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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type 1 G DUBE, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 29 April 1996

Location METHODIST CHURCH, JOHANNESBURG

Day 1

Names GEORGE DUBE

Case Number GO/O155 JOHANNESBURG

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DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson one of our staff has requested that we change the order slightly for very good reason, which I won't announce now, but I hope that you and my fellow Commissioners and our friends and families together will appreciate that there is a reason for this, so I would like to call and invite Mr George Dube to the witness stand.

CHAIRPERSON: Order please.

DR BORAINE: Mr Dube welcome. Thank you very much for coming. We have brought you forward for good reason that you know about and in a minute we are going to listen to your story, but before that, and welcoming you most warmly I must ask you to please stand and take the oath. But are you able to follow me all right, without the earphones?

MR DUBE: Yes.

GEORGE DUBE: (sworn states)

DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Mr Dube you come with a different story from what we have heard during the rest of the day and as the Chairperson has stressed so often the doors of this Commission are open to all, and we are very grateful to you for having the courage and the willingness to tell the Commission your own particular story.

Now in order to assist you in telling that story as you know we always ask one of our Commissioners or Committee members to just guide you, but it's your story. I am going

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to ask my colleague on my right, the Reverend Bongani Finca to assist you.

REV. FINCA: Thank you very much Chairperson. George welcome. We hope you feel calm and relaxed. You have informed me that you would prefer to give your testimony in English which is a foreign language to both of us. So I suggest that you go slowly, we both struggle with this foreign language, but if at any time you feel that you want to change from English to your mother tongue I am sure the Chairperson would allow that.

MR DUBE: Thank you very much.

REV. FINCA: George your testimony begins in 1963 when as a 14 year old you and your mother left South Africa for Zimbabwe, can you tell the Commission why you left South Africa in 1963?

MR DUBE: Yes. Thank you very much Mr Chairperson. In 1961 my mother went to visit in Zimbabwe where my father was born. So we have got relatives in Zimbabwe like my cousin for instance, he was staying here in Johannesburg, so he departed to Zimbabwe with his better half and children. So then my mother liked that place. When she came back from Zimbabwe she decided we depart also to Zimbabwe, to stay in Zimbabwe. So we agreed, my father agreed. So we decided to take all our belongings with Stuttafords Removals to Zimbabwe. So our cousin got a house for us in Bulawayo. We went to that house with my mother, me being the last born of the house.

I am sorry I have forgotten something. I was born in Alexandra township in Bridgeman Hospital. I am the last born at home. So my family is a christian family, we belong to an Anglican Church. I was confirmed in St Augustine

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Church in Umzimlhope. So in 1963 we went to Zimbabwe we stayed there with my mother. After four months, three to four months my mother got sick because she was suffering all the time from heart failure. So my mother died in hospital in Bulawayo, after three or four months as I have said.

So she was supposed to be buried there in Bulawayo by Father Deka, Anglican Church, but then my father came there and my father said that the uncle, the brother's of my mother, my uncles, they want my mother to be buried back home in Johannesburg. So my mother was taken back to Johannesburg by plane being a corpse. We came this side with my cousin's car, me, my father and my cousin to bury my mother here. Already we were staying in Soweto from Alexandra Township. So we buried my mother in Nancefield cemetery in July, 1963. I was still schooling, doing my standard six. I didn't pass my standard six with good marks. My marks were about 50%, so I repeated standard six in 1964 in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.

So after that in 1964 I completed my standard six I left school because so far my father wasn't taking care of me because I think we had a new mother here at home in Soweto. Somehow my father was supposed to follow and my brother and my elder sister. We are four at home, it's two boys and two girls, I am the last born. After burying my mother in Soweto, in Nancefield we went back, me and my cousin and my sister, my younger sister. So we had to stay there, the two of us with my sister. My sister and my brother remained here, they were about to follow and my father. So my father didn't do that. He got another mother and he remained in Soweto at our very home.

So from there I left school in 1964. I decided that I

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should go and look for a job. My first job was in a restaurant, an Indian restaurant washing plates, so I got so fed up about this washing plates the whole day that I left the job. I went to seek another job. I worked as a sweeper somewhere in Monte Carlo restaurant in Bulawayo. I also worked for three or four months then I left the job. The from there I started looking for a better job, I couldn't find a better job. So then I thought I had better go back home to my father in South Africa.

