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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS
Starting Date 05 November 1996
Names Sigokihle Mkwanyana, Thembilike Ngubane, Dominika Mngomezulu, Mary De Haas, Josephine Msweli, Nurse Ndawonde, Bonginkosi Gabriel Makhoba, Eunice Simelane
DR MGOJO: We wish to welcome you this morning. Those who have come to give testimony with regard to human rights violations that they went through in the past as well as things that happened to their relatives and families and the community at large. We admire the courage with which you have handled this matter so that you may appear before this Commission in order to try and straighten up the wrongs that were done in the past. We thank you very much for the effort. We wish that the Lord may help you and give you strength and courage to give testimony without fear and without hindrance and without any doubt. We also thank those who have come before this Commission even those who have accompanied the witnesses and their community to come and witness the changing of history as a new era dawns. We urge you to encourage the others who were also violated in the past to come and appear before this Commission so that they can also have a chance to relate their stories. But I want especially to welcome these young South Africans who have come to be here this morning with us. They will say in future when they tell their children and their friends in the future generation when you'll be reading history - when this thing becomes history to say that, "You know when there were the hearings at Empangeni, we were there. We listened. We heard." We feel that you are already involving yourselves in the process of reconciliation and cleansing of our nation because when you are here you are part of it. We thank the one who is with you, who has accompanied to come with you. May the Lord bless you always so that you can hear this, so that we don't - because after all this country's yours in future, you young people, so that during the times when you're old, these things which have happened will never happen again. We are one nation, the rainbow nation. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, then without further ado I'd like to ask the first witness to come on to the stage today. It's Mrs Sigokihle Mkwanyana. Good morning, Mrs Mkwanyana, can you hear me? Can you understand me through the earphones.
MR LYSTER: Thank you. You're welcome here today. You're the first person who'll be giving evidence this morning. I know that it must be a little scary for you but we ask you to relax. You've come from KwaMbonambi and you've come to tell us about the death of your son, Vusi. Can you please stand before you tell us your story to take the oath?
We do thank you for having shown the courage to come before us and we hope that today you're going to relate your story to us and tell us the events that took place that led you to being here today. I shall ask you just a few questions and you will be given a chance to relate your story. Firstly, I wish to know more about your family as well as yourself. Just give us a brief background about your family. I'll ask you certain questions so that we may be able to know about your family. You stay at KwaMbonambi? --- No, I stay at KwaSokhumi.
I shall ask you about your family now. Can you tell us briefly about yourself, your husband as well as your surviving children and your deceased children? --- I have four children. I think there are five. I've got three boys and two girls. They are five in all.
Now, tell us about the ones who are still alive. --- There are five surviving. The other one is at school. He's doing Standard 9. The other one is Standard 4. The other boy has stopped going to school. He's, as I'm showing, he's about 11.
Tell us briefly about your deceased children. How many are they? --- I lost two children but there're three in all but the other one it had nothing to do with human rights violations. I'm going to talk about Vusi and Khulekane. I do have a husband but since this happened we have separated to such an extent that I don't even know his whereabouts but I'm staying with my children at home. We don't have any contact with him. You husband, when this happened were you staying with him? --- Yes, we were staying with him and he used to come back on holidays and give us money to buy groceries. We had a wonderful relationship. At times we would write letters to him asking him to give us money to buy some groceries. But we haven't had any contact from him. We are suffering as a family.
We've heard your story. Do you know where your husband is? --- We know where he is because he was working in Johannesburg but my youngest son used to go to him. He also took him to a place of refuge in Johannesburg. So my husband is in Johannesburg at the present moment.
Tell us about Vusi. What happened? Maybe you can just start by telling us about Vusi himself, his life and what was he doing at the time that he disappeared. How old was he? What was he doing? Was he at school or working? --- I'm not really sure about their ages because the eldest one died at the age of 22. Vusi died at the age of 23 and the third one died at the age of 21. He disappeared whilst he was 22 years old. The one /coming
Did Vusi belong to any political organisation? --- Vusi started by being an Inkatha member but because Inkatha was now having internal fights, he decided to move away from home and he used to come back in the morning just to have his breakfast.
This is a very painful story. I would like to ask you about Vusi. You said Vusi started by being a member of Inkatha then he changed. What did he become thereafter? --- He realised that they were having internal fights. They said they were Inkatha during the day but in the evening they were Comrades and they turned against them until such time that he had to run away and he joined the ANC.
How did he join the Inkatha? Was he forced or did he do it all by himself? --- When Vusi joined Inkatha he was coming back from prison and all the members or the members of the community were members of Inkatha Freedom Party and there was a certain house where, if you went in, they would tell you that you were a member. If you spoke to an ANC member, you would be told that you're a member of the ANC. Therefore they were not supposed to speak to any other members of other /political
political groups. And they were friends with a certain family and this family was an ANC family. Then they would stay together at times and they were told that they were not supposed to go there. He was told by his brothers that he no longer had to go there because they were members of the ANC.
When Vusi was a member of Inkatha did he do that by choice or was he forced? --- No, he didn't do it all on his own. He came back from prison and when he came back to the area everybody who resided in that area was a member of Inkatha and they were told not to visit a certain house. They were forced to be members of Inkatha. They were assaulted.
Just explain to us briefly. You said Vusi was now no longer sleeping at home. Just give us a short explanation as to what was happening that made him sleep in the forest. Just give us a clear picture up to the stage when he disappeared. --- As I've already said, when they got out of the houses they were running away from home because there would be imminent attacks. He decided to sleep in the forest and come back in the morning to have his breakfast and he wouldn't even sit down when he was eating. Then he would go to his temporary jobs that he was holding with the contractors. Then he changed from Inkatha and became a member of the ANC. Now, when you become a member of the ANC you wouldn't sleep at home because you would be threatened day in and day out and you'd be literally attacked and you would eventually be killed inside your house. So once you joined the ANC you would have to go to a different area where there are other members of the ANC or of the same group whereby you could protect each other and they used to walk in large groups.
Let's just refer to your statement. From 1993 where you said you were attacked by the police, that is the stability unit, just give us a brief explanation as to what took place that day. --- When the police came I was not violated by the ordinary man in the street but I was violated by the police force, the stability unit. The police used to come to my home and my children had run away at that time and they would come looking for him. When they come in my yard, whether I'm in my yard just standing there, they would kick the doors and they would point guns at me and at times I used to cry and scream and do all sorts of things but I could not find help. Even when I was standing outside I would be pulled outside and be taken into the house to open up the house and they would be looking for some things that I didn't know about. Then after quite some time whilst that was happening they were looking for Vusi day in and day out until such time that I got injured in my eye and I went to Empangeni Hospital. I was transferred to King Edward in Durban. When I came back from King Edward, I discovered that my other child Zakhele was being hunted by the police and they chased my daughters and said they must go and hide behind the houses and Zakhele was with his sister's child. They took him and they chopped his little finger. When he was screaming the other daughter came and tried to have a look and she discovered that they were cutting his little finger with a knife. The police were doing that. Why were they doing that? --- They were looking for Vusi and they wanted my son Zakhele to tell them where Vusi was.
You said you got injured in your eye. How did that happen? --- I was pierced by a thorn. It was just an accident and I could not stay at home. I used to go to the fields to stay in the fields until evening and at times I used to come in the evening and just eat without even sitting down and each time the police used to come as well as the soldiers and at the time Vusi was no longer at home. I was with Zakhele as well as my other daughter and they used to violate me so terribly when they were looking for Vusi. My other son Sangenisiwe used to run away when the police came because it was a daily occurrence.
I'll ask a few questions if you're ready to answer them. We do understand that this is a very painful story. We do understand that you're emotionally troubled. Now, tell us what happened in April 1993, that is the day on which Vusi disappeared. --- Vusi disappeared on Good Friday and we heard on the Sunday that Vusi had disappeared. His friend was injured and they used to tell each other whenever there was anything that had happened, like a disappearance or being killed and they would go to the scene. But he never came back. They went together with his friends. We heard on a Sunday in the afternoon whereas this had happened on a Friday that Vusi had disappeared on a Friday evening and another boy called Du. Then we went to look for him. We later heard rumours that there were corpses somewhere down in the area and I sent my other boy Khulekane as well as my younger brother to go and investigate because they said they had sent an undertaker to collect the corpses and they were chased away by the funeral undertakers because they were told that they could not come and have a look at the corpses without any identity documents. They ultimately went to look. They found that they did not know the bodies that were lying in the mortuary. They promised me that they would come and investigate the matter. Up till today I do not know anything about my son. I don't know whether my son died or he was hidden somewhere. I went to report the matter to the police because they were also looking for him. They said they would be coming to my place. Up till now they're still coming.
Let's go back to Vusi's matter because it's very important for us to try and trace his last whereabouts. At the time when they went to look at the friend who was injured, what was this friend's name? --- The surname was Thulani Msweli who was a friend to Vusi.
What about Vusi's friends that he was with just before he disappeared? Do you perhaps know their names? --- I wouldn't know who they were because they went away as friends. We did not see them. But the females used to see them because I used to stay at home. I never used to go with them in groups. They knew each other and they knew how to trace each other when they disappeared.
Who came to give you the message that Vusi had disappeared? --- Two females who were crying. I met two females. The other one was standing with Vusi's brother. Khulekane was no longer staying at home. He had run away. So he had just come that Sunday morning but we heard about this matter in the evening just before we went to sleep. I had also run away from home. I used to go home during the day, prepare food, eat outside because I could not stay inside the house.
Do you know the names of the two females who told you about your son's disappearance? --- I don't remember their names but if I can try and find out, maybe I can come up with some tangible information.
Have you heard any rumours as to Vusi's whereabouts? Maybe somebody said Vusi was accompanied by certain friends. --- Even if they were there because I'm a parent I stay at home. I wouldn't know who he went out with. We also used to be told that they were at a certain place and the youth in the community would look for them or they would look for one another but we as parents were just sitting at home.
You said you were troubled by the stability unit. Did you also count the IFP. Do you know their names perhaps? --- Yes, I know some. For instance the one who cut my son's little finger. My children were there and at the time I was not at home because it's the time I went for an eye operation. The other one, they said, was Duffle(?) but I don't know whether he's working at Empangeni. The other one was Derek.
Did you ever get to know as to which police station they were coming from? --- Some were from Empangeni, some were from KwaMbonambi, but I'm really not positive. You have children. Do any of the children perhaps know about the police? --- The children who knew about the police are the ones who died.
You have told us about your son Vusi who disappeared. According to your statement here, was that you gave an explanation that you lost another son. --- That son was killed. That is Khulekane Mkwanyana.
How did this happen because your statement is not clear on this aspect. You didn't give us full information. --- I'm just like you. I do not know. Khulekane was all by himself at home and I had gone to work. I was told by the children that certain people had come and took his ID and I asked them as to what sort of people were they. They saw that these were policemen because they were having guns. The reference book or the ID book disappeared and we told him that his ID book had disappeared. Then he ran away because he knew that the police were actually looking for him and at the time Vusi disappeared, he has been arrested for five months and he could no longer attend school. They had gone to Mpembeni school and they took him and arrested him for five months until the sixth month when his father went to look for him and on the day of the trial the arrester did not appear to give evidence against him.
Why was he arrested? --- Nobody knows what he was arrested for. He himself didn't even know it. When they came to me, said they were looking for Vusi, I told them that Vusi did not stay at home. He was staying in the forest. And I told them that Khulekane was at school. He had gone to Mpembeni where he wanted to attend school and he decided that he was not going to come during the holidays and he wanted me to come to school and fetch his testimonial.
Who came according to Khulekane, who came to arrest Khulekane? You said there were people who arrested Khulekane. --- No, when Khulekane was arrested for five months we did not know that he was arrested. He was taken by the police from Mpembeni and they arrested him and he was supposed to come back on Sunday. That's when Michael and Si died but he could not come to the funeral.
Now, according to your own opinion, do you think it had anything to do with politics? --- I do not know why he was arrested because he was at school at that time and they went to take him from school and he was arrested and detained for five months. On the sixth month they said bail must be paid in and his father went. He paid the bail. (Inaudible) ... who had arrested my son never went to the case.
What was the reason for his arrest? --- They said there were about 12 vans that arrived at where Khulekane was staying. They said he was Vusi because they thought he was Vusi. He explained it to them that he was not Vusi and he took out a certain letter that indicated that - it was a report. He showed it to the police that his name was Khulekane and he was not Vusi. /They
They said he was lying and they took him and put him into the van and when they went around stopping they said, "Vusi, we've got you. You thought that you were brilliant." And he flatly refused. He kept on telling them that they should take him to KwaMbonambi Police Station because the police in KwaMbonambi knew him. They knew that he was not Vusi, he was Khulekane. And the police said he must - they stopped and they said he must run and he refused to run because he knew that they would shoot him.
And what happened thereafter? --- When they got to the charge office he was detained until the police of the morning shift came and they identified him that he was not Vusi, he was Khulekane, and they released him. When Velbang(?) came, Velbang said he should not be released.
Who's Velbang? --- Velbang is a boer who was a policeman at KwaMbonambi. And he was rearrested. He was rearrested and stayed for five months and they took him away from KwaMbonambi and they told us that we could not see him because they did not want us to see our children. And we were told that he had been taken to Empangeni. When I got to Empangeni I was told that they did not know him. His younger brother Senzo came back and I sent him to go and look for Khulekane. The bail was paid but - or he was released on free bail by the prosecutor.
Now, let's go back to Khukelane's death. How did he die? --- They took his identity document and he ran away. I was holding part-time jobs at that time. Whenever he came back home I also didn't stay because I had to get home, cook, eat and leave the house and in the morning I would wash up, prepare myself for work and leave at 5.00 in the morning and by then Khulekane had gone. Then on a particular Thursday they were searched for by the police. (Witness emotionally upset)
This is a painful story you're relating to us. You can take your time. --- Then on the Thursday, that is the Thursday on which they died, they came in four cars. The children were behind and it was a small van. It was himself, another male and in front was a driver as well as another one. He signed to me that I should come and get into the van and they told me that Khulekane said I should get into the car. And I said to them I was waiting for someone, they should go in the meantime and I would catch them along the way. And that van went away. It never waited for us. And after that I went and came across two males who were coming back from school and they were also going to go along Goma Street and I asked this male as to where Khulekane was. He told me that Khulekane had gone in a certain car and I told him that I had seen Khulekane in that car. And when I got home I told my daughter to give me a little mat so that I could sit down. That's when I heard gunfire and I asked my daughter as to what was happening. My daughter told me that it was gunfire and I couldn't sit down at that time. It was at about 3.00 and it was on a Thursday. After this gunfire my little brother came and told us that the people who were in the white van had been killed. Then in the afternoon the police came running and they went around assaulting male children and they asked as to where Khulekane was and the white men laughed and said, "We have killed Khulekane." We only heard in the afternoon that Khulekane had been killed and we ran around trying to get Khulekane's body. We went along with Senzo as well as my other relatives and we were told that the bodies had been taken by the police. Up till to today they never came to me to tell me as to why they killed my son. They left me suffering. Ever since he died I have never been the same. (Witness weeps) I'm left with a child that is Khulekane's child who was born after Khulekane was killed. As it is right now, I don't know what happened to their father. I go around begging in people's houses. I'm even begging for food and Khulekane was my breadwinner. At times I sleep for days on end or for nights on end without having anything to eat.
