my dad that I am being taken

by the police, because I could see him in the distance. At the police station, the head of

the police asked to see my identity document. I gave them my document with the hope

that I may see my husband. At that time I was carrying a so-called Coloured ID. They

asked me, if I am going to vote now for the tricameral parliament. Before I could answer

that question, they said that they knew that I could not even vote, because they knew that

I'm a member of the ANC. I never gave them an answer, I just kept quiet.

They were now threatening me, saying, "Your children long to see their father,

hey, they will never see him". And I asked them what child doesn't want to see his or her

father? They told me that I will never ever be employed in Cradock. What will we eat

because my husband was in prison and my children had to go to school? I just kept quiet.

Eventually at about six, when it was dark in the town, and I didn't have a permit to

see my husband, I went to see Fort and I said to him that I have bad news for him.

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8 CALATA

MR SMITH: In May 1984 you saw your husband?

MRS CALATA: Yes that was my second visit. He stayed six months in detention and

was released on the 3rd of October.

MR SMITH: I want to take you back to the 2nd of May 1985. Your husband was not

around on that day?

MRS CALATA: In May Fort was not around, he was in Johannesburg to see the physio

authorities because he had a frozen shoulder. On the 27th of May in the early hours, I was

woken up by the knocks and the lights of flashlights right in the house, and I went to open

the door. I saw Mr Venter and Mr Gouws as well as many other policemen, horses,

SADF, just full of military. They entered my house and said they want to search. They

searched my bedroom for UDF documents and took everything. In their search Mr Venter

asked me where my husband was. I told them that he was in Gauteng. He asked this in

Afrikaans and he said, "The day we find him he's going to be in very big trouble."

I was worried and scared but brave at the same time. I kept quiet looking at him.

He stood up and said, "What is this bad after all?" After that they left my house, Matthew

arrived and he said that they had visited all the executive members, taking all the

documents from them. In April before Fort went to Johannesburg for his physio

treatment, he arrived from the UDF meeting at night, I was already in bed and he woke me

up. He said,"Nomonde, I have to tell you this." I replied, "Speak". And he said "WE

were detained with Matthew for a few hours in Port Elizabeth. We left Sparrow in the car,

we left Sparrow because we didn't want the car to be seen, Matthew and I were taken to

SANLAM building in Port Elizabeth. A security branch section was sitting there waiting

for us. There was EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

9 CALATA

one of them who said, 'Lieutanent, can we do it?' They asked questions after saying this.

Matthew at the same time was being asked such questions" He was clever enough to tell

Fort that one guy....... (end of tape) ..... yes he was able to explain and said, "I think they

plan something very big about us". We took this lightly but we were unhappy and

uncomfortable while we slept. He kept on thinking about this incident in Port Elizabeth

where they planned this and expressed that he was shocked about what he had heard.

In May, when he was still absent, they didn't want to give him a driver's licence, so

he was always escorted by someone, when he was not there, his younger brother, Robbie

was driving for him. Roy came to inform me and told me and told me that when they

were away with Mr Calata, the police came and stopped them. He was the driver and they

asked Matthew where Marai is. He asked who Marai is? And then they asked Fort if had

forgotten his wife, Fort, sarcastically. They said, "We will get you again, you and Marai."

Matthew was cheeky and then he just regarded them and got into the car. It was in May in

the time.

MR SMITH: 1985?

MRS CALATA: Yes. On the 27th of June informed me that he and Matthew would be

going for a briefing in Port Elizabeth. Matthew came in at about 10 o'clock, he was with

Spiro, with Sicelo and Fort was the fourth one. They went together as usual.

MR SMITH: Were they returning?

MRS CALATA: Yes he mentioned when they'll be coming back because they usually

came back at eight but today he came in at 10 o'clock, but he said also, "We think that

we'll be coming very late, maybe at 11 in the evening, I'll be here", EAST LONDON

HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

9 CALATA

I'm certain about that. And then this kept on. At 11 I was anxious and unable to sleep

because my husband was not yet back as he had promised. I knew that he was always

being followed and harassed, even when he went to OK, wherever he went, he was

harassed by the police force.

There was a reverend who visited our place during that weekend and I woke up

and felt that I was uneasy. I went to the reverend's room who was a visitor and said that I

was anxious because my husband had not returned. He reassured and told me that he

would probably come in the morning because it was very late. Still I felt this was unlike

him as he reports when he is going to sleep over somewhere. He doesn't just act without

informing me.

So I kept on, I was awake suffering from insomnia. When I looked out, there was

a caspar and vans. The casper was on the other street but not a single car moved around as

they usually did. This was also an indication that something was wrong. I had this

premonition and I was very expectant at the time. I still had insomnia.

The following day I woke up but I was working under pressure because I was

hopeful that probably the reverend's reassurance might be true. The day went on, Mrs

Goniwe came to visit in the afternoon and she said and said that she went along to search

for her husband. We exchanged information and she had been to known places to see

whether her husband had not come back. She went to the Somerset pump station but she

was just informed that they had just seen those men at about 12 and they were in a rush.

She said she came back after hearing this and she could see that the atmosphere had

changed. If they went out the police were carrying guns and so they rather came back.

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10 CALATA

We started to feel very unhappy and uneasy, we were really in the dark. We slept

uneasily on Friday as we did not know what happened to our husbands. Usually the

Herald was delivered at home because I was distributing it. During the time that it was

delivered I looked at the headlines and one of the children said that he could see that his

fathers car was shown in the paper as being burned. At that moment I was trembling

because I was afraid of what might have happened to my husband, because I wondered,if

his car was burned like this, what might have happened to him?

I started distributing the papers as usual, but I was very unhappy. After a few

hours some friends came in and took me and said I must go to Nyami, who was always

supportive. I was still 20 at the time and couldn't handle this. When I got to Nyami's

place Nyami was crying terribly and this affected me also. (sobbing)

MR SMITH: Mr Chairman, may I request the Commission to adjourn maybe for a

minute, I don't think the witness is in a condition to continue at the present moment.

CHAIRPERSON: Can we adjourn for 10 minutes please?

OBSERVERS SINGING: What have we done? What have we really done? What

have we done?

MR SMITH: Mr Chairman, may I be allowed to proceed, please? Thank you. Mrs

Calata, you're ready to go on, are you feeling better?