I tried to apply for a passport in Harare, the then Salisbury. They gave me forms to fill in. I was asked questions that - alright, as I am saying I was born in South Africa I must produce my birth certificate and ID, I was young that time I had no ID, I was still 14 years when I went there. I didn't have a birth certificate because that time we didn't have birth certificates, it's a new thing. I never had an ID. So they said they've got no proof that I was born in South Africa so I couldn't get a passport. I decided I had better go on my own, I'll have to jump borders without a passport, and I did so.

So I went to Beit Bridge, I crossed the Limpopo River on foot. A certain small boy I met there he showed me the way where people cross, people with no passports. I came here footing all this bush and forest here in Beit Bridge up until Messina where I got a lift to Louis Trichardt. So in Louis Trichardt I got a train I went home. I arrived at home here in Soweto in 1971, Christmas Day, on the 25th of December, only to find my father there with a new mother.

So alright neighbours were telling me that this is the third mother or fourth mother rather, that your father has been taking. Okay. I stayed with my father there. I looked JOHANNESBURG HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

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for a ID, I got an ID. That time we used to get ID's in Albert Street. So I got a permit from the superintendent that they know George. I went to Hook Street, the City Council to get some papers that they really know me in the books in 1949 that I was born by Mary. They gave me papers and then I went to make an affidavit at the nearest police station in Meadowlands, that how did I leave the place, do what, where I was and when. So I took all those papers, I took them to Albert Street to the pass office. I got the ID and then I looked for a job. I got a job in Cleveland, my first job, in ...(indistinct) Modern Furnishers as a lorry boy. I worked there I am sure until I got an idea of mine, that was I am sure six or seven months working there, I left the job. The money was very small, it was R15,00 a week at that time.

So I went, I looked for another job, I got a job in Wonder Furnishers in town here, in Plein Street. I worked there a bit as a sweeper, they changed me to be a lorry repossessing furniture around Soweto here, so there was a lot of fighting when repossessing furniture so I thought I'd better leave this job because it was dangerous. Okay. I left the job then and I got a job in Baragwanath Hospital as a waiter where doctors were having their supper, breakfast, lunch, dining for the doctors. So I worked there.

All the time I was thinking of going to Zambia to go and join ZAPU. The time I was in Zimbabwe ZAPU had a majority of support in Zimbabwe, a lot of people supported ZAPU, not ZANU. People who supported ZANU were usually burnt by petrol bombs at that time. In the late sixties and early seventies ZAPU was the only party that was liked in Zimbabwe, so I used to go for rallies in the stadiums,

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Joshua Nkomo used to make some meetings. I used to be around there. That's where I started liking politics before I went back home in 1971. So all this time I was thinking of a way of going to Zambia of going to go and join ZAPU.

REV. FINCA: Okay. I have been asked to intervene just to bring you to the event that you are going to be testifying about. You came back to the country in 1971 and you left again in 1975, your destination was Zambia but you preferred to go via Mozambique. Can you tell the Commission then what happened when you left the country in 1975 via Mozambique?

MR DUBE: I had my passport alright. I passed Swaziland. From Swaziland you crossed Nomahashe to Mozambique, Maputo. When I arrived in Maputo I got some other - because I went straight to the camps of Frelimo. What I had in mind is that if I go to Maputo I know I will get - because there is now a Black government, they won't give me any problems. I will explain to them that I want to pass, I want to go to Zambia, I want to go and join the liberation movement.

So when I arrived in Maputo I went straight to the camp there were two guys also in that camp who came from South Africa. These two fellows they came from Soweto, that was Charles Buthelezi and Nelson Hatlane. So I stayed with them in the camp. They are the people who told me that they are going to join ANC. I had little knowledge about ANC. So after some few weeks because they said they talked with the commander of that camp of Frelimo and the commander said they must wait they are going to consult ANC to come and take them to Tanzania or Zambia where there are ANC offices, headquarters. So after some few weeks we were taken to a certain prison, that is Cades Seville in Maputo. So we were surprised why are they taking us to prison these people.

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So we just stayed there in prison for one and a half months, two months then we were taken out of that prison in Cades Seville. We were taken to go and join some other refugees who were staying around town under UN, South African refugees and Zimbabwe refugees. We joined these people then we were taken to a certain bush, bundu called Memo, Memo District in Manjokazi District. In this district there's a certain place called Memo where these people keep their cattle, there are only kraals there. Their cattle graze in that area. Then after locking their cattle up they go to their homes like ten kilometres away from those kraals. So we were taken to stay there to build our own refugee camp.

Alright we stayed there because it was just a bush. We came with zincs from UN and two big pots, a bag of rice and a bag of beans, two bags of beans. That is what we used to eat almost every day, lunch and supper, no oil and no other relishes. It was only beans. So we were given axes, some hose and these zincs and we just made some small shelter for the people which we had. We had about four females with us, South Africans and one Zimbabwean. So we made shelter for them, we slept under the trees because we had beds and blankets from the UN.

So we started building ourselves houses with reeds because that's the way - that's the way they are building houses there in Mozambique, building with reeds and then on top we put these zincs that we came with. We opened up fields there, ploughing mealies. Alright beside that we made some small garden because ...(intervention)

REV. FINCA: Okay let me interrupt you again, I am sorry. You are going to be testifying to the Commission about abuses which were done to you when you were arrested in the

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ANC camps so the details about planting mealies may be interesting but it's not relevant to what you are going to be saying. I would like to take you through the period when you actually joined the ANC and in your statement you said you became the Commander of Umkhonto e'Sizwe, can you just take us through that period please?

MR DUBE: Alright. We stayed in that camp from January to September in Mozambique. So Comrade Lennox came to that refugee camp to take people who wanted to join the ANC. Other people were Zimbabweans wanted to go and join PAC, others BAC, there were three guys from Lesotho who wanted to join BAC. So he asked us that those who wanted to go and join ANC they must come to him and write names so that he may come here to fetch us two by two or three by three to Tanzania. So we did that, we who wanted to join ANC. Comrade Lennox recruited us.

I went to Tanzania to join the ANC. So I arrived in Dar Es Salaam at Comrade Mashego's house, ANC house, Entemeke(?). So I found a lot of other fellow countrymen there, young men, that was now after June '76. These boys I could see that they were the ones who have been fighting Boers there because of this Bantu education. So I stayed there for almost two weeks in that house. After that a further Comrade Tambo came to that place and we were chosen being 16 that will be going to France, that's what Comrade Tambo said to us. So he told me that I am going to be the commander of this group of 16 comrades... Commissar also. So we were told that tomorrow morning we are going overseas so we mustn't speak our language in the plane until we reach France.

REV. FINCA: In your statement George you mentioned that

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you were made commander of this battalion of 16, do you still remember any of the people who were in that battalion of 16?

MR DUBE: Yes, I've got comrades whom I still remember, ja, I don't know whether I should mention them. Ja there was Comrade Disco, Comrade Chikerema, because the time we arrived in that place in Dar Es Salaam, that Comrade Mashego's house, ANC house, we were given pseudonyms, they changed our names. We were told because of security reasons we mustn't use our names. I am sure Disco is a pseudonym and Chikerema also it must be a pseudonym, and Tansange and Benjamin, PJ and other comrades also.

REV. FINCA: Those are their pseudonyms, you don't know their real names?

MR DUBE: No, no their real names ...(intervention)

REV. FINCA: Are they still alive?

MR DUBE: Some of them I understand they are still alive. So when we arrived at the airport in the morning we were given papers, these papers were written out, this station is Luanda, Angola. So we saw that things have changed, we are no more going somewhere overseas for training.

So we got in a plane. There was ...(indistinct) meeting, ...(indistinct) State meeting inside there in Dar Es Salaam so President Neto was there in that meeting. So I am sure Comrade Tambo asked the President to give us a lift to Angola. So we went to Angola with his plane, Presidential plane of President Neto.

So when we arrived in Angola we went to do our training, now in that camp we had a problem, there was no material for reading, they have got Portuguese material only, the comrades don't understand Portuguese, and the

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language we don't understand each other properly. The food their was somehow awkward especially for me because I was suffering with heartburn, till today, still suffering that was that problem. Also eating beans, myself I don't eat beans, if I eat beans like now somehow tomatoes and bread if I consume that somehow I think I am going to have ulcers, I will be committing suicide. So now I am forced to be eating that because I am poor, I am not working at the moment, I am staying in the hostel. So alright I tried to tolerate that and then we were eating fishes, they always eat beans and fish, they like this stuff ...(intervention)

REV. FINCA: Okay, okay George you have made the statement about how bad the food was, what happened ultimately?

MR DUBE: There were a lot of things, the comrades were also complaining no cigarettes and all that. So I decided that I should go to town to see our chief rep, to tell him about our problems, maybe he can help because they were there. There was Comrade Maake who was our chief rep at that time, the late Comrade Maake. So I told the people there, the officers that I want to go to town can they give me somehow a lift to Luanda. They said they are going to try to give me a lift to go and see my chief rep. So I saw time was just passing by and then nothing was happening, so I decided that I would go there on my own. I sold my shirt to the comrades in the camp of MPLA. So they gave me some money. I saw that this money is enough for me to get a bus to go to Luanda to see our chief rep, so I did so.

I left the camp, I went to the bus terminus, it's a nearby town about five kilometres from our camp. At the bus terminus this money I had it was old currency of last year, before they changed the currency. The currency of Angola

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was changed in January 1977 if I am not mistaken for only 30 days. So I still had the old Portuguese currency. So I went to the bank because I had this new currency and this old currency so I wanted to get some money for provisions for the journey. When I entered the bank I gave it to the bank teller that please can you change this old currency for me. I couldn't speak Portuguese properly at that time, unlike now I can speak Portuguese properly, so this guy realised that no this fellow this is not an Angolan, his Portuguese is not so all right.

REV. FINCA: And so you were arrested?

MR DUBE: Ja. He called the police because at that time I had a lot of beard I never shaved it, so I was suspected to be a supporter of Savimbi. So he called the police in, the police took me, they told me they are going to help me. The police station is just near the bank there. I slept there. So they also couldn't speak English, but they asked me, they've got a little English that they speak, so I told them that I am from Tanzania because all of us, the 16 of us we had passports from Tanzania when we came there, we were each given a Tanzanian passport. Our passports are written "Students". So I told them I am a student from Tanzania, so I came here. So they asked me where are you going? I said I am going to Luanda to see our chief rep of ANC. So I was taken to Luanda by plane with the security, MPLA security. So we went the two of us to Luanda. When I arrived there in Luanda I was locked up in a small house, it's a camp like, a small cell, I found another guy there inside that cell. REV. FINCA: Were you locked up by the ...(intervention)

MR DUBE: In Luanda now.

REV. FINCA: By the Angolans or?

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MR DUBE: By Angolans.

REV. FINCA: Okay.

MR DUBE: So after about 8 o'clock, we arrived there at about 4 o'clock, 5 o'clock in the evening, at about 8 o'clock in the evening I was taken out of that place, I was put in a Landrover and then I was driven to a certain place, that's one I may say it's a prison or - they call it Casa de Recusawu(?), the house of recruiting, something like that. I was put there and I was told that they will come in the morning and see me. They left me there. So when I entered there I saw on my own that no this place is a prison. There were a lot of people there, mixed up, French people speaking there, Portuguese and Unita and soldiers wearing uniform and FNLA.

So I stayed in there I thought maybe tomorrow morning they will come and collect me. They never came. So now I couldn't speak with anybody because I didn't understand the language these people were speaking. So I think you will realise or rather feel ...(intervention)

REV. FINCA: ...to come to the point that you landed with the ANC and come to the point of how you were treated by the ANC.

MR DUBE: Okay.

REV. FINCA: For now you are still with the Angolans?

MR DUBE: Ja, ja, ja. So okay alright I was feeling bad there because I was arrested so I couldn't understand the language of these people. So I had to learn Portuguese there, that's where I learned Portuguese because I stayed there for three years being locked up. Being busy telling these people time and again that they should call the ANC because these officers who were the owners of this place,

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who were keeping this prison they were telling us that your problem is not our problem, it's ANC problem. The ANC is the one who is supposed to solve your problem. So I've been telling them that why don't you call them to come and solve our problem. Comrade Mzwai was there I remember, he was chief of security at that time, and Comrade Masondo.

