CHAIRPERSON: Before I thank you I will hand over to Pathekile Bukrula who gave in a statement. He requested that he appear before the Commission so that he can give his side of the story so that the Commission can have his report as well.
I would like to reiterate that we are not in a court of law. This is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We will call him and his representative Adv Nonkonyane.
Chief Nonkonyane, Pathekile will give evidence.
Can we swear him in?
Perhaps I can be sworn in as well.
Are all three of them going to be sworn in?
The three of them.
Please get up Sir.
CHIEF BUKRULA PATHEKILE: (sworn states)
ADV MVELO NONKONYANE: (sworn states)
MS KHETHIWE PATHEKILE: (sworn states)
CHAIRPERSON: We thank the three of you.
Before I ask you, Chief Nonkonyane to address us, could you just clarify your status? Are you appearing as the legal representative for both witness?
ADV NONKONYANE: I confirm, Chairperson and Honourable members, that I appear on brief for both Chief Pathekile and also his sister.
CHAIRPERSON: Chief Nonkonyane do you want to address us?
MR NONKONYANE: Yes.
First of all I would like to thank this Commission for having written to the Chief such that if there is any thing affecting him that he should have this opportunity and also this respect to be in the programme as we had requested.
First of all Mr Chairperson, the witnesses in Balasgayini, we have heard him already. The statement that was sent to us was Mr Elliot Skhosana's statement. We do not have the other copies.
He referred to the gentleman next to me and the lady on my right. Bala is not here, perhaps if he could come. Maybe he can speak on his behalf.
Mr Chairperson truly, all our people stayed in Zalogats Umtimdi. The truth that has been put before is that Elliot has just arrived in that village. It is his son that stayed in that village. His son was from Natal. We did not ask what organisation he belonged to or why he had ran away from Natal and came to stay here. We allowed him to stay here with his son.
Truly, when the organisation started in this country, as Chief Holomisa was still leading we informed our people that the organisation had been unbanned and the ANC started spreading freely.
This gentleman next to me ..... (end of tape).
The ANC and other organisations really started spreading freely.
The Logane incident, it is true that Elliot's house was burnt down. That is not true, his house was not burnt down, it is his son's house that was burnt down.
As it is customary for us when there has been damage in the village the people go to the Chief to report. They did go. The women and men that were there they went and examined the damage. What is even more important is to look at the cause and investigate the cause of the arson.
The Chief went and they investigated the matter. The truth is the children left the grass that was alight in the kitchen. This caught fire and the house burnt down.
This is what happened and then a report was given.
He then said he has got no money he is not going to go there. There was conflict at the time with him and a few people that have been mentioned. They were saying that they governed themselves.
Ghosi then requested that they should go together. They said they had no money. This is after the truth had been revealed. First they thought that it is the Chief or people from the village who had burnt their house down.
It was then later revealed that it was a mistake, the children's mistake.
It was then surprising for him that the next day when he arrived the Chief had sent some people.
The truth is that these three men did not want to work together with the Chief. When they got to town they gave in their report. Their was an investigation. The truth is that no one from Timde, except the family made a mistake on who burnt down the house.
We cannot pay for such damage when it is his own children who caused the fire. We have no money to do that because we are starving.
Then Mancanceni, he as well. It is true that his house was burnt down. The Chief went to Skadeni together
with his people. He says that Chief did not go there. The Chief is disputing that. He did go.
The truth here is that there was never a finding as to who is guilty of the arson. The matter was taken to the police for investigation. We assume that the process was completed.
The fact that a Chief of Royal blood brought people to burn Mancanceni's house down, well, that is very sad. How can they be so deceptive? How can they blatantly lie as elderly people.
If it is that the Chief threatened people's lives, if it is so, they would not be alive today. The truth is the Chief when he had a problem he called me and said that I must go and help because there is conflict.
Let me clarify something. There is no conflict between the ANC and the villagers. The conflict came later when Sanco was started in our village.
I went there. We met with the Youth League and the Women's League. These are the things that happened, Mr Commissioner.
First of all, when Sanco started in our village... Sanco did not work together with the Chiefs, that is educating people about politics. It therefore worked against the ANC. People had to be politically orientated and enlightened.
Therefore what would happen when Sanco started, it
had its Chairperson. The forests were burnt down. There is no forestry now. These forests were destroyed. And the forest would help the people. The grass which was used in building huts, the grass destroyed by Sanco.
They would sell these nature resources. The money
did not go to the Government. The wealth of the land did not go to the Government. They used it. Perhaps they should come before the Commission and account for that money.