MRS CALATA: Yes.

MR SMITH: You were still telling us, after you saw in the Herald after the

disappearance of your husband and saw the burned car, that you went to Mrs Goniwe's

house. Can you please proceed from that point.

MRS CALATA: Well of course, I arrived with other women at EAST LONDON

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that place. Mrs Mkhonto was there with us, Mrs Goniwe was also there, people were very

full in the house, and I heard the news that the bodies of Sparrow Mkhonto, and Mhlawuli

have been discovered. I was wondering what happened to Matthew and Fort. I went to

my in-laws to stay with them. Saturday and Sunday passed. It was now Monday.

On Tuesday afternoon we were about to meet Mr Louis Bosolek who was the

attorney of the Seso Centre. Well we met him at Matthew's place. While he was talking

to us taking statements, coming to me with Mrs Goniwe he indicated that he wanted

statements about our late husbands. We didn't accept the fact of our late husbands, we

didn't accept the word, late, because we said that that moment we did not know what

happened to them.

When I got home, the reverend from my church visited me. He had come to

explain that the bodies of Fort and Matthew were found.

At that time I had my second child, this child was very close to the father. After

hearing this news the child was sick, I was pregnant at the time, I left the child that was

inside of me, I don't know what happened to me on that day. An appointment was made

with the doctor the next day, the thing I did not know was why this appointment was made

so secretively, but when I arrived there, the security police were already there, just where I

stepped in. I did not know if they were going to look at my condition, but she said to me,

"Sister, you have to clean your face, wipe away the tears and be brave". And I listened.

When they saw me they saw a very strong person. I went to see the doctor and I went

home thereafter.

The community and the family members went out to

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12 CALATA

identify the bodies. Mr Koluwe, the man we as families

asked to go and identify the bodies, has passed away. He said that he had seen the bodies

but he discovered that the hair was pulled out, his tongue was very long. His fingers were

cut off. He had many wounds in his body. When he looked at his trousers he realised that

the dogs had bitten him very severely. He couldn't believe it that the dogs already had

their share.

Well the funeral went on, I'm sure the Chairman of this Committee knows the

function, if I remember well, the Chairman was supposed to have attended the funeral.

After their burial, they were buried on the 20th ...(intervention)

MR SMITH: Allow me please. There is an incident that happened after the funeral,

when the police actually came to your house, I want you to tell the Commission what

happened.

MRS CALATA: They were buried on the 20th of July, that time there was a declaration

of a state of emergency. On the 8th of August I went to deliver my baby Tulani, I was

used to giving birth in the normal way but Tulani was a caesarian. Well I gave birth to the

child and went home the following day. A few days after the birth of this son, the security

police arrived at home, the leader was Mr Labuschagne, and they said to me, "Don't you

want us to be the father of this child?"

I kept quiet, I didn't give them an answer. They waited a few minutes and then

left. After a few minutes they came back. They said,"We want to evict you from this

house. You do not have money to pay for the rent and we know you do not have money,

you took out all your money

in your bank. Even in Fort's account there is not a cent

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13 CALATA

left, so we are here to take you out of the house."

I didn't give them an answer or indicate whether I will move out or not. They

repeated that they are here to evict me and I said to them that I am not going to get out of

the house. They could take a gun and shoot me, but I'm not getting out of the house. Well

they stood up and they went off. I asked my next-door neighbour to come and take care of

my children, I went to see my baby sitter and my dad to ask him if he can do anything

about the rent issue. Well they organised me some money and I stayed in the house.

You know that people were so after me that in January 1986, I just decided to

leave Cradock and be far away from there. I went to stay with my friend in Johannesburg

for six months. Well I came back when I realised that the situation was a bit quiet.

MR SMITH: During 1989 there was an inquest into the circumstances surrounding your

husband's death. Can you recall what the findings of that inquest were?

MRS CALATA: Yes we had this inquest in 1989 at New Brighton. The finding was

that, yes the court agrees they were killed but there's not enough evidence as to who killed

them. Now the inquest will never be taken further. That was the end of it. We stayed at

home with no knowledge until 1994, if I am right. There was a signal in the New Nation

newspaper. Then the inquest was reopened.

MR SMITH: Is that the note where instructions were given for your husband to be

removed from society, your husband and the other three?

MRS CALATA: Yes the signal, as I have mentioned, wads written by Mr du Plessis,

through Mr van Rensburg's

instructions, he was also instructed by Brigadier van der EAST LONDON HEARING

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13 CALATA

Westhuizen. This signal, the three names were there, Fort Calata, Bulela Goniwe and

Matthew Goniwe removed from society as a matter of urgency. I can't remember the date

very well.

MR SMITH: Is it correct that the finding of that inquest was eventually to the effect that

the security forces were responsible for the death of your husband and others? But it

could not apportion blame either to the army or to the

police. Is that correct?

MRS CALATA: Yes that's right.

MR SMITH: ...(indistinct) your attorneys at the Legal Resources Centre in Grahamstown

to issue summons for damages for loss of support, arising out of the death of your

husband? Is that correct? ...(indistinct) attorneys that that matter is in the process of being

settled by the Government?

MRS CALATA: Yes that's right. Last year, if I remember well, it was in February,

Dorothy was just about to start at school, I didn't even have a cent, but there was hope that

this settlement will be finished because we have sent in the claims. Clive called and said

this will be settled. This was February last year. Well we were hopeful that the child will

be able to go to school, Clive came in May, telling me that other documents were needed,

which we gave them and he said that there would surely be a full settlement in June. We

waited and waited. You know I kept on phoning. I called Clive in October last year, he

said that they were being delayed by the army department who haven't given them a full

report, but very soon they would complete the settlement. To this day nothing has been

done.

MR SMITH: Are you referring to Mr Clive Plasket now from EAST LONDON

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14 CALATA

the Legal Resources Centre.

MRS CALATA: Yes.

MR SMITH: Did he tell you that the Government has given an undertaking that the cases

are going to be settled.

MRS CALATA: Yes.

MR SMITH: But he's waiting now for the final settlement, and that is since February last

year?

MRS CALATA: Yes.

MR SMITH: Do you want to ask this Commission to attempt to facilitate an expeditious

settlement in this matter?

MRS CALATA: I'll be very happy.