So they came after one year me being there. I was the first to arrive in that prison. I was joined by other colleagues from the ANC. Now they were staying in the camp in town there. They are the ones who told me that there is Comrade Nzwai there whom I saw in Tanzania, the time I arrived there, that there are new comrades who are staying, Angolan soldiers there. So I knew that Mzwai is there so I was telling these officers to call Mzwai to come and solve our problems that we can't just be staying here rotting in this place, doing nothing. So he appeared after one year. He appeared again then the third year when we have already done hunger strike of 19 days, me and the other three guys, we were 12 now already, one girl, 11 boys and one girl in that prison. To an extent that one of our comrades ran away from that prison, Tom Mabinda, a tall, hefty guy, he jumped the wall, the walls had glasses in around it, so he put a blanket and then he jumped over it. He jumped over, he ran away he went to town. I don't know what he did in town so he was arrested, he was brought back with handcuffs. He slept with handcuffs for two weeks in a single cell. So when the food was being brought for them, those who were staying in the single cells he came out he didn't want to go back there. So the officers came around there, then one Coloured officer, the chief of the Investigation Department shot him with an AK47. Three bullets in the abdomen. He

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died instantly. That is Tom Mabinda he was from Orlando East that is what he told me.

So alright we did a hunger strike and then after three years the three of us, there were nine comrades who were afraid, nine colleagues who was afraid to join us, three of us, me and another Coloured guy from Cape Town. So we were released after 19 days. So the comrades came there those days to ask me, they came with some trousers and a shirt and so forth, for the first time they had given us clothing. So these comrades they called me there, they asked me that I must tell them who sent me here then, that is here, I am somehow I am being sent by Boers here is it to come and spy. I got angry I slammed the door, I came out of that office, I never talked to them anymore because I was angry. They were asking me something which was somehow awkward, it was an insult to me. So they called the other guys they were asking this very question I don't know, it's two or three guys of us we were called around there.

So from there, after the hunger strike they had the story that there are ANC people that are dying there. So they came to collect us. So me I was still a bit strong because we were taken to the hospital twice, brought back and then we were told that we must eat, we can't take you to ANC being like this. We said we don't want to eat anything, we are going to eat only at the residence of the ANC, not here ...(intervention)

REV. FINCA: Okay, okay George. And when were you then arrested by the ANC?

MR DUBE: ANC came to take me in January 29th if I remember, of January, that was 1980, 1977 I have been in this prison, on the 22nd of January I was put in this place, JOHANNESBURG HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

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three years until 1980, the 29th of January when I came out, when ANC came to take us out from that place to Quibashi, to our own rehabilitation centre.

I was arriving there because I was still not eating by that time. I was locked up also. I found some other 11 eleven comrades, I am sure I was the 12th one in that rehabilitation centre. So we stayed there, woke up in the morning, I spent another two days before these other two colleagues of mine, of this hunger strike came from that - they came after two days. They found me still, I was not eating then in that place of ours. So when they came I saw their mouth is fat no these guys have been eating now already you see. Okay, they said they are convinced then that they are going to be taken by - the ANC came there and told them that they are going to be released so they must eat and then everything will be over you see. Then they agreed, they started eating. So I had to start eating also. Other comrades were going to eat breakfast, lunch and supper, I wasn't taking the food I was just sleeping.

Alright we continued staying there. In the morning we wake up, we are building this place, we are renovating this place because it was a broken compound like. This place is somehow it was a farm, a coffee farm, so these workers were staying there I am sure, so it was bombed by Portuguese I am sure because I understand the guerillas of FNLA they occupied that place. The Portuguese ran away some time, they killed the owner of the farm and then the Portuguese government discovered that there are guerillas staying there then they bombed that place, so that's why it's broken like this.

REV FINCA: Okay George, can we come now to the ill

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treatment that you received in the rehabilitation centre?

MR DUBE: Yes Sir.

