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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Starting Date 26 March 1997
Names NTOMBENTSUNDU G. NDABA
CHAIRMAN: We will now go to the case of Matatiele. Is tea ready? I think we have to go have tea first so that we can have energy. We will take ten minutes, 10, 15 and we come back after that, thank you.
We request the Matatiele group to come forward. Ntombentsundu Gladys Ndaba, Ansarah Ndabakazi Zokwe, Eunice Nozizwe Ndaba, Nombuyiselo Tabalaza, Busisiwe Ndabambi, Amelia Nomatshawe Jozi, Magdelina Nombulelo Matshaya, Jeanette Nomachule Ndlebe.
Before you swear them in I request that Mr Velele Miachana, who was not on this list, we have his statement. He also should be a part of this group. We have his statement in your office in East London.
MS MAYA: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Before I start, I just want to clarify that on Sunday when we met with these people, as there are 10 people here, five of the witnesses will speak. The others are just going to confirm so that they are able to put their requests before the Commission.
First of all, I would like you to confirm that all of you who are sitting there, are of the same incident that occurred in 1990, is that so? First please give us the root of the incident, what happened at Mangwo, a background perhaps, could you brief us?
children of the village were members of the ANC, the youth. There was a date set for a meeting to call visitors who were going to tell them what the ANC is all about. On the 17th of March on a Saturday, I was going to go to Mzamba. I came back on the Sunday, the day the meeting was going to take place. It was going to be a youth meeting.
That morning there was a group of comrades, Zihle Twala was a part of that group, they were coming to my shop. When they got there, I - when I looked at them in the eye, I could see that they were not happy.
They said that, they requested that I give them cold drink. This cold drink they were going to give to the members of the ANC that was going to inform the youth of the ANC. They took a litre of cold drink, they said they wanted to talk to me, I went to them.
Zihle then said to me that they have come to tell me that they put me in trouble. I asked him what kind of trouble, he said that they did not sleep the previous night, they were tortured, taken from their homes by Kekeni Ndleleni, Christopher Sipika, Zwelonke Sipika, Revd Mlandi. They took them from their own homes as comrades. They took me Zihle said to a small room where Zwelonke Sipika worked. They closed me into the small room and they said to me that at the meeting that was going to be at the hall the next day on the 18th of March, when the people are there, Zihle must address the people at the meeting.
Zihle then said they must burn down Kekeni's second floor of the building. She then refused, she was threatened with guns, swords and axes. They said that if Zihle is not going to say this about Nombuyiselo, that is myself, then they are going to kill me and my parents won't know what
So to save my life, Zihle said she agreed that she would address the meeting. I went to my colleagues, she said that she went to my colleagues and my colleagues then said that she must come and tell me, so I said that I must go to the police and tell them what happened so that after the meeting occurs, it is clear what they have done to her.
We came back with the Lieutenant. When I got to the village, I realised that the children in that meeting, the youth that is, some of them were on the Mpolele mountain. The atmosphere was very oppressive at the village, very heavy and then I saw another group walking down the road.
I asked what was happening, the youth said that the men in the villages were chasing them, therefor they are going to sleep in the forrest, because they were told that the men of the village were going to kill them.
to go to bed, my daughters left to go to sleep. I saw them coming pushing the door, saying that there are people surrounding my yard. I went out to see what was going on, it was full moon, I could see reflections.
These people were coughing, some smoking, I asked what they wanted in my house, why they were surrounding my house. There was no answer. In stead men emanated from a corner next to the gate, I peeped through the window, I saw Kekeni Ndleleni with other men.
The Headmen Mfele was there as well. I saw them. I then said I was shocked that the Headmen was there. They came closer to my yard. They broke down my windows, kicked my door open. Some of the men that were around the house, when I asked what they wanted, the answer was they did not want me, they wanted my children. They wanted the youth.
And this person who wanted to know what was happening, I could sense that these men were approaching this person, I heard murmurs, I could not even go outside to see what was happening to this person. I found out the next morning that it was Mlungisi who was one of the comrades who was taken by the men to the police.
There was a huge truck there with - he had other men. I don't know where these men came from. Mlungisi was ill-treated and beaten up as a comrade. They said that they did not want toyi-toyi in the village. He perhaps can clarify and say who it is exactly who beat him up.
MRS TABALAZA: After that. I am just jumping over some issues after that - on the 29th. It was in the afternoon, the sun was still out. I was going to a funeral, my cousin's funeral, he was shot in Johannesburg.
I was going to take a stove that was going to help at the funeral. There was chaos in the village. Children were being chased. I saw Christopher Sipika's van being driven very fast, I could see that something was happening.
And I heard Kekeni calling out, because we are neighbours, he said that Nombuyiselo, today I am going to kill you. I did not take that seriously because I was not a member of the Youth League. I just took my stove and everything that I needed, put in the car and went home. I came back - when I got at home, I realised that the youth had a meeting in that afternoon.
They then went to Ngosi's place where they continued with their meeting. They concluded that they are going to be vigilant and see who is going to burn down people's houses that night. This is when Ngosi said to them, because there was a high fence at Zihle Twala's house, then they should go there, stay inside and stay there overnight.
