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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS

Starting Date 06 August 1996

Location HELDERBERG TYGERBERG

Day 2

CASE NO: CT/001808

VICTIM: DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI

NATURE OF VIOLENCE: SEVERE ASSAULT BY AWB

TESTIMONY FROM: DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI Duly sworn states

COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much you may be seated. Commissioner Glenda Wildschut will assist and facilitate your evidence, it's over to her.

MS WILDSCHUT: Good morning Mr Nkwali, how are you today?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI I am fine thank you and how are you?

MS WILDSCHUT: I am fine too thank you. There are quite a few people in the audience who do not have headphones, so just before I begin to talk to you, I would like to just give the audience a brief summary of what you are going to talk to us about today, is that in order? Okay Mr Nkwali will be talking to us today about a random attach that he had experienced in Kraaifontein on the 7th of January 1993. He was attacked by two white men who - it is believed to belong to a political organisation called the Afrikaanse Weerstand Beweging called the AWB. He was brutually beaten up that night and left in a field and later rescued by somebody. In this case he was awarded R200,000-00 and to date has not received that money yet. But I will now ask Mr Nkwali to tell us his story in his own words. Mr Nkwali could you please just tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you staying and what are you doing right now and then go on to tell

us your story.

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI: My name is Douglas Nkwali, I live in Kraaifontein no 13158 at Midler Street at Wallacedean. I use to work before and on the 7th of January 1993 when I - as I was going out of my house which was at about half past four in the morning and I was heading for the Kraaifontein station, I was rushing for a train that was from Cape Town. As I was walking into Voortrekker Road, walking down Church Street towards the station. On the left hand side I saw a car coming from my left hand side. The lights of the car weren't on, though it was late enough so the lights was suppose to be on. When it came to a Corporation there in - next to the Corporation, it turned into the street where I was walking, as I was walking down the Church Street, I was walking on the right hand side. And it was suppose to be driving on the left hand side, but as soon as they saw me, they decided to change the lane and come to the right hand side, and then they stopped just in front of me. I was surprised and then I needed to stop them and inquired what was happening. They were two white men in the car, one of them who was a person that came out of the car, and came to me, he didn't say anything but just beat me with his fist and addressed me as kaffir. I tried to block - he again beat me and I tried to block him, I pushed him and he fell on the ground on his knees and he stood up, and went back to his car. Then I continued and walked towards the station. I walked for a short distance and looked back and saw them following me. Then I decided to sidestep them and get into a right hand side street, but the car still [indistinct] and I saw it coming, I saw a certain house and I decided to go into one house with intention to knock and ask for assistance. I went into this house, into this yard. Whilst I was still looking for the door bell they came. They dragged me, they put me into their car at the back seat. This car in which they were driving was a whitish Corolla and they drove away and they asked me to lie on the seat. Because they said there was no Mandela were away. They drove with me down the road, going back to where we were at first. And when they got to Voortrekker Road, they drove to - into the left hand side, passed Bloekombos which is a certain location. And on the other hand of this location is a farm, then they decided to take this gravel road over the railway bridge - railway station - railway line. Then there was another road then, then another gravel road and on both side it was a forest. Then they turned to the left and then they stopped the car and asked me to get out of the car, so I did. Then the driver of the car said to me - asked me where was Mandela. Then I said I did not know, then he said you and Mandela you have got a lot of things and here you are, you are now going to die. And he addressed his - his colleague and said now it's your duty, it's your opportunity for you to work. And then they shot at me. They shot me twice on the head, this side and he again shot me on the leg, I then lost consciousness and I fell down. Later I recovered my consciousness and it was hot, and I could realize that I was still alive, but I could not lift my head from the ground as I was trying to scream there were some little bit of voice. Then I laid down there like that, I then tried to lift up one arm so as to indicate to an oncoming car for help, but I could not raise my arm. Whilst I was still lying there, I heard the sound of on oncoming car and the car hooted but drove past me, but later it stopped and reversed towards me. And then one of the passengers was a Xhosa man and he asked what had happened to me then I explained what had happened. And I told him the reason why I was there. So they said they were going to telephone and call the police, so they drove away. Then they asked if I could stand up, then I told them that I could not stand up because even - I could not even raise my head from the ground, so they had to help me. Whilst lying there, the policeman came, they came from Kraaifontein and they asked me what had happened, so I explained to them that two white men were responsible for this and they had taken me in a white Toyota Corolla to come and shoot me where they were. So the ambulance also came and they took me to Tygerberg Hospital, that was the last I can recall when the ambulance took me there. When I regained consciousness in Tygerberg Hospital, I was told that it was the month of February which means that all the time I was unconscious and I only regained consciousness in February and that was the time when a policeman who had arrested this men came and his name was Mr Van Wyk and he was working there in - he had come to Tygerberg Hospital to see me. So he told me that he had arrested the two culprits because they had done this on a Thursday and they were arrested on the Sunday. We then after this, when I felt a little bit better we then went to Court on the 6th of December in 1993 that is where we saw this policeman in the Supreme Court. Then this case was concluded in May on the 25th. And this men were Piet Rens who lives in Joostenberg Vlakte in Kraaifontein, was the one who shot me and he was sentenced ten years and James Downey from Durbanville was fined R3,000-00 by the Court.

