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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 16 April 1996

Location EAST LONDON

Day 2

Names FEZIWA MFETI

Case Number EC002O/96

CHAIRPERSON ARCHBISHOP TUTU: (Conducting prayer)

MR BONGANI FINCA: Your Grace, the Chairperson of the Commission, Commissioners and Committee members present. I wish to report that the office of the Commission in the Eastern Cape has received the following applications of persons who wish to testify on violations of their human rights. The office has looked at these applications and it's believed that they qualify to be placed before the Commission. I recommend in the order in which they will appear before the Commission today.

Chairperson may I draw your attention to the fact that there are two matters which were held over yesterday. We will start with those in the order for Tuesday 16th April, I wish to report that Mrs Nyameka Goniwe has requested permission, and we recommend that it be granted that she appears tomorrow. The list for today then stands as follows:

Sindiswa Mkhonto appearing on the matter of Sparrow Mkhonto, the nature of violation is disappearance or murder.

Nomonde Calata, appearing on the matter of Fort

Calata,the nature of the violation is disappearance and murder,

Nombuyeselo Mhlawuli appearing on the matter of Sicelo Mhlawuli. the nature of the violation being

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disappearance and murder.

Chairperson could I report that those three will be appearing at the same time.

Singqokwana Malgas appearing on the matter pertaining to himself, and the nature of the violation is torture in police detention, Bessie Mdoda appearing on the matter of Xola Martin Jebe, the nature of violation being suspected in ANC camps or by security forces, Robert and Cecelia Kohl appearing on the matter of Bully Aliston Kohl, the nature of the violation being killing by police, Joyce Mtinkulu appearing on the matter of Spioms Mtinkulu, the nature of violation being disappearance and torture and poisoning in detention, Nonceba Zokwe, appearing on the matter of Sithembile Zokwe, the nature of violation being killing by Transkei police,

and the last matter for today is:

Billy Shiyani, appearing on a matter about himself, the nature of violation being ambush and being shot by unknown assailants.

I present the list to you Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Could I introduce the panel, I did not do so yesterday. My apologies. June Chrichton is a member of the Human Rights Violations Committee in this region. Domisa Nstebeza is a Commissioner and he is head of the investigative unit, nationally, and Tiny Maya is a member of the Human Rights Violations Committee in this region. Dr Alex Boraine the Vice Chairperson of the Commission and Bongani Finca who is a EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

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member of the Human Rights Violations Committee is a Commissioner and he heads up our regional office in the Eastern Cape Province, and Ntkisi Sandi is a member of our Human Rights Violations Committee representing this region, Hlengiwe Mkhize is a commissioner and she is chairperson of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee, Professor Piet Meiring is a member of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee, representing Gauteng region, and Mcebisi Xundu behind here who is a newly appointed member of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee for this region and Dr Ramsahala, a commissioner and member of the Rehabilitations and Reparations Committee. MR BONGANI FINCA: Chairperson, the commissioners presiding today are the Archbishop Chairperson, Dr Boraine Deputy Chairperson, and Domisa Ntsebeza.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, I have not also reported that there would always be three commissioners for each day of the hearing assisted by a panel that would vary but the three would be there for throughout the day. Maditi Nqobela? MADITI NQOBELA: The thing that I would like to say is that I want to thank everybody who has carried himself very well, you behaved because there was a big audience and I request that you should carry forward and convey this dignity, because we've said we've come here to cry and give support and give condolences to all those who have suffered. And those who are going to give testimony today, we would like them to feel that there is this acquiesence and I

request also that when the person is giving his or her testimony, we should be aware that there should not be people who are going up and down and disturbing all these occasions, because we are unable to hear very well. But I'm EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

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sure that you are going to succeed because yesterday you did I very well. Thank you.

DR BORAINE: We invite Mrs Feziwe Mfeti to the witness stand please.

MR BONGANI FINCA: I am really sorry, yesterday I gave the speaker the chair he doesn't belong to. I'm really sorry for that.

DR BORAINE: Mrs Mfeti do you wish to take the oath or make an affirmation?