There were projects in the area, there was a dairy, because there was a self-help scheme. That is no longer existent. There were communal gardens to help people. They are non-existent. There were fruit gardens as well. They were all good healthy gardens, but they are no longer there. The cause for all this is not the ANC, the cause was Sanco. They just had an ANC banner.
This damage was also caused by the people who were speaking here previously.
Penton Simabele Thlangu, this house was over eight bedrooms, it was well-furnished, this house was burnt down. He was just guilty of one vice and it was that the ANC was not working together with the Chiefs. We did not see who burnt the house down, but there were suspicions that Sanco people are guilty.
We left that to the court of law. The police was supposed to investigate the issue. If someone was arrested they must speak up for themselves according to the law of the country.
There is a policeman, Mavatha, who stayed in Bala. We do not know what happened there, but what I would like to clarify. The Mavatha is no longer. Mavatha was
killed. He was murdered. Mavatha was shot. Mquti was a suspect. He was arrested Umzamba, because he was guilty in attempting Mavatha. Later Mavatha was murdered. He is no longer.
These are some of the things that I thought I would
clarify, before the Commission would ask questions.
In conclusion where the Commission speaks about Nonkonyane I would like to pardon myself. Am I going to be given an opportunity to ask Chief Nonkonyane to come? But that would be nonsensical. I can answer that as I sit here.
There is only one thing I would like to say to this Commission. The ANC in Pondoland was brought by no one but myself. The people that you saw here are just disciplined and dedicated members of the ANC.
In 1994 I was on the list of the ANC as a dedicated member of the ANC. In 1993 I realised that these people were causing conflict in the village. If the Commission wants me to clarify this on another day and give other statements I can do that, but I dismissing all this with contempt. There is none such.
Even so Mr Commissioner, I would like to talk to the Pondo people. The people who are going to come here and lie about the Chiefs, we forgive them. We are not going to bear a grudge against them. We have been brought up to lead people who stab us in the back.
The people that we protected come here and lie about us, even so, we pray that the Lord does not revenge them.
The Pondo people, especially Amabala, they can go after him, the Chief. But we have informed our people that this is just political enlightenment. We just need to alleviate the standards of our peoples's lives.
I want to clarify something. That people who came to Pondoland and caused conflict are not originally from here. They are mere visitors. No one from the Bala clan will cause any bloodshed in our land.
Peace to the Pondo people!
CHAIRPERSON: We have given you a lengthy time to talk. I do not know whether these people that Mr Bukrula Pathekile and Mrs Khethiwe Pathekile, maybe they would like to add something.
CHIEF PATHEKILE: I have nothing more to add.
MRS PATHEKILE: There is nothing else that I would like to add. That is all.
CHAIRPERSON: Order please. Mr Sandi?
MR SANDI: Thank you very much Mr Chairperson. I have two questions only. I have two questions to Mr Nonkonyane.
Chief Nonkonyane, you spoke as an Attorney and as a Chief. Is that so?
MR NONKONYANE: Yes.
MR SANDI: The list that you were reading, do you have a personal knowledge of these things or were you told about these things?
MR NONKONYANE: This list was prepared by a Committee in Umtimde. The destruction that I am referring to I know about it.
MR SANDI: Does Chief Bukrula and Mrs Khethiwe, would it not be better if they had spoken for themselves, because these are the things that happened in their own village?
MR NONKONYANE: I think that they took their legal rights to be represented.
MR SANDI: I am going to ask a last question. If you do not want to ask the question it is all right. Were there reasons why they wanted legal representation?
MR NONKONYANE: It is their right, their prerogative that
they be represented.
MR SANDI: The reason that I am asking this question is that most of the people that came before the Commission especially people who were accused would speak for themselves. I am sure you are well aware of that, especially as an Attorney? Did it not amaze you that they should be legally represented?
MR NONKONYANE: No, because even the letter that they got ... We are not talking about legal terms.
MR SANDI: We can talk about legal issues.
MR NONKONYANE: The letter says that there are people with accusations. They have a right to be legally represented. For their own reasons they choose legal representation.
They know that I am the Chief of the Bala clan and I am an Attorney.
MR SANDI: Did I understand well, when you said that you were talking about what they told you, you have no personal knowledge of what happened according to your list.
MR NONKONYANE: I just have personal knowledge of what happened at Bizweni.
CHAIRPERSON: One question for you. I want to ask Mr Bukrula first.
According to your knowledge were there any other houses that were burnt down in your village on the 3 May 1993?