I stayed at home that evening. When I was sleeping in the middle of the night, I heard a noise. I opened the door and peeped at Eunice Ndaba's house, who is sitting next to me, while the house was being burnt down. I saw a huge fire.
In the morning when I went, was going to work, as I left home, I was going to go past Ndleleni's house - my car was being stoned. I saw these children going up the road. As I drove, I heard a noise, I stopped the car and I looked around, I could see Kekeni with two children that worked for him, they went to my yard. He broke my window, I don't know what he poured inside and they went around the house.
What made me run is that I saw smoke and fire from my own home. I got into my car and went to my brother and I told him that Kekeni has burnt my house down. My brother said that we must go to the police station at Maluti.
We reported this matter. When we got there, we were told that the police had already left, because Kekeni had already gone to the police asking for help. When I got back, I realised that a lot of houses had been burnt down, the police were there.
The children that had been trying to put out the fire, had run away. When I got to the bus stop, my brother who was a Warrant Officer at Matatiele, had come with other Boers who were from Matatiele, they wanted to examine the damage. Kekeni was the one who pointed out to the police who should be arrested, he even pointed out my own driver.
Gumenta then called us, saying that they investigated and we were free because we were not guilty. By that time most members of the Youth League were detained. I realised that I should go to Umtata where I got Mr Madigi Zwela who phoned Maluti police station and gave an order that the children should be released, then the children were released.
MRS TABALAZA: I don't know, he was just a man who stayed in the village. He had a shop, I did not know or was not aware which organisation he belonged to. They just would refer to each other as Teleweni.
He pretended as if he understood when people of the Regional Office in Matatiele were there. After they left, they would be after me. The one time when I took my children to school, he chased me. He would overtake me and drive right in front of me so that I could almost bump into him.
He stopped the car at the bridge, I had to turn back. I went to the police station with the children, where I reported the matter. I said to them that he was trying to kill me at the bridge, but I was with the children. Even that day they said I must press charges on him, I won the case and he was charged.
MRS TABALAZA: My request to the Commission is I have not been in good health since that time, I was paralysed for a while, I could not walk. I have to be seeing a doctor now and again. It is expensive and I cannot afford it.
If the Commission could help me. If I could get a medical aid, so that if I want to see a doctor, I can go. Another request that I have to the Commission is that my children cannot proceed with their education. I have a child who has finished matric, who is at home. There is no work. (tape ends)
MRS NDABA: I would like to give the background of all this. When Nelson Mandela was released, the youth in our area and other areas were going to Matatiele, because we wanted to celebrate the release of Mr Mandela. Mrs Nombuyiselo's driver had a great responsibility to transport people to that venue, where we were going to celebrate the release of Mr Mandela.
When we came back, we heard that in Mount Fletcher, there is going to be a rally, an ANC rally the weekend after. Our children decided to go to Mount Fletcher, because they wanted to learn how things were done and they wanted to invite people to come and address them as 18 march was the day where ANC was going to be launched in our area.
They asked this driver to take them to Mount Fletcher and he agreed. He took them to the rally at Mount Fletcher. When they arrived there, ANC flags were sold and they asked him to buy them these flags because they did not have money. They said that they would repay him after they had collected some money.
They said that their aim for buying a flag on the 18th, when they are launching ANC, they would already have a flag. He bought this flag for them. When they came back from the meeting, they came with this flag. On the 17th, as Mrs Nombuyiselo has already said, Zihle was asked who bought this flag for them and he told them who did that.
They asked him why he didn't ask them to buy flags, this flag for them and he couldn't answer, he couldn't answer them, because they asked the driver to buy the flag because he was there at the rally.
And they said that they were supporting ANC and if they wanted anything else, they must come to them and ask and in my case, when my house was burnt down, on the 30th. On the 29th, it was on the 30th when mrs Nombuyiselo's house was burning down, I was going to school. When I saw this, I went to the police station in Matatiele where I met Mr Vuyo Lupindo who was in the police station in Matatiele.
He together with another White policeman were sent to that house to observe what was happening. I went to Maluti and while I was still waiting there, Mrs Zokwe together with Busisiwe came and they were going to report the death of their father and I was still looking at this matter, they told me that even my house was burning down. I was so scared, because I was thinking of my children because they were in my brother's funeral who died in Johannesburg. I did not know what to do.
We came back there and we were all worried, we were scared. When I arrived there, my house was flat, it was already burnt down and there was nothing I could do. The police were all over my yard. When I decided to go and look at this house, there was one girl, Nombulelo Sipika, it was the first time I saw her, she pointed at me and she said that I am the one who burnt down people's houses.
I did not know what to say because I was arriving at that time and I couldn't understand why she said that I am the one who was burning houses and people came to try and help me and this girl said, I don't know how she could be a
There was one - our nephew Barnabas, he gave me the briefcase and he said that he wanted to go and find out what was going on. And he was stabbed at that time and he fell down. As we were still looking at that matter, ANC members came and took him. One car came and we asked the driver to take him to the doctor.
MRS ZOKWE: We took him to the mortuary, when I came back I have a disabled child in my home. When I arrived home, my house was burning down and my brother tried to stop the fire, together with my daughter.
MS MAYA: It was at night and these men took them, there was a van belonging to Zwelonke Sipika. They beat my child but they didn't take him together with Zihle to that house. He lost his shoes and he told me that there were weapons in the van and he managed to run away because there was a full moon that day.
After the 17th, on the 18th we went to attend the meeting. The cars that were there, had weapons. There was one man who said that let them go in the hall and kill all of them. I went to these children, I told them not to go inside the church.
They must wait for their visitors outside the church. After a minute these men came with their weapons, they were chasing these children. We also ran away because we did not know what will happen to us.
scared, I did not know what to do. After that, I heard someone crying. When I tried to go there, I met one man who was coming from the shop. He told me that, don't go there, your brother was already dead.
I went outside and inside the house, I saw Kekeni's white van, a small van and people came out running from that van. I wondered because I did not see where this van came from, I just asked myself where this van came from and it was said that these people were police and they were chasing the youth.
I saw houses burning down and Amelia Jozi's house and I saw another house next to Amelia's house being burning down. I did not know what to do and I could see that my house was also going to be burnt down because my children were members of the ANC.
I saw a group of men and I couldn't stay at home, I went out to look and I saw these men coming to watch my house. They were coming to me. I went back to my home, I closed the door. I was scared, because I thought that they would kill me because they were a group of men.
I tried to hide outside in the back. This group of men waited outside. Kekeni and others went in, they had a white pale and there was something inside that pale. Kekeni kicked the door and the door opened.
And the closed the door. When they went out, there were flames all over. And Kekeni ordered them to go and take, and fill the pale with the petrol and they went to my other rooms but my other rooms did not burn.
MS MAYA: Thank you, we will come back to you. Can Mr Miachana now take over please? Mr Miachana, could you briefly tell us because we've heard the story, please tell us briefly what happened to you on that day?
MR MIACHANA: Next door from my house, I was with my son-in-law. Somebody said that my house was being burnt. We went to put off the fire, as we were trying to do that, there was a group that I did not know.
MR MIACHANA: Nobopo. He was putting the fire out. Then somebody else said that how can you be putting the light off, the fire out when we are trying to burn this house down. Then somebody else said that how can you ...
MRS NDABA: As my house was burnt down, I request that the Commission - the statement taker said the Commission helped people with compensation. Two of my houses were burnt down, if the Commission could help me. I have started building another house. I am trying to build this house but
I don't have all the finances. I have two children - one is in the College in Matatiele. It is very expensive, I cannot afford, I don't have the strength to work for it. The second child is in matric. Could the Truth Commission help me with these children?
MS MAYA: We will put forward your requests to the State President, thank you. Busisiwe Ndabambi, you have also heard the evidence that was put before the Commission that your house was burnt down in 1990. Is this true?
MRS NDABAMBI: My requests to the Commission are such that I need a medical aid. Since 1990, I have been admitted to hospital three times. The doctor said that I was very ill, I could not even get up. Twice at Matatiele, I was admitted. Then to Maritzburg, from Maritzburg to Johannesburg in Hillbrow Hospital.
Even there I was admitted for two weeks. I could not be helped fully. I have a bone ailment, bone ailment. Since 1990, I have not been back at my normal health. My back hurts me. I need some form of medical aid so that whenever I am not well, I can go to the doctor.
MRS NDABAMBI: I don't know whether this is appropriate, my wish as we are sitting here - Kekeni must talk to his wife. We are dying in the village, his wife was saying anything she would want about us ... (tape ends)
Secondly, I did not get immediately sick after April, but it is in June, my ears started getting blocked and the doctor said I was under stress. He took a Bible and started ministering to me and speaking peace to me saying I should have peace in my heart, because it is reflecting physically.
I want peace, I even uses Barnabas' taxi's. In November I started having fits. I have strange ailments and the doctors asked me the same question, what is it that is breaking you down like this emotionally? He said that it is because of a particular vein that is ailing me and it is because of emotional stress. I have no husband, my child finished matric, the other is in standard eight, I don't know what I am going to do, if the Commission could help me please.
MS CRICHTON: We have heard from all of you about the incidents. The one thing that is on the statements different, is the results, the court case. Now I just want to ask some questions about the court case, very specific questions.
If I follow this properly, trouble in Mangwo started in 1990 when the ANC was unbanned and other organisations. Unrest in your area started in 1990 when political organisations were unbanned and leaders were taken out of jail.
But what is good about the Youth League is that the children united under the ANC Youth League. The two villages, at least the youth, stopped fighting. There was unity. There was a high school that was being built, the children would work together, there would be musical concerts. Meaning that the Youth League brought unity within the youth.
CHAIRMAN: We thank you ladies and gentlemen. We are now going to listen to Mr Barnabas Mbulelo Kekeni Ndleleni, we just want to hear his views so that as the Commission we can, the Commission can weigh the evidence before us so that