MRS FEZWI MFETI: (sworn states)

DR BORAINE: Thank you very much, on behalf of the Commission I send to you a very warm word of welcome today and to say immediately that we appreciate very much your cooperation. You were waiting all day yesterday, it must have been very anxious and expecting to be in the witness stand telling us your story and you've had to sleep on that all nigh. We hope you feel comfortable and relaxed. The story you have to tell has of course to do with your husband, Phindile who as a young student almost ten years ago now disappeared from the university where he was studying, you will tell us about that. It is not easy to tell these stories, but I hope it's going to be of some relief to you and we are very grateful that you have come and we await your story now. The person who is going to lead the Commission in asking you questions about this is Mr Domisa Nsebeza, who is almost on my right here and I will hand over to him now, thank you.

MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mrs Mfeti, before we begin I would merely like to add to what the Chairperson of the Commission has said. And as an opening statement to relax you we would like you to know that today the people of EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

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South Africa and the whole world would like to hear you, perhaps for the first and the last time how your life has been, being the wife, the lover, the partner of a man, who almost a decade away, just disappeared from the face of the earth. These people who are gathered here and the whole world will be watching your testimony. We would like you to tell in your own words what it has been like, your hopes an your despairs, your moments of encouragement if there had been any and your moments of disappointment. your high notes and your lowest ebbs, all the emotions that have gone through your body in this decade or so, during which you have had to come to terms with the reality that you will never see your husband again. And therefore I would like you to be relaxed, to know that this is your moment to tell us in your own words how your life has been in these last harrowing, almost ten years. Do you understand that? I know that you want to testify in Xhosa and I would merely like you to raise your voice so that all who are here can hear the original version. Do you understand that? Are you now ready to testify. Right.

Now I will ask you questions and I hope that when you reply your story will unfold. Now let's start with this one, we'd first ask you to tell us about yourself, just five minutes, tell us about yourself, who are you, where did you grow up, where did you go to school, where did you meet with this Mfeti, what do you remember about him, what is it that makes you feel very angry when you think about him, very

shortly, and tell us about the first day hearing about his disappearance, just five minutes, tell us about your feelings.

MRS MFETI: I am Netiwe the daughter of Makalima. I was EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

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born in Insoma in Kwilibram. I started schooling in Insomo and from lower primary I went to Tsongo and then I went on to the primary school. I am the wife of Mfeti who disappeared. We just met when we were busy travelling and there came a time that we married. It was in 1969. We first married in a traditional way and we signed the papers after some time, after he was released from detention in 1977. We have two children, a girl and a boy. Thank you.

MR NTSEBEZA: People do not know who Phindile is. Tell us who Phindile is. Where was he born?

MRS MFETI: Phindile was born in Nqamakwe at Mpukane. There were three at their home. He was the second born.

MR NTSEBEZA: Where did you meet? Did you meet at Nqamakwe or at school?

MRS MFETI: I was in Port Elizabeth because I used to visit my family members in Port Elizabeth.

MR NTSEBEZA: When married traditionally, where did this happen, when did this happen.

MRS MFETI: It was in 1970 but we signed in 1977.

MR NTSEBEZA: Where were you when you traditionally married?

MRS MFETI: I went to him in Gauteng.

MR NTSEBEZA: Was he working in Gauteng?

MRS MFETI: After leaving school where he was studying he went to Gauteng and then he moved from firm to firm because he wasn't really associated with the treatment. He went to work at Race Relations. From there...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: When did he start working at race relations?

MRS MFETI: I can't remember the year very well, it's between '69 and '70.

MR NTSEBEZA: What happened thereafter?

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MRS MFETI: He went further to work at the Union, they were organising the workers, they called it Industrial Aid Society.

MR NTSEBEZA: Do you remember the year at which he was in the society?

MRS MFETI: The time he worked at Race Relations they were organising people, workers but he stopped and started working in 1973 when he was together with Jeannette Tetesi, Bennie Finerhof, Sipho Qubeka and the others. This Finerhof is today at COSATU.

MR NTSEBEZA: Benny Finerhof, is he a member of COSATU?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now it is understood that from Gauteng to Swaziland, when he was on his way from Gauteng to

Swaziland, what did he say?