REV FINCA: And you are actually testifying on that to this Commission so you had better be specific on the kind of ill-treatment that you received there.

MR DUBE: Thank you. So alright we were working there, that was 1980. At the end of 1980 things changed, the treatment changed because by the time we arrived there we were eating the same food as the officers, the people who were guarding us. But now at the end of '80 they started separating us then and at the same time we were not coming near the officer, you should stand far like me and you like that if you want to say something to him or ask him for water or something. If you come nearer you get thorough beatings that you wanted to grab a gun from the officer and run away, whatever it is.

Because of one guy who tried to run away and he was caught, he was brought back, so everything changed, we were now being beaten around and we were working hard now. We were told to work hard that you mustn't get tired. The moment you slack, and you start working as a tired person you get beaten, that we didn't come to pay you, you are working here. So it went to an extent that even if you are working very hard, sweating, you get beaten just for sweet nothing.

So the painful part of it is that some of these security guards of ours, were young boys, younger than me, some of us were older than them, but we hear an older person crying like a small baby being beaten by young boys.

REV FINCA: Am I right George to say that the violation that you are complaining about is beating or is there

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something more serious than beating?

MR DUBE: Ja, ja, ja. We were doing hard labour that you work with a pick or a shovel from morning till sunset, or you chop wood from morning to sunset, as hot as it is in Luanda. I think you know how it is, it's a hot climate there. Then you don't have water to wash, though we had a pump here. The water comes with a tank, it's for the officers for cooking and for washing. We spend a month or two without washing. We have to go to the river that's when we can wash properly, using our clothing, our uniform.

So then we were being beaten almost every day working there. We were always swollen, swollen eyes and swollen mouths and swollen buttocks. We were being beaten with these sticks of coffee trees. So it will just be your lucky day if you can spend the whole day without being beaten, that's your lucky day.

So we were working very hard my friend in a way that I've seen slave films how they worked, how they were treated, the way we were treated this was more than slavery. So we were beaten in such a way that one day this colleague of mine whom I made (...indistinct) with this Coloured guy, there's a certain comrade called Eric, he just took a plank from somewhere, the plank had nails, rusted nails, we were chopping wood in our place, it was a pigsty before, that's where we chopped wood and pack it nicely then take it inside for cooking. He picked up this plank and then he told him to touch his toes, as usual that you must touch your toes and then they beat your buttocks with sticks. So he got this plank comrade Eric, he pierced this guy with that plank with nails, rusted nails. That guy couldn't sit or sleep on his back. He was sleeping on his side for almost two to

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three months there in that prison.

REV FINCA: That did not happen to you?

MR DUBE: No it happened to this colleague of mine I was in prison with in Luanda at that time.

REV FINCA: No but George I think we should bring this to an end. What serious human rights abuses were done to you at that period? And could you conclude by saying what you would like the Commission to do for you in view of those abuses.

MR DUBE: So as we were working every day being beaten, this place has got gorges you know, so we collect wood, we chop these dry trees you see, one day we went to get a tree down, it's like to down, and we had to carry this tree up and yesterday it was raining so I was carrying this log, it was a big log that three guys must pick up and pick it up on your shoulder. My shoulders were somehow sore here because of these logs. So I was behind this guy, we two carrying these logs. So I slipped, it was muddy this place, this log fell, it fell on my leg, this right leg. I had a fracture. I didn't know that I had a fracture, I just thought that this log was beating me. I had a small fracture there. So I carried on working like that, I never had treatment. I told the medical officer that my leg is always painful, I don't know what's wrong with it, but I think it's because of that log that beat me. So he gave me rubbing stuff. I wasn't taken to the hospital.

The other thing is Chairperson that I forgot to tell you, the first medical officer that we found there, that was Thobile, the moment you go to the hospital, we got our clinic there, the moment we go there most of us, you complain about a headache he gives you stomach pills. You

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complain about the stomach he gives you headache pills, that was Thobile. So they changed Thobile. Then came in Comrade Spider. Spider was a bit better. So Spider didn't like this that we were being beaten around and pills were being wasted. Just wasting pills because I have to give these guys pills and bandage them, you are beating these guys purposely for nothing. These guys are working and so forth. So alright I had a fracture there, I carried on. One night I was cold after another guy was cold and this guy was crying for almost an hour he was beaten in a certain room. You know we've got rooms and our room was the biggest, we were 15, these others were five, 10 and so forth, and we don't know each other and you can never know your neighbour here because when they come out they lock you up. When the others come out just like that. We don't mix. You never know them, two years can pass in that place.

