CHAIRMAN: Merriman Sipho Sikutshwa. Thengiwe Bester Khwezi, Hlokomani Alfred Shaza, Louisa Nonzwakazi Ndamase. Is Tamsanqa Gabriel Njiyela here? Is Tamsanqa Gabriel Njiyela here? This is the last group.
I don't know if the person that swears the people in is still here, if he is here, he will swear them in.
REVD XUNDU: Mr Chairperson, I thank you this afternoon for giving me this opportunity to swear the witnesses in.
MERRIMAN SIPHO SIKUTSHWA: (sworn states)
REVD XUNDU: Thank you sir.
THENGIWE BESTER KHWEZI: (sworn states)
REVD XUNDU: Thank you.
HLOKOMANI ALFRED SHAZA: (sworn states)
REVD XUNDU: Thank you.
LOUISA NONZWAKAZI NDAMASE: (sworn states)
REVD XUNDU: Mr Chairperson, they have been properly sworn in.
CHAIRPERSON: We will now hand over to Ntsiki Sandi.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Let us begin with Mr Sipho. Merriman Sikutshwa. Mr Sikutshwa, I think you have a document, a typed document, but you did not have a chance to give us a copy.
I would like to ask you not to explain what is in that document, because you are going to submit the three-page document to us. When I am looking at your statement, you are going to tell us about yourself starting from 1960.
You said that in 1960 during the state of emergency, can you please tell us what happened to you?
MR SIKUTSHWA: During the state of emergency I was still a boy, I was only 16 years old. There was a proclamation named as Proclamation R400 where the Boers assaulted people in Bizana.
They deployed hundreds of soldiers and police with weapons. They said that they are going to kill ANC. I was arrested in the forrest. Everybody was arrested from boys aged 14 years to men over 80 years of age, everybody was arrested.
Every male person was arrested. They took us to Bizana. They were, the police and soldiers were in their cars which were known as caspers with their helmets, there was a helicopter surrounding us and at that time I did not know what was going on until I saw the soldiers in their jeep.
They came to me, they said come. I was confused because at that time I didn't like White people although I was not politically motivated, but I did not like White people.
When I tried to answer them, I answered in Xhoza, they couldn't understand me, because they were speaking Afrikaans only. They told me to come. I tried to answer them in English, still they did not understand me. They just showed me to go to that van.
I refused, they came to me, they dragged me. That is
where I fight for myself, I managed to escape. They were chasing me.
I was fighting with them. It is when I got injured here in my face and I lost my teeth.
ADV SANDI: Did they beat you?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, they did.
ADV SANDI: What were they using, were they using their guns?
MR SIKUTSHWA: They were using their fists to beat me in my face and my teeth, I lost my teeth.
ADV SANDI: Did they arrest you?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, they did. One of them kicked me, I fell down. I became unconscious and when I woke up, there was blood in my face. They told me to get in their van and they drove the van away.
They went, they took me to the clinic, there were many people and there were helicopters all over, soldiers were all over.
ADV SANDI: In jail, at that time you were detained, how long were you detained under the state of emergency? How long were you detained under the state of emergency?
MR SIKUTSHWA: They would detain me for two weeks and release me and detain me again for three weeks and release me.
They would do that all the time, but when we were first arrested, we were taken not to prison, but we were taken to an open field. It was raining that time and we had no shelter. If I can count, they detained me for almost six months.
It is when I decided to run away.
ADV SANDI: How long did you stay in exile?
MR SIKUTSHWA: For 13 years in Swaziland.
ADV SANDI: When did you come back from Swaziland?
MR SIKUTSHWA: I came back in 1974. What happened in Swaziland was that the Government of Swaziland did not want us to stay there as we were political refugees. He told us to move to overseas.
Because at that time it was the Matanzima Government and they told us to come back, they will forgive us unconditionally. If we didn't want to go back to Transkei, we were told to go overseas.
I didn't want to go overseas, because I was the eldest at home.
ADV SANDI: When you came back, were you under police guard?
MR SIKUTSHWA: When we came back, we were told that we would be forgiven unconditionally but I was tortured by Van der Walt and Dreyer and Manciya and Sifumba here in Flagstaff and Cronje, Berger, Nguba, they were interrogating me about the mission of the ANC.