MRS MFETI: He was very secretive. The reason for that, he said is that he doesn't want the two of us to be involved. If it happens that he dies, the children have to be with someone.

MR NTSEBEZA: Did you know at the times when he was going to Swaziland that he was in the struggle?

MRS MFETI: Yes I knew.

MR NTSEBEZA: During his stay in Swaziland, who did he meet? Do you have any idea?

MRS MFETI: The very person I'm sure of is his cousin Thabo.

MR NTSEBEZA: This Thabo Mbeki, you say it's his cousin, is it the First Deputy President of this country?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Was he visiting them?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

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MR NTSEBEZA: Didn't he land in trouble this time?

MRS MFETI: Yes he was in trouble at times. When he was detained I was really in trouble. I made an application to go and see him. Questions were raised. Things like boarding the plane, and then I just decided to say that I don't know where he was headed to, and I told them that I will never leave my husband to live in the house not knowing where he was going to. I told the police that my culture does not allow me to question and question my husband.

MR NTSEBEZA: I understand that. The husband in Xhosa families is not interrogated.

MRS MFETI: Yes you are right. Now on his return he was detained.

MR NTSEBEZA: Do you remember the year?

MRS MFETI: You know, as he was detained now and then, he was detained on the 25th of May 1977 and then was released, excuse me please, I forgot the date, it was 17 May 1976 and then he was released 17 May 1977.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now during this time things happened at Sowetho. Was he still inside?

MRS MFETI: Yes he was.

MR NTSEBEZA: On his release, was he released to go out or was he restricted?

MRS MFETI: No he was restricted under house arrest. Can I please explain this? After being released from the prison, I didn't know where he was, he was at John Vorster and then he was at Kompol, I used to take him clothes, but

we couldn't find him at Kompol, they would look in the register and tell me that he has been referred back to John Vorster. There was a time when I was now seriously sure EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

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that he has been killed. I went to Jeannette Kettes because she was his best friend. Together with John Klempenner, I gave them the statement, they took the statement to Hellen Suzman.

MR NTSEBEZA: Who is this John Klempenner, is he in the South African Racial Relations, even during that time, was he in that organisation?

MRS MFETI: No he was in the Financial Mail.

MR NTSEBEZA: John Klempenner met with Helen Suzman?

MRS MFETI: Helen Suzman took this matter to Chibuka, they decided that they should be charged or be released immediately. Phindile on his return from prison, Jean said must stay in the house. "There's a paper here that I want to show you, you must read it."

MR NTSEBEZA: Can you please read that paper for the people, they should hear?

MRS MFETI

"I am 40310017049 Nchlongu Section Katlehong...(indistinct). Notice in terms of Section 10(1) of the Internal Security Act, 1950 Act 44 of 1950. Whereas there is enforced against you a prohibition under Section 9(1) of the Internal Security Act 1950 by way of a notice which is addressed and delivered or tendered to you, I James Thomas Kruger Minister of Justice hereby, in terms of Section 10(1) of the said Act order you for a period commencing on the date on which this notice is delivered or tendered to you and requiring you, and expiring on 31 May 1982, to report to the officer in charge of the Katlehong

Police Station ...(indistinct) on every Monday

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between 6 o'clock and 18H00, provided that if such Monday falls on a public holiday you shall report on the following day not being a public holiday. Given under my hand at Cape Town, this 13th day of May 1977. J Kruger, Minister of Justice."

MR NTSEBEZA: That restricted him in the family?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: No would you like the Commission to keep that piece of paper as evidence?

MRS MFETI: Yes I'd appreciate that, thank you.

MR NTSEBEZA: If I read that paper, it said he would stay under house arrest for five years. Now did he stay in

Katlehong for those years?

MRS MFETI: No not all the years.

MR NTSEBEZA: In 1978, was he removed to Transkei?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Has he been fired or pushed?

MRS MFETI: No they said, if he wants to go to South Africa he can use a visa.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now let us start, the time when he was chased away, what did they say about you and your children?

MRS MFETI: They started with him that morning and I was busy preparing myself to go to work. When this was still happening I went to work because the key to the safe was with me. Two black policemen were staying at my place with no movement t all. I told them that I'm going to work. They said, "No you have to stay here and pack your things". I said to them, "No ways, I cannot do that". I went outside because our toilets were outside, I went into the toilet and I came up with a plan. I came straight to the kitchen door

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and went outside and then I jumped next door.