MR SMITH: The inquest has made a very general finding about your husband and those

who were responsible for his death. Would you want to know the identity of the person or

persons who were responsible for your husband's death, and if so, why would you like to

know who exactly killed your husband?

MRS CALATA: I'd be very glad to know this person. If I can know the individuals who

are responsible for this I will be able to understand why they did it. Most of the time I can

remember that this child, the third born, Tommy does not have a picture of his father and

the last born has no idea at all and they always ask how he was and what he will be doing

at this time. Tomani, the last born is a child who always wants attention, always wants to

be hugged, and even if he's playing with the other children and talking about the others

who always say that their fathers are coming at a certain time, you'll find that when he

comes back he doesn't know what to say about his father.

As a mother I always to play the roles of both parents but I'll be really glad if I can

know what happened so that EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

15 CALATA

my children can get an explanation from me, so that I can say it is so and so and so and so.

This will probably make me understand. I do not know the reason for their cruelty, but I

just want to know and my family will also be happy to know who really cut short the life

of my husband. Not to say that when they are old I'm just teaching them to retaliate or to

be revengeful, it's just to know who's done this and who changed our lives so drastically.

MR SMITH: Anything else that you want to ask this Commission to do for you?

MRS CALATA: Yes there is something that I can request. Because I have these children

that are still at school, they have to survive with inadequate means, even if everything is

worn out they report to me like any other child, "Mama I don't have any shoes any more",

I just ignore them because I know I am unable to do anything about it. Sometimes they

would say, "Ooh we've at long last got new clothes, I've been wearing these for quite a

long time." That hurts me very much because I believe that if the father was here, he

would provide.

MR SMITH: Thank you very much for the evidence. You have done very well. Mr

Chairman that concludes my questioning of the witness, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Mrs Calata, thank you John, are there any

questions?

PANEL MEMBER: Mrs Calata, if I may just ask you one very simple question which

you may be unable to answer for me and then a second one. The first one is, are you able

to tell us the name of the minister who came to your house that day to bring you the news?

And the second question is ...(indistinct) the time that your husband was in

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

16 CALATA

Diepkloof and you visited him on two occasions. On the first occasion, how did you find

him, did he describe the conditions in the prison to you?

MRS CALATA: It was not a proper, or the person that I know - he was swollen about

the face. Although he didn't

mention that he was assaulted, you could see that he was disfigured.

PANEL MEMBER: Is that on the second visit?

MRS CALATA: On the first visit?

PANEL MEMBER: And on the second visit?

MRS CALATA: On the second visit he was alright but he was very disturbed because he

was expelled from work.

ANOTHER PANEL MEMBER: I would like to know the name of the bank from which

the money was taken?

MRS CALATA: The Allied Bank in Cradock. The money was all taken. No it was us

who had taken it because he was just trying to explain to us, to show us our position.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anyone who would like to ask a question? Thank you very

much.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: You must know because we are here we are listening attentively

and we are very very impressed by the way in which you carry yourselves, and the

strength with which you carry the burden, and this has also been noted because you have

been able to come and present your cases in front of everybody. We are very and grateful

for your efforts, thank you. I think we'll break for lunch and we'll come back at two.

COMMISSION ADJOURS FOR LUNCH

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

17 MKHONTO

MR SMITH: Mr Chairman, may I proceed to lead the evidence of Goniwe Mkhonto?

Good afternoon Mrs Mkhonto.

MRS MKHONTO: Good afternoon.

MR SMITH: How are you?

MRS MKHONTO: Fine thank you.

MR SMITH: You're not nervous? Are you nervous?

MRS MKHONTO: No.

MR SMITH: Okay I am going to be assisting you, so you don't have to worry. If you

forget about things, important things, I've got your statement here and I'm going to alert

you to them. Okay? So I just want you to relax and tell the story to the best of your ability

and recollection, okay?

Can you tell us something about yourself first?

MRS MKHONTO: I am Sindiswe Mkhonto, I was born at Cradock, I studied there, my

husband is the late Sparrow Mkhonto, he was also born in Cradock, he went to school

there and he worked there. We gave birth to a boy, Nonabo Mkhonto, he is 17 years old

and is now doing standard nine. Sparrow Mkhonto gave this name to this son after having

a few things. He was involved in the struggle and he said one day we will really relax.

MR SMITH: When did you get married to Sparrow?

MRS MKHONTO: I got married to Sparrow in 1972.

MR SMITH: Mrs Mkhonto, what are you doing at the moment, are you employed?

MRS MKHONTO: At this moment I'm working at a creche. I'm teaching at Lelindhle

Creche.

MR SMITH: When did your husband become involved in politics?

MRS MKHONTO: My husband Sparrow Mkhonto was involved in

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

17 MKHONTO

the struggle from 1983. Cradock during that time, people

were speaking with just one voice. They were fighting the tyrants. Sparrow was one of

those people who were elected by the people. At that time they were actually fighting the

rents. Sparrow was elected in the second meeting that was there, he became the

chairperson of Cradock area. The organisations were Cradora and the other one at that

time. Sparrow was working at that time at the Railway, he was not satisfied as he was not

feeling secure. Sometimes he would be taken from his job and assaulted at SANLAM.

He would come home in a bad condition. Sometimes he'd be re

moved and detained for two days. Sometimes I'd go searching for him but to no avail.

MR SMITH: You said that Sparrow was working at the railways at the time. What was

his employers' attitude to his political involvement?

MRS MKHONTO: In 1983, when he was working at the railway, his bosses arrived and

called him to their office and said to him that they are releasing him from his duties

because they cannot work with a communist who is busy spreading a bad image, firstly by

calling meetings and gatherings during working hours. Then my husband left his job. I

was working at a saloon close to SANLAM police offices. When I was still working, I

was released late in May. I was also informed that I am dismissed because my husband

was a communist.

We stayed together unemployed and this affected us very much and he was

dependent for maintenance on his parents who were pensioners. That time the pension

was available monthly and we were very miserable. My child was three years old.

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18 MKHONTO

MR SMITH: Mrs Mkhonto, during the period after your

husband became involved in politics and before 1985, was he arrested on numerous

occasions by the police?