They said that I was part of the ANC. While I was in exile, I used to come back with pamphlets. I joined ANC when I was in Swaziland. I just want to mention that my younger brother was working at the Magistrate's office and I heard that if anyone saw me, I should be killed.
I went with Macawana to the Magistrate to investigate and to ask about this because seemingly there was a letter that I am a threat to the Government so I have to be killed.
ADV SANDI: Did you get a job when you came back?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, I was a teacher - after a month and the Security Police used to interrogate me.
ADV SANDI: Were you a teacher?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, I was a teacher in exile, even when I came back, I was a teacher.
ADV SANDI: What happened, when did you loose your job as a teacher?
MR SIKUTSHWA: In 1985 I was a principal at that time, I lost my job. They found pamphlets saying "release Mandela". My bag was stolen and everything was found in that bag.
I was almost sentenced to 15 years, but they didn't sentence me.
ADV SANDI: Were you a principal at that time?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes.
ADV SANDI: Did you go back to teach?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Because people saw that I was perfect in mathematics and science, they pressured the Government to take me back as a teacher, but I was just an ordinary teacher.
What I would like to mention - when this Government dismissed me, I lost my pension and my wife divorced me because she said that I don't want to drop membership of ANC.
ADV SANDI: What is your position in the ANC here in Bizana?
MR SIKUTSHWA: I am a Chairperson of Bizana of the Veterans of Bizana. I am also an executive member of SADTU. This is why I lost my job.
ADV SANDI: Do you know Lena Mamanci Sikutshwa?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, she is my mother.
ADV SANDI: What happened to her?
MR SIKUTSHWA: They tortured my mother. Miss Desifumba was one of them, they wanted my mother to tell them where I was. She was working at the hospital at that time as a domestic
worker in Greenville. She had to go to report daily to the office in Greenville and this was impossible. She decided -she lost her job due to this because they were torturing her.
ADV SANDI: Do you have any other requests you want to add to the ones you have already mentioned in your statement?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, I do have requests sir.
ADV SANDI: One of your requests is that you would like clean water and proper roads?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes.
ADV SANDI: You also mentioned your children. What about your children, what did you say about your children?
MR SIKUTSHWA: My children - i re-married and I started my life afresh after all this happened, after Matanzima did all this to me. I would like my children to be educated.
My younger children. I would like to add more requests.
ADV SANDI: Can you please tell us your requests shortly because you are going to give us your document?
MR SIKUTSHWA: I would like the Commission on behalf of Bizana's Veterans if it is possible, I would like the President of this country to come and visit them because they were in the struggle here in Bizana.
I am still young, these men are elder men, I would like the President to come and sympathise with these people. I am trying to comfort them, but the President would do a better job.
If he can go to Bizana because I think Bizana is one of the places which were oppressed by the past Government. I think that people from Bizana sacrificed their lives so that
today we would have this democratic Government.
I would like the President to come around August or September, to come to people in Bizana to address and comfort them. I know that they will be satisfied.
The police are listening. Sifumba is one of them. He said that we must not kill the police because we are the ones who are governing and we listened to that.
My second request is that we would like our President to build a Technicon College for us in Bizana because people from Bizana did not educate their children because of their circumstances in that area.
The Boers installed a Bantu Education in our area. We want our children to have access to a Technical education at a tertiary level.
ADV SANDI: Can you please tell us your next request?
MR SIKUTSHWA: My other request is that I would like the President to take action to these police Berger, Cronje, to take them to Bizana, all of them and we would like these police to come to the people to apologise.
We don't want to look for these police for ourselves, because if we found them we will fight with them. We also request bursaries for our children.
I will summarise my requests: If it is possible on the 25th, we will have a meeting in Bizana. We would like the Commission to go to Nonqunana in Bizana to go there and to see this place.
ADV SANDI: Sorry, excuse me Mr Sikutshwa.
MR SIKUTSHWA: I would also like medical treatment because my injuries affect me. I also want the Commission to help me to be a principal again.
ADV SANDI: Mr Sikutshwa, did you write down your
requests in your document because if you did, I would just like you to give us your document because we have a problem with time.