MR NTSEBEZA: Where were the children during that time?

MRS MFETI: They were very small and I just left them behind with no breakfast at all.

MR NTSEBEZA: How did they transport him to Transkei?

MRS MFETI: While our belongs were packed, he was fetched to have a look on while they were packing his clothes. The children and I were in the cells in Germiston.

MR NTSEBEZA: Tell me, did you get any notification that you have to be deported?

MRS MFETI: No the letter said, his family and himself must be deported. Then we left.

MR NTSEBEZA: You were taken to a cell in Germiston? From there the whole group was taken to which town in the Transkei?

MRS MFETI: We went to the border of Umzimkulu, there was a car standing there on our arrival. It was a truck loading our belongings and a small car that we took together with the children and two white policemen.

MR NTSEBEZA: Where did you sleep the first day?

MRS MFETI: The first day, because there was no place, we went to sleep in a hotel at Umzimkulu.

MR NTSEBEZA: Did you pay yourself?

MRS MFETI: Yes we had to pay. But for two nights we asked for a place to sleep at the charge office, because we didn't know where to go.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now what happened to the money? Was the money finished, you couldn't pay now?

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes that's true.

MR NTSEBEZA: How old were your children during that time when you had to find place to sleep, when you didn't have

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money to pay a hotel, when you had to sleep in the cells?

MRS MFETI: The elder one was six, the smaller one was four. It's a boy and a girl.

MR NTSEBEZA: You stayed in the hotel at Umzimkulu for how many days?

MRS MFETI: I think it was two days.

MR NTSEBEZA: What about the children?

(end of tape 5)

(start page 6)

MRS MFETI: ....not even at one stage.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now what did the Transkeians say? What did they say because you were from South Africa to their country?

MRS MFETI: They said someone informed them, they never knew about our family. We couldn't even leave our family, we were forced to move out at the same time together with the car we were riding in.

MR NTSEBEZA: At the end, you left and you went to Guqwa?

MRS MFETI: No, they took us to his place, his home. We did not stop straight to the place, we'd stop at police stations, you know to change cars, even at Guqwa we changed cars, at Umtata we also changed the cars, until we were at his birthplace at Namakwe.

MR NTSEBEZA: You were now at his original place. You stayed there until you were employed at Guqa?

MRS MFETI: He applied for a house at first, but he was told, houses only belong to people who are employed. He went to the Minister of the Interior at Umtata because that department made arrangements with Jenny Kruger that there's a burden on their shoulders so we have to go to Transkei. He told them that he is a married man with a woman, he cannot

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stay far from his family. The next morning he went to find....

MR NTSEBEZA: During that time, was Transkei independent?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now did he find a place to stay?

MRS MFETI: Yes he found a place.

MR NTSEBEZA: And you went to join him?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: What about the children?

MRS MFETI: Together with them.

MR NTSEBEZA: I understand now there wasn't anything from 1978 that really made you suspicious? What was his wish? What were his aspirations? You know, after studying?

MRS MFETI: He wanted to be an attorney, but he said no he'd rather be an advocate.

MR NTSEBEZA: Was he always telling you that?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: At Guqa, he was sort of involved in the struggle, or did he tell you as his wife, anything?

MRS MFETI: No he didn't tell me anything, he would just go and leave me.

MR NTSEBEZA: Tell me, for the deportation, did he visit South Africa more often, did he tell you whether he was going to meetings, or did he just disappear? On his return would he tell you exactly where he was.

MRS MFETI: No I can't say he was guarded at Transkei. We only heard in the papers in 1982, but every time he went to Johannesburg, he was escorted.

MR NTSEBEZA: If he wasn't escorted, was he supposed to apply for a visa?

MRS MFETI: Yes he was supposed to apply for a visa.

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MR NTSEBEZA: During the time when he disappeared, when was it? We just want to scrutinise these periods and all the happenings of the time. Please try to recall as much as possible. Explain to us, when did you learn about the disappearance of your husband, or can I put it this way, when did you last talk to your husband?