MRS MKHONTO: Sparrow was arrested in 1984. The police came into our house at

about twelve. The police van just arrived, I was with my father and mother in law and

when I peeped through the door, there were a lot of police around my house. I told my

husband to put on warm attire. When he was leaving, he carried his identity document. I

gave him warm clothes.

The policemen knocked at the door and went around the house looking at every

part of it that they could get to. I ended up going to the door and I met the officer, Mr

Gali, he pushed me and said he wanted my husband. I fell down and my husband was

very shocked and quiet at the time. We regarded him as a cheeky person and Gali

continued and terrorised him and said, "You will stop being cheeky!", and he grabbed him

and took him to the police van.

We stayed for a long time without him. On the second day they didn't inform me

as to what had happened to my husband. I went to the offices of Cradora, when I went

there my husband was there in a terrible swollen state, unable to see because his eyes were

swollen.

MR SMITH: Did he make a report to you about the condition he was in?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes he was able to tell me that he was assaulted by the police.

MR SMITH: The names of the policemen who assaulted him?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes he told me it was Venter and Gali.

MR SMITH: Was he detained or arrested after this

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

19 MKHONTO

occasion?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes he was detained again for a day. This was fortunate, because

unlike the others he was arrested for a short period of time, perhaps a day or two.

MR SMITH: Did he appear to have been assaulted every time he was released by the

police?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes.

MR SMITH: And did he say to you that he was assaulted by the police?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes.

MR SMITH: Now can I take you to the 27th of June 1985. Can you relate to the

Commission what happened on this day?

MRS MKHONTO: On the 27th of June, my husband went together with Matthew

Goniwe, Sicelo Mhlawuli and Fort Calata. They were going to a meeting in Port

Elizabeth. They travelled together but he never came back that day. We waited patiently

but he never came back.

MR SMITH: Did he tell you when he was going to return on that day?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes he told me that he was leaving for Port Elizabeth but he didn't

tell me when he would be coming back. He went through and they did not come back the

day they left. After about two days I saw people coming to my place, his family, my in

laws, Reverend Dano and Geldenhuys.

I was really amazed to see the reverend and asked him what the matter was, because the

house was full of people.

That time I was informed that my husband was injured. I was told that he was

found dead together with Sicelo Mhlawuli. We were taken as families. We went to the

Goniwes. After a few days, we heard that Matthew Goniwe and Sicelo Mhlawuli as well

were found dead.

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

20 MKHONTO

In 1994, we came from an inquest ..(intervention)

MR SMITH: Just before you get you get to the inquest, were you informed by anybody

as to the apparent cause of

death of your husband?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes.

MR SMITH: What did the people say to you?

MRS MKHONTO: The people who came to report said my husband, Mkhonto and

Sicelo Mhlawuli, are dead. My husband was found at Blue Water Bay together with

Sicelo Mhlawuli.

MR SMITH: Were numerous multiple wounds on his body?

MRS MKHONTO: My husband, as I've heard was shot twice in the head and he was

stabbed and burned.

MR SMITH: You were about to talk about an inquest that occurred in 1994. But there

was an inquest earlier than that when no finding could be made as to the identity of the

perpetrators? Are you aware of that?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes.

MR SMITH: And you're also aware of the inquest that was conducted in 1994. Do you

want to say something about that?

MRS MKHONTO: In 1994, we went to the first inquest, we came back, there wasn't

even a sign of anything that had happened. The second inquest, the same thing happened.

But on our return from the second inquest, I tried to clean my yard the next morning.

While I opened the toilet, I saw something on the toilet floor. Those were the old toilets

with buckets, I tried to sweep and I felt something heavy. I pulled it out, it was heavy, and

I sat on the stoep and opened this parcel. It was my husband's I D, every time he went out

he would take his I D with him. I opened it, I saw it and I was scared. I wondered how

come my husband's I D is here? I rushed to the Cradora offices and I explained to EAST

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21 MKHONTO

them that I found my husband's I D. After that they said that I should go and report it to

the police.

Well I went to the police. At SANLAM nobody attended

to me, I spent the whole day there going up and down. At the end one policeman came to

help me. I told him how I found this ID that belongs to my husband, and everywhere he

went his ID was on his person. Now all the police in that office ignored me. They

suggested that I must leave the ID, they'll try to search and report back to me.

MR SMITH: Did you leave your ID document with the police?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes I left it there.

MR SMITH: Do you remember the name of the policeman that you gave this ID

document to?

MRS MKHONTO: I cannot remember their names, they were many in that room, White

policemen.

MR SMITH: In that inquest, the 1994 inquest, the court made a finding that the security

forces are to blame for the death of your husband, but the inquest court could not

apportion blame either to the army or to the police, is that correct?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes.

MR SMITH: You have also instituted a claim for damages against the government, are

you also represented by the Legal Resources Centre in Grahamstown?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes that is so.

MR SMITH: What did your attorneys tell you about the status of the case at the present

moment? What did the lawyers say to you, how far has the case gone?

MRS MKHONTO: The case really didn't give any direction.

MR SMITH: ...(indistinct) that the case is about to be settled? So your case is in the

same position as that of EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

21 MKHONTO

Mrs Calata? Are you also asking the Commission to use its good offices to expedite the

settlement of that particular case? Can you tell the Commission how this incident, the

death of your husband, how has that affected your life?

MRS MKHONTO: After the death of my husband my life never stabilised. My husband

was everything to me, he did everything for me. His death was never a pleasant thing to

me, today I don't have a husband, my child doesn't have a father, I have to answer many

questions. Some of the questions I cannot answer. Today he asks me this question,

tomorrow the next. Today I don't have a husband, my son doesn't have a father, the

family has lost.

MR SMITH: Nonabo is in school, is he doing standard 10?

MRS MKHONTO: Standard nine.

MR SMITH: Standard nine, is he doing fine at school?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes he's going well.

MR SMITH: Mrs Mkhonto, what else do you request this Commission to do for you,

how can the Commission assist you?

MRS MKHONTO: What I request from the Commission is that I'd like them to make

thorough investigations about this and please establish who did this to my husband. I do

not

just want them to be exposed, I want them to brought to court so that justice can be done.

I also would like the Commission to give me a hand in my child's education.

MR SMITH: Thank you Mrs Mkhonto. Mr Chairman that concludes my questioning of

the witness.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, thank you Mama. Are there any questions?

