CHAIRMAN: We request that we begin our proceedings for the day. If we could bow down our heads and pray please.
THE COMMISSION COMMENCES WITH PRAYERS
CHAIRMAN: We request that Ms Maya gives us the proceedings for the day.
MS MAYA: This third day of our hearings in Lusikisiki, the 26th of march 1997, I am going to read a list of people who are going to be witnessing today before this Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I am going to read their names as they would have appeared. Some of them are not here yet, therefor we are going to start with those that are present. I am going to read the witness' name, the victim, and what happened to the victim. Also where the victim comes from.
We have Adelaide Khanyisile Matandela, he is going to talk about Dumisani Macbeth Matandela, who was murdered in Maseru from Matatiele in 1982. Then Adelaide Mokete Bungane, who is going to talk about Mzwandile Mbuso Bungane, who was also killed in Maseru in 1982.
Refiloe Iris Koadi is going to talk about Allan Khorong Koadi. He is from Mt Fletcher and disappeared in 1985. Eleazor Keswa will be talking about himself. He was severely ill-treated from Umzimkhulu in 1981.
George Ndini Simayile, who will be talking about David
Simayile, who was murdered from Flagstaff in 1986. Nyatelwa
Mnoxwa, who will be talking about himself. He was tortured. He is from Bizana and this happened in 1971. Mgotywa Japan Ngwenya will be talking about himself, attempted murder in 1982.
Nodinga Doris Mamanci Twabu, who will be talking about Siyabulela Twabu who was murdered in Bizana in 1985. Ndengezi Makhokhoba, who will be talking about Mfolwane Mbele, who was tortured in Bizana in 1970.
Merriman Sipho Sikutshwa, will be talking about himself, Lena Mamanci Sikutshwa, they were both severely ill-treated in Bizana in 1960. Thengiwe Bester Khwezi, will be talking about Mabila Ju Khwezi, severe ill-treatment, Bizana, 1971.
Hlokomani Alfred Shaza, will be talking about himself and his wife, Madimane Shaza, severe ill-treatment, his house was burnt down, his wife murdered, who was pregnant, his son was murdered and his house burnt down for the second time to a place where he had run to, this happened in Bizana in Durban, this happened from 1963 to 1980.
Louisa Nonzwakazi Ndamase, will be talking about himself, severe ill-treatment in Tabankulu in 1991. The next are from Matatiele and they are talking about the same incident: Ntombentsundu Gladys Ndaba, will be talking about herself. Her house got burnt down.
Ansarah Ndabakazi Zokwe, talking about Obet Zokwe. Eunice Nozizwe Ndaba, will be talking about herself, her house was burnt down. Nombuyiselo Tabalaza, will be talking about herself, her house was burnt down. Busisiwe Ndabambi, will be talking about herself, her house was burnt down.
Jeanette Nomachule Ndlebe, she will be talking about
herself, her house was burnt down. Barnabas Mbulelo Kekeni
Ndleleni, will be talking about herself, her property was damaged. This all happened in Matatiele in 1990.
Nkebe Soswiti Mdutshane, will be talking about himself of attempted murder. Welcome Mtutuzelijare, will be talking about himself, attempted murder. Mandlakayise Singleton Lumbo, his house was burnt down. Mabutha Magebethu Tonga, will be talking about Dlayiseka Tonga, who was murdered.
Mantwanantle Thandeka Mbalogontsi, will be talking about Vulindlela Mbaligontsi, who was murdered. Amos Mazizi Kango, will be talking about himself, his house was burnt down. They are all from Flagstaff, the same incident.
Thank you Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Maya. We would like to greet and welcome everybody here today. We thank them for the effort they took to be here, even though the weather is not so good. We will try to do this quickly so that people can go home whilst the weather is still good and the roads are good.
We will start with Adelaide Khanyisile Matandela and Adelaide Mokete Bungane.
REVD XUNDU: Mr Chairperson, may I swear them in. Adelaide Khanyisile Matandela, won't you please stand up.
ADELAIDE KHANYISILE MATANDELA: (sworn states)
REVD XUNDU: Thank you. Mrs Iris Koadi, please stand up.
REFILOE IRIS KOADI: (sworn states)
REVD XUNDU: Excuse me Mr Chairperson, I read incorrectly number 3 - Adelaide Mokete Bungane.
ADELAIDE MOKETE BUNGANE: (sworn states)
REVD XUNDU: Thank you Ma'am. Mr Chairperson, they have been sworn in properly.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Reverend Xundu. Thank you Ma'am, we are going to listen to you as you are going to give us a fuller picture of how our people were attacked in Maseru.