Some of the things you are just mentioning, are in your statement, the statement in front of us.
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, I will photocopy the document and submit it to you.
ADV SANDI: Is that all you wanted to say?
MR SIKUTSHWA: Yes, that is all.
ADV SANDI: Mr Shaza. Mr Shaza, are you Shaza or Tshaza?
MR SHAZA: I am Shaza, Alfred Shaza. There is no difference between Shaza and Shazi.
ADV SANDI: Briefly you are going to speak today about yourself and about your son Madimane Shaza?
MR SHAZA: No, my wife Madimane Shaza.
ADV SANDI: Who is your son?
MR SHAZA: My son is Siqolo.
ADV SANDI: Let us first list that about you. What happened to you in 1963?
MR SHAZA: In 1961, when I was on my way home I met someone and when I arrived home after a few minutes, at about eleven, there were many torches around my house, torch lights.
I heard that my wife was being beaten up and my wife said that my husband was not here. They looked for me under the bed, I slept in the mattress in which my dogs used to sleep.
When I heard the van leaving my home, I went back to my wife and there was a baby, six months baby.
ADV SANDI: Was your wife pregnant at the time?
MR SHAZA: Yes, she was pregnant and she lost the baby. I went to my brother to report this. I told him that I am leaving this place.
I went through Mntumeni at about ten. I think about half past eight at night, I arrived at Mntumeni. I was working in Mntumeni in the railway station and on one Saturday I was off, I saw one Boer with a big stomach.
He said to me there are people looking for you. I went down, when I got down, they just dragged me. They put me in the car, they drove to Bizana. We arrived in Bizana at about half past two or three.
They asked, they said that I killed Stanford, I killed Chief Dumile, I was distributing pamphlets from the Congress and from Lutule and they told me that I delivered a paper to Mr Makathali and to Mr Sobati and to Changhela.
They said that one of the papers was written in English, the other one in Latin. They put me in a hall as big as this one and they put a sail on top. I told them I didn't know any of the accusations.
I am not educated, I don't know how to write. I did not even know whether there were school at the time.
They phoned a lawyer the following day and the lawyer arrived and the lawyer said that this person is working and he is not arrested. He brought me meat and sweets and Ariston came, who was a lawyer, at attorney for the Congress.
They brought me to Durban and they told me not to go back to Bizana for ten years.
ADV SANDI: This lawyer was Ariston?
MR SHAZA: Yes.
ADV SANDI: Did you go back home when your wife was
buried and the unborn baby?
MR SHAZA: They told me that my wife passed away after a few weeks, I went to tell Father Retief from the Roman Catholic. I wanted him to accompany me to the funeral together with Ariston and Ariston's wife.
They gave me a hat from the Roman Catholic, I went there with Ariston and Retief, the Priest from the Roman Catholic. We arrived during the proceedings of the funeral.
ADV SANDI: Mr Shaza, can you please tell us briefly about your wife?
MR SHAZA: She died, she was shot and she lost the baby. After that she was sick until she died.
ADV SANDI: What about your son who said he was shot by Inkatha?
MR SHAZA: I met one lady after this incident and I married her and I moved from Bizana, I stayed in Sunti. We also moved to Hammarsdale in Mpumalanga, and in 1982 there was chaos in Hammarsdale.
At about five Inkatha came and took five young boys and they killed them. Sipho was amongst the five. I heard that Sipho was taken by the Inkatha members, he died on Monday.
But this person said that he was not supposed to tell me. I went to work, I requested a car to take me to the police.
They took me to the place where my son was. I saw that he was stabbed in the head and he was also stabbed in the back.
I did not know where I am going to bury my son and I went to Ntongatha to request a place where I can bury my child.
This Reverend Ngcibi was a Priest in the Methodist, he
tried to help me.
ADV SANDI: Was there anyone arrested concerning this?
MR SHAZA: No, no one was arrested. They said - it was said that they were disciplined.
Girls were ... (tape ends) ...
ADV SANDI: Please tell us, your request, what is it?
MR SHAZA: Because I buried my son by myself, after that my house was burnt down. I cannot support myself, I would like the Government to help me. I would like the Government to build me a house and to educate my child.
And I lost everything.