DR BORAINE: Mrs Mkhonto, I just have one question, to assist us to do what you

would like us to do, I need a little more information and it may be that some of your

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

22 MKHONTO

colleagues next to you could help you with this as well. You have said that you have made

a civil case against the State and that no settlement has been reached yet, but you are

hoping that it will come soon. You are asking us to try and expedite that. It would help us

a lot if you could tell us whether the relief you are seeking, has been asked from the

Department of Justice or from the Department of Defence, or both, or some other

department so that we can try and make contact with them as soon as possible? Shall I

repeat the question?

MRS MKHONTO: Yes please.

DR BORAINE: Sure. I was saying that one of the requests that you have made to the

Commission is that we should try and help to bring the settlement, the claim that you have

made, as soon as possible, and we of course, would like to do that but it would help us if

you could tell us against which Department or against which Minister, you are making this

claim, so that we can be in touch with them as soon as possible?

MRS MKHONTO: It is the Army and the Police that I request, both departments.

DR BORAINE: That's very helpful.

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

23 MHLAWULI

MR SMITH: Mr Chairman, I will now proceed to lead the evidence of Mrs Mhlawuli.

Good afternoon Mrs Mhlawuli.

MRS MHLAWULI: Good afternoon Mr Smith.

MR SMITH: You are a lecturer at Belville Training College at the present moment?

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes Mr Smith, I've been seconded to Belville Training College as a

lecturer in the new Department of

Xhosa.

MR SMITH: So are you residing in Belville or Cape Town now?

MRS MHLAWULI: No we are in Claremont at the moment.

MR SMITH: Tell us Mrs Mhlawuli, a little bit about yourself, your husband, you're

obviously here to tell, to relate to the Commission the disappearance and subsequent

murdering and killing of your husband? When did you meet Sicelo for the first time?

MRS MHLAWULI: I was born in Cradock. I am Nombuyiselo Zonke. I attended

school there at Cradock and Sicelo was attending school at the secondary school. Matthew

was my teacher who was a friend to Sicelo. When I finished schooling at Cradock, I went

to Mount Isa college where I trained as a teacher. I came back and worked for a short

period in Cradock. I went again to Tembasa. At that time Sicelo was working at

Temblabantu High School as a teacher in Zwelitsha. We struck a friendship which

developed into a relationship but we were not married at the time. We got married in

1980.

We were blessed with two children, Bawuli was born in 1976 and Nsika was born

in 1981. The third child, the late

Bantu, was born in 1985.

MR SMITH: At the time when your husband was teaching at EAST LONDON

HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

24 MHLAWULI

Dimbaza, and you were also there at Dimbaza, he had some problems with the then

Ciskeian authorities?

MR SMITH: Yes it is like that, there at Dimbaza, when he was working Tembalabantu,

the students were striking there.

My brother and his cousins were amongst them as well as my husband. They were

arrested and taken into custody in Zwelitsha. Sicelo went to court and he came back the

following day. In fact he was called and informed that there was a section of intelligence

which was headed by Charles Sebe, and this messenger came in and we started to be

frightened because we knew what was going to follow because of Section R252 under

which, if you were arrested, you knew that you would be put into detention in Zwelitsha

where the police cells were very cold.

At the same time I was afraid and I was putting myself in his boots. Charles Sebe

asked him what he wanted at that place. A receipt was taken out and he was told that he

was going to be watched. He went away from Tambalabantu and came to join me at

Dimbaza. There is a school there, Atchivelile and he was there. At the time there were a

lot of things to do and there were times that we had to do some of the things that we didn't

like. We went to Keiskammahoek and we were obliged to pay certain taxes which we

didn't understand. Because Sicelo didn't want to pay these fees there was a lady who used

to pay on his behalf because she feared that he would get into trouble.

This continued for quite a long time. One day while

the students from Atchivelile were engaged in unrest, the Ciskeian police came and

assaulted the children while dispersing them, and this they did until there were

injuries. Sicelo, my husband, took the children to Dimbaza EAST LONDON HEARING

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25 MHLAWULI

clinic and this got him into trouble, because the following day, the police came in and took

him into custody where he was interrogated. He was asked why he took the children to

hospital and he said he was trying to save their lives. He was released but from then on the

Ciskeian police periodically interrogated him wherever he might be.

This created a label against him. I was always very frightened when I saw a police

van, because I would get his clothes for fear that they had come to take him away to those

cold cells. He would just keep calm but at that time they didn't take him. We discussed

the matter and felt that we ought to leave Dimbaza and I was highly expectant that June.

In July I started to work as a teacher. We decided that he should be the one to leave and I

would keep the home fires burning.

The following year I joined him and then in October 1981, I delivered. In 1982 I

went to work at Oudtshoorn. We worked together for quite a long time. He was my

principle at the time, so things were quiet for a while, but the times at Oudtshoorn when

we could realise that we were struggling because it was a very small place. There was no

accommodation, you would put up even a shack which we didn't mind as long as we had

dropped the trail of the police.

When we saw people demolish a house, we took the bricks and tried to extend the

house in which we were able to stay. At a later stag, because he was a friend to Matthew,

there was a rally ...(intervention)

MR SMITH: Before we get to that, did your husband become involved in politics when

he was at Oudtshoorn?

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes he was involved in politics, there was

a youth organisation and he also took part in the community EAST LONDON

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25 MHLAWULI

based newspaper.. (end of tape) ....

MR SMITH: This relationship with the others, with Matthew and the others?

MRS MHLAWULI: His friendship with Matthew started some time back, as I said

before, he was the teacher and in 1976, between '76 and '77, Matthew was arrested in

Wellington at Umtata. When he was arrested, Sicelo said that we should go and visit him.

It was stated that not everyone could go in and as the child was not allowed to enter, I was

left behind. He was very angry about this because he couldn't see me. When he was

released he even told me that the mere fact that I had travelled such a long distance and

yet couldn't see him, gave him a problem.

At this time I was afraid to refer to him as Matthew, and always called him

Teacher but at that time I had to do it. Our friendship started a very long time ago, it didn't

start in 1985.

MR SMITH: Now your husband also went to attend the launch of the UDF, that was in

1982?