We will ask Ntsiki Sandi to lead evidence on behalf of the Commission.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Good morning to you. We are going to start with Mrs Matandela. As she had already said Chairperson - the Chairperson had already said that you are going to talk about your children that were shot.
Mrs Matandela, your child was Dumisani Macbeth Matandela, is that so?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes.
ADV SANDI: How old was he?
MRS MATANDELA: He was 22, because he was born in 1960.
ADV SANDI: Would you tell us briefly about his life before he went to Maseru?
MRS MATANDELA: My son was at Msweshwe Secondary School. When the schools reopened in June, he went back to school as usual. That is the last time I saw him.
A while after that a policeman came asking me where my son was. I said that he is at school. He then asked when last I saw him. I said that the last time I had seen him was when he had gone back to school. He then asked if he had come back home at all. I said no.
Then he came another time and asked for photographs. He had a picture, his niece's picture. I was wondering why he was showing me this picture. He said that children don't do what they are supposed to do at school. I did not know what he was talking about because as far as I knew my child was at school.
He asked for his pictures, I went to get his pictures. He - I said actually that we did have photo albums, I showed him the albums. There was a picture that was vague, he was looking at the side, he then asked for this picture.
I thought that perhaps he is going to use this picture. He said he would bring it back, I have him two pictures. He left with the pictures. He never came back with the pictures to this day.
After that, police would come at all sorts of hours asking for my sons, the one was in Johannesburg. They asked when he was coming back, I said I did not know.
They would open my cupboards, throw my clothes on the floor, walk around. They would leave without having said what they wanted from me. In December Mrs Mgqwala came to me house with Mrs Mhlavuli.
ADV SANDI: How were you related to Mrs Mgqwala?
MRS MATANDELA: She was just a neighbour.
ADV SANDI: You say it was she and Mrs Khanyisile?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes, they then told me that they got a report telephonically saying that my son was passed away. I was very confused.
They then reiterated that Dumisani had passed away.
ADV SANDI: Was Dumisani one of the victims that had been shot in Maseru?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes.
ADV SANDI: Were you able to go to Maseru as a family to the funeral?
MRS MATANDELA: We were not allowed to go to the funeral.
ADV SANDI: Did you make a request?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes, we went to the police to request permission.
ADV SANDI: How did you feel that you could not even bury your child who was shot dead in a foreign land? How did you feel that as a family, you could not see him for the last time and bury him?
MRS MATANDELA: Well, we were not allowed. We did not have passes, we were simply not permitted.
ADV SANDI: How did you feel?
MRS MATANDELA: We did not appreciate that, it was terrible. To this day, we have not been to his grave.
ADV SANDI: According to your statement here, you have made requests first you say, these people, the perpetrators, they should come forward and ask at least for forgiveness.
Could you elaborate please so that it is clear what it is that you are requesting?
MRS MATANDELA: We want to know who the perpetrators are because we are not satisfied with just a report that says that he was killed.
ADV SANDI: Who is Vuyo Matandela?
MRS MATANDELA: That is his son.
ADV SANDI: How old was he when his father was killed?
MRS MATANDELA: Vuyo was four months old, because he was born in July, 27.
ADV SANDI: You said you have a request in connection with Vuyo?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes, I do. I am not working, I am unemployed. I cannot support him, I live on pension.
ADV SANDI: Is there another request that you perhaps remember as you gave a statement?
Are you getting a pension?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes, I get a pension from old age.
ADV SANDI: Is that all the requests that you have?
MRS MATANDELA: We never went to Lesotho to see the grave. If my child's body could be exhumed and be buried back home.
ADV SANDI: Did you go ask for advice, to an attorney perhaps?
MRS MATANDELA: No, we did not go to an attorney.
ADV SANDI: Mrs Matandela, is that all?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mrs Matandela. Mrs Bungane, you say that your son - what was his name?
MRS BUNGANE: Mbuso Mzwandile.
ADV SANDI: How old was he?
MRS BUNGANE: He was 19 years of age, he was born in 1963.
ADV SANDI: When did he leave for Maseru?
MRS BUNGANE: He left when the schools were going to reopen, it was in 1982. I can't remember the date.
ADV SANDI: Did they leave together with Dumisani?
MRS BUNGANE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: When he was in Maseru, before he was shot, had they written to you or phoned you?
INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on. The witnesses mike is not on.
ADV SANDI: Did this young man write to you?
MRS BUNGANE: He wrote a letter.
ADV SANDI: Did he write a letter home?
MRS BUNGANE: He wrote to me, he was asking for money.
ADV SANDI: Are there things that he mentioned in the letter referring to his life?
MRS BUNGANE: No. He just said that they might have to go overseas to school.
ADV SANDI: What standard was he doing at the time?
MRS BUNGANE: He was in Matric.