So the first corner there there was a room there where beatings were happening, torturing. So I was the second, they called me, it was 11 at night. So I went there. I knew that today is my last day because always there at that place, the way it was so bad my brother I was praying. I remember I prayed three times that I would wake up one morning being dead, please God, why don't you separate my soul, my spirit and my body. Really I was very serious I wish I would wake up dead. And of course we would wish that, it was not only me. So I was taken to that room at 11 o'clock. I was beaten at night. Whooo I was beaten my brother!!!! They told me to strip my clothing off and remain in underwear, I did so. You lie on your stomach and pick your legs up like this, boots out, pick my legs up then they hit me with electric cord under the feet there. My

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feet were cut, like being cut by razors. I couldn't stand it so I wanted to stand up and sort of fighting myself. There were four officers, the commander, the commissar, I don't know the other two guys were helping the commander and the commissar of the camp. That was Sizwe Mkhonto, Morris, the other two I forget. When I entered the house you could also when you went into that room there was blood as though somebody was just splashing blood on the walls. I saw one tooth down there. I just thought today here that's my last.

So I was beaten there. Sizwe was kicking me. When I was taken with the two fists like this, dotted me down, kick my mouth, I'm sure that's their system they know you won't tolerate this beating under the feet, you will want to refuse and then they put you down and they kick you on your mouth and your teeth out. So I was torn, my mouth was torn, my eye here, even now if you hold me you can hear the bone is broken bone that very day. The boot, the boot had an iron in front there. So I was kicked around and beaten on my body, fists, kicked my abdomen, boots and then they told me I should sit around the corner there, by the corner there, they drank tea. They told me that you are lying you are going to tell us who sent you here, you don't want to tell us you are going to tell us. So I couldn't tell. What was I going to tell, because I knew nothing about being a spy. I never spied anybody in my life. To an extent that I even saw that Comrade Wandile, I told him that John Vorster Square is here now. You have been calling me a spy, John Vorster is just nearby, let's go and ask if George Dube was a spy, do they know George Dube. So he tried to be smiling around.

So okay I was beaten there, they rested and then they

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started beating me again and so forth for almost one and a half hours, I don't know how many minutes they were busy beating me there. Then they took me out of that house. They told me to go and sleep. I had to go the next day with those swollen feet to go and work. Because even to go to the toilet in the morning you run, you don't just walk there. Always you are (...indistinct) in this camp here, there is no walking.

REV XUNDU: Okay. And in 1983 you were released?

MR DUBE: Ja in 1983 I was released. But my friend, alright, let me just tell you something that I didn't like. Because the moment I have tried to go to the toilet, when you went to the toilet you don't go and sit there and relax and relieve yourself, you sit there for about a quarter of a minute, just 15 seconds, then up, then you would dress up then sometimes you have to touch your toes and then you are being beaten, you don't know what for. Early in the morning.

Then okay, so Comrade Masondo came after the four years, it was 1983, it's now almost four years there, somewhere at the end of 1983, September, October, he came and called my name. So he called me, I went there in the offices of administration. He told me that - because there I was called "Bishop" now, my name was Bishop because our names changed there, for the second time now. Now there already they give you a new name again for the other guys not to hear that there is Sipho George Dube that's staying next door here somewhere. So my name was Bishop, okay. So he called Bishop. I went to that administration. Comrade Masondo told me that I must - today I am going to be released from this place and I am going to join other

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comrades so I must understand that the Congress makes some mistakes. That's what Comrade Masondo said to me, that I must understand that the Congress makes mistakes. So they are going to release me to go and join other comrades. So I just thanked him very much. That was all. Then I was released.

REV XUNDU: Did you raise the complaint with the senior officers of the organisation?