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes it is so. At this time, when we were at Oudtshoorn, there was

the launch of the UDF, we went with some of the people from the nearby places and we

wanted to observe and be part of it. So we were happily attending, in fact when we went

there we hid ourselves because we didn't want to publicise the fact that we were going for

fear of the police. When we came back, it was learned that a black police person came

and said that we are public servants and are not supposed to be taking part in politics. This

they

said in a very polite manner, trying to influence us not to participate in political issues.

They all tried their best to make it better for him to EAST LONDON HEARING

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26 MHLAWULI

understand the trouble that he is courting, but he ignored them and continued with his

participation and dealings with political issues.

MR SMITH: How did the community act towards your husband in view of his political

involvement?

MRS MHLAWULI: Do you mean when...(intervention)

MR SMITH: I want you to relate the occasion when his office was destroyed in a fire.

MRS MHLAWULI: At some stage, during all this time he was visited by people who

tried to get him to stop his involvement in politics because he was going to get into

trouble. One evening we were woken up and he was told that his office had been burned

down. When we went there we confirmed that this had indeed happened, some of his

belongings were there. As he was studying through UNISA, he would often stay late to

study. Nobody knew who had committed the arson.

There's an incident that took place just before their disappearance and murder. As

we were friends with Matthew, each holiday we used to go back home in Cradock and go

via Port Elizabeth to our friend. One day they were in

Tarkastad at a youth meeting. When they came back from

that meeting they were arrested by the police, white police, but they were separated. So

nobody knew what was happening between them, for some hours they sat...(indistinct)

without any explanation. He was shocked and told us that he had been arrested and gave

us an account of what had happened, but nobody could explain this.

MR SMITH: You used to go to Cradock to your home every

holiday?

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes, in June 1985 we went home as usual but EAST LONDON

HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

27 MHLAWULI

this time when they were about to go, on that Monday the 24th I had to go to a winter

school because I was studying through Vista. They took me to Port Elizabeth with the

hope that he'll be coming back and transport me home. On Tuesday he phoned me to

reassure me that he will come and collect me. On Wednesday there was no telephone call.

On Thursday when he was supposed to come, still there was nobody. But because he

would contact me regularly, I was surprised that he couldn't do that this day. My sister-in-

law phoned me and he was unable to tell me where my husband was, but said that he was

on the way to Port Elizabeth when she was making enquiries about him. She just

reassured me, saying maybe they are coming.

But it came out that they knew about this disappearance but they were afraid to tell

me that they have disappeared.

MR SMITH: Just going back a little, when he spoke to you on that Tuesday over the

telephone, did he mention anything about going to Port Elizabeth, or did he not say

anything about that.

MRS MHLAWULI: No he didn't say anything about going to

Port Elizabeth on that particular Tuesday. So I kept on waiting for him, expecting him, on

Thursday and he never turned up on Thursday. And then on Friday I saw a newspaper, I

read this article that these people were actually missing. But I thought to myself that they

must be detained.

MR SMITH: Was that the article in the Herald.

MRS MHLAWULI: The article in the Herald, yes, I thought that they are definitely in

jail. So what I needed to do

now was to go and get him a warm tracksuit and a pair of training shoes and warm shirts

too. So I dashed to town EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

28 MHLAWULI

immediately to get those things. Later on I talked to my sister in law again. I think she

was trying to ...(intervention)

MR SMITH: Sorry, just let understand this, I'm sorry to take you back, you actually went

to buy him shoes and a tracksuit, being under the impression that he's in jail and so you

were preparing to get some warm clothing for him?

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes.

MR SMITH: Okay, proceed please.

MRS MHLAWULI: On Friday my sister-in-law phoned me to find out if my husband

was here, I think she wanted to find out how much I knew about his disappearance, but

when I asked them they again said they didn't know anything. I asked her where the car

was, and they said it was there as well as the key. I asked my father in law to please

arrange that I should be taken back home, because I was already anxious, having this

premonition that something has happened. I was fetched by my father-in-law and some of

the friends on that Friday.

When I got back home, I can't remember very we'll whether it was Saturday or

Sunday, but when I got back home I found many people there, when there is a reverend

and people who pray, you immediately know that something terrible has happened. So I

fainted and when I came to I was given the bad tidings that they have not come back but

also that their bodies have found. There is a fisherman who said that he saw the bodies

next to Beacon Bay, but he didn't know what corpses they are. It was stated that there

were two bodies, the one was next to a red house. The people from Cradock went to Port

Elizabeth to make sure about what has happened, they also went to the spot where EAST

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29 MHLAWULI

the bodies were identified. Some were divided, they tried to search for these bodies.

Amongst them was my brother, Tqobane, and he said that as they were busy searching the

police arrived and asked him what he wanted there.

He told them that he was just looking for a child who was with him at the beach.

They took him into the van. Now in the van there were prisoners who were carrying

spades. Then he asked them what they were going to do with the spades. They didn't

know, they were just instructed to carry spades and to get into the van. Then he was now

aware that there was a misunderstanding between them.

The other group realised that one of them is missing and he tried to put his hand

through the side of the canopy to wave, but he couldn't do it. Then they just went off.

My father-in-law was among the group that was searching for the bodies. And he

said, "Nolita, my child, I saw a place where they killed my son. There was something

very suspicious, there was blood. It is clear that they killed him, they burned him at the

same place, because I even touched the sand because I wanted to see actually what it was

that was poured on them, and I smelt petrol. I tried to check there to find rings, belts and

such things but there was nothing of that kind."

They went back home without anything. As it has already been said that the

fishermen could identify the bodies, they were at the mortuary at New Brighton. They

went there to have a look at the corpses, and I understand that the police were very

difficult, they were pressurising them, they made a guard of honour as people were

proceeding into the house. I understand there were also remarks. My father in law had a

look and confirmed that one was Sicelo. He said the

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

30 MHLAWULI

condition in which he was in was really shocking. They had burned him terribly.

MR SMITH: Are you prepared to continue.

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes I'm prepared. He said, "My daughter, they've killed my son

bloodily", you know I felt very sorry, I was heartbroken. I went back home, that's the

whole story.

My father has never been the same since then. My mother who was ill at the time,

became a real cripple because she had a stroke. My father was talking alone, saying, "The

Boers killed my son, you Boers killed my son, my real right-hand". My father and mother

were both on pension and many times would be up and down. My father was never a

healthy person since then.