ADV SANDI: Were you able to go to the funeral?
MRS BUNGANE: I did not go because I was expecting them - I was expecting their bodies to be sent home. My brother went, he travelled from Bloemfontein.
ADV SANDI: Did you have a legal representative or perhaps did the organisation try to help you to bring the children's bodies this side?
MRS BUNGANE: We did not have a legal representative.
ADV SANDI: Was it your wish to go to Maseru to bury your own child?
MRS BUNGANE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: You did not get permission?
MRS BUNGANE: I did not request that I be permitted to go to Maseru, I simply requested that my child's body be brought home.
They however, refused. They said that the ANC could not come this side to bury our children.
ADV SANDI: Before your son left, were there problems, conflict perhaps with the police?
MRS BUNGANE: Yes, well the police would come to my house all the time.
ADV SANDI: Therefor the police were quite oppressive?
MRS BUNGANE: They did nothing to me really, they would just ask questions. The following week they would go to somebody else, otherwise they never really oppressed me.
ADV SANDI: Do you remember the requests that you made to the Commission?
MRS BUNGANE: I have children, I am unemployed, and I do not get a pension. My husband passed away quite a while back. It is difficult for me to live day to day. I had requests.
ADV SANDI: According to this statement, you say that you would like to know who the perpetrators are. Do you have particular reasons for wanting to know who the perpetrators are?
MRS BUNGANE: I just want to know the truth because it was very painful. Even - I would like to know them, but there is nothing I can do really.
ADV SANDI: You heard Mrs Matandela say that these people should come forward, the perpetrators, and ask for forgiveness to the victims.
MRS BUNGANE: I hears her saying that today. We don't live in the same area. Yes, I heard her.
ADV SANDI: What do you think about that request that the perpetrators should come forward asking for forgiveness?
MRS BUNGANE: It should be so so that we can have peace in our hearts. They must ask for forgiveness.
ADV SANDI: You made a request about children that are at school - who are these children?
MRS BUNGANE: Yolanda Bungane and Anene.
ADV SANDI: ; Are these your children?
MRS BUNGANE: They are my children.
ADV SANDI: Is that all you have to say Ma'am?
MRS BUNGANE: Yes. We would like to see where our children are buried.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mrs Bungane, I will hand over to the Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: I just want to ask a question to both of you Mrs Matandela and Mrs Bungane. Mrs Matandela, in our work with the Commission, we meet a lot of - quite a few parents whose children died in Maseru. I would like to know from you when they put forward their requests before the
Commission, some request that as the children were buried in Maseru and there was a tombstone there to commemorate this children and their names were written on this tombstone, some say that the bodies should not be exhumed, because they were buried in a place where heroes were buried, but some other parents request that these bodies should be exhumed so that their children be buried in South Africa - maybe you can advise us.
I am not saying it would happen as you wish, but we would like to know what you think about these different views? I am not sure whether my question is clear?
MRS MATANDELA: Yes, we understand. Can I answer first please? Personally, my view is that they should be exhumed and our heroes should be buried in South Africa, not in a foreign land. Because when they are buried in Lesotho, it is like they are thrown away, but when they are buried in South Africa, it doesn't matter where they are, we will have peace in our hearts, because at least they will be in our land.
MRS BUNGANE: That is a heavy question that you have asked sir. I am not quite sure whether my wish is correct. I would ... (tape ends)
CHAIRMAN: It is something that is heavy indeed, Ma'am, you do not have to give an answer now. Clearly Mrs Matandela has thought about this. Maybe the Commission can try such that there is a meeting with all the parents because of they exhumed, they should all be exhumed, if things are going to be left as they are, all the children will be left as they are.
Reverend Xundu who was at the funeral at Maseru, would like to thank you on behalf of the Commission.
REVD XUNDU: Thank you Mr Chairperson. First of all, I would like to thank you because it is clear that these children sucked from heroes.
You brought them up, they would not have wanted liberation such that they sacrificed their lives if they were not brought up by parents like you.
The entire South Africa and foreign people were there to pay tribute, thanking these children, saluting them for the sacrifice that they made.
The late Oliver Thambo also had risked his life and went to Lesotho, but he said that if these children had sacrificed their lives, then they were in just as much risk as he was putting himself in.
This reflects that these children were precious to the organisation. I know that it was not right that you were not able to go to the funeral, but please put your hearts at rest because a lot of people went there. Their blood was shed to water the soil that planted the plants of liberation.
Lesotho allowed us to make a heroes acre so that people know that we fought in the struggle and now are liberated. Your children's names are documented in the history of this country, that is a monument. Perhaps you can all go and put a wreath there.
Please be strong, we thank you that you brought up these children such that they struggled for liberation. Thank you Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you may step down.