We do understand your problem. We are very touched by your story. We also wish that the people who did this could come forward. --- My daughter was also violated and she bore a retarded child because they used to violate us during the time that she was expectant. And they used to violate us so much and she used to hide herself in the wardrobe. And at times we used to hide ourselves and they would kick the doors and get into the house and they would switch on the electricity. They even assaulted my father, an elderly man, and when he was screaming they came to us to assault us. They also assaulted my mother. Today she's got a retarded child because she was so traumatised at that time because she was expectant when all this took place.
We understand that the whole family went through this trauma, violation and torture. Do you perhaps remember as to who the policemen were? --- The policemen were from KwaMbonambi so they would be known at KwaMbonambi Police Station. All the people who used to come to our area were from KwaMbonambi Police Station.
It may be possible that we don't get enough information with regard to these police. Can you please tell us about other families who were also violated or who went through the same ordeal. --- I wouldn't say because at times they would come in the evening and the house was dark and they used to paint their faces black. I thought at some stage that they were black people and I heard them saying, "Kom, kom, kom," which means "Come, come, come," which indicated to me that they were white policemen and they were boers and they used to have torches, so they could see us and we could not see them. They would take us and put us in a certain corner and say we must sit one side and when they were in the dining-room they were asking other black people as to what they should say when they were talking to us. They wanted to speak to us in Zulu and we heard them asking as to what the expressions were in Zulu. She also got a panic attack, that is my daughter who was expectant ... (Tape ends. Subsequent tape commences mid-sentence without overlap)
... your children or your neighbours who can give us some more information with regard to what happened or other families who were affected by this because we need to have information? --- My other brother who was also assaulted and they took him outside, they wanted to /shoot
I think we will experience some difficulty as far as that matter is concerned. You said Vusi was also arrested. Why was he arrested? --- Vusi had gone to the seaside and when they came back they said they had stolen white people's things.
Now, how are you feeling today? How did all this affect you? --- As I've already told you, I've got this operation. My whole left side is very painful and at the hospital where they operated me they said I should come back but I could not go back there because I was scared that, the moment I turned my back against my house, my children would be killed. They gave me some treatment so that I could steam, so that the wounds inside could be healed. I could not do all this. I could not undertake all this treatment. It was cumbersome because my life was not stable at that time.
Do you have any kid who's working in the house? --- My children, my breadwinners are the ones who were killed. I have to beg for food to cook. Are the children attending school? --- The one who is attending Standard 5 is still wearing the uniform that he was wearing at the time he was in Standard 2.
DR MGOJO: Mama, this is a very painful and tough story. Myself as a Christian who reads the Bible and who believes in Christianity, it reminds me of the words that I read which were uttered by a 33-year-old man, his name was Jesus, at the time that he was being tortured just before he got killed. Jesus prophesied. He looked at the woman and he looked at the children and when he saw a certain woman he said the woman should not cry for him but they should cry for themselves as well as their children. When we look at the history of torture and violence or violation of human rights, we always come across women who have suffered and children who have also suffered. This is a very painful situation. The most disturbing part of this is that the very same policemen who were involved in killing people as well as human rights violations ia that presently they are occupying very high positions. They're getting very high salaries and your children who were fighting for freedom, some of them died, some of them haven't even tasted this freedom that we have acquired. Some are even not working but it is said that we are free. We wish that the government could look into this. I would like to ask you just a few questions because we want to straighten up certain issues. When you started testifying you said there was a certain fight or altercation that was taking place between the ANC and the IFP. Where did these police come from. Who were they fighting with or who were they fighting against and who were they helping because we were told that another part was an ANC stronghold and the other part was an IFP stronghold. That is very clear. Now, where do the police come from and where do they feature in the equation? What are they all about? --- We do not know because they used to come in the morning as well as in the evening and they would assault us asking us as to where the guns were and we would tell them we do not know anything about guns. And the other policeman asked me as to how am I going to protect myself if I do not have a gun. They could not find any guns in our houses. Because we were now divided at that time and we were told that this side was ANC and the other side was the ANC(?) and the Inkatha members were parading with their guns and they were having them in public. Zakhele is at school. He's doing Standard 4 and they are writing their final year exams.
How did they do it? --- They cut him and at that time he tore his hand loose so the finger was not completely severed but he bled and at that time my daughter was screaming and I think they were disturbed by the fact that she had started screaming and she saw what was happening. I was at the hospital at that time undergoing the operation.
We thank you for having appeared here. We shall try by all means because you say you do not know the policemen. --- I don't even know a single one because I was told it was Derek and Velbang. Velbang was in KwaMbonambi at that time.
PROFESSOR MAGWAZA: I made a mistake because I did not mention your requests. I just wanted to repeat them to you so that you know that we are taking them into consideration. You said you want to know about Vusi and Khulekane as to what happened to them. We shall try to follow it up even though we don't have the necessary information. With regard to Khulekane's child we shall take that request and pass it on to our State President. With regard to your health we will try to have you get in touch with the Health Department who can actually try to help you without you paying. We thank you very much. Maybe what we can also do is send you to the social workers so that they can see as to what type of help they can offer you. When you go out, you will talk to social workers.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, just a couple of last questions before you go, Mrs Mkwanyana. One of the other policemen who you mentioned, I think, was someone by the name of Duffle. Is that right? --- It was Duffle.
Okay. And was he with the - and Derek, yes. Was he with the internal stability unit? --- When these things happened they used to come in large groups and you wouldn't know that this is a stability group, these are soldiers. They knew themselves.
And one other thing. You said that at the time when this happened, when Vusi was an ANC member, you said that he was also - by force he had to be an IFP member and that we were forced to sign up in order to protect ourselves. --- Vusi ran away from Inkatha to join the ANC because they were being assaulted by Inkatha. They were saying they were Comrades during the night and they were Inkatha members during the day. They said they were actually two-toned. They were not real Inkatha members. That's why they decided to escape from the Inkatha Freedom Party. They violated them and saying they were Comrades during the night and during the day they were Inkatha members and they were card-holding members of Inkatha and I threw the cards away.
Sorry, Khulekane. --- I never went to open up the case because they had to come to me and tell me that as he had died what caused his death. So I sat there waiting for them as they had promised that they would come back to me. And now that they've said we should come up front and relate our stories, that's why I have come before this Commission because at some stage I didn't know where to go for help and the very same perpetrators were police.
And do you have a death certificate for Khulekane? --- I'm not sure but there were certain documents that were given to us. I never went to fetch the death certificate but there are some documents that I have which are at home. I might as well check amongst those documents. Did you see his body after he had died before he was buried? --- We did not really open him because the people who went to fetch the bodies, we were told that the bodies were badly decomposed and we were not supposed to open up the corpses. His private parts were injured as well as his hand. I don't know whether they twisted his neck because he had stitches all right around his neck down to his naval.
DR MGOJO: I just want to clarify something. "They were Inkatha members during the day and they were Comrades during the night", what does that mean? What was happening during the night? --- That is the way they tried to divide them. They were told that they were the ANC - the whole area, that is where we were staying, in which a small area and they said this was an ANC stronghold and the other one was an Inkatha stronghold.
Your children were being accused of being Inkatha members during the day and ANC members or Comrades during the night? What was happening during the night that made them - or that led them to being accused of being ANC members? --- There's nothing that was happening but the people who were chasing my sons away were members of Inkatha. So they were actually pushing us aside and pushing us into the ANC stronghold and they were keeping their area for Inkatha and they say they were staying in a certain area where the ANC members were staying. Therefore they should remain in that area and be ANC members and not stay in an ANC stronghold and /come
come during the day to be Inkatha members. Not that there was anything that they would do. That was a way of demarcating the area between Inkatha and the ANC so that if you stay in a certain area you stay in that area and you belong to a certain political group.
MRS GCABASHE: One question just to get some clarification with regard to the police. Were the police in uniform on the day they came to your place so that you could differentiate them as to where they came from, whether they were KwaZulu Police or SAP Police? --- I wouldn't be able to identify them because at times they had this funny uniform which had funny colours - different colours. I think it was soldiers uniforms.
Some would be having blue uniforms? --- I am not sure as to this colour but as I'm indicating they were wearing this colour. Their trousers were not the same. Some were wearing these soldiers' uniforms. Some would be wearing short shirts, blue shirts.
As they were wearing these different uniforms, the white people that you saw, what type of uniform were they wearing, that is the police? --- They were wearing the same uniform as the black policemen and the other ones who were wearing the soldiers' uniforms were blacks and the whites would be wearing the same uniform too.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Mkwanyana, we want to thank you very much for coming here and telling us this very sad story. It's taken you a long time to tell that story and we can see that you are still very affected by it but we thank you for being brave enough to come and relive all those experiences and those emotions in front of this hall and in front of the television camera. I've said this to many people before, but it's tragic that people who were meant to be there to assist and protect us, the police, in fact so often did completely the opposite there. They assaulted and they harassed people and it's not surprising that you have the attitude towards the police that you have today. We hope that we are moving to an era where that sort of thing is past us although we know that in many parts of KwaZulu/Natal that is not the case. Many of those people, as Dr Mgojo has said, are still in senior positions in the police. You have given us a couple of names of these policemen and we know those police stations. We know the KwaMbonambi Police Station, the Sundumbili Police Station, the riot unit at Mtubatuba. We know many, many bad policemen came from those police stations and many of them are still there and stories like this are important because they allow us to investigate the allegations that have been made and to build up evidence against those policemen. So thank you again very much for coming in today and we wish you well.
MR LYSTER: The next witness is Thembikile Ngubane (Tape changed. Recording commences mid-sentence on subsequent tape with no overlap) ... Gilbert Ngubane who died in 1993. Can you please stand to take the oath?
MRS GCABASHE: I greet you. I would like to thank you for coming forward before the Commission and being one of those people who are willing that their story will be heard all over the world and people who were affected, people who really helped this country to move to where we are today. Before we start to your story, we would like you to introduce yourself. Tell us more about your family. If you still have your husband, you have children, all of it. --- My husband is late. I have five children. I have four daughters and one son.
Can you please give us their ages? --- The eldest was born in 1958. My daughter, she's now married. Her names is Fikisiwe. She's married. The second-born is Thandezile. She was born in 1960, 28th of October. She's a teacher. She's also married. My third-born is a boy. His name is Mbusiso and he was born on the 11th of December 1964. He's working for the government. He's a policeman. My fourth-born is Gladness. Gladness was born in 1970 on the 5th of December. My last-born is Welile.
And what is Gladness doing? --- She's a fashion designer. My last-born is Welile and he was born in 1973 on the 31st of March. He's still at school. He stopped going to school but he said he was going to go back to school next year. He's selling clothes. He's buying and selling clothes.
You came here to tell us the story about the death of your husband. Can you please relate to us what happened before 1993, before your husband was killed? You said you are staying at Ulundi, is it true? --- Yes, I am staying at Ulundi but before this I was staying a Mevamhlope.
Okay, before we go forward, at home at your family were you belonging to any political organisation? --- My children were not affiliated with any political organisation but where we were staying in that area, initially it was just IFP then everyone was an IFP member. Then later ANC came. When kids started to be politically active, the youth started to be active politically. My children were not at home and Sibusiso was at college at that time so my daughters were at Ulundi. Gladness was in Durban. Welile was at school at Matshitsholo and my elder daughter was already married and she was at her home. And there was no one at home so my children didn't actually know what was going on in that area. Youth were continuously involved in political conflicts in that area. I never knew that one day I will be sitting in front of people and talk about this thing, so I never kept dates of the things like months and days.
But here it's written on the 3rd of October, it's written on your statement, when people came. --- No, I think it's the 30th of October. That's when my husband died, not the 3rd. I'll just relate things that I've seen and I never even took notice of them that much that it will lead to the death of my husband. Police came to my house. They were wearing soldier's uniform and they were white police, only one black police. And they came to my house and they told me that someone sent them there because they were told that we had guns. And I asked them, "Who told you this?" and they didn't explain to me. All they wanted to do was to open my house and start searching. I told them they mustn't kick my door, they must just open and search because I knew there was no guns in my house. And this black policeman said to me, "You must come as well while we are searching your house."
When they said you must come, did they mean to you or your husband? --- They meant my husband and myself. And they started searching. They had their guns pointing at us even though they didn't try to shoot at anyone. And we opened the door. They searched the house until they were satisfied but they never found anything. And in my house we had a small building where we put the generator to light our house. They also wanted me to open that place. I opened for them. They searched and they didn't find anything. They went back inside the house and they realised that they just can't find anything. Then they left. Later on they came back. This time they were not wearing the soldier's uniform. They were wearing brown uniforms and they were black policemen. And they were not talking Zulu. And I heard they were soldiers. And they were with a certain boy and this boy was from Mthembu's family. When they arrived at my house with this boy, this boy said, "I came to show the policemen where the IFP boys were staying." And I asked this boy, "Who told you so?" This boy said, "I saw them. They're staying in this house and they always had guns." What I said to them, I said, "How many times are you going to come to my house and look for guns and you know even if you search for these guns you won't find them because we don't have guns? What must we do now?" Then I decided I should open the door for them, for them to check and then they started searching my house and they couldn't find anything. Again they made me open that small building where I put my generator and they searched again and they didn't find it. They asked for water to drink. I gave them water and then they drank and left. This thing kept on going on, this conflict between the ANC and the IFP in the area. On the 30th of October 1993, it was at about half past four, we saw them going with guns and they were firing their guns. And there were four people who were standing somewhere there. At about 6.00pm many people came from the hill. We were sitting outside, my and my husband, so we went inside the house and we closed the doors. And these people came running and as soon as the arrived down the hill, that's when they started firing guns. It was too noisy and we were scared. We locked ourselves inside the house. I heard my neighbour screaming and saying, "Please open the door for me," and I rushed to the door. I opened the door for my neighbour and I locked the door again. When she was relating to me, she said they were behind her and they wanted her to come first inside my house. That's when they started shooting at my house. They were shooting all the windows of my house. Inside the house, we were six. It was me, my husband, my maid or the lady who was helping me and my neighbour and a three-year-old child and one girl who was 15 years at the time. They came with this neighbour of mine and they just went and rushed in one of my bedrooms. And these people kept on shooting my house. I locked my door and it was tough for them to break. And they kept on firing the door. And if you can take the guns - ran from the top until down.