The second inquest was not yet over when he passed away. My mum also died.

Sicelo's brother was very touched by this thing. I asked him why he had lost so much

weight, he said, "Nolita, this has weakened me, it's because every time I would see Sicelo,

this is haunting me". He also passed away. You know it was death in our family, one after

the other. We are now left alone. Now after this second inquest, there were no more

elderly people, only youngsters. MR SMITH: Now I just want to ask you before you go

on, are you aware of what the post mortem results were about the cause of death of your

husband?

MRS MHLAWULI: I read the post mortem documents. Reading them I was really

worried, because it has to explain in detail what happened. I read through and came to

understand that he had many wounds, in the upper abdomen were five wounds, these

wounds indicated that different weapons were used to stab him or a group of people

stabbed him.

Now in the lower part he also had wounds but the wounds EAST LONDON

HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

30 MHLAWULI

in total were 43. One other thing that we understood, they poured acid on his face, after

that they chopped off his right hand, just below the wrist, I don't know what they did with

that hand.

MR SMITH: There was an inquest, the first inquest that I'm referring to, where there was

no finding about the perpetrators that were responsible for the death of your husband. Do

you recall that?

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes.

MR SMITH: You also recall that there was a subsequent inquest, where in fact I referred

to as Mrs Calata and Mrs Mkhonto gave evidence, we have already covered that a finding

was made by the court to the effect that the security forces were responsible. You also

obviously know about that.

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes I do.

MR SMITH: I'm now going to ask you, the inquest court made certain general findings

about your husband, would you want the Commission to use its powers to investigate

further to be able to identify the person or the persons who are responsible? In other

words would you like to know who were responsible for the death of your husband?

MRS MHLAWULI: I'd gladly love to know the murderers of my husband and they

should also come to the fore and tell their story and the reason why they committed such

brutal actions, and I think, in order to be able to achieve, what we are all hoping for,

justice should prevail, the law should take its course.

MR SMITH: Is there anything else that you want to request the Commission to do for

you? You're also involved in that court case which the other two have referred to, the

action EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

31 MHLAWULI

for damages?

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes I am.

MR SMITH: So I suppose that you'd also request the Commission to use its offices to

expedite the settlement in that regard.

MRS MHLAWULI: Definitely, yes.

MR SMITH: Is there anything else that you want this Commission to do for you?

MRS MHLAWULI: If perhaps the Commission can also take care the education of our

children, because we are here for them and they are also there for us, you know, I think

their future's quite important, so that they can lead a bright future.

MR SMITH: Thank you, you did well. That concludes my

questioning of this witness.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Mr Smith. Any questions?

PANEL MEMBER: Yesterday I asked a question and it is the same question that I'm

going to ask now. I was asking about this man whose wrist was mutilated, and also where

Webber was also injured during the Highgate issue. If these perpetrators can explain and

give an account and what would you do if they would request amnesty after the

Commission has cross-questioned them, and then if the Commission realises that they

have expressed their views and also giving their explanation for committing these

brutalities.

And what if the Commission is satisfied that this explanation is satisfactory and it decides

to offer amnesty, what do you say about this?

MRS MHLAWULI: The fact that they should be excused? I'm still moved, and I do not

want to lie, because my family have suffered extremely from this. My children were

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

32 MHLAWULI

extremely affected. We have been miserable for quite a long time and it was difficult to

guide my child alone as a woman without the support of my husband, especially during

this period when the child is an adolescent. Even if I say these people should be given

amnesty, it wont return my husband, but that hand, we still want it. We know we have

buried them, but really to have the hand which is said to be in a bottle in Port Elizabeth,

we would like to get the hand. Thank you.

SECOND PANEL MEMBER: Mrs Mhlawuli, you have given an account of what has

happened to your husband, this was terrible, and it is the way in which your husband, Mr

Goniwa and his friends were brutally exposed to torture, and I was very moved by what I

heard from you. All these gentlemen were known to me and this moved me and I am very

affected by what has happened to them. The speaker in Parliament, we were moving

together, going visiting with the speaker there. If I can just ask two questions, where did

you obtain the account which I was given, is there any information which you obtained

from the fisherman. Is there any other indication that you can know who the fisherman

was.

MRS MHLAWULI: No cannot give full information of his name, maybe my friends

would remind me who he was.

ONE OF THE ACCOMPANYING WITNESSES: We are not too sure but according

to the documents of the inquest which has recently been held, because it was confirmed

that the bodies were found by this fisherman.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there any problem?

WITNESS: We don't have a problem. Even if we don't know the name of the fisherman.

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

33 MHLAWULI

SECOND PANEL MEMBER: Can I ask another question? When you were given details

about what happened, you said your brother who is available, who is present now, when

they went to go and search for your husband, the policemen who came arrested him.

MRS MHLAWULI: Yes that is true.

SECOND PANEL MEMBER: Did they explain why they were arresting him, or is

there any policeman who was there at the time and arrested him?

MRS MHLAWULI: I don't know whether there was somebody who knew about him.

They didn't even explain at the time because they just grabbed you and pushed you into

the van

and no explanation was given.

SECOND PANEL MEMBER: Thank you very much.

MR SMITH: If I may just before you allow the witnesses to step down, Mrs Mhlawuli's

daughter, Bawuli Mhlawuli, has made a request, that she wants to make a short brief

statement to the inquest, so I please ask you to allow her the opportunity to do so. Thank

you.

Can I ask for the witness to be sworn or does the Chairperson think that it's not

necessary?

DR BORAINE: Good afternoon it's nice to see you again and I'm glad you got this

opportunity. I have to ask you to take the oath.

MISS MHLAWULI: (sworn states)

DR BORAINE: It's not very easy, we have listened to harrowing stories, including the

story of your father, but I hope you'll feel very relaxed and that you'll tell us what is in

your heart. Thank you.

MR SMITH: Hello Bawuli, unfortunately I have to ask you your age, I know it's not very

kind. How old are you now?

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

34 MHLAWULI

MISS MHLAWULI: I'm nineteen.

MR SMITH: How old were you when your father died.

MISS MHLAWULI: I was about eight and my brother was three. MR SMITH: And

your little brother, how old was he?

MISS MHLAWULI: Three.