MRS MFETI: On the 25th April 1987, it was on a Saturday. He phoned me from work, he was already in the University of Natal at the time and we exchanged calls everyday. He phoned me this day and told me that he did not have enough pocket money for his belongings.

MR NTSEBEZA: You were now a breadwinner?

MRS MFETI: Yes I was a breadwinner and I was buying everything for him. I was working at Smart Centre at the time and I informed him that, he must please go to Smart Centre so that he can take as much as he wanted because they were new jeans at the time. He promised to phone me in the evening and tell me how it went. Fortunately they phoned at Smart Centre confirming my credit rating so that my husband can take over, they told me that he has already got what he wanted.

MR NTSEBEZA: Was he able to talk to while he was in the shop?

MRS MFETI: Yes they gave him permission to call me, and he also told me how the trousers fit him and then he said he'll go and alter it.

MR NTSEBEZA: On that Saturday when he went off from the shop, what did he say to you that he was going to do? What did he say to you when was about to leave Smart Centre?

MRS MFETI: He said that he was going to the tailor so that the jeans can be altered.

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MR NTSEBEZA: Where was the tailor?

MRS MFETI: I think that it was in that vicinity.

MR NTSEBEZA: What happened at the time? Did he phone again as he promised during the evening?

MRS MFETI: No he didn't, and I thought because we had already made arrangements and communicated during the day, I attributed his silence to that. My young boy went there to a garage because he belonged to a karate club there. I told him that I forgot to mention that his father phoned, so I requested that he should phone his father. When he phoned he could hear that he was being called, but when he came back he said he is not responding. When I looked at the time I estimated that he could be at the library and I was certain that he would be coming back at night and maybe he would phone then, but he never did.

MR NTSEBEZA: Did he phone on Sunday?

MRS MFETI: No he didn't phone on Sunday. Because he was using the park telephone, he would make a reverse call so that I can phone him back, he didn't phone for quite a long time, and then I had this feeling that maybe there was a problem with the telephones, because when there was supposed to be something that was going to be done, there a tendency to disengage the phones, but I knew that there as also another place where he could get a telephone where they were allowed to receive calls only but could not book them out,

so I requested the child to go and make a telephone call, but again there was no response from him. I said he must wait again so that he can phone maybe after nine, still believing that he might be at the library. He knew that after nine then I will be looking for him.

MR NTSEBEZA: What day was it now when you were already EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

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suspicious?

MRS MFETI: It was on a Thursday, because it was going to be Mayday on Friday. It was the 30th of April.

MR NTSEBEZA: Is it the day when you started to be anxious?

MRS MFETI: Yes it was.

MR NTSEBEZA: When you say the phones were being cut off when there was going to be something, or an occasion, did you know that there was something that was going to happen.

MRS MFETI: Yes I knew that the first of May was going to be a public holiday, because it was Workers' Day, and also I knew that the policemen would be very aggressive, because they did not like what was happening, because people were observing the first of May. At the time, during that regime, that day was not accepted as a public holiday, but in the Transkei, unlike South Africa, it was accepted.

MR NTSEBEZA: What happened to the day when you could not obtain the opportunity to phone your husband, as you expected also for him to call back?

MRS MFETI: Again after nine, we phoned, and it was said, Phindile is away, nobody knows where he went to and he went to town and was not seen since then. And the person who gave us this information, didn't say what his name was. I was taken aback and I also confirmed that I indeed knew that he went to town.

MR NTSEBEZA: So you confirmed that your husband could

indeed have phoned long ago?

MRS MFETI: The person also said that they went looking for him at the police stations but will go on looking for him and try to find him the next day when they did not have classes, as it would be a public holiday.

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MR NTSEBEZA: How did you feel when you learned that your partner had disappeared?

MRS MFETI: I was shocked now and I tried to communicate with Temba Sangule, but it was said he was in Durban. I left a message with his wife that she should please inform him that this had happened because it had now become a problem for me. So the message was also given to somebody who was going to Durban and this person was honest enough to convey the message to Temba. Again it was also confirmed that Phindile has disappeared.