When they went inside the house they just rushed in, in this bedroom where my neighbour had hidden herself. I don't know what happened when they arrived in that bedroom because I was in my son's bedroom and we didn't lock the door. We just went in there and we sat. Later on we didn't know what was really happening in that bedroom where my neighbour had hidden herself and that lady who was helping me in my house was hiding under the bed. Later on I saw them taking this 15-year-old girl who came with my neighbour. They were telling her to point where there was money and then they said she must turn on the lights. They looked for money. They looked for a gun. My husband said, "I don't have a gun. I don't own a gun. What I have is a Bible. I'm /a Christian."
a Christian." And they said, "We want money." And they also said to me, "We want money." And I was scared. One of them stabbed me by knife and I was bleeding. I got tired. I was getting weaker. I took money from my bag. I had money inside a tin. It was about R200,00. I gave them this R200,00. After I gave him this R200,00 he took my bag and he started throwing everything out and all the coins came out and he took them. I held my hand because I was bleeding and I was getting tired. My husband told him that he doesn't own a gun and my husband said, "Okay, let's go to the bedroom. I'll give you the money." I don't know what happened but what I heard is that one of them said, "Shoot," and that's when they started shooting. I think they shot for about five times. After that they came inside the house. They wanted to shoot me. I went to this guy who was holding a big machine gun and I said to him, "Really, what have we done?" And one of them answered back and said, "Let me just hit this one with this hammer." And one of them went to my bedroom and he started searching. He found the girl who was hiding under the bed and I was crying. I was begging them not to kill that girl because I told them that this girl just came from rural areas. She just came here to help me. She's not from this area. And they said to me, "We don't want evidence or witnesses here," and that's when they started shooting at her. And her intestines were outside. Maybe this is something that I saw because I was scared and I was terrified but I think I saw intestines. They took everything that belongs to me and my husband inside the house - television, my clothes, my husband's cloths. They went to the kitchen, they ate my food and they were throwing everything down. They took cool drinks and they drank because I was selling cool drinks. They also took other stuff. And I heard after they left and when I heard that there was no noise any longer, I went to the bedroom. I called my husband and there was no answer. I went closer. I shook him and I realised that he was dead. I went to another bedroom. I called this other woman, Mrs Mnconco. I heard her answering very softly and I said to her, "Oh, are you still there?" She said, "Yes, I am." When I arrived where she was, I discovered that she can't do anything. I told her that they've killed my husband and I told her that he's gone. And she was crying I told her, "Don't cry because they might come back because other stuff which they took from my house, it's still outside. They might come back to fetch it." So Mrs Mnconco said to me they shot her and one bullet came from the back and out to this 15-year-old girl to her cheek. They had already set that bedroom alight and Mrs Mnconco tried to extinguish the fire. We had a bottle of water in that bedroom and this 15-year-old girl took this bottle and tried to extinguish the fire. Other stuff had burnt. I said to this 15-year-old girl she must go out and tell people that we are injured and my husband is now dead. It was at about 8 o'clock. This thing started at about 6.00pm. I didn't realise that this girl was confused because she seemed not to understand whatever I was saying to her and then I decided to go to my neighbour's. I went to one of my neighbours. I told them that my husband has been killed and they said to me, "There's nothing we can /do because
do because where we're supposed to go for help, that's where the people who did this are." And then I left them. They tried to wash my wounds and they gave me some painkillers - Panados. I went back home and I tried to make my husband lie nicely and we covered him by a blanket. After that I said to Mrs Mnconco, "If you can go outside and hide yoursel, even if it means to hide under the tree, go out and hide because they will come back and they'll kill us but if they kill me and you survive ... (incomplete)" (Sounds of sobbing) This is my daughter who came and found me lying there.
We apologise. We didn't know that you were with your daughters. We should have let them come forward because they also are in pain. Let me just ask one thing. You said in your statement there was a driver. What was his name? It's written here there was a neighbour Mrs Mnconco and there was a driver and there was also a helper. --- I think whoever wrote that statement made a mistake. There was only a helper. This girl who was helping me. Her hame is Thabisile Thabethe.
Do you still have contact with Thabisile? --- The last time I saw her is when she got a job to go to Nkandla. I took her back home after she was discharged from Ngwelezana Hospital and I took her to her home because I didn't know her home.
Did you report this matter to the police? --- I stayed there inside my house the whole night because I had asked Mrs Mnconco to go and hide herself and this other girl also. I stayed with Thabisile because Thabisile couldn't run away because she was badly injured and I kept on giving her water the whole night to drink because I couldn't also help her because both my hands were not working. I stayed there with this three-year-old kid. I didn't realise that whole night that this three-year-old child has been assaulted or stabbed. She was also stabbed - two wounds. At about 5 o'clock in the morning my neighbours came and they called for the ambulance. They called the police. They called my children because I also gave them my children's telephone numbers who were staying at Ulundi to report the matter to my children. At about half past eight, if I'm not mistaken, police came. We'd been there bleeding since 6.00pm the previous day.
These policemen, where were they from? --- From Empangeni Police Station. They took us because the ambulance didn't come and when we arrived in hospital these policemen asked the hospital how come the ambulance didn't come and the administrator from the hospital said they were not allowed to go to my house. They tried to go there and they were stopped.
And they didn't tell you who stopped them? --- They said the people who stopped them were ANC youth. When we arrived at the hospital they tried to help us and my children came. My daughter and her husband and my son who was in college and my other daughter who's a teacher. All of them came except for Welile and Jabu. When they arrived in hospital they went and checked for Thabisile because Thabisile was terribly injured and also Mama Mnconco because she had eights wounds, she was stabbed eight times and they also tried to cut her neck and she was bleeding very bad from the breast wound. And they told them I was going to be admitted at Ngwelezana Hospital. So my children asked that they are scared that I should be admitted there because those people who did this might come and finish me in that hospital and they asked them to release me and write letters for transferring me to Eshowe Hospital and the hospital agreed and they made that transfer letter and we buried my husband at Mahlabatini because when we asked soldiers that they should be there when we bury my husband because we're still scared, the soldiers didn't answer back. And my son-in-law said, "Okay, I will take my father-in-law and we can make the funeral service at Mahlabatini." And we buried my husband and it was difficult for me to go back to Mevamhlope after I'd removed the plaster of Paris because I was still scared. Even today in my heart I can still say I'd like to be in Mevamhlope but I'm scared. I don't want to go back there.
So according to you was there any inquest? --- One detective by the name of Mzuza came to my house. I don't know whether he's still alive or still in that police station but he did come to Ulundi to see me.
Thank you. We heard - this is a very terrible story. I would also like to ask you how this thing affected you. Before you can tell us more about your children, just tell us about yourself. How were you affected? --- I'm not well really and my right hand is not working at all and my left shoulder is also sore all the time, day and night. And I only get rest when I fall asleep. But when I wake up it's sore. It's burning. If I was standing - talking like this standing, I couldn't because I don't have strength. I don't have power.
What about your children when they relate to you? --- My children are really in pain. They have this question that they'd like to ask which no one can answer. They say, why? Why was their father killed? Because he gave them the money and you, mother, you also gave them the money. As you heard her crying, it's always like that. They cry. I'm at Ulundi because of my children and there is this terribly sad question that, what have we done?
Did you try and see a psychologist? --- No, we haven't. We only went to social workers at Ulundi and we related to the whole story to them and they didn't do anything. They just told us they are just writing this story down and nothing happened afterwards except that they once gave Mrs Mnconco a bag of maize meal and a bag of beans.
Is there anything that you would like to request as a family? In your statement it says that you would like people to investigate more about this case. Is there anything else that you would like to ask this Commission to do? --- What I said is that I am here not to open a case for anyone because initially when I tried, nothing happened. Now it's late. If I ask people to investigate now, where are they going to start? What I came here for is that to elaborate or to illustrate to people how I was tortured and I didn't know the reason why.
You said you want to sell your house. --- I do talk to people that maybe they can buy the house, and other people, they do promise me that they will. I did go back to my house and I repaired the windows and I haven't yet met someone who wants to buy that house. I am trying to talk to people to buy the house. Even if it means someone renting the house and then maybe after the person has rented the house he might decide to buy the house because if there's no one inside the house, it gets bad or the condition becomes bad.
Who is this neighbour whom you went to ask for assistance and he didn't want to offer assistance because he said it was at night? --- I would like not to mention his name before this Commission because this person is still at Mevamhlope and he might be in danger.
If you don't want to reveal his name, we understand that and it's your wish. We will honour that. Thanks, Mama, for relating your story to us and it's a very sad story. And we can tell that your children are still in pain even today. Maybe it will be better if you go and see our social workers, the ones that we have here and maybe they might refer you to counsellors, to a psychologist, so that you'll be helped. We know it's difficult or you won't forget what actually happened to you but you will have the courage to talk about it over and over and you can handle it. Now I'll hand over to my chairperson.
DR MGOJO: Mrs Ngubane, this is a very sad story that you just related to us. You worked hard as a black person in our country to have what you have. And then other people - in fact other people who know what it means to suffer and who know how difficult to live in this country is and they come and destroy everything that you build for years and they even kill yourself. It's very sad that people will do that. I would like to ask one question. You said before you had been attacked, police came who were wearing soldier's uniform and they were with Mr Mthembu and they were looking for guns. Do you know this Mr Mthembu? --- I saw him. I didn't know him but even today I can't identify him because he was a young boy.
Do you know this Mthembu's house? --- No, I don't. I didn't know a lot of people, more especially who were far away from me. I only knew my neighbours. That area is rural. It's not a township. How come you don't know each other because people from rural areas are the ones who know each other? They can actually show you - once you say a name they'll show you where the house is. How come you didn't? --- No, I didn't. I only know my neighbours.
Was it a usual thing that people will come to Ngwelezana Hospital and kill someone after the person has been admitted because you said you were taken by your kids to Eshowe Hospital because they were scared that those people will come and finish you there. Was it a usual thing? --- No, I can't say it was a usual thing but my children were scared because they didn't know why we were being attacked.
You don't know why your children suggested that you should be transferred? --- No, I don't but it came to them that they were terrified. They were scared. They said I wasn't safe at Ngwelezana Hospital.
PROFESSOR MAGWAZA: Mrs Ngubane, we heard everything. I only have two short questions with regard to this group of people who came from the mountains and rushed down to your house. You also mentioned that the people who stopped the ambulance from coming to the house were ANC youths. You also said that you have suspicion that the people who attacked you belonged to a certain political organisation. --- My suspicion is that it can be ANC youths because they are the ones ... (Side A ends mid-sentence. Side B commences mid-sentence without overlap.)
... you lost your husband. We usually like to know more about him, even if we didn't know him before while he was alive. Where was your husband working? --- My husband, when he died he was already on pension. He was working for NPA.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much for coming and telling us this story today. There was a time not long ago in the 1970s the 1980s when the people in your area around Ulundi, Mahlabatini, lived very happily side by side. Some people leant towards the IFP, some people favoured the other parties, what was then the UDF, but most people, in fact most people did not have very strong political views and certainly they didn't hold views for which they were prepared to kill and die for. And over the past months, while we've been listening to evidence all round this province, there's overwhelming evidence that members of the previous government, senior policemen, politicians, manipulated the politics in this province in order to set people against each other so as to prevent the people of KwaZulu/Natal from forming a common united front against that previous government and its policies. The violence in this province has only been going on for about 10 or 11 years since the mid-eighties and it is time that the people of this province cast their minds back to those days when they lived happily together, when they lived peacefully together, when there was peace between the IFP and the ANC and to remember their common humanity in order that they can move forward together. So thank you again. You've told us a very sad story. We hope that it has helped you and your family a little bit to be able to come here and tell it in front of all of us and in front of the television and we hope that you are able to stay together as a family and support each other. Thank you very much indeed.
MR LYSTER: Just before you tell us your story, Mrs Mngomezulu, please tell us where you are residing at the moment. Where do you live at the moment? --- I'm staying in Swaziland at Mbulili. I was married at Mngomezulu. My father-in-law is the last born at Mngomezulu family. We left and we went Mbulili and that's the place for Mngomezulu. I was working at Bethesda. I'm a nurse. When I left my husband, I transferred to Eshowe. When I was at Eshowe, my children were staying with my father-in-law. In 1985 between June and July two boers came and they were driving a Cressida, a bottle-green Cressida, and they took my father-in-law at about half past eight in the evening.
Sorry to interrupt, where did they take him from? Where was he staying at that time? --- At Mbulili in Swaziland. When they took him they sent a friend of theirs - his name is Gerald Mngomezulu - they sent him to check if my father-in-law was there and he found that my father-in-law was there. When he realised that he was there he went back to these boers and he told them that he's there and when they arrived there they took my father-in-law. He was a commando. He left Saudi Arabia and he went to Tanzania and then he came back home. His wife was Sephiwe and they were staying with her but she wasn't there when they took him. He had gone to Ingwavuma to check for their stocks which were left there. When they arrived there, they took him. They left with him at the border gate and they put a balaclava on him and they also took others as well and those people who they took, they came back. It was Lokutu Mngomezulu, Mkhetwa Mngomezulu and they just beat them and they took them to Ndumo. There they went with Mr Schoon(?) - I'm not quite sure whether he was a commander of the police, but that's what I heard. When they arrived at Ndumo they took them again to Vryheid and from Vryheid they took them to 'Maritzburg. That's where they were assaulted badly and they also tortured them with something which is called a "cat" and he was hurt. Even today he can't walk. Mkhetwa was assaulted and his buttocks were injured. And my father-in-law was taken by them. We never heard anything about him. What we are asking, we as Swazis who want them to tell us where they've taken him and we want his bones back home, that's if they killed him.
Mrs Mngomezulu, your father-in-law - was this now the father of your husband? --- Yes, he is my husband's father. Now, you said that he underwent training abroad. What was he? Was he a member of MK? --- Yes, he was a member of MK.
And you said he was attacked by people from Ingwavuma who were in collusion with whites. Was that when there was a split in the Mngomezulu clan? --- Police attacked him. I don't know whether the policemen were from South Africa but among these policemen there was one policeman whose name is Mr Schoon. And he was staying at Jozini.
And you said that he was abducted by two white police officers and one African, Gerald Mngomezulu. --- Yes, they are the same policemen who abducted my father-in-law. The same policemen who took my father-in-law are the policemen who took these other guys.
Is that how you know what happened to them? Are they now back in Swaziland? --- We knew that because they'd taken Mkhetwa and my sister-in-law Lokutu and they were also beaten and assaulted and the second time that's when they took Mr Jimson.
And they were also taken to Pietermaritzburg, is that right? --- Initially they took them to Ndumo Police Station and then after Ndumo Police Station they went to Vryheid and then after Vryheid that's when they were taken to 'Maritzburg.
And when did Lokutu and Mkhetwa - when did they last see your father-in-law? Was it in Ndumo or in Vryheid or in Pietermaritzburg, do you know? --- No, they were taken immediately after they left the border gate they went to 'Maritzburg to order clothes and they took them at the border gate.
And did they tell you - did Lokutu and Mkhetwa - did they tell you what did the police ask them? What did they want to know from them? Why did they abduct them? Why did they beat them? What information were they looking for? --- What they asked from them is that why are they refusing with Ingwavuma, why the chief denied that the boers should possess that area and they told them that they wanted that area to belong to Africans not boers or Zulus. And then again they said to them they must agree that they were ANC members and they said, "No, we aren't." That's when they started assaulting and beating them and they beat them until they were confused. One of them collapsed and lost consciousness. My sister-in-law, Lokutu, lost consciousness until they called me at Bethesda to come and fetch her.
And who told you to come and fetch her? The Police? --- They called at home and they asked me I should check if she's not there and when I asked other people, they told me that they were at Ndumo. I met them at the border gate. That's when they told me they're from 'Maritzburg and then I went with them to home.
And Gerald Mngomezulu, is he a distant relative of the Mngomezulu family? Do you know him? Do you know where he is today? --- I don't know where he is. Yes, he is a relative, a blood relative at Mngomezulu. But at this moment I don't know where he is. I don't know. After they abducted my father-in-law, I don't know where he's gone to.
What other means have you used to try and find your father-in-law or to try and trace what happened to him? Did you lodge a complaint with the police here at any stage? Is this the first time you've talked about it in public? What steps have you taken to try and find him? --- We met as a family, all of us. Each and every one of us made suggestions and we wanted clues as to where he went to and we discovered that no one had any ideas and they told me that because I'm here in South Africa -I'm working here - they asked me to go and ask at the ANC offices that can't they try to find out what happened to him.
And did they make some enquiries on your behalf? --- They tried to make contact for me that on the 17th, 18th, 19th at the church at Empangeni I should go there, there will be ANC representatives. I went there.
And your father-in-law, how many other children did he have? Have they made enquiries or are you the only one, as his daughter-in-law, who is making enquiries about his disappearance? --- I don't know what happened to my sister-in-law. I only have one sister-in-law in Swaziland who is the one who has been asking me to try and find out and she's the last-born.
So did you come from Swaziland especially to be here at the Truth Commissioner today? How did you hear about it? --- Yes, I only came to appear before the Commission. How did you come to know about the Commission? --- I have a relative at Esikhawini. I took their phone number and addresses and I gave the ANC people so that they should contact me through this family. That's how I got a telegram from Esikhawini family and I knew that I should appear before the Commission.
Mrs Mngomezulu, is Mr Schoon the only name that you know of the policemen who were involved in the abduction of your father-in-law? --- He's the only one that I know because my sister-in-law, Lokutu, is the one who told me. This other guy, I don't know his name, and my sister-in-law is the one who can tell you more.
Now, if we wanted to speak to them to get more details about what happened to them, would they be willing to speak to us? Did they support you coming down here to talk to the Commission? Would they be willing to talk to us? --- Yes, you can talk to them but the thing is they are scared to come here. They are the ones who sent me here.
DR MGOJO: Another person that can help us here is Gerald Mngomezulu because your family seems to be very big. Do you know where we can find Gerald if we want to? --- I don't know. Since he's done this terrible thing, he disappeared.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Mngomezulu, we thank you for coming in today. Thank you for coming all the way from Swaziland. It's very brave of you to come all this way to talk about the disappearance of your father-in-law and to tell us what happened to two other members of your family. We know that the South African Police were involved in many, many abductions, particularly from Swaziland, and they carried out these abductions in complete violation of international law. They went to Swaziland, they killed people in Swaziland. They abducted people from Swaziland and brought them back here and often tortured them and killed them in this country. We will obviously do everything that we can to find out what happened to your father-in-law. We can't guarantee that we will be successful but we will certainly try and we hope that just the fact that you have come here today and have talked about it in public is helping you help your family in Swaziland to come to terms with his disappearance and there is the possibility, of course, that we will find out what happened to him. We will speak to the policeman concerned, Mr Schoon, to see whether he can tell us where your father-in-law is and we will communicate that information to you and hopefully we will be able to get to the bottom of this. So again thank you very much for coming and telling us this important story. It really does help us to paint a complete picture of what the South African Police did in this part of the world and in other countries. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: The next person will be speaking in English so if there are people who don't follow English very well, there are these simultaneous translation machines which you can get from that little door in the side wall there. Thank you very much for coming here, Mrs de Haas. You are not giving evidence today as a victim. You are coming to give us the benefit of your experience as someone who has been monitoring political violence in this area for many, many years but we will nevertheless ask you to stand up and take the oath before you tell us what you have to tell us.
Thank you very much. --- I'm a researcher and a lecturer at the University of Natal and I have been doing research in the province for the past 17 years and I have been quite actively involved in research since the 1980s in the North Coast region. I started off doing research on a variety of topics including customs and activities involving the sale of liquor in the Empangeni, Gingindlovu, Eshowe area. And then I also became involved in monitoring violence in the mid-eighties and as part of my violence monitoring activities, I was working together with the Progressive Federal Party unrest monitoring group which subsequently became the Democratic Party group and that was co-ordinated by the then provincial regional director of /the PFP,
the PFP, then DP, Roy Ainsley and we were also working together with Eve Jenkin. And this monitoring group received a lot of calls for assistance from people in the whole province really - South Coast, North Coast, Durban - and not just personal calls but also telephonic calls which involved us all in a lot of interventionist work, trying to get police patrols, trying to get army patrols, and later on trying to get cases followed up by the police. So my research experience that I bring to this Commission today has involved me in academic research activities as well as specific violence monitoring activities. When I started doing research in this area in the eighties, the North Coast region was very different to what it is today. With a few exceptions, namely Mandini and to some extent Esikhawini where there was trade union activity, there was very little political polarisation. There was peace. People who were perhaps inclined to the ANC or the IFP were co-existing quite happily together. And in my research activities I had a wide range of contacts from people who were in all political organisations and many people who were not particularly political. But as the DP unrest group continued its work, we increasingly got calls especially up the North Coast from people who were linked to trade unions and to the ANC/COSATU/UDF because of the attacks which they were subject to. They were calling for help. But I want to stress that so were a lot of other people. People who were not linked to political organisations of any sort and we helped them regardless of who they were. That's the background. That's why I'm here today to talk about what's been happening in terms of the security force involvement in this violence up the North Coast. Now, the contention of this submission - my contention is that the security forces must bear the prime responsibility for the destabilisation of the North Coast, that the police in particular are largely responsible for the type of polarisation that we see today and the suffering of both IFP and ANC members as well as people with no political affiliations at all. And the army as well is guilty to a certain extent although their involvement is less obvious. The involvement of the police was very conspicuous. Either the police did not act when you asked them to or the police were part of the - the part of the actual attacking mechanism. Sometimes quite overtly, openly, and sometimes in a more sinister, shadowy force - what has become known as the third force. What was apparent from the very beginning as the violence escalated towards the late eighties but particular from 1990 when there was a change of political dispensation set in motion, was the extent to which the violence was orchestrated. Up the North Coast there was a lot of local level conflict between IFP and ANC supporters but the major thrust of the violence was far more deeply rooted and more sinister than that. What we noticed was a similar pattern in area after area. People would be threatened with attack. People would be attacked. Sometimes you would warn the police but the police were not around and the attackers moved in. And very often the attackers were not local people. They were people brought into the area from outside of the area and one of the people who was very conspicuous in the patterns of violence which developed in the late eighties and nineties was Thomas Tshabalala and people closely associated with him from Lindelani in Durban. Now, the point I'm trying to make is that a lot of the violence was not started, was not actively fermented by local people, local IFP, ANC supporters. It was deliberately stirred up in a variety of ways from outside and I have mentioned Tshabalala because his name crops up in virtually all the areas up the North Coast which were conflict-ridden and he is known to have a very close relationship with the police. He is suspected of having links with Military Intelligence and he is known to have sat on the Joint Management Council structures set up by the P W Botha regime. Now, what I'm going to do - that's the general pattern that one observed, particularly from the 1990s. I want to go through it area by area just to give an idea of the types of conflict which developed in specific areas within that particular broad pattern that I've outlined. That is, a certain amount of local level conflict but a great deal of conflict which appeared clearly orchestrated in collusion, overt or covert collusion, with the security forces. So let me just go through these areas very briefly. This is not a detailed breakdown of incidents of violence in the areas. That would take us all day, all week, all month probably. A lot of information is available in the records of violence monitors' reports that have been put out, Goldstone Commission Report, Transitional Executive Committee Reports, etcetera, etcetera. The detail is there. Our records are available to the researchers from the Truth Commission, obviously provided a degree of confidentiality is maintained about sources. I want to highlight some of the major patterns starting with the Mandini area. And the Mandini area was one of the earliest affected areas, if not the earliest affected area, on the North Coast. The violence started in the mid/latter eighties in that area because of the activities which were generated by the industries in the area, namely trade unionists. And what we noticed both up the North Coast and in the whole province is that trade unionists from the very inception of powerful grassroots-supported trade unions became the target of attacks by vigilantes, by hit squads and by police. In this Mandini was no exception. The earliest instances of violence occurred there. The violence escalated in the latter eighties when the KwaZulu Police took over policing in the township. And from then on most of the reports of violence were linked very closely to the activities of the KwaZulu Police and particularly the management of the KwaZulu Police in the form of Major Owen Zama who was, in many of the attacks which took place in 1990 and onwards, seen to be present when people were shot, sjamboked, houses burnt. He was actually witnessed to be physically present. So the violence in Sundumbili, Isithebe, areas around there was very much linked to the activities of the KwaZulu Police in the area. Now, one person of particular note in these activities in the early nineties was a notorious hit squad person called Jerry Mdanda. Jerry Mdanda was a widely feared hit squad person. He was very highly trained. He was a Mozambican believed to have had links /with
with Renamo. He was linked to violence in a number of areas - Umlazi, what is now Gauteng, what is now Mpumalanga and also up the North Coast. Whilst in Mandini he was working together with the KwaZulu Police and a local chief who is allegedly deeply implicated in the violence. Mdanda was linked to a number of killings in Mandini and was never ever brought to book. I've mentioned one example in my submission where Mdanda was arrested together with another feared man called Bongani Mthimkhulu. They were arrested by a member of the police in Sundumbili following two murders in 1990 and after Mthimkhulu threatened to become Nofamela No 2, which of course relates to the famous hit squad revelations, and demanded to phone Brigadier Mathe, there was intervention by senior members of the KwaZulu Police, including Captain Manzini and Hlengwa, and Mdanda and Mthimkhulu were released from the custody of the police and taken to the home of a prominent IFP leader in Esikhawini. That's not the only time that Mdanda was arrested and released after intervention by senior policemen. And not only KwaZulu policemen; the same thing happened in Durban and he was released after intervention by some of the most senior members of the South African Police in Umlazi in 1985. So those were some of the major patterns which emerged in the Mandini area and in fact I also give an example in my submission of what was quite typical. Ainsley, in his role as Democratic Party president of the unrest monitoring group wrote to Minister Vlok warning about attacks in an area called Nembe and Vlok responded and said the matter would receive attention by the police, senior policemen. /The police
The police never ever bothered to get in touch with Ainsley and the situation worsened. More people died. There was no intervention. Now, that was fairly typical. We have a lot of correspondence. We have a lot of records of appeals to the police which were totally ignored. So they can't say they didn't know. That was the Mandini area. Eshowe - I'm just moving up gradually northwards - Eshowe was relatively quiet until 1990. What I find very noticeable, these areas where I worked fairly closely with people in the eighties which were so peaceful, suddenly from 1990 became transformed into violent war-torn zones. It is not possible for this to have happened without a degree of orchestration and organisation. One of the early instances in January 1990 in Eshowe was allegedly perpetrated by, amongst other people, a person attached to the KwaZulu Police. The violence escalated tremendously from 1993 onwards. Now, Eshowe was policed by members of the South African Police and what the police - the government did was to bring into the area KwaZulu policemen which was directly contradictory to their stated policy of reserving certain areas for the KwaZulu Police and certain for the SAP. It was also completely contrary to the recommendations of the Goldstone Commission which had said that no more policing areas should be handed to KwaZulu. Following the introduction of the KwaZulu Police into the area the violence intensified dramatically and there were many killings in 1993 and 1994. It continued after the elections. There were four people constantly named by people in Eshowe as perpetrators of violence, key perpetrators. Two of these people had very clear police connections. One of them was a person who was at that time a policeman and has since become the chief of the area, B I Zulu. The other person was supposedly a nephew of B I Zulu who moved to the area around the early 1990s. His name is Thulani Ngcobo and he at one stage was believed to have been a KwaZulu policeman but it seems that he was one of these special constables. Thulani Ngcobo was notorious in the killings in Pietermaritzburg and was linked to dozens if not hundreds of instances of violence and political killings including, allegedly, the killing of prominent trade unionist Jabu Ndlovu and her family in Pietermaritzburg. Thulani Ngcobo settled in Eshowe and maintained his links with the police and also maintained a reputation for being deeply involved in instances, cases of violence. Now, what all this suggests is that this was allowed to happen by both the government and by the police management. Again we had - and I say we, monitors and also Amnesty International - had sent a number of appeals to the police regarding policing powers, asking for protection for people and our calls went unheeded in Eshowe as elsewhere. In Mtunzini area, I don't go into detail there but the pattern was the same, that there was a series of attacks, particularly in the period 1991/92/93 in various areas in the magisterial district of Mtunzini and around the town itself and the pattern was the same all the time. The police would be warned about attacks, would take no precautionary steps and would not investigate afterwards. This is all documented in the records that we kept during that time. I want to give more attention /to the
to the Richards Bay/Empangeni area. Now, there were a number of areas affected by violence around these two towns Empangeni and Richards Bay including Ngwelezana, including rural areas as we've heard this morning, and including Ntambanana, and in all of these areas again the role of the police is very conspicuous. But the most prominent part played by the police was in the Esikhawini area. The Esikhawini area and, as I mentioned earlier, the Mandini area and Eshowe, but particularly in Esikhawini - before I touch on Esikhawini I must also mention that Nseleni itself was also a target of attacks by groups of outsiders in the presence of the police who did nothing to stop them. In an affidavit mentioning an attack in 1990 by ANC officer bearer Bongani Msomi, he gives details of watching the attacks on the houses taking place and he mentions how a particular policeman called Duffles - that we heard of this morning - address the group of armed attackers, did nothing to disarm them ,just told them to disperse after they'd attacked because the police were there to look after them. The only action the police took against the people under attack was to disarm them before the attackers moved in. And Msomi is recorded as saying to Duffles, "I'm worried about what's left in my house, that it will be looted." And sure enough, after he left the area, his house was looted. No action whatsoever was taken. When we get to Esikhawini, however, we see, of course, the virtual epicentre of hit squad activities. We see in Esikhawini high levels of collusion between the KwaZulu Police in the area who were operating hit squads. This has come out in court in the trial of Mbambo Mkhize and Hlongwane. We see collusion between them and management of the SA Police and including especially the security police in Empangeni. And the situation in Esikhawini has been detailed on many occasions. There's a vast body of information about it. I myself gave evidence to the Goldstone Commission sitting here in Empangeni at the beginning of 1993. There are a number of reports, submissions, court records on the activities and I just want to touch on some that have perhaps not been highlighted as much as they should have been. I'm just going to mention some of the particularly important incidents in Esikhawini which show us the nature of the forces at work and first of all one of the earliest incidents - I say one of the earliest incidents because there were killings before that - there were two attacks on trade unionist Geoffrey Belani. There were other murders - but in one of the earliest attacks on the youth, two youths disappeared at the beginning of July 1990. Their mothers searched for them frantically. Their bodies were found two weeks later in the township itself. While the mothers were searching for their children, the one mother went to the local police and they taunted her. She was worried out of her mind about her child but all they could do was laugh at her. She went to the security police in Empangeni and they said, "No, don't come to us. That's a KwaZulu Police matter. We're not going to have anything to do with it." The bodies were found two to two and a half weeks later. The one mother, who I shall name because she is now deceased - both she and her husband have died since then /- she was
- she was called Mrs Nxumalo, and Mrs Nxumalo's son - she described to me the state of the body. It had had acid poured over the head so there was no skin left on the head. It was just a skull. The body was not decomposed. The mothers thought that the boys had been kept somewhere and then, because the bodies were not as decomposed as one would have thought after two, two and a half weeks, but they had deliberately poured acid over the bodies to mutilate them and prevent - possibly to prevent identification. The suffering of these women did not end there. The one family was Inkatha supporting and the other family was ANC supporting and the police deliberately stirred up animosity between these two women at the time of the funerals. They went out of their way to spoil the funerals and one policeman said to Mr Nxumalo, "We know that your son's funeral is just a pretext for an ANC meeting." You just wonder how people can bring themselves to do this sort of thing to some people who have lost their children like that. The policeman that spoke to Mrs Nxumalo, whose name she gave me, appears to be the same person who is now working with the team of the investigative task unit in Durban and one wonders how he got into that unit. Now, the killing of these two boys was widely believed to be one of the reasons that Dr Henry Luthuli, a prominent medical practitioner in the township, was shot dead in early August 1990. Mrs Luthuli is going to give evidence to the Commission tomorrow and I'm sure she will tell you the terrible pain and suffering she went through, especially even after the death of her husband when people put out rumours that she had killed her husband which is another dirty trick tactic that one sees used time after time. It happened, I remember, in Durban when Mrs Mxenge was killed. People tried to say, "Well, you know, it was just a jealous husband, or wife, or whatever." Now, Mrs Luthuli suffered terribly and one of the reasons that people in the township thought that her husband might have been killed was that he had possibly done port mortems on these two boys and discovered that they had been shot by the KwaZulu Police hit squads. As it happens, it has transpired that Dr Luthuli did indeed do a second post mortem on the Nxumalo boy and the case is currently before an inquest court. But what has emerged so far - the matter's been postponed now until December - what has emerged so far in the killing of Dr Luthuli is that it is very possibly linked to a Vlakplaas operative working in collusion with the Empangeni security police and the KwaZulu Police but the matter is, of course, still under - the proceedings are carrying on but that is the evidence that has been led so far linking it possibly to Vlakplaas. So we see right from 1990 very clear hit squad activities surfacing in Esikhawini Township. Now, these activities escalated dramatically in '91/92, '92 in particular, and killings were the order of the day. And at the height of this in August 1992, which was a black month - at least 31 people were killed in instances of violence in that month alone, most of them just shot dead by people often wearing balaclavas - and at the height of this Ainsley and I were contacting the police and begging them to put SAP patrols in the Esikhawini area because it was a KwaZulu Police jurisdiction area and everybody knew that the KwaZulu Police were implicated in this violence and yet the police refused to act. At one stage a general in Pretoria had agreed to send in the SAP and we were told that the general had been reprimanded by Minister Heunis Kriel who said that he had no right to interfere. The question of the KwaZulu Police was a very delicate matter. Now, I hold the whole government culpable because people were dying, they were being told about it. Ainsley and I launched public appeals to government officials, to the Goldstone Commission, to diplomats, and Amnesty International launched appeals. I wrote to President de Klerk himself in connection with the Luthuli case in 1993. I asked De Klerk to intervene. I did this through a colleague of his. De Klerk, in spite of my having put in my letter the connection with the KwaZulu Police hit squads, passed the matter on to the Minister Kriel who passed it on to the KwaZulu Police to deal with. So they were given the chance to intervene and they did not take it. To me that implies culpability in the deaths of innocent people. Also in that August attack, three of the attackers were injured and admitted to hospital under false names and addresses and Ainsley and I observed in that period a massive degree of cover-up and collusion between members of the South African Police, including Colonel Nel from Eshowe. There were a number of other matters needing attention in Esikhawini. Reports were received in 1992, for example, that a notorious KwaZulu Police killer, Simpiwe Mvuyani was operating in the area. Mvuyani was known to be linked to a mandrax cartel and I think it's time that /the link
the link between the mandrax cartel and the KwaZulu Police is investigated. There were also reports that a notorious killer known as the Beast in Policeman's Clothing, Kethane Shange, who'd been released from prison after serving a few months of a long sentence, was operating in the area. One wonders what happened to his parole. He was supposed to have been paroled. We need to find out why these things were allowed to happen. Then, in another incident in February 1992, there was an attack on the hostels at Esikhawini in which at least 12 people died and the police did not intervene until it was apparent that the hostel dwellers were defending themselves against the attackers, most of whom had been bused into the area from outside. The police then intervened and arrested the hostel dwellers. At the same time a vehicle was intercepted near Durban that day full of weapons for Esikhawini. It was a car driven by a man called Mlangeni who had spent the night at the house of Thomas Tshabalala. Mlangeni is believed to have links with training activities as Sasolburg. The vehicle was stopped at a road block and I then followed up the case. These weapons were destined for Esikhawini. The case was allowed to lapse implying a cover-up between Durban murder and robbery unit and Thomas Tshabalala. The people were never brought to book. Tape recordings that were made in the area at the time, which will be given to the Truth Commission which have already featured in a newspaper report and which have been authenticated by Mbambo Mkhize and Co, point to a massive degree of collusion between senior KwaZulu Police particularly Brigadier Mzimela and IFP officials in the area including cover-ups of illegal weapons. Also implicated in these tapes are members of the security police at Empangeni. So you can see that Esikhawini particularly was the very centre of these activities. Policemen who tried to do their jobs properly were victimised. I can mention a sergeant, a long-serving sergeant, Sergeant Moses Mthembu, who, because he was not going along with these activities, there was an attempt to transfer him to an area where he would have been killed. He knew that and he took medical early retirement. He has not to this day been paid his money. This is three years later. He was medically boarded. He has not received his pension monies yet and he attributes this to deliberate blockage by the KwaZulu Police and names in particular Brigadier Mzimela and Colonel Reid, former head of the legal services who's now the head of police legal services in Durban. And this is a point that we will come back to in a minute when I finish off. Just moving on from Esikhawini to KwaMbonambi, I won't go into details there but again I think we've heard one story this morning. A great deal of evidence about collusion between the police and the people perpetrating the violence and direct involvement of the police themselves in the violence. We're all aware of the death of Simon Msweli, Michael Mthetwa and I think we know that they had been hiding in the forest away from the police for months before they were killed. However, on three occasions an incendiary device was thrown at the Msweli house before Msweli was killed. On one of those occasions an eyewitness reported seeing the very same Duffles in the vicinity. Finally Mtubatuba, most of the violence orchestrated by the police in Mtubatuba has happened after the end of 1993 and in that violence the commander of the internal stability is deeply implicated - Major, now Colonel, Pelser. However, even before the end of 1993, the stability unit were engaged in killing people. In September 1993 in the KwaMsani area they killed Alexander Velani and said to Mrs Velani afterwards, "We're terribly sorry, Constance. We didn't know it was your husband." Now, that's a brief overview of why I'm saying that the police were deeply implicated. I've given examples to try to show you that I'm not generalising without a vast body of information. Now, arising out of this presentation are various issues. The first is - and these, I think, are issues to be addressed by the Truth Commission - the first is the whole question of jurisdiction. I want Minister Kriel to answer for the fact that he did not allow patrols into Esikhawini to save people's lives in spite of having been given evidence and having direct appeals as to why it was necessary to send in the army and the SAP. The SAP also are problematic but at least they weren't the people in Esikhawini who were directly killing people and covering up because the KwaZulu Police were covering up afterwards as well. Kriel must answer for this. So must the Commissioner of Police, the management of the police. Why were they putting KwaZulu Police in an SAP area at Eshowe to sew destabilisation, to polarise a formerly peaceful community and yet they were not prepared to allow SAP patrols at Esikhawini? Secondly, is political interference in the work of the police. There are two examples here. One of them relates to an incident in Esikhawini at the height of the trouble in early '93. A new Police Commissioner has been appointed, General During. During tried, at the request of the community, to transfer two of the key trouble makers, Brigadier Mzimela and Captain Manzini, out of the area. He was overruled by the then Minister of Police, Minister Buthelezi. Why? Why? The second instance relates to the presence - to the whole question of the army. Last year, during some trouble at Sundumbili, I had quite an interesting conversation with the senior army officer at Eshowe. I was asking the army to go into Sundumbili and he said, "Well, the former Minister of Police in KwaZulu expressly forbad us from going into Sundumbili or Esikhawini." Now, why? I think we need answers to those questions. Why, when those were the two centres where most people were dying, was the presence of the army forbidden to protect people? The failure of President de Klerk to do anything. President de Klerk cannot say he didn't know. We have copies of correspondence. We have a letter from him. We have the Goldstone Commission which itself knew about what was happening yet had to act within the confines of the limits set by President de Klerk. I think President de Klerk must be called to explain why. Why did he not allow the Goldstone Commission to investigate the Luthuli matter? The failure to secure further prosecutions against hit squads. We want answers from people why, in spite of well over a hundred in a short space of time in Esikhawini, has there only been one conviction? Why have we not prosecuted other people? Why have we not prosecuted the people behind it? Why at the trial of Qi Mkhize and Co were the politicians and the senior police people, including General Mathe and Brigadier Mzimela not called to give evidence? Why? We also need to move - when I say to move, we need to do something about these individual policeman that we've been hearing about. And I have a whole list of them here which is by no means exhaustive. And when I say do something about it, we need to find out why they haven't applied for amnesty. We need to find out where they are now, what they're doing. We need to find ways of neutralising them so that they cannot carry on doing it. And I can tell you, because the violence continues, that this man Duffle, that we have heard about this morning, is still deeply involved in the violence and has been interfering in the work of a unit up the North Coast at the moment, a competent investigative unit headed by Captain Vilekazi, and has tried to interfere with the evidence - the very same Duffle. We want these factors removed. We want the management structures of the police held accountable. We want the management structures of Eshowe under Colonel Yunius and Colonel Nel, we want individual policemen at Eshowe, B I Zulu, Captain Rielly - all these people have been implicated. We want the management structures in other areas, Empangeni, Umfolozi stability unit and the individual members I've mentioned - Duffle, Masa - Masa who was transferred out of Empangeni because of his activities. We want the activities of the Empangeni security police exposed including Messrs de Jager, Greef, Bevan - Bevan is one of the prime movers at the moment in interfering with police investigative work right now. Well, he was until he was neutralised through huge effort, but he's been temporarily removed. But we want these activities exposed. We want to know why many of these police I've mentioned, why there names appear on a list of people wanting blanket amnesty from President de Klerk. Have they applied to the Truth Commission? If not, why not? We need answers. And, of course, most of all we want the political strategy behind it. What all this points to is a degree of organisation which linked up with State resources. You cannot engage in this scale of destabilisation without massive back-up and everything points to the sinister joint management structures, from the presence in areas such as Eshowe of Thomas Tshabalala and Themba Khoza to the co-ordinated activities which led to the violence. It all points to joint management structures. We want government accountability. Finally, why is it necessary? Why is it necessary to expose these people? Why is it necessary? Well, I think for the reasons that are intrinsic to the work of the Truth Commission plus the situation that we're in at the moment. First of all, this region is not yet at peace. There is a tremendous amount of violence out there still. Much of it goes unreported. Much of it is passed off as faction or criminal or taxi, but it's much more than that. There's reason to think the people are still training, people are still arming themselves and these very same police that I've been mentioning are still sitting in the police structures. We want them exposed. We want them removed. We want them neutralised so that we can create a climate of peace. So that we can heal the divisions between the IFP and the ANC and the other political parties. As I said to you, these divisions were not present in the 1980s. They were fuelled deliberately to polarise, to destabilise, to prevent development. We want reconciliation. We want people to make friends with each other. We want them to put aside this violence and they can only do that if there is a climate of peace, if they feel safe to do that. That's why we must have these people exposed. So we want the Commission to look into all these aspects. We want them to ensure that the people who were involved in this destabilisation work in the past are removed from positions in which they can continue their activities in the future. We want to encourage these people and perhaps we need to encourage them by the big stick and saying, "We are going to prosecute." We want to encourage these people to come forward while they still have time. People like Duffle. People like Bevan. People like De Jager. People like Mzimela and Mathe. We would prefer them to come forward and seek amnesty and tell us what was happening but, if not, we want to make sure that justice takes its course.
Mrs de Haas, thank you very, very much for that submission. The work of non-affiliated monitors is and always has been vital to a proper understanding of the political violence in this province and we know that what you have said and the allegations that you have made this morning are not generalised allegations and that they are backed up by a substantial amount of empirical evidence. Your efforts are obviously an important source for the Truth Commission in our attempt to come to an understanding of what has taken place in this province over the past ten years and we thank you very much for your well-prepared submission. Thank you very much indeed. --- Thank you.
MR LYSTER: It's Mrs Josephina Msweli. Good afternoon, Mrs Msweli. Thank you very much for coming in. You've come to tell us about the death of your son, Simon Msweli, and also Michael Mthetwa. Before you tell us that story please can you stand up and take the oath.
How old are your children? Your firstborn? --- The firstborn was born in 1952. Her name is Nellie Msweli. She's married now. Second-born is Irene Msweli. Irene is the one that I'm with here. She was born in 1954. I'm not married. I'm working. Do you have children? --- My other sister is Ileta Msweli. She's not married she's at home.
Is he working? --- Yes, he's working at Richards Bay. The fifth-born was born in 1961. She's married. Liliet was born in 1966. She's at home and she's not married. She's also not working. She's at the forest or that's where she's working.
And you mean the chief took your son-in-law's place? --- Yes, and he gave it to other people. And after I failed fighting that, he came to see me at home and he said he was taking over the place and he asked me where I got such a big place and that he was going to hand it over to somebody to plant gum-trees. He said I must take out the fence that I had put around the fields because he was putting somebody new in that place and I told him that I had spent a lot of money trying to make the land fertile for planting or ploughing it. I refused that he should take that particular place. Then he called me to the chief's place. That is where there was a trial held.
I just want to get to the background of the matter. This chief, was he a member of a political organisation? --- Yes, he was a member of Inkatha but he never grew up in that particular place. He was from Swaziland and he came back and joined Inkatha.
So you refused to hand over the land. Why didn't you report the matter to the police? --- When I came back from the chief's place, the chief said he did not want to take Msweli's place. That was Chief Mthiyani. He said he didn't want to take Msweli's land. I must go back and speak to the induna. The induna said to me he doesn't want to speak to me. I should just take out the fence that I had put round the field because he had sold that particular piece of land to a certain person and he didn't want to speak to me. He was selling the land over to the Shabani family and they were going to plant gum-trees there.
How was he going to hand over the place because that was a land allocated to you? --- That was Msweli's place. That's where he grew up. He stayed there for quite a long time and that was his place. He was known by the chief. He said he was going to sell it to Shabani.
What was Shabani? --- Shabani was a reverend. He came to my place whilst he was preaching in our area and my husband gave him a piece of land so that he could plant his own. So Shabani said he did not want my land. He only wanted the portion that was given to him. He did not want the rest of the land and Shabani reiterated his statement that the part of land that was given to him by Msweli was quite enough. He didn't want to take any more of Msweli's land. Then I went to Ngwelezana to report the matter. I went to the Home Affairs Department together with him, the reverend, and I reported the matter. The reverend told them at Home Affairs that he did not want to take my husband's land and they chased me and said I shouldn't come back with this matter. They sent summonses several times and the third time I took the summonses to Ngwelezana. We were called to Ngwelezana so that we would reach a settlement as to our argument. There was the chief as well as the induna and the magistrate said I should address the court. The magistrate asked as to where the chief was coming from and where he got the authority to allocate people's land. It was a white magistrate who was presiding over the case. Then the induna said I had a very big place. I said to him I was not speaking to him, I was speaking to the chief and I wanted to asked the chief as to how do they plan to take my land whilst I was ploughing on my land and I had planted my land. I was farming on it. And I told the chief to go and look at my place and decide whether I was not using the land. Then, if I was not using the land, it should be given to other people. The magistrate reiterated that and said he will send someone to go and check whether I was using the land fruitfully and the matter was thought to be resolved and when we went out of the court, I had planted mealies in the field and I had planted all sorts of vegetables. I was really working on that field. Then after this was supposedly resolved we were at home one day and we saw a group of people coming. They took out a document which they were reading. I said to them they must give me that document so that I could read it by myself. They said they were sent by the chief. They said they were the chief's police and they came. They were heavily armed and they said they were sent by the induna. They said they had come to undo the fence that was around my field. I went to KwaMbonambi and I called another boy from the Shandu family to accompany me. We went to KwaMbonambi and the police asked me as to whether we had fought. I told them that the people were heavily armed. I couldn't have fought with them. I had just come to report the matter. And they also had guns at that time. And I went to KwaMbonambi. When I got to KwaMbonambi and related the story, they said to me if we had fought or we had had a problem or somebody was injured they could have come but now that there was nothing going on, they did not attack me, they did not kill anyone, so they couldn't come. They sent me to Ngwelezana. When I came back, I found that they had undone the fence and they had taken out the poles that support the fence and they went to throw the fence at my place and my plants were exposed to animals such as cattle.
Then you went to Ngwelezana? --- Yes, I went back to Ngwelezana to report the matter. I don't know what's the name of this policeman that I got there. He said to me my matter was no longer dealt with in Ngwelezana. There's a certain person who was interpreting in my case and he had interfered with the evidence.
What about the interpreter? Do you know the interpreter's name? --- I do not remember the name of the interpreter because the first time I went to report the case I got him and he could not speak to me thereafter. He said to me I must go to see an attorney. Then I went to my attorney Van Hellen(?) and I engaged the services of Van Hellen. I understand that Van Hellen has died. But Van Hellen never actually got around to helping me. I paid him R250,00 and he promised that he was going to go to Ngwelezana to open up a case and the magistrate said he was not prepared to preside over my case thereafter because he had dealt with it sufficiently. Then he said I should sue for damages that I had incurred with regard to what the people or the police from the induna's place had done. So my attorney reported thereafter and said the magistrate said there was nothing he could do. So it was Makhathini, myself as well as Musa's wife and my children, we went to the fields and I brought a certain document and gave it to Van Hellen. And I think they bribed Van Hellen because thereafter he couldn't even look me in the eye. He couldn't face me. And now the damages were not paid. Simon said he was going to re-erect the fence that was taken out as well as the poles and the youth from Nseleni used to attack my son and I told him that he should stop being at Khombindlela and he left Khombindlela and went to start at another school. I think it was in 1990. So he had to go to another place.
We have heard the background now because that is what we needed. Now we need to get to the core of the matter, that is the killing of Solomon(?). I just want to rectify certain things in your statement and be sure that whatever you said in your statement is what you are going to say now in your testimony. Is it correct that your son Simon was a very quiet person? He was not violent? --- Yes, he tried to put back the fence and that is when the whole violence started. Then they said he was a criminal.
You say Simon was a member of the ANC? --- That is correct. At the time I wasn't a member of the ANC. I was a member of Inkatha. I only started being a member of the ANC in 1992. I was a member of Inkatha for eight years and I was the treasurer there. I was the treasurer and at some time they threatened me. The induna pointed a gun on my forehead.
Then you joined the ANC thereafter? --- Yes, I got ANC attorneys who represented me and they were asking the question as to why I was being repeatedly attacked and Ma Khumalo had taken me to those attorneys. They are the ones who helped me.
Now, let's deal with this matter. In your statement you said Simon had gone to visit Mthetwa from Sobuhle. It was on the 14th of August in 1992 and the member of the stability unit as well as the KwaZulu Police were coming from KwaMbonambi - got to Michael's place, is that correct? --- Yes, a number of youths came to my place during the night. By then Simon had been shot. Where was he shot? --- He was shot at Michael's place.
Is that where they were shot? --- They were never shot. I think they were assaulted until they died because we couldn't even identify him. His eyes had been gouged out. He was never shot. He was tortured. He was violated. He was also mutilated. We could not identify him. I only identified him through his thumb. There was a certain mark on his thumb.
Who came to report the matter to you that your son had been assaulted? Who came to report the matter to you? --- There was a certain helicopter that fetched them to take them to the hospital but they were certified dead on arrival and we were told that they were assaulted at a certain forest.
Now, according to what you are saying, the people who abducted your son and his friend were the stability unit as well as the KwaZulu/Natal Police. --- It was police as well as the stability unit and I was told to remain at home. So my daughters were going around reporting the matter.
Now, how did they feature into the whole thing because you had an altercation with the induna. Now, were did the police come from? --- We were branded as ANC criminals, that's how they called the police to come and attack us. And when I sat down and spoke to the police telling them that there was nothing of the sort, they said I was a criminal myself - the white police. When I go to KwaMbonambi they would make me a laughing stock. They said my child was a criminal. And I asked them as to why they had killed him if he was a criminal. He should have been arrested and not killed.
And was your son buried? What happened at the funeral? --- We never slept at home on that particular day because the police were frequenting our place and we used to sleep at the forest. During the day or at night they would come and urinate on my child's grave and at times they would mess it up and I would go and report the matter to the police but the police said there was nothing they could do. The very same police destroyed my home and I did not know the reason why they were doing it.
Did you get the death certificate? --- I do not remember getting it because even if I did get some documents the police used to come and search the place and they would ransack it and take all the important documents. They took my ID as well.
What do you know about Van Niekerk? --- Yes, I understand the policeman who said he killed my son was Van Niekerk. Maybe it's because I'm old and I'm a bit deaf but I think they said it was Van Niekerk. Now, I say I want Van Niekerk to come and speak the truth and I want him to tell the whole world as to who sent him because I went to Velbang(?) and Duffle - Duffle - I could speak to Duffle at some stage and there was a certain policeman called Mpotosi. That is the one who came after they had killed Musa. They killed Musa. That's when the policeman from Mpotosi ran away. Velbang was from KwaMbonambi and he's the one who was sending them to come and attack people. Here it is Duffle.
Now, we want to come to the conclusion of this matter. Now, would you please tell us what your expectations are from this Commission. You've gone to the police to report the matter and you also went to the chief. Now you've come to us. What are your expectations from this Commission? --- I want the people who killed my sons to come forward because this is a time for reconciliation. I want to forgive them and I also have a bit of my mind to tell them. I would be happy if they could come before me because I don't have sons today. Their father died at an early age and I put them through school. Now, they've never been criminals. They've never had any problems, even with the neighbours. They were Christians.
So you say you want to see your son's killers? --- That is correct and I also want to speak to them because I want to speak to them before I forgive them. I want them to tell me who sent them to come and kill my sons. Maybe they are my enemies, maybe they are not. So I want to establish as to who they are and why they did what they did.
Is there anything else that you'd like to say to this Commission? --- I wish that there could be a thorough investigation as to who sent these policemen. I know that I might probably not sleep at home today. Maybe they're looking at me even now because I've survived so many attacks. I'm staying at KwaSokhulu. When my second son died - Si, my son, left the place. After he died - he died just after he had prepared the fields and re-fenced them. I'm still staying there and the induna is still alive. I went to him during August and I wanted him to sign a certain document so that Mondi could come and plough my fields and he could not sign the document. He refused. The chief is also alive and they're very close with the induna and they do not want to have any dealings with me. The name of the chief is Mhloleni Mthiyani. Now I'm scared to face him because I suspect that he could even kill me.
You have related your story to us. We will try and investigate the matter further. If there's a need for us to see the chief as well as the induna and the police that you have mentioned in your testimony - because now that there's this government we do not want people to be still violated. We thank you for your courage as well as your son's courage that he refused to hand over his father's land. He died as a hero fighting for what he believed in, fighting for his rights. You should also be proud that your son died as a hero and he re-fenced the place. They killed him because he had done that but he died as a hero. We shall try all that is in our power to find some answers to your questions as to who sent the people who killed your son, whether they were sent by the chief or the induna and where do the police feature in as far as this is concerned because they were supposed to be the law keepers. They are supposed to be the ones who protect the community that is at threat but now the very same police have turned to be criminals and they attack the community. We thank you for your courage and as you say that you're still getting threats, you have shown so much courage. Thank you.
MRS GCABASHE: Mrs Msweli, there's just a few questions that I want to ask you. I want to take you back to the altercation that you had with the induna. Why did the induna choose you in particular? Did you ever have a problem with him before? --- We had a good relationship with the induna's father whilst he was still alive and the induna himself who was kind towards me and I don't know when did this change because he ended up saying I had a very big place which needed to be divided and sold and there were certain white people who came who were building the gum-trees. They said we should move to another place but Msweli at that time refused to move from that place because he was self-employed. That was his sole source of living. He said that he was going to fix the land for himself because he /wanted
wanted to use it later and he went to the chief's father. And the chief asked him as to what he was going to do with gum-tree. He asked what were the white man doing with gum-tree. He was going to do the very same thing that the white men were doing with the gum-tree and he went to the very same white people and they gave him permission that he should plant the gum-trees. Then he called his brothers. They planted the gum-trees but his brothers refused to help him and they went to other places, the surrounding areas, to build their houses there. Then we started planting the gum-trees and certain other types of trees. We were given seeds and we planted those trees.
Okay, let's just try to concentrate on one aspect. You said this started when your husband was still alive, as well as the chief's father. The second thing we would like to clarify is your statement combines what happened to Ntombikanina's husband. You remember relating to us that Ntombikanina Mthetwa - Simon had visited the Mthetwa family. Then you said - when Ntombikanina spoke yesterday she said there was a policeman called Steyn. --- I do not know Steyn. I think she knows a lot because she's educated but I am not educated or politically aware.
MRS GCABASHE: One other thing that I would like to find out. Ntombikanina yesterday said when the police got to Mthetwa's place, there was some shooting that took place. --- I was not present. I think she's the one who can elaborate on that. I was not there.
But did you ever go to the court? --- Do you mean opening up a case? No, I went to the court to try and get his documents that they had confiscated earlier on and they could not hand them over to me. They denied that they had them in their possession.
Did Simon have any children? --- He did. He was not married but he had children with his girlfriend. I've not seen the other one. I've only seen the one that I'm maintaining. At times I would take him to stay with me.
Maybe you can tell us briefly as to what led to his death. Why was he killed? --- When I heard people talking, as well as the police, they said they were directed to kill everything, even chickens. They killed my chickens. They killed everything and at times they would come and look at my place and they would go away. They were shooting at literally everything which was in the house. But what surprises me most is that it was the police who were doing this. When Simon was still alive he used to fight with the Inkatha people and he used to kill them. (Uproar in audience which is apparently admonished by Dr Mgojo who says, "Okay, okay, okay" followed by words which not interpreted)
Mrs Msweli, when did Musa get killed? Was it on the same day they were attacking you or the same day that Simon died? --- He died after Simon. I think it was last year, '95. He died in 1995. He died during the Easter weekend. It was between April and May but I don't remember quite well.
They came to your place? --- Nobody came to my place. Musa sent his girlfriend to come and ask for money because he wanted to go to his sister, that is the one who is sitting next to me. I gave him R20,00 and told him that I was going to give him more on the coming Friday because he was no longer staying at home and the police used to frequent my place. They would take children and they would abandon them very far away from home and they would have to foot it back home and when they get me at home they would point their guns at me.
Is he the one you said he could not even talk? --- Musa was very sick. He was suffering from asthma and one other thing that contributed was that he used to sleep in the forest. Themba's girlfriend - I saw a car ... (Tape end mid-sentence. Subsequent tape commences mid-sentence without overlap) ... hiding in the forest and it was a long time since I had seen him. And Musa was with another male. I think it was Khulekane. They were together with Khulekane. I saw them running towards the forest and the car also went in. This car went into Shabani's place. I thought it was the police and I saw them coming out of the forest getting into the car because they had realised that it was their friend's car. I saw him getting into the car and the car left. That was the last time I saw him until some people came to my home and told me that Musa had been killed and I asked as to where he was. They said just outside the forest. And I asked as to how they knew that he was in that car.