MS WILDSCHUT: Thanks Mr Nkwali, perhaps I would like to just go back a little bit in your story and ask a few questions. Do you - do you know how long this attack took, how long were they beating you, can you give us an idea of how long it was? --- I cannot recall it now but they attacked men round about twenty to five, I can't recall what time it took, then at the time they were shooting me I think it was at ten to five.

MS WILDSCHUT: Thanks, do you have any idea why these people attacked you apart from making reference to Mr Mandela what was the reason for them attacking you, do you have an idea? --- I don't know of any reason for this attack.

MS WILDSCHUT: And while they were assaulting you and shooting you did they, were they having a conversation with each other - were they talking to each other and what were the kinds of things were they saying about why they were attacking you.

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI I did not hear anything that they were saying to one another, but at the time they were driving with me in the car, they were talking but I did not understand the language.

MS WILDSCHUT: Do you know which language they were speaking?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI They were speaking in Afrikaans.

MS WILDSCHUT: Okay, you say that you were unconscious for a very long time, how long were you in hospital?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI I was in hospital for three months.

MS WILDSCHUT: And did the doctors and the nurses explain to you what your injuries were and do you remember what - what kind of injuries you had?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI Yes I remember the doctor said the damage - there was seven bullets inside me. Two on the head, one on - in the neck, one just underneath the arm and three on the leg. I think those, there was a time when I was shot, when I was lying down, but I was told that they had taken out seven bullets out of my body and one arm could not work and one leg too. And even my neck was stiff and even now my neck is still stiff and my arm is not working, so they said that I - I could not get healed even the arm could not turn freely and there is some paralizagist on the arm, I can't lift it up, and so the doctor said they could not help me because I got this injury. My neck was turned so the doctor said they could never help me I would have to remain in this state right through my life.

MS WILDSCHUT: So you have many injuries from that attack and you still suffering the consequences of that attack right now.

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI Yes, when it is overcast, I can't hear properly and my body becomes painful.

MS WILDSCHUT: Are you still receiving any treatment today?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI Yes I do there in hospital I go for treatment.

MS WILDSCHUT: Can we talk a little bit about the Court case, obviously the time of your attack you didn't know who these people were, but you subsequently - you subsequently heard who these people were, can you tell us who they were and how they were identified during the Court case.

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI Firstly in that house where they took me and beat me for the first time, they said Piet Rens had his bank card falling there, his card - bank card was found there on the grass in that house and the owner of the house picked it up. I think the owner of the house was Mr Brand and he was one of the witnesses.

MS WILDSCHUT: You are aware that in the hearings of the Truth Commission we have to understand whether the violation you are talking about is - has a political motive. Do you think that this attack had a political motive and can you just explain to us if you do think so, why you think so. --- When we were members of the ANC, and they used not to like us in Kraaifontein.

MS WILDSCHUT: When you say they, who are you talking about?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI It is white people of Kraaifontein.

MS WILDSCHUT: Thank you, Mr Nkwali do you have a family?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI Yes I have a family.

MS WILDSCHUT: Can you tell us how this attack and what happened after that has - has affected your family.

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI Yes it has affected my family greatly, such that I cannot perform the way I use to in the past, I have children, I have two children who are of school going age, and my wife is a housewife, she doesn't work, I was the breadwinner at that time and now we just - we just don't have any income except the disability grant. And which does not cover my problems, it's not enough.

MS WILDSCHUT: During the Court case you had received a settlement of money, have you received that money yet?

DOUGLAS SIZWE NKWALI No I have never received any money, as the lawyer - the lawyer claimed for a second amount, this case was included - was concluded in February that year, and then they said they had claimed for R360,000-00 and this was reduced by the Court down but I don't know to how much and I have not received any amount as yet.

MS WILDSCHUT: Yes it was reduced according to our research notes and the investigations, work that has been done, you were awarded R200,000-00 but I am just surprised that you have not received the money yet, do you - has anyone explained to you why you have not received the money yet. --- No-one has ever explained anything to me, not at all.

MS WILDSCHUT: Thank you very much for telling us your story Mr Nkwali, I have no more questions to ask you but I am sure that there may be questions from my colleagues, so I'll had over to the Chairperson now.

CHAIRPERSON: Any further questions, Mary Burton.

MS BURTON: Ms Nkwali can you tell us what work you were doing before this happened to you? --- I was - I was a gardener.

MS BURTON: And you mentioned that you were a member of the ANC, were you known to be a member of the ANC, would people have identified you as an active member? --- I wouldn't know but I think it's connected to that, because when they met me, they asked me about President Mandela.

MS BURTON But you don't think they could have guessed, they just guessed that maybe because you were a black person, you were a supporter of President Mandela. --- Yes, I think so.

MS BURTON So it was in a way just - just bad luck that you were there on that day at that time when they found you. --- How, I don't get your question clearly.

MS BURTON I am trying to find out if they were looking for you specially or they would just attack somebody because they happened to meet somebody that morning.

--- It happened that they were just attacking but those days - at that time there were no people on the streets, I was the only one on the street. And I don't know whether, if they could have seen someone as what perhaps could they have done.

MS BURTON Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for coming to give us this testimony and express your pain. We sympathize with you in your pain, because the pains you got we must say in other words the results of such [indistinct] are those that we witnessed today now that we have got this freedom today. And we hope that for that all the people even these very perpetrators are the people who will want to hand themselves over. And this Commission is going to investigate to find out what the money that was allocated to you, why has it not been given to you so far. So we thank you.

 
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