MR NTSEBEZA: So do you not know the one who is his lawyer in Transkei? Was he also attending the university and was he also a friend to him? Was he also a friend and a lawyer to your husband?

MRS MFETI: Yes it is so.

MR NTSEBEZA: What of the children and how old were they at this time?

MRS MFETI: The eldest was about 15 years old, he was already aware of some of the things, and the little one also was aware of the happenings in our country.

MR NTSEBEZA: What did you say to them?

MRS MFETI: The eldest son was the first to receive the message, the little one, I had to explain to him what was happening. They didn't accept what was happening and couldn't believe that their father had disappeared. My

younger child was very troubled at the start of the winter

vacations, because we could really confirm that their father was not there.

Was there anybody who tried to assist you like King Berman, trying to assist you in this predicament?

MRS MFETI: You know, I approached them in Durban, Temba EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

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arranged transport for us to go and look for him, we went also to where the people are being taken, we also went to the mortuary, to see if we can't find his remains there. There was also a message that there was a request that there should be a member of the family who should come and give a description of the person who had disappeared. We went to the mortuary, we didn't get him, we went again to the police station to give our statement and an account of what has happened. We also checked his belongings and I could see that everything was there, but there was something that he could not leave behind for quite a long time, his spectacles. They were there.

His pipe, he was a heavy smoker as he smoked to calm his nerves, but those two items, spectacles and pipe were the ones that caused concern to me. His sandals were not there and a pair of trousers and a lumber jacket is not available.

Then these brought concern to me because I knew that if he was going for a long distance or for some time, I knew that he would not go on sandals only. When he was released from the police station from detention, he had this pain where always had to be rubbed because he had a slight injury, so he never returned ever since.

MR NTSEBEZA: Did he disappear that time as a last time when he talked to you at Smart Centre?

MRS MFETI: Yes, that was the last day when he said he was taking his pair of trousers for alterations.

MR NTSEBEZA: There's a letter that I'd like to show you which I think is important and I'd like you to read it for this audience. This letter shows the struggle and the efforts which the people tried to show support and lend

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support to you.

MRS MFETI: Where does this letter come from?

MR NTSEBEZA: It was a letter from the South African Institute of race relations written to Brigadier A M Llas. It is at Ulundi.

MRS MFETI: In which year was this letter written?

MR NTSEBEZA: It was written on the 17th November 1988. It was a year after your husband's disappearance. Could you please read this letter to the Archbishop and this Commission? They tell us what Kane Berman wrote in the letter.

MRS MFETI: ( Reading letter)

"Re: Phindile Mfeti, date of birth 15.12.1946 I write to you in connection with the above student who was studying for a BProc degree at the University of Natal from February 1985 to May 1987, on a bursary supplied by the government of the Netherlands and administered the Peace Institute. His address at the University was M S Jansen Hall. He disappeared without trace in May last year, and wife who lives at 258 Nsobongo Street Butterworth, Transkei confirmed that he is still missing. It appears that the last time his wife heard from was his ...(indistinct) was when he telephoned from in May from a shop to say that he was on his way back to the University. She had evidently made enquiries at hospitals, mortuaries and police stations but so far without results. It occurs to us that at the time of his disappearance Mr Mfeti may have been visiting a

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township falling under the jurisdiction of Kwazulu. I should be extremely grateful if you could direct that the necessary enquiries are made to ascertain whether the Kwazulu Police have any information as to what might have happened to Mr Mfeti. Yours Sincerely J S K Berman Executive Director ".

MR NTSEBEZA: Was there an answer to that letter from the University of Natal from the police?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: I want to show you then two letters. These are very short, read them because we want to understand what was the reply. What they said your husband was.

Start reading, University of Natal, which is a report.

MRS MFETI: (Reads)

"The Executive Director, South African Institute of Race Relations. P.O.Box 31044 Braamfontein. Dear Mr Kanes Berman Your enquiry about Mr Phindile Mfeti refers. The enquiry is directed to the warden of the N S Jansen Hall and the Faculty of Law, as well as reference to our records of examinations return, have failed to produce any knowledge of Mr Mfeti

on the University Campus after May 1987. I regret the delay in replying to your letter. Yours Sincerely

Professor B F de Wet Registrar."