ADV SANDI: What about Nogothola?
MR SHAZA: Nogothola is my younger daughter.
ADV SANDI: What is your request concerning Nogothola?
MR SHAZA: Nogothola is Nogothola Shaza.
ADV SANDI: Is that all Mr Shaza?
MR SHAZA: I would like the Government to build me a house, to educate my children, that would be all. But as I was a Chairperson of the Congress in my village, now that this is our Government, they Government must try to help us. We need clean water, electricity, proper roads.
I need a house with electricity and a bathroom and proper water.
ADV SANDI: Is that all Mr Shaza?
MR SHAZA: Yes, that is all sir.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Shaza. Let us now go to Mrs Ndamase.
MRS NDAMASE: Thank you very much.
ADV SANDI: You are going to tell us a story about yourself Mrs Ndamase?
MRS NDAMASE: Yes. I will start when I was still young
because I was going out to look for work.
I went to Durban to meet my friends, because we decided that we will meet in Durban or in Port Elizabeth. We heard about the struggle. When I arrived in Durban, I went there, I escaped from home, because I wanted to go and look for work.
I had two agenda's, that of the struggle and that of looking for a job. There was no need for me to leave home at that time.
When I arrived there, we stayed in a shack together with my friends. During the day we would go out and look for a job. At night, we would go and attend the meetings.
We used to go to other people to ask for food because we were not working. We used to attend meetings and the police would come and take us from the meetings to jail, after a few days they would release us.
I did not want to go back home. We used to attend meetings all the time and to be involved in struggles. We were staying next to Gama in a shack.
We used to have boyfriends at that time and we used to get wrong boyfriends who were older than ourselves. I was curious at the time, because I wanted to know what was going on.
In 1990 I was tortured by the police. If I am not mistaken, in 1985, the police came and they picked up a bottle, they knew that I was an activist, they released me and they told me to go and pay for my bail in the police station.
And in 1990 ...
ADV SANDI: On the 22nd of January 1991, you said that you were arrested?
MRS NDAMASE: Yes, I was arrested that day.
ADV SANDI: Where were you arrested?
MRS NDAMASE: I was selling liquor at home, my father went to Durban looking for me and he found me there in this shack and he took me home, he took me back home. He built a house for me because I had two children and I opened a business, I was selling liquor.
ADV SANDI: At the time of your arrest, were you at home?
MRS NDAMASE: Yes, I was at home.
ADV SANDI: On the 22nd of January 1991?
MRS NDAMASE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: Why were you arrested?
MRS NDAMASE: As I was selling liquor I also opened a business where I sold clothes. It was in 1988, I had a small account at Metro.
They sent a summons in the Magistrate's court.
ADV SANDI: Excuse me Mrs Ndamase, 1985 and 1988 incidents, did you mention this in your statement?
MRS NDAMASE: I am summarising, I summarised because I didn't want to write a lot.
ADV SANDI: At the time you were making a statement, did you summarise because you did not mention your arrests in 1985 and 1988?
MRS NDAMASE: In 1985 I was running a business, I want to clarify my reasons for my arrest in 1991.
Metro sent a summons in the Magistrate's courts because I had an account from 1985, I said I do have this receipt, I am going to the Magistrate to answer for myself.
He said that I am a dog, belonging to the ANC and he said that he ordered the police to beat me and to arrest me. I had my receipts with me and I told the Magistrate that I
did not owe anything. The Magistrate ordered the police to arrest me and they beat me.
ADV SANDI: How long were you arrested for?
MRS NDAMASE: I had a believe that the police would poison me because I was causing problems, trouble for them. I used to bail myself, or if I don't have money I would send out someone to bail me.
This day I was bleeding, I went to Dr Essa, Dr Currin or Essa, I don't remember clearly. It was on the 22nd, if I am not mistaken. I went to this Doctor, I was bleeding in my ear.
He gave me a letter to take to the Specialists in Durban. I went to these Doctors, when I arrived there, the Indian Doctors spoke to themselves and they said that they are not going to get their money because I was laying a charge against the police.
Someone advised me to go to the Human Rights Lawyers, because I didn't have money, I didn't go to these lawyers, I went back home.
ADV SANDI: Did you go to any lawyer to make a claim?
