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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Starting Date 04 June 1997
Names MBONI P MSIBI
Case Number JB2135
CHAIRPERSON: ... any one of these? Please just take care that you return it before leaving the hall. They do cost a lot of money, but they can unfortunately not be used outside of this system. It is of no value outside. But please check on yourselves, because one can easily walk out forgetting that you have it on you. There are different channels and on the left-hand side, you have a little wheel with numbers on. Channel two will be a translation into English and channel three I think will be into Zulu today, is it?
MR MSIBI: I'll start by saying that they were going to a funeral, travelling in a van. There were five inside. On their way, it was about quarter past three in the afternoon and it so happened that on the road they were travelling in, a bomb was planted. It happened that it exploded and my mother and my younger sister died.
MR MSIBI: James explained as to how they were seated in the car. I mean the arrangement come to seating, that's the only thing you can explain and he said he just happened to find himself in hospital and he doesn't know what happened exactly. The only explanation that I'm saying is the explanations to how they were seated in the car, but he doesn't know as to what happened later.
DR ALLY: And did the police, did they do any investigation? Did they, for example, try and find out what exactly had caused this explosion? Was it a mine, anti-tank mine or a limpet-mine? Did they make any enquiries to your knowledge as to what had actually caused this explosion?
MR MSIBI: We only get into contact with police this year, but the explosion was in 1987. They did come to us to talk to us. They just explained to me as to what kind of bomb it was and that was all that they told me. That was the last time I saw them. They also took me to the scene and we came back. And they did nothing after.
MR MSIBI: They said they suspected someone and are still proceeding with the investigation. I would say this was on the first time where we had encountered bomb explosion at the same place. The first one is, it happened and a policeman was killed. And the second one, about two policemen were killed in another explosion. This was the third one.
DR ALLY: So this road that your family was travelling on, was this near a farming area or near a military area or near a police area? Just tell us a little bit about the actual place? If there is anything significant about it, because in your statement you just speak about the road between Barberton and an asbestos mine.
MR MSIBI: This place is next to the asbestos mine. In that particular place, the soldiers used to exercise by climbing the mountain up. So I would say that the bomb was planted near that place. I think they were targeting these soldiers who were training on the hill. Unfortunately it wasn't the soldiers who were caught in the explosion, but were other people.
MR MSIBI: Yes, I would say there was a soldier, there was a camp for soldiers. However, the way it exploded was just a way which leads to the training field. There were also some families near the road. As I said they were going to the funeral. So it so happened that they walked on the road, they travelled on the road and they were caught in the explosion.
DR ALLY: Mr Msibi, what I would strongly urge you to do, is to include in your statement, to add to your statement, some of these facts that you have mentioned to us now. You can do it through our statement-taker. We've taken it down as well as you've been speaking, but also about your sister's husband, to include his name and to give that to us.
I mean it is very difficult to know what to say to you in this circumstances, but just to let you know that a few weeks ago, I think it's three weeks ago now, the African National Congress, the ANC was recalled to hearing by the Truth Commission in which questions were put to the ANC, particularly about their campaigns when they decided to intensify, in their language, to intensify the struggle and when land-mines were planted in different parts of the country. Particularly in farming areas and also areas where they believed there were, there was a military presence.
The explanation which the ANC actually gave was that this was - that they considered the planting of land-mines to be legitimate, part of the struggle, in rural areas and also areas where there was a presence of the military, in farming areas, because they believed that the farmers had become part of the military establishment; that they never ever used anti-personnel mines, mines which would explode if a person tramped, stepped on them, because they didn't want to cause harm to civilians as such, but they used what they described as anti-tank mines which required a certain weight to set the mine off.
But they claimed, they went further and said that in a process of this campaign, what they discovered was that many people were caught in the cross-fire; that often farmers would be transporting labourers on their bakkies and that weight would cause the mine to go off; that many innocent people who were also getting caught, and that the then President, the late Oliver Thambo actually called in the MK commanders and said to them to discontinue this campaign of planting land-mines and they stopped doing that as a result of the consequences, what they saw actually happening.
They also made a general apology for deaths caused as result of the campaign that they have been waging. Now I don't know if this is, fits into what they were doing, but I'm just responding to some of the things you've said. The police saying that the mines were of Russian origin and the fact that the mine was planted near to what appears to have been a military base, a military camp.
But that's what I can offer you as a preliminary explanation now. Hopefully we will be able to follow up on some of this, but I don't really have anything more to ask you; just to pass my condolences and I will hand you back to the Chairperson.
MS SOOKA: Mr Msibi, you've mentioned that your mother and your sister were in this bakkie and you said that there was one survivor, James Morte. But can you tell me the names of the other people, if you know them, who were also in the bakkie that day?
PROF MEIRING: Mr Msibi, you said that your mother and your sister died. I need a little bit information about your mother and your sister and the children. How old was your mother when she passed away?
MR MSIBI: My mother was born in 1911 and she died in 1987. I can't calculate at the moment as to how old she were. My sister was born at about 1952 and she died in 1987 too. She was born in 1952 and died in 1987.