MR PATHEKILE: According to my knowledge there are houses that burnt down on that day.
CHAIRPERSON: How many?
MR PATHEKILE: Soshlobo's house and Skhosana's house. At the time of Mancanceni and Timbawana their houses got burnt afterwards.
CHAIRPERSON: Can you estimate in which month this incident happened?
MR PATHEKILE: No, I cannot, but it was in 1993.
CHAIRPERSON: The three people whose houses were burnt down were they in the group which was against your authority in the village?
MR PATHEKILE: Sir, in Skhosana's place I tried to get there. There was an investigation done and one man called Mr Skhosana's wife and asked her what happened and she said that the children were burning grass in the kitchen.
CHAIRPERSON: I would like to disrupt you, because we have already heard that from Chief Nonkonyane, who is your legal representative.
What I want to know, these three houses, the people of these three houses were they against your authority in the village.
MR PATHEKILE: I do not know about that.
CHAIRPERSON: I would like you to give me a chance to finish my question.
What I am saying is, in the evidence given by Mr Nonkonyane on your behalf we found out that there a group of people in your village, those people were against your authority. My question is, these people whose houses were burnt down in 1993 were they members of this group that was against you?
MR PATHEKILE: There are mixed Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: The three people who came here, who said that there houses were burnt down, were they belonging to this group?
MR PATHEKILE: No, but they used to take control of the field and the crops.
CHAIRPERSON: Your legal representative said that they were against you.
MR PATHEKILE: Yes they were against me because they were controlling the field.
CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask you again this question. Were these three men who just testified here were they against your authority in the village.
MR PATHEKILE: Yes, they were against my royal authority.
CHAIRPERSON: Is there a connection, according to your knowledge, because they were the ones whose houses were burnt down in 1993? Is there a connection that they were against your authority and their houses being burnt down? Is there a connection between the two?
MR PATHEKILE: No, I do not think so, because other people's houses were also burnt down.
CHAIRPERSON: How many houses were burnt down at that time? You said there were three. You said there were three houses that burnt down in 1993.
MR PATHEKILE: There were four houses.
CHAIRPERSON: These three men who came here are they amongst the four people whose houses were burnt down?
MR PATHEKILE: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Miss Maya?
MS MAYA: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I have one question to Mrs Khethiwe.
My question to you madam is concerning you. When you were asked whether you have something to say you said that even at that time you were supporting your brother. You were talking on behalf of your brother. What did you mean by that?
MRS PATHEKILE: What I can say is that I have no knowledge of what Skhosana have said.
MS MAYA: Madam, my question is you just said that even at that time you were speaking on behalf of your brother. What were you talking about? You can speak on behalf of your brother. What did you say? What did you say on behalf of your brother madam?
MRS PATHEKILE: Me?
MS MAYA: Yes.
MRS PATHEKILE: I asked them what they were doing to my brother? I did not insult anyone.
MS MAYA: Who did you say this to?
MRS PATHEKILE: Are you asking me?
MS MAYA: Yes madam.
MRS PATHEKILE: I was saying this while we were in court.
MS MAYA: You said that you were speaking on behalf of your brother. Who were you talking to?
MRS PATHEKILE: I do not understand your question.
MS MAYA: One other question, the last one madam. I am going to go back to my first question.
You said that you won Mr Skhosana.
MRS PATHEKILE: No I did not won Mr Skhosana.
MS MAYA: Thank you madam.
CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for coming here to this Commission with this issue and it has some difficulty because we heard two different versions of this incident. This disturbed us, but what I can say is that it is not supposed to be a disturbance because the truth overcomes deception, because at the end we have to get the truth.
And the truth will come out on these two different
I want to thank the two groups that came here to testify in this Commission. I would like to thank them for answering our questions. And I would like to thank the two different groups because they showed us that they would like peace in their village.
Our investigators are going to investigate about this issue. Maybe they will go back to this village to get the truth so that we can be able to know the exact truth, because the two different groups have said different things.
What disturbs us as the Commission is that people are scared as the men who have just testified here have said, that they did not know whether they are not going to die or not. We want to place this on record as the Commission, but these people fear for their lives and if anything happens to them they have told the whole South Africa that they fear for their lives because of what is happening in their village.
We know that there are political conflict in our areas and we would like these conflict to be solved, so that people do not feel threatened in their areas.
We appeal on both sides that people would understand each other and we hope that we will not hear that anything has happened to these people.
We thank you Chief Nonkonyane for... (Tape ends)
....Chief and the lady next to you, you may step down.