MRS NDAMASE: No, because I did not have money, I couldn't afford a lawyer. I couldn't even go to the Human Rights Lawyers in Umtata, because I went to Port St Johns on my way back from Durban, but because I did not have money and I was unmarried, I couldn't afford to go to Umtata.
ADV SANDI: Who is Mlundisi Ndamase?
MRS NDAMASE: Mlundisi Ndamase is one of the family members who was there when I was arrested. I don't know whether to continue with the case of Skipper, a case of a T-shirt?
ADV SANDI: Were you the one who was arrested for wearing a T-shirt, what was this T-shirt?
MRS NDAMASE: It was a political T-shirt because it was - we were coming from Durban with these T-shirts. We had an appointment with the Communist Party, we were going to launch this party in one of the villages.
The police told me to - they arrested me and they took me with their van. I stayed there for half an hour, I looked around because I thought that a maroon Communist Party car would come and they will rescue me.
When the police were driving this van, they were driving it in so much that I was injured during that process.
ADV SANDI: At the time of this incident, the organisations were already unbanned?
MRS NDAMASE: Yes, they were unbanned, it was in 1991. We were trying to launch the Communist Party.
ADV SANDI: Excuse me Mrs Ndamase, let us now go to your requests. I am not going to ask details which are here in your statement because they are here, they have been documented.
Do you have requests other than the ones you mentioned in your statement?
MRS NDAMASE: My first one is that since I was an activist, the community in my village in 1985, they said that the ANC people were not doing anything. They said that they did not want anyone to talk about the ANC.
I would like clean water in our community and I would like Mr Mandela to be there because they are sending their people to be our leaders. This disturbs me a lot because the police assaulted me and they tortured me.
As a result of that I am not well. My ear is not functioning well. My children are uneducated, I abused them
for joining the struggle.
But today I don't see anything happening to me, there was conflict in my family because of all of this. The Government is not doing anything for me.
Such things they disturb me and they destroy me. Even if I won't get food but if there is water and electricity, I would like Mr Mandela to come and to honour the women who were in the struggle.
My children are not educated.
ADV SANDI: Mrs Ndamase, I know that this is very painful to you. There are other requests in your statement. We will forward your requests to the President and his group so that they can see what to do.
I don't want you to feel pain, thank you Mrs Ndamase. MRS NDAMASE: Lastly, I would like the police to be trained so that we can work together because there is still an attitude in the Police Force. Thank you.
ADV SANDI: Thank you, Mrs Ndamase. Let us now go to Mrs Khwezi. Mrs Khwezi, you are here to tell us about your husband. What is his name?
MRS KHWEZI: His name was Mabila.
ADV SANDI: You said that he was a member of the ANC?
MRS KHWEZI: Yes.
ADV SANDI: What happened to him as a member of the ANC?
MRS KHWEZI: At home two guys used to come, a Black man and a White man and I used to ask him what these people wanted.
He said they were, they needed information about certain people and after a certain day, on a certain day they came and they picked him up. I didn't know where they took him. Since 1971 until 1972 - he left home in 1971,
January, came back in 1972, October.
ADV SANDI: What was his state of health when he came back?
MRS KHWEZI: He had a stroke and his mind was not working well, he couldn't speak properly.
ADV SANDI: When he was taken home by the police, did he suffer from stroke?
MRS KHWEZI: No.
ADV SANDI: When he came back, what did he say happened to him?
MRS KHWEZI: He said that they were taken to the forest, they were beaten up, they were electrocuted. His whole body was swollen and he said that they took him to hospital and they took him out of hospital to the forest again.
ADV SANDI: Who else was there?
MRS KHWEZI: He said that Mr Gideon Mahanjane was also there in that forrest in (indistinct).
ADV SANDI: Are there any people he mentioned?
MRS KHWEZI: Yes, there were other people, but I don't their names. I only knew Mahanjane, because he was staying in our village.
ADV SANDI: Did you lay a charge or did you go to any attorneys?
MRS KHWEZI: No.
ADV SANDI: Did you take any steps concerning this matter?
MRS KHWEZI: No, we did not take any steps.
ADV SANDI: Where is your husband now, what happened to him?