MR NTSEBEZA: Read now the second one from the police.

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

21 MFETI

MRS MFETI: Mr J F Kayne Berman Executive Director South African Institute of Race Relations P O Box 31044 Brahmfontein Dear Mr Kayne Berman Your Mr Phindile state

With reference to my letter dated 1 December 1988, I wish to inform you that every endeavour to trace Mr Phindile Mfeti was unsuccessful. His whereabouts could not be established.

Yours faithfully

Commissioner J S M Venter South African Police".

MR NTSEBEZA: Now what date is that letter? The reply from the police?

MRS MFETI: 27 January 1989.

MR NTSEBEZA: So it was getting on for the third year telling you that your husband is being searched. Now we just want to summarise. All efforts, South African Institute of Race relations, Attorneys, yourself, all these never managed to bring Phindile back?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: What do you think is actually happening here?

MRS MFETI: What I think about him, because that time he

was in detention, there was a report, and he came back with a report that one policeman who hit him, said to him, he himself, Steve Biko and Bitja, they are trouble makers. They should take the three of them, put them at the borders, shoot them and leave them there. And then the community will think that their own comrades have killed them.

EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

22 MFETI

MR NTSEBEZA: Can you please repeat this because this is one of the things that really troubled our country. I want you to repeat that, any person in this chamber who didn't understand that must really understand.

MRS MFETI: He came out and indicated to me that one policeman, among the policemen that assaulted him during his detention, they said himself, Steve Biko and Bunny Bitja, should be taken to border posts, because they are really troublesome, they should put them at the border post and shoot them and leave them there so the communities might think that their own comrades have killed them.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now after his disappearance, did you remember that? Because it's one of the things he mention to you? Now did you really have a feeling that he's been killed?

MRS MFETI: Yes I thought of that because he said to me, I wasn't in a position to know his whereabouts, Steve Biko died at the police cells. My husband was out together with people like Juliet Kettes who received a parcel bomb, and then Mr Berman. If those people were not close to me, I couldn't know exactly what happened to my husband.

MR NTSEBEZA: Do you think he died the same way as Steve Biko?

MRS MFETI: Yes I think so.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now let us look at today. How do you feel today? Where are your children?

MRS MFETI: The little one is at the University of Transkei. The elder one, during the time when it was difficult, he found his way through to Nigeria to study there. He left South at a very young age after completing Standard 7. He is back from Nigeria now, but he's never been to school because we are still encountering problems to EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

23 MFETI

change his results to the South African standard.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now on the 25th of April what happened. This day, how do you remember this day together with your children?

MRS MFETI: We were crying. We didn't know how to think properly. But the first thing in my mind was, maybe he's just taken a walk, but after some enquiries, because in his room there was a bag that is not missing. Mpelelo my son said, I don't think he took anything.

I started realising that something might have happened. One of the things that I was sure of was that he promised me that he will never ever leave this world. They'd rather kill him if than he would. He was actually giving me an answer on the question that I asked him, he had a banning order. During that banning order he had an appointment with John Kerman. He only left, the house was left with police guarding. I went to call John, I said to him, "John, please arrange something for him, I'm not going to stand this anymore. I don't want him to be arrested anymore. John on his arrival, told him that I have called and that should try something, they should find a place for him. He refused, and said, "No I will never run away, I will never leave my mum without burying her, because she really struggled, giving me education".

MR NTSEBEZA: Now summarising or closing, you find yourself in trouble being a widow, having not seen the grave of your husband, is that true? You children they find they are orphans, without a father, but they can not even take beautiful flowers to his grave. Is that so?

MRS MFETI: Yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Is there anything you wish to ask from the EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

24 MFETI

Commission, before the Commission gives you a time to give us your feelings. Is there anything that you'd like the Commission to know?

MRS MFETI: I have interest in the fact that if the Commission can succeed and make thorough investigations, just to get where my husband is, even if it is his remains, even if he was burned to death, even if you can get his ashes, even the bones belonging to his body, because no person can just disappear without trace. There will always be some trace to say he was found here. If I had an opportunity to bury him, I can already have reconciled.

MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Mam.

DR BORAINE: Are there any questions? Thank you.

 
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