MR LYSTER: Just a last question, Mrs Msweli. Did the police who used to come to your house, the police from the stability unit, did they have - what sort of relationship did they have with the induna Mthiyani? --- The induna used to say to them we were ANC members and the ANC are enemies of the police or the police are enemies of the ANC. And he would say that he did not want members of the ANC in his area. He used to go to the police - the induna used to go to the police and report to them as to what was happening in that place. And I knew that the induna was my enemy. Even now, I still have to duck and dive when I see him. They used to come every day at my place and I never got any rest. We use to sleep in the forest with my children. Then after Musa had died I told them to come and kill me as well and they came and they said they were very sorry that they had killed Musa and I should not report them to the police. I asked as to why they had killed him because he was the only one who was left now. "Why did you kill him?" I sat there ever since then because when I think of all these things, at times I fall out of the bed when I'm sleeping because I think a lot because I'm maintaining these children and they are being killed by people of the law. It would be Inkatha as well as the police. They are troubling us so. They have violated my rights. They have tormented me. They've stripped off whatever rights I thought I had. What is wrong with being an ANC member? I tell them that I am a staunch ANC member because it does not discriminate. It wants to make people equal. I love ANC.
MRS GCABASHE: One other thing that we wanted to find out from you - that people who have been through what you went through - we did not ask you about your health, physically, emotionally and otherwise. How did it affect you? --- I'm very sickly. My health has changed as from the day that those things happened. I do not have a house because my home was destroyed. Some of my stock was killed and I lost seven cows.
How do you feel physically? --- I'm sick. I always visit doctors. I do not know what is wrong with me. At times I have dizzy spells and I love ploughing the fields. At time I collapse at the fields. I only find myself being brought home by people who discovered me. At times I do even go to Esikhawini. I would go to Dr Qwabe at times and at times I would got to Mtubatuba. I am getting some pension.
We want to follow up as to your health because everyone who has gone through the things that you've gone through needs some psychological or psychiatric help. We thank you very much. I shall hand over to the Chairperson.
We want to devise some means that people like you should get some assistance - medical or psychiatric assistance or attention. Maybe we should connect you with the Department of Health where you can get some help without having to pay. As soon as you're through speaking you will be consulted by members of our staff who shall help you and tell you as to how to go about getting this help because it is available so that you may be able to get the medical attention that you need.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Msweli, thank you very much for coming in and we know it has been very difficult for you to relive all those terrible experiences that you have gone through but you have volunteered to come here and it's very important for us that you have come here, to have told us what it was like for you and your family to have lived through those times, to have given us a detailed description of how the police harassed you perpetually, continuously harassed you, and killed two of your sons. It's a story we have heard so often from people in this province - from women, women who, as I said yesterday, didn't participate in the violence, were not active in it at all and yet they suffered most from it because they lost their loved ones, their sons and their husbands, and we do extend our very deep sympathy to you. Your colleague or your friend Ntombikanina Mthetwa /told
told us yesterday about her son's death and now you have come today and told us about Simon's death and we know that they died together and we were glad that you were able to come to the Commission together, you and Michael Mthetwa's mother and tell your stories to us. As you've told us and as other witnesses have told us and as Mrs Mary de Haas has told us today, there was a very strong relationship, there were very strong links between the police in this area, the stability unit and the police from KwaMbonambi and certain local indunas and other people and clearly it was as a result of this close co-operation and the close links between that induna and the police that your family was attacked or singled out for attack and that your sons died. And even though you know the name of the policeman who killed your son, Steyn - even though that person was locked up, it's still not good enough. It doesn't satisfy you. It doesn't satisfy us, the fact that he is in gaol, because the system that created him is still in place and that is something that we have to fight against until we have a police force that we can all feel safe with and be proud of. So thank you for giving us your story. It's a very important story. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: The next witness is Mrs Ndawonde. Good afternoon, Mrs Ndawonde. We welcome you here today from Mtubatuba and you have come to tell us about the death of your brother, Mbuyasi Thamsanqwa. Can you please stand up and take the oath before you tell us the story?
MRS GCABASHE: I greet you, Mrs Ndawonde. We appreciate that you stayed until this time to give your testimony. First of all we would like you to relate to us more about your family. Your own family or your father's family. Tell us if you're married or not. --- I'm not married.
His name? --- His name is Zibuyisile. He's in Standard 8. My second-born is Zandile and she was born in 1978 and she is in Standard 8. Another one is Bekinzenzo and he is in Standard 3. He was born in 1980 and my fourth-born is Fikile. She was born in 1986 and she is in Standard 1. The last-born is Simlindile and Simlindile is not at school because she was born this year February.
Now, tell us what happened. --- Thamsanqwa was as student in a certain school at Sokhulu and it was - people were fighting at Sokhulu and they decided that they should take Thamsanqwa to another area and then in 1994 we heard that he was no longer there where we put him. He was no longer staying there. It was in 1990. When you say you experience violence at that area, what do you mean? --- I mean that children at school were being attacked. In 1994 we heard that Thamsanqwa was no longer in that house where we put him.
He was staying at Mtamba's house and the parents from Mtamba's family came and told us that Thamsanqwa has been killed. And then they explained to us that Thamsanqwa was studying and they heard a loud noise as if a door was breaking and they didn't realise that it was gunfire and when these other kids went to his bedroom that's when they realised that he was shot.
These Mtamba people, they didn't hear anything? --- No, they said they only heard a loud noise so they thought it was a door breaking or something but they didn't think it was a gunfire. They didn't hear anything except for that.
From your knowledge or what you've heard from other people or your suspicion, what happened? --- We never suspected anyone because he was staying in another area where we put him there. Then we didn't hear any stories after that and no one was arrested for that.
This area where he was staying at Mthetwa's area ... (incomplete) --- Ja, that area it's just an area which I didn't know about it because I never even went there. What about the post mortem? Was it done? --- He went to hospital. I don't know. If the post mortem was done, I don't have the results. I don't know anything. He went to Ngwelezana Hospital.
Now that you're here and you're telling us the story, do you know how it affected them? --- It really affected them, especially my grandfather. Even my grandmother, I think - I suspect she's not well mentally.
What about grandmother, is she getting any medical assistance or medication? --- She does go to clinic at Dlemdlenu(?) Clinic. Dlemdlenu is the name of the clinic. It's there at Sokhulu area near the school.
Now that you came to the Truth Commission do you have any request or wish that you would like to ask the Commission to do for you, because in your statement it's written that you want us as the Commission to decide what to do but you are the one who was staying with the grandmother. --- I think you should see what you can do.
What about you? You don't have any suggestion or any wish? --- My grandmother is really old. You don't even wish to know who killed Thamsanqwa? --- We really want to know who killed Thamsanqwa. We would like the Commission to investigate that. We would like the Commission to go to Mthembu's area and try and investigate.
MR LYSTER: I also thank you very much for coming in today, Viera, telling us your story and to commend you on being so brave to come here and represent your family in this attempt, this quest, that you making to find out who killed your uncle. We hope that we will be able to do something constructive in that regard. We hope that we will be able to find some clues and we will certainly pass those on to you. So thank you very much again for telling us your story. You have come from KwaSokhulu and you have sat here and you've heard many, many other stories from Sokhulu today. We know it was a very bad area, a very dangerous area, and we hope not only to solve the case of your uncle but many of the other cases which we have heard today in order to help some of the people come to terms with the loss that they have suffered. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Quiet please. We'll start with the next witness now. Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr Makhoba. Thank you for coming in. You've come from Ulundi to speak to us today and this relates to the burning of your house and the assault on members of your family. Before you tell your story can you please stand to take the oath.
DR MGOJO: Good day, Mr Makhoba. After we heard the speaker who just left the stage now, we will try and talk to you. It's really difficult now. It would have been much nicer if we'd heard Mary afterwards - after all the witnesses but anyway we'll still try and do it now. I would like you to give me a picture of your family. You tell us you are Bonginkosi Gabriel Makhoba. Do you have a mother or father? How many brothers and sisters you have, all about that? --- I do have a mother. My father is late. He died in 1993.
Do you have political parties there? --- No, we didn't have. We didn't have Inkatha or ANC. Even if they were there but it wasn't active. There was never any activity that will show that there were political organisations or members in that area.
How big was your house? How was your house built? --- It wasn't like the houses that you see in townships. It was different. The house that was burnt was my father's house and it was fully furnished. What led to this event was that the chief of the area got involved in a conflict with my brother. Zakhele - Zakhele Khanyile. The name of the chief is Zakhele Khanyile. He got involved in a conflict with my brother Samson.
What was the reason? --- They were in a certain house which belonged to my neighbour and my brother was called to come over to that house because they had a party. What my brother told me is that they quarrelled when they were drinking.
Were they fighting or were they just beating him? --- No, they were beating him. They beat him and then he fell and people ran and then they beat his sister-in-law as well because she's the one who was trying to cool down the fight. After they beat him, I was at home at that time, and his sister-in-law came together with two men who were carrying my brother and then my father asked me to go to the chief and ask what happened. I went to see the chief. I didn't find him at his house and then I went to a shop which belongs to Sikhumbuzo Mdlalose, that's where I found the chief. I greeted them. I told the chief what my father had asked me to. The answer that he gave me was he started beating me now. (Audience become vociferous.)
And then what happened afterwards? --- I lost control. I've forgotten that he was the chief and he was old. I beat him back. He fell down. His brother stood up and then when they were coming for me I grabbed a bottle. I faced them and then they started going back. And my other brother, the one who is working in Johannesburg, came at that time and he asked me what's going on. I told him to run away because these people are fighting with me and then my brother grabbed me and said to me we must to back home. As we were going back home my brother's brothers-in-law came. They said, "Now we are really fighting," because they were also standing up for their sister. (Further clamour from audience)
Now, please, quiet. Can we please listen to what we came here to listen to. We are recording here and you are disturbing us. Thank you. --- And then they started beating the chief using the sticks. They beat him nearly to death and I was the one who stopped them because I realised that he was going to die. We left for home. What I was expecting was that police will come for us because we've beaten the chief. What we heard afterwards is that the chief said he's not going to report the matter to the police, he will come back for us. It was on the 16th of December when we beat the chief and we heard that he was coming for us. On the 22nd of December we didn't see any police. Nothing happened. The owner of the shop Sikhumbuzo Mdlalose organised people that they must burn the Cele family's house. On the 26th of December, my house was burnt. After they burnt my house, we were stranded. We didn't have a place to stay. We went and stayed with my sister. What surprised me was that Sikhumbuzo had shops there and he wasn't there when we started quarrelling or fighting with the chief - is that he was the leader now of the people who were coming to burn our house. There were no people who came from far who burnt my house, my father's house, but they were people who were staying with them.
Help us here, I just want to check one thing from your statement so that we're correct. I will try and lead you from what is written on your statement. In your statement there are allegations which are related -which I don't understand whether they are related to the burning of your house. On the 22nd of December Mdlalose came, the one who killed Malusi Khambule. Who's this Mdlalose? --- Mdlalose is a neighbour. He also has a shop.
And then they killed Malusi? --- Yes, they did. How did they kill Malusi? --- When they were chasing us, we ran. Unfortunately Malusi was drunk and he couldn't run fast and they started shooting five bullets and Malusi got hit. Some of them had guns. After we checked and when we checked Malusi's body we found out that his private parts were removed.
In your statement it also says your mother and your father were attacked. How were they attacked? --- After they chased us, they came back at night and when they came I was outside and I saw them. I hid behind a toilet and I heard Mdlalose saying, "We're looking for Bongi," and my father said, "I don't know where he is," and they said, "We want all your sons," and they said, "You've beaten the chief. You are Mandela's sons. You stayed a long time in Johannesburg. It means you are clever." And at that time they started beating my father and then Mdlalose again said, "No, leave him. He's too old. He doesn't know anything." And they found my brother who came from hospital who was beaten by the chief. They started beating him and my father told them, "I'm not moving from here until the chief tells me to do so."
When these things were happening what did the chief say? --- He told us that we should be beaten but they were looking for me more than anyone. The person who was talking for the chief, he said he was there. He called the mbiso to talk for the chief.
And then you denied to move and leave your house then? --- Yes, we did. On the 26th of December, it was during the day, we saw many people. They came like soldiers. They had weapons, all types of arms. I ran inside the house. I told my mother and my father to take the kids and run away because these people were here and we ran, me and my other brothers, the three of us. Their aim was to surround us but fortunately we saw them first, so we ran and then that's when they started firing guns. And all we saw, our houses were on fire. My mother ran to the neighbour with the kids. She ran to Shaba family and they went there as well and they started beating Mr Shaba and told him that he has hidden us. And his wife was expectant and she had an abortion after that because ... (incomplete). He went and reported this matter to the police. We also went and reported the matter to the police.
Do you know the detective's name? --- Yes, the first one was B I Zulu from Eshowe Police Station. Another one, he has been transferred now, his name is Bonginkosi Shange. The third one, unfortunately he's now dead. His name is Mr Dlamini. I can't remember his first name. He was shot at his house at KwaMashu and these two are still alive.
In other words, we can get hold of them. There was no court case? --- There was a court case but what surprised us is that the people who were involved were not arrested. Other people were arrested, not the people who were actually involved. That's what I can say. Other people who were not involved in this matter were - Mr Mdlalose was arrested for two days. B I Zulu came and shouted at the policeman and asked them why is Mr Mdlalose arrested.
Now, you came here to the Truth Commission. We are happy that you came but we want you to tell us why are you here. If maybe you have a request. You heard what Mary has asked us to do. We want you as well to tell us what you're asking us to do. --- I would like the Truth Commission to investigate this matter, start this matter all over again because the people who burnt my father's house are still now out and he used this money from his pension and that the policemen didn't do their job. Even today one of these detectives who were handling this case, they're still at Eshowe Police Station and again still Mr Mdlalose is still continuing torturing people and again Malusi Khambule's case was never touched. There was never a case. My house was burnt and I was arrested and I went before the magistrate and the magistrate told them I wasn't guilty. The people who burnt my house were not arrested. This is clear to me that the government of that day didn't care about the safety of the people because all these things were happening during the day. Even a young child could see, even my children know today. They know who burnt my father's house. Some of these people who did this to my father's house, they were arrested afterwards because of other incidents which they've done.
You have names for these people. Now it looks like you're coming all right. Can we have names? --- Qitsha Magwaza. Another one is Mfanakanina Mugade and the third one is Ngumu Khumalo, the fourth one is Mfanase Dludla, the fifth one is Makhansela Khanyile. Mbuso Shangi. I've forgotten the other names.
Is she well, or this thing has affected her? --- Yes, it did affect my mother and she's now okay because we are now working. My younger brother - even if I cannot say it 100 per cent to you but I think he was affected mentally. His name is Samson.
I'm asking you because we might try and help him to see our psychologist because we have tried and talked to the Department of Health and people like you can see psychologists without paying. What you'll need to do is now after this you can try and see our social workers and they can try and help you. What you've just told us, Bonginkosi, it's very sad that something that will start as a minor thing would go as to destroying houses, other people being killed. It wasn't for the first time that people went there, sitting there and having a nice time, drinking in parties will get involved in fights but it doesn't mean that it should go as far as to burning other people's houses or killing other people. It was supposed to end there, to an extent that there is a belief that people who are drinking are people who are usually peaceful because they fight and then they drink again and they are friends again. This one, it's really difficult for me to understand and I think I'm satisfied with the information that I have now. Maybe my colleagues will have other questions to ask.
