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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 17 April 1996

Location EAST LONDON

Day 3

Names ERNEST MALGAS

Case Number EC0001/96

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: I've been getting some advice from this man on my right here, which happens to be good advice, that we should please take Mr Malgas, he's been in the wheelchair for quite a while and we would hope that could dispose of the matter but whether we do or not we will want to continue up to about five.

(Stretching break)

DR BORAINE: Could I have silence please. We call now and invite to the stand, Mr Singqokwana Malgas. We are delighted to welcome you here and you have remarkable patience, waiting and waiting and waiting and we're very glad that we are able to have the hearing now before you go home and having to come back again.

MR SINGQOKWANA ERNEST MALGAS: (sworn states)

DR BORAINE: Mr Malgas, you have been listening yesterday and today, and you know that there are many different kinds of victims of human rights violations of violence. Your situation is quite different from a whole lot of other people. You are a victim of torture, of harassment, of imprisonment, and we want you to tell us your story, but in order to assist you, as we have assisted everybody, Tiny Maya is going to lead and ask you some questions and I hope you'll feel very relaxed, very comfortable and try and answer the question as best as you can. Thank you very much.

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MS MAYA: I greet you Mr and Mrs Malgas. I want to make an announcement before we start. Mr Malgas asked me to indicate that we must give him extra time because he has difficulty in speaking, because on release from one of his detentions, there were a series of them, his body was now deformed and he had a stroke. It's difficult for him to speak as his body is not functioning very well, so he asked me to announce that to the House.

How do you feel Mr Malgas?

MR MALGAS: I'm fine thank you.

MS MAYA: Can you please tell us about yourself. You are Mr Malgas from Port Elizabeth, your story is a very long one compared with all those that we have heard today. It is from 1963. Now in 1963, how were you connected with the political organisations.

MR MALGAS: Can I first say it was the ANC organisation which I joined. I went overseas for military training. When I came ...(intervention)

MS MAYA: You said you were in a boat, you said it was Rhodesia at the time.

MR MALGAS: yes, we were from Rhodesia and we went to Pretoria. From Pretoria we crossed the Zambesi River and went for military training and came back here. When I returned I went to the police here.

MS MAYA: I request that Mrs Malgas should help you to remind you of some of the issues.

MR MALGAS: We went to the security plans and I met the security police there.

MS MAYA: Were you already in custody of the police?

MR MALGAS: Yes I was in police custody at the time.

MS MAYA: And they accused you as a terrorist.

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MR MALGAS: Yes they did.

MS MAYA: And then you were sentenced.

MR MALGAS: And then the police here in East London were the ones who arrested me, and I was tortured there and persecuted, and I was still inside in custody, Sergeant Goert was the one who did these investigations and he called the police from Port Elizabeth. I was assaulted terribly.

MS MAYA: What happened to you?

MR MALGAS: What can I say?

MS MAYA: Was the investigation final at the time, were you tortured and persecuted and we would also like to know what exactly they did to you when they were torturing you?

MR MALGAS: They took me to Pretoria to the detectives here in .... (end of tape 9)

.....I went to one of the rooms here at the police station

here in Pretoria. I was asked to give a statement about what was happening. Can I know, is my statement here?

MS MAYA: Lets come to the appearance in court, were you charged, is it true that you were charged in Pretoria?

MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: Yes I was sentenced.

MS MAYA: How long were you sentenced?

MR MALGAS: I was sentenced for 22 years.

MS MAYA: I am aware that when we look at the statement, you appealed about this sentence, and this was reduced, do you still remember for how long it was reduced to?

MR MALGAS: It was 14 years.

MS MAYA: Who was your defence?

MR MALGAS: Mandela.

MS MAYA: Do you mean Mandela who is now the President?

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MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: Thank you very much. These 14 years, where did you spend them?

MR MALGAS: I was on Robben Island.

MS MAYA: You stayed there for 14 years? I can see that you ended your sentence in 1977, Is that true.

MR MALGAS: Yes it is true.

MS MAYA: So you were released. When you got home when you were released from Robben Island, you were taken again and placed under house arrest for five years, is that true?

MR MALGAS: Yes it is true.

MS MAYA: During this banning order, how was your life?

MR MALGAS: You now my life was always the life of harassment, the detectives were always coming, I couldn't even go to work and My wife had to be a bread winner.

MS MAYA: For how many years did this go on?

MR MALGAS: Since 1982.

MS MAYA: An after '82 you were unable to get happiness.

MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: So you were detained frequently and tortured each time you were detained.

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: When I look in this testimony that you have given here, it was since 1985 after the stay-away in Port Elizabeth.

MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: Again you were taken to cells, is that true?

MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: During this period, I gather that you had your house burned dow. Can you please give us an account of

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what happened?

MR MALGAS: I suspect that it was the Boers who did this and we were asleep at the time. My son was also asleep.

MS MAYA: And he was Simphiwe, is that so?

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so?

MS MAYA: Was Simphiwe also part of this torture.

MR MALGAS: Yes he was.