MR DUBE: You see the time - Comrade Masondo said that when we were released, we were three that day, from that very same cell, we were told that when we arrived there, the camps wherever we are with other comrades we mustn't tell other comrades that we've been here in this place, this rehabilitation centre otherwise we will be taken back. So we kept the secret that never tell anybody. If somebody asks you where were you if he knows you, you tell him that you are from Zimbabwe or Zambia, you have been in school or what-what-what, that was all. So I couldn't just go and tell anybody.

REV XUNDU: So lastly George what would you like the Commission to do for you?

MR DUBE: You know after that place I went to a certain place where we had been building, because I am a bricklayer. I have been building many camps there in Angola. We built at a certain vocational training centre in Angola a beautiful place. So I wanted to go and watch them, upgrade my skill of building, ah to be an architect and so forth, so it failed. So I tried to go and learn farming, I also failed, that was in Angola. When I was sent to Tanzania I tried to go to a school of cooking where we examined, blood and all that, we were alright, we were supposed to go to

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Germany, it failed again. So we were told that now we are going back home, the old man is out of Robben Island we are going to get some other skills we are going to learn at home there. You see so I just left at that time, I just came this side. In other words I was somewhat deprived to learn some skills. So still now I still want to go and learn to be a chef because I like cooking.

REV XUNDU: George thank you very much, that concludes my questioning.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Any questions? Yes Yasmin Sooka. Order please.

MS SOOKA: George there have been a number of commissions of inquiry that have investigated abuse in the ANC camps, have you ever made any testimony to any of those commissions?

MR DUBE: In the ANC I have never made, I have never done.

MS SOOKA: (...indistinct)(Not talking into the microphone)

MR DUBE: Yes, yes here in South Africa, here, there was a commission of inquiry of Dr Matswenyane, somewhere year before last, so I went there. I was told by somebody why don't you go there because you have been somehow abused as you are saying in Angola and all that. I went there, they were in FNB, they had their offices in FNB, so I went there. From there I went - because I saw there was nothing happening I went to Zimbabwe to see my sister whom I left in Zimbabwe the time I came this side. That was 20 years ago. When I came back the Commission was not there anymore, I went there I didn't see anybody.

MS SOOKA: Sorry, at the time did you make any complaint to any person about the way you were treated in the ANC camps?

MR DUBE: I once told Social Welfare here where I usually

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went, share a house, that is I was once locked up for seven years in exile. And then I even told a certain comrade who was a regional commander, Timothy, Commander Timothy, he was originally commander there in Angola that I had been arrested for seven years.

MS SOOKA: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any other questions? Dr Randera.

DR RANDERA: George can I just come back to your release in September 1983, are we to understand that after that you went back into the ANC camps and you then came back to South Africa with the ANC?

MR DUBE: Yes.

DR RANDERA: Okay. And my next question is since you came back, and sorry when did you come back to South Africa?

MR DUBE: 1993, somewhere near September or October, 1993.

DR RANDERA: 1993?

MR DUBE: 1993 yes.

DR RANDERA: And since then you have been in contact with the ANC (...indistinct)

MR DUBE: Yes.

DR RANDERA: (...indistinct) (not talking into the microphone)

MR DUBE: I will be asking for them to somehow send me to school ...(tape ends) so I was nowhere. Till now I am nowhere.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Any other questions?

Thank you very much. We are mandated, required by the Act that has brought us into being to investigate all instances of human rights violations, gross human rights violations happening to our people inside the country, outside the country, and we intend as this Commission to

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carry out that mandate.

We are quite clear that human rights violations when they happen are human rights violations, and if the evidence is such as to indicate that that has been the case then we will be seeking to put this as one of the parts of the report of our Commission because we are asked to give as full a picture as possible of all gross human rights violations that have happened as a result of the conflicts of the past. We want to assure you that this Commission will in fact seek to get to the bottom of the story that you have given us.

Thank you very much.

MR DUBE: Thank you.

COMMISSION ADJOURNS

DR BORAINE: The previous witness requested witness protection and when people request that, unless there is some very good reason we have to grant them that and the place of safety where he has gone closes at five o'clock, and the witness protector did not want him to travel later in the evening. So the request came from our witness protector and I can now announce that because he's actually in protection and will be looked after.

 
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