MR LYSTER: Mr Makhoba, thank you for coming in and telling us your story. You have expressed some of the frustration that other people have expressed over the last day and a half, particularly about the ability of the police to investigate these cases properly and it seems as though the policeman that prevented the proper investigation of this case was a policeman who has already been mentioned this morning, B I Zulu, that just as after arrests were made and people were about to be charged - that this particular policeman who has a very long reputation and a bad reputation came in and prevented the investigation from taking place and it's very frustrating for you and for many other people to see that these policemen are still holding positions of power and influence and we hope that some day soon in this province that sort of thing will be something that we can put behind us and that the police are people that we can look up to when we are in times of need and people that we can trust. We will do what we can to investigate this matter and report that to you if we are able to make any headway on it. But we thank you for coming in and giving us this information. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: We're going to have short break now for lunch. Please will you stand while these witnesses in front here leave the room just as a sign of respect to them and we'll come back - please be seated by quarter to two. 35 minutes. Thank you very much.
PROFESSOR MAGWAZA: I greet you both, Mrs Simelane and your daughter. Before I start, I would like to know if your daughter is going to say anything or if she's here just to comfort you? --- She'll be here to help me because she was there when this thing happened.
PROFESSOR MAGWAZA: Thank you, Mrs Simelane, for coming here today and that you persevered until this time to come and give your testimony. In other words, whatever you have to tell us, it's very important to you and you must know that even to us it's also important. Before we start, Mrs Simelane, I would like you to tell us more about your family. Tell us about your husband who was killed and how many children you have. Maybe you can start by telling us more about your husband. Tell us how old he was when he died. --- He was born in 1942. He died in 1992.
Can you remember their ages? --- My firstborn was born in 1957, my second-born was born in 1959, third-born 1961, 1962, 1964, 1967, and the seventh-born was born in 1969. In 1971 I had twins and the last-born was born in 1974.
I think your memory is fairly good because you can still remember their ages. Can you please tell me if they're working and if they aren't working, are they in school or staying at home? --- Some of them are married. Sipho is not working. He was born in 1969 but he's no longer at school. I'm still maintaining him because he's not working, he's not at school. He left school in Standard 6. But the reason that Sipho left school, it was because of the violence. The twins who were born in 1971 left school at Standard 5 also because of the violence. Both of them, the twins, yes. The one who was born in 1974, as well is not at school. He also left school at Standard 3.
I would now ask you more about the health of your family or your family in particular. Is there any political organisation which your husband was affiliated with? --- Yes, my husband was an IFP member. I was the treasurer of Inkatha and my husband was the secretary. (Laughter in audience) Please, I would like to give Mrs Simelane the same respect as anybody else. I think our Chairperson has mentioned again here that we want to respect every witness who comes here because all the people who come here have suffered in the same way. So if you could just give that respect. Please feel free, Mrs Simelane and explain or relate your story. --- We are Inkatha members in my family. Most of the time we used to go to Ulundi. We were the people who were at the frontline of Inkatha. We used to travel a lot to Ulundi and back to Matshana. This time it was before Inkatha and any other organisation got into conflict. Later youth started getting involved in politics. That's when the youth started fighting each other. Me and my husband, we were Inkatha members but we were staying at the area where there were ANC people. We heard after a time that people were killing each other now. We heard that Inkatha and ANC people were now killing each other. As time goes on, one day there was someone who lost three children at a time and there was a funeral on that house and we saw people shooting each other. Then we decided not to go to that funeral. We didn't attend that funeral. Then we heard that this war or violence was getting worse. ANC and Inkatha people were killing each other. One day me and my husband, we were working. We came back home from work. We found my daughter, the one that I'm with here, it was on Wednesday, and she told us that there were people who were pointing at my house and we were confused. We didn't know what was going on and all we knew is that we didn't have any enemies. It was on Wednesday. On Thursday, again on Friday, my husband and I woke up and we left for work and later my husband came home and I told him, "Why are you coming home late because you know we are scared now?" and I asked my husband if he brought something for me and he said no. And I sent my child to go to a shop to buy something to eat because my husband didn't bring anything. When my child came back from the shop, he said, "Grandfather, grandfather, there are people outside there and there are many and they are wearing balaclavas." And when I greeted them, they didn't greet me back. Then I took the meat from the child. I put it inside the pot. Soon after that, they came. I was with my daughter, the one that I'm with here now, and my daughter said to me she's now scared. Her tummy is now running. She said she was going to the toilet and I was left there and I said to myself, "Oh Lord, let your will be done. Today it's me." Just seconds after they left, they were at the door, banging the door. I was sitting there facing the door and I asked them, "Who are you?" They said, "It's us." I said, "Who?" They said, "Us. Open the door, you will see us." And then the third time they just broke the door. My husband came to the door because he realised that they were going to shoot me because I was facing the door and when my husband arrived at the door, that's when they shot my husband. I didn't even hear the noise. All I saw, it was a bullet going through my husband's head and he fell down. (Witness becomes emotionally upset.)
This is a very sad story that you're trying to relate to us. You can take your time. When you're ready you can try to go on. --- After he fell, that's when all of them came inside the house and they were pointing their guns at me. They held my husband. They lifted him up. I put my hand on my husband and I realised that he wasn't breathing and I asked them, "What have we done?" They didn't say anything at that time and then I asked them for the second time, "Why are you shooting at us?" One of them said, "Because you have guns," and I said to him, "My child, where are the guns?" They said, "Yes, you do have guns. They came from Ulundi." And then I said to them, "Now that you've killed him, you can go ahead, search the house and find the guns." They went inside. They took my husband and then they shot him for the second time and the third time. Then they dropped him down. I don't know what happened because they got inside the house. They went to my living-room. They went to the television. They opened the wall unit. They took everything which was inside there and one of the shelves was locked and they said to me, "Bring the key." I said, "Even if I knew where the key was but now I can't remember where the key is because I'm now confused and terrified." And one guy kicked the door twice and it broke. We had bought cattles to pay lobola for my son at that time. When I saw them kicking my wall unit, some of them were in my bedroom sitting on my bed. We had money put in platics in that shelf. Some of them slashed my husband's pockets and they found money. Some of them went to my bedroom and they took my bag and searched my bag and they took my money. It was on a payday that day, so they took all my money from my bag. And I also had money from my stokvel and I asked them, "What have we done?" One of them said, "If you think, what have you done?" So I told them I didn't know. There was also a child, I think he was 13 years old, he said, "Just shoot this person so that she stops talking." I was bleeding. I got hurt from my leg. I don't know what hurt me because I was confused. I think I also got hurt when they were shooting my husband. After they finished that, taking everything from my house, they left. I tried to stand up and then I realised that I was hurt. I thought they were going to go to another bedroom to search for my sons and I realised that they were not going there. That's when I started screaming and they went up and they met in a certain corner. They went up the hill. After that my daughter came out and she ran. She was trying to get help from other people because we didn't realise that my husband was dead. We thought maybe my husband has lost consciousness and he'll get well as soon as he arrives in hospital. My daughter tried to get help and they didn't do anything to her except that they were irritating her, trying to stop her and she came back without getting any help from anyone and she said, "I couldn't get any help. I couldn't get any car to take my father to hospital." And then she left again. She went up the hill. In that area, that's where they were making their arms and my daughter found them there. At about 3.00 we were still sitting at home. We were terrified and we couldn't sleep. Policemen came to our house. And one child went to another house and they asked for a telephone to make a call to the police, that's when the police van came and that's when I realised that my husband is dead because the police put him inside a plastic bag.
It is a very painful story, Mrs Simelane. I would ask you - when you're feeling better, I will ask you some few questions. If I can ask you one thing, Mrs Simelane, from these people who came to your house who attacked you, is there anyone that you noticed or someone that you know his name or what? --- The way they had disguised you couldn't tell because they had balaclavas, handgloves, so you couldn't see a thing. I couldn't see a single person from those boys. At 3.00am they came and then that's when they came to burn my house. This happened after they'd burnt someone else's house. They threw this bomb in the house which we tried to put our furniture to. Then we ran away. We ran to my daughter's place. When we came back again, we saw others coming again, then we ran again.
You also said in your statement that your daughter got affected by this thing. --- You mean my daughter, the one that I'm with? My daughter got affected deeply because after this incident we couldn't bury my husband at Matshana, we had to pay to bury him here in town and when my daughter got ill the doctor said she has high blood pressure. What about your health? --- Mine as well is also very high and I'm not well. I can't go anywhere alone. I need someone to help me to be there when I'm walking. Even if I tried to do to work I would think I've already arrived at work when I wasn't. I used to get lost.
After your husband died did you go to the police and report the matter? --- No, the police came to my house the same day and they took a statement from me and afterwards nothing happened. I was scared to leave my house. I was scared to go to the police again because I ran away.
We are very glad, Mrs Simelane that you came here to tell us your story. We want to know if you have any wishes or requests which you want to put forward before this Commission. --- What I would like this Commission to do - I don't know whether they can find these people to did this but I would like the Commission to investigate and find out what happened, what did we do. What I would like from this Commission is that I don't have a house. Where I'm staying, it's been destroyed.
Again I would also like to know about the children who are still young and they aren't in school. Is there anything that we can do? --- No, there's nothing that I can do to take these children to school because I couldn't afford it after my husband died. My money is enough to buy food, not to take the children to school.
We've heard your requests, Mrs Simelane, we can help you concerning your health because we've made contacts with the Department of Health so that they help people like you. Another thing, in connection with the children, we take your request - we're going to pass this report to the President and he's the one who's going to decide what help he'll give to you. Thank you very much. I'll pass it to the Chairperson.
DR MGOJO: Mrs Simelane, I would like to go back to talk about the children. You said the one who was born in 1969 left school in Standard 6 and the twins who were born in 1971 left school in Standard 5 and the one who was born in 1974 left school in Standard 3. As a parent, you know them, can you tell us if they're still willing to go back to school? --- I think they will if they can get assistance because sometimes when I talk to them I can see that they really do like to go to school but the thing is I can't afford because today life demands one to know English.
I also heard that you said these people who were wearing balaclavas and handgloves, according to your knowledge or your suspicion, who were these people? --- I can't be suspicious of anyone. There people were many. I can't tell who can be there and who can't be there but what I can tell you is that I only saw people whom I saw for the first time because even on Wednesday when they came for the first time they were far from my house.
And what about the policemen? Were there not policemen there? It was just people who were talking in Zulu alone or others? --- Those who came inside my house, they were talking Zulu. There was no one who was talking any other language or a white man.
I just want to check your statement. I don't want to have a statement and may not check it to make sure if anything is accurate. In your statement you said your husband was killed and he was being attacked at your house by ANC people. Did you say that? --- Yes, I said so because it was a usual thing that Inkatha and ANC people were killing each other and I know that we were IFP members.
That's why I'm asking you, Mama, because I wanted you to confirm this thing. (Tape ends. Subsequent tape commences mid-sentence without overlap.) ... also said that everything that happened was never reported to the police. --- No, it was never.
Were you scared? --- Yes, we were scared. Like I'm saying, we ran away from that area. Even today you aren't staying there? --- No, we aren't. We aren't staying in the same house which we were staying in. I bought another one.
But is it the same area? This new house of yours, is it in the same area where your old house was? --- No, we didn't go back to that area. It is Matshana but it's far. We are now staying near the school, near Mangwe School.
I heard you talking about your house. Do you still have the wish to go back to your old house? --- No, I'm scared to go back to that house. Like I'm saying, before my husband was buried, when we went back to that house we saw other people coming and they had sticks and spears and we were scared. We ran to the induna. We reported this matter and the induna took us and put us next to his house. That's how we got this new site where I built my new house.
How come you didn't say that you wish the Commission to help you on this matter? You didn't say anything about that. --- Yes, I didn't say anything in connection with this because there are things which you can ask from people and there aren't but I can say, if I'm allowed to ask for that, I can say I am asking for that.
We're just telling you or explaining to you these things. It's not things that we promise you that it will happen. Whatever you ask it doesn't mean that it will happen. We aren't here to give you whatever you ask for. We are here to take whatever you ask or wish and forward it to the President. As you heard Dr Magwaza saying, if we are here, everyone before us is equal. It doesn't matter what political organisation one belongs in. We grew up as youth. We used to fight ourselves but we never experienced anything like this. It's obvious that a third force came between Africans and it took away ubuntu and the Truth Commission is trying by all means to give it back to the people, to bring ubuntu back to the people that you know you can go anywhere and meet anyone and not be scared. Even if you're ANC or IFP, it doesn't matter, everyone is equal. We want people to stay the same and live the same. I'm here and I'm supporting Richard Lyster on this one that, like he said yesterday, that we don't like to come here and hear evidence from one side of the organisation. We want Inkatha people as well to be here to come and give their testimony because our job is to put together people and to go back as we used to live. Thanks. --- Another thing that I will ask is that I need help more especially in connection with my leg. I have a problem with my leg. I can't even work.
As Professor Simangele has said that we will try and get help for you more especially with your health, we will try and see that you receive treatment, free treatment, even in connection with your leg. We will pass it over. --- Thank you.
we thank you very much for coming in here today and telling your very sad story in front of this big crowd, in front of the televisions. It is a very, very sad story. You were a treasurer of the IFP in your area and, for reasons that you don't understand, your husband was taken from you. He was killed. You sat here like we did and you listened to the previous witness, who was Mrs Msweli, and you must have heard the pain and the suffering that she went through. She was also treasurer of the IFP in her area. However, she resigned and she joined the ANC. But she, like you, was an ordinary person, a law abiding person, an upright, upstanding person, a strong woman and she suffered a terrible loss, the death of her son at the hands of the IFP and I think what's important about the fact that you are both sitting here under the same roof giving evidence together is that you can both come to understand the fact that violence - the violence that you have suffered, the violence that Mrs Msweli has suffered - brings us nothing except misery, brings us sadness and we hope that that mutual realisation from you from the IFP, from Mrs Msweli from the ANC can start bringing us together and bringing you as IFP and ANC together to a state where you were only ten years ago. As I said earlier in my evidence, 10, 12 years ago people in this area were never killing each other. They were living peacefully side by side and it's only in the last 10 or 12 years that this terrible violence has overtaken us and it's time that we started sitting down and talking to each other and not listening to those that are directing us from elsewhere. Sitting down, talking to each other and trying getting our lives back on track so that we can move forward together. So again we thank you very much for coming in and telling us your story. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: That is the last witness for today. We will be adjourning now and starting again at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. Please, you are all welcome to come again. Please tell your friends, members of your family that they are also welcome. If any of you have any of these instruments, please don't take them out of the hall with you. They cannot be used outside. Please also bear in mind that if there's anybody here who wants to make a statement to the Truth Commission, our statement takers will be here tomorrow and you can make a statement to them in the hall next door to this hall. Thank you very much indeed.