MS MAYA: Simphiwe was poured with acid and do you remember the house was burned at that period.

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: Can you remember thereafter that you were given instructions that you should stay in the house again?

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: And you were arrested again in 1986.

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: Again in the state of emergency in 1986, about two to three years thereafter, were you arrested or were you charged.

MR MALGAS: No I was not charged.

MS MAYA: And then you were released in 1989, is that so?

MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: Were you in the cells all the time?

MR MALGAS: Yes I was in the cells. I was being beaten up all the time during all these periods I was in custody, but there was no charge against me.

MS MAYA: Did this happen until 1989?

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: During this period, did you realise that it was the time that you started to become weak?

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: I'd like you to confirm who the doctor was.

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Was Dr Mendi?

MR MALGAS: Yes it was.

MS MAYA: In 1989, could you remember, when you were released, you attended OPD Clinic in the hospital?

MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: Do you still remember the diagnosis that you had? Apoplexy?

MR MALGAS: Yes.

MS MAYA: What happened that they should get rid of this behaviour?

MR MALGAS: At the time in 1990, I got a piece off my mind, because everybody now was happy.

MS MAYA: I am certain that you are also satisfied with this.

MR MALGAS: I'd like to give another testimony that his younger brother was also travelling, then somebody stabbed him once and he died. This person said he stabbed him because he was his brother.

MS MAYA: Do you know who stabbed him to death?

MR MALGAS: No, this person was in custody and was then released without being charged. He has not been charged up to this day.

MS MAYA: Do you wish that this person can also appear in the Commission.

MR MALGAS: Yes we do.

MS MAYA: Thank you very much. Mr Malgas, I have seen here in this testimony that the treatment that the treatment that you received in the hospital, you have been unable to get it because you don't have any means to maintain your health. You can't even attend physiotherapy sessions, you are unable to get medication, is that true?

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MR MALGAS: Yes it is true.

MS MAYA: And I can also see that your house which was burned down and demolished should be built again and I suspect that you'd also like to have treatment? Is that so?

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: Is there anything that you can talk about?

MR MALGAS: No.

MS MAYA: Thank you very much. Are there any other questions?

PANEL MEMBER: According to information which you have given us, there is something which says, in May 1985, you were requested by Mr Godolozi, Mr Fasi and Mr Hashe, Mr Nguli, that they should accompany you to the airport. You say you were surprised. Can you tell us why you were you were surprised about this request?

MR MALGAS: I wish to say, Hashe and Godolozi and Galela and Nguli, they told me that I should go to the airport with them. It was a few weeks before, and I stated that I was unable to do so because I was afraid to go to the airport. And then we decided that we all should stay behind and only a few people should go. I was afraid that the people, because this person we did not know, whom we were supposed to go and fetch, we were afraid they could get into trouble if they went to the airport. The police at the time were always after us, harassing us, so we were afraid that the police will be after us and following us to the airport.

PANEL MEMBER: Again in your explanation you state that one of the policemen who was torturing you and beating you, he had a few words with Faku Gus, I'm quoting from the statement, it is said

"You will get it dead!" That was Mr Faku who

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uttered those words. He said, when we get freedom, which will be over our dead bodies.

MR MALGAS: I would like to say to them, if we freedom over our dead bodies, but I'd like to make them aware that we've got freedom.

PANEL MEMBER: Thank you Mr Malgas.

PANEL MEMBER: Mr Malgas, there is something in your explanation that I'd like to follow up. On the day when the house was burned down, I think I said your son was first burned with an acid. Again you say, due to this assault he died, is that so?

MR MALGAS: Yes it is so.

PANEL MEMBER: Was an inquest done during this period?

MR MALGAS: Not, nothing tangible had taken place during this period and we didn't have any opportunity to expose ourselves.

PANEL MEMBER: I understand that you took this to the authorities and reported but nobody took action about it?

Did you bury your son?

MR MALGAS: Yes we did.

PANEL MEMBER: Up to this day there was nothing done about this legally,

MR MALGAS: No, nothing was done up to this day.

PANEL MEMBER: Do you wish that if there is a way, could the Commission follow this up?

MR MALGAS: Yes. I'd like also that there should be a follow-up as to why he was removed.

PANEL MEMBER: Thank you.

DR BORAINE: Well Mr Malgas, I want to ask you a

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question, but if it is too painful for you to answer, that's fine.

MR MALGAS: Okay.

DR BORAINE: You have told us today that you were tortured many times in many different places. If you are able to and it's not to painful, could you describe some of that torture, what actually did they do to you?

MR MALGAS: During the torturing, I was always suffocated with a mask and there was this helicopter training. A stick was put inside your knees and you had to stretch your knees. During that period you were suffocated.

(Witness appears to be overcome by distress)

DR BORAINE: Mr Malgas, thank you very much indeed., for coming and we will certainly follow up what you have asked us to do, and I hope you have a safe return to your home. Thank you very much.

That adjourns the proceedings for today, we will start tomorrow at nine o'clock. Thank you very much indeed.

 
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