MRS KHWEZI: My husband was sick until he died.
ADV SANDI: When did he die?
MRS KHWEZI: It was in 1992, in February.
ADV SANDI: Do you have requests to the Commission concerning the issue you have just explained to us?
MRS KHWEZI: Yes, I do have requests.
ADV SANDI: What are your requests Mrs Khwezi?
MRS KHWEZI: I would like the Commission to help me to support my children. I would like to educate my children. I have four children.
They - two of them left school because I couldn't afford - the other two they are still at school. I tried by all means to support them.
ADV SANDI: In which standards are they?
MRS KHWEZI: The two have passed standard 10, the other one is doing standard nine and the other standard 8.
ADV SANDI: Is that all you wanted to say Mrs Khwezi?
MRS KHWEZI: I would also request that the Commission help me to get medical treatment. I don't have a home.
We used to have a home in the Msanga Village and I was removed here because I was a member of the ANC. We were not given any money to go and build a house somewhere else.
Our house is not in a good condition.
ADV SANDI: ; Thank you Mrs Khwezi. I would like to thank all of you and hand over to the Chairperson. Maybe you will be asked questions, thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for giving evidence to this Commission.
The Commission has a responsibility to investigate everything brought forward so that it can get a clearer picture of what happened.
Maybe you will meet with the people from our office who will come back to investigate more and to find out more
about what happened, but for now we would like to thank you for giving evidence in this Commission and for your requests.
It is our duty to forward these to the President. Even the one mentioned about the 25th and I - my brother here next to me, he will be the one responsible for that invitation because he is the one who likes to visit this place around Lusikisiki and Bizana.
We thank you for your requests concerning the Technical College. As you are the last group to give evidence, I would like to thank you for tolerating us and I would like to thank the Government, Provincial Governments, especially the Department of Public Works that we worked in.
We thank the Police who helped us a great deal in keeping order and as we had a problem with the generator, they endeavoured to help us, we thank the Police.
We thank the authorities in the Police Force. We thank our interpreters who interpreted Xhoza, English, Sotho, thank you.
We thank the technicians, Mr Brummer, the Deputy Manager with the patience they displayed for the difficult three days, they tolerated us. We hope to see the Deputy again in the next year.
The visitor from Canada who stayed with us throughout these three days and has very consistently attended all our sessions. I don't know whether she is going to stay here long, but if she has to leave back for her home in Canada, we wish to thank her for attending our hearings and wish her bon voyage to Canada.
Lastly I wish to thank our staff, Mr Ngubo who is acting in this hearing as the person in charge and all the
other members of staff for the patience they have displayed in a very different hearing.
Of all the hearings that we have had, the hearing of Lusikisiki has been unique, very different from the others.
We were faced with different problems, which we have never anticipated. I don't think we should be discouraged by those problems, indeed I am delighted that we met them because they actually bring us close to realising how rural life impacts on people.
We have been having hearings in the cities, even the Cradock which we called a rural hearing was in a city, it is the first time that we have come into close contact with the living conditions of the majority of our people.
And indeed over the last three days, from the breakdown in electricity to the breakdown of the generator, to the rain, to all the inconvenience, it has been an unique experience which places us where we belong, to the feelings of the people of this country.
We wish to thank in particular the statement takers, (indistinct) region, they have done outstanding work. Qasi Nofomane in these three days, he experienced, they have had to endure that experience for a very long time and indeed they have gathered very interesting cases for us which we have listened to.
Every hearing here in Lusikisiki has been an unique hearing and indeed in my judgement one of the best experiences that we can have which puts us into touch with the rural struggles.
People who worked in remote areas, who had little support, little resources, how much they contributed to the struggle for liberation. We pay tribute to the Pondo people
for enduring the hard work we have gone through.
Indeed they are one of the best things a person can have. I declare the hearing of Lusikisiki now closed.
ADV SANDI: As panellists and probably on your behalf as well, we want to thank this man next to me. We thank him for the dignity he brought to this hearing.
He does not have a lot of patience, but he humbles himself under such circumstances. We thank him. Eternal life may you be healed from the cold that you have.
CHAIRMAN: Please let's leave our interpretation devices on our chairs, it does not work if you take it home, it explodes ...