MR SMITH: Now you have requested an opportunity to address the Commission, and in

particular you wanted to tell the Commission how your father's death, what effect it had

on your lives, when you were still staying in Oudtshoorn. And you have informed me that

you wanted to relate the harassment that took place after your father's death, and the way

in which your mother was treated by policemen, and in particular also the reaction of

your younger brother to this.

MISS MHLAWULI: Well at the time I was very young, but I just happen to remember

some of the things that happened.

MR SMITH: If you feel that you are not ready to give evidence now or that you're not

strong enough, I can ask the Commission to give you an opportunity tomorrow, Mrs

Goniwe is still going to give evidence on this matter, so if you feel that you are not strong

enough, then you must just say so.

MISS MHLAWULI: No it's alright, I will continue. After my father's death, we went

back to Oudtshoorn, that's where my mother was teaching. There was this particular

morning when we were all sleeping in one room, (end of tape )

.....they would just kick it open you know, and my mother just thought there was nothing

else she could do, she just went to open the door. She led them into the house and as usual

they came in and were searching for things that we didn't know. They came across one

big poster titled Freedom EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

34 MHLAWULI

Now, and they took it. And they saw some sympathy cards from people who were very

sympathetic and sent the stuff from all over the world, and this one policeman whose

name was Kroeter, he came across those and he was making fun of them saying, "Dit is

die kaarte van die doeie man", and they were kind of making a joke out of it, out of the

death.

After that, this man Kroeter was like harassing my mother, he was screaming and

yelling at her, asking whose belongings are these, why does she say everything belongs

to my father? And my mother said, because the stuff does belong to him, and he doesn't

necessary do what he does with her, because he was like barking, like talking to a dog. My

mother said, "I'm a human being, so are you, so you don't need to speak the way you do."

This man said, "The truth will come out one day", and that was very ironic

because here we are today in the Truth Commission talking about this truth. And I mean I

never expected him to say that because the truth that is coming out is based on him now,

not us, we're the victims. He's the one that committed all this pain to us, you know. And

after that my mother said, "I agree with you very much, I strongly agree with you, the

truth is definitely coming out one day". And this man sat down, and for once ever since he

entered the door, he sat down and he asked my mother if he could smoke. My mother

said, "Okay fine, he could smoke". He lit a cigarette and he sat down and smoked. He

looked quite withdrawn after that. And they had arrived at our around about 12 midnight,

and now it was around about six in the morning.

MR SMITH: So they were there for the whole evening?

MISS MHLAWULI: For the whole evening.

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

35 MHLAWULI

MR SMITH: Kept you out of sleep?

MISS MHLAWULI: Yes, and we never got to go back and sleep, we just had to get

ready to go to school.

MR SMITH: How old was your younger brother at the time?

MISS MHLAWULI: He was three years.

MR SMITH: Three years, how was he affected by this.

MISS MHLAWULI: We used to go to town with my mother or just go out, but my

brother, immediately he saw the policeman, or a white person, or he saw whoever was

non-black, he would say, "Here are these dogs who killed my father".

MR SMITH: Mabaluwa, what would you ask the Commission to do for you. Are you

interested to know the identity of the person or persons who are responsible for the death

of your father?

MISS MHLAWULI: Well before I come to your question, I'd just like to thank my

principal, Mr Idiessi, because after we stayed in Oudtshoorn, we all moved to Cape Town

because my mother, at the time of my father's death had registered to study further with

my father. But then she went on alone without my father, and when we got to Cape Town

I had to go to a certain school, according to the province that we encountered. So the

school was quite expensive and my mother couldn't afford it, but my principal, Mr Idiessi

was so kind and understanding, he let me stay at the school and when my mother wanted

to take me out he wouldn't let her because I would get very frustrated at any other school,

so I stayed. Then at the end of Matric, last year, Mr Gran,

isn't here today, he organised a scholarship for me, and I'm very grateful to him.

Well, answering the question, the people who did this to us have done something

very cruel that nobody would ever EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

36 MHLAWULI

forget.

MR SMITH: Would you like to know the identity of these persons?

MISS MHLAWULI: I would love to know who killed my father, so would my brother, I

suppose, because it's very hard for us right now to do anything, because in order for us to

forget, and forgive, we do want to forgive, but I mean I don't know what to say, we do

want to forgive but I mean we don't know who to forgive, we don't know the killers, you

know. And I must say we're all upset about this. It's been a loss, a big loss too because my

mother has to play two roles, a mother role and a father role, and I like to say, I'm very

proud of her. She's been very good.

MR SMITH: Thank you, Mabaluwa, thank you very much. That concludes my

questioning Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?

PANEL MEMBER: My question is going to be directed to all three, in fact all four

families. If it were possible for the Commission to facilitate the something that should be

done to remember all four families, since this was a so-called group killing, do you think

that as families you could get together and provide some ideas as to what you think we

should do to facilitate something to remember the four? You don't have to tell us now

what you would like us to do. But it's just the idea, do you think it would be a good idea?

As a group killing that you want to commemorate, the four families get together and think

of something that could be done to remember the families as a group?

In fact I've just been indicated to that perhaps when you talk tomorrow, Mrs

Goniwe, you will have put your heads together and you possibly will know then, what it is

that EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

37

you'd like to have. I just wanted that to be told to you.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: I wanted to say this when Miss Mhlawuli was here but perhaps I

should speak and you will tell her. I said after Mrs Mazwai that I was deeply proud of the

fact that I was black and that we had people of her calibre. We are proud to have people

like you and your husbands and the reason why we won the struggle, is not because we

had guns, we won the struggle because of people like you. People of incredible strength,

and this country is fortunate to have people like you.

And I wanted to say to your daughter, that her father where he is looking down, is

proud of her, and you should feel you've done a tremendous job with her, that in the

anguish which she is feeling, she can have the graciousness that she showed in expressing

appreciation for what Dr Boraine and the principal of the school have done.

We have a tremendous country, which has got tremendous people, and you are

one example of why we make it in this country. And that she, your daughter should say, I

want to forgive, we want to forgive, after what she has experienced, and seen what

happened to her mother and to her father, and she says, we want to forgive, but we want to

know who to forgive. We give thanks to God for you, and thank you for your contribution

to our struggle, and thank you, even if it was reluctant in a sense, rightly, thank you for

sacrificing your husbands.

 
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