|News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us|
Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS
Names Mrs Ziqubu, Mr Mkhize, Anne Nxumalo and Nomusa Nxumalo, Zama Ndwandwe, Mzwakhe Ngcobo, Jeffrey Mnikathi and Dorothy Mnikathi, Sipho Zwane, Sipho Kubheka, Mrs N Kunene, Mandla Mvubu
Thank you, and we also like to thank God for the power that he has given to you for having been able to bring up your children so that they can stand on their own. Before we get into the matter I would like you to explain the situation so that the Commission, as it will be listening to you, and also the people around you, can get the clear picture. Can you tell us how old was your husband when he died? --- He was 62 years old.
In your statement we discovered that your husband was an IFP member and he was working within the community to help the people. Can you briefly explain exactly how he worked for the community, and also his role under the IFP. Before we can get into what happened please briefly tell us about his involvement. --- My husband was a churchgoer. The community used to call him Umfundisi, that is reverend, although he was not a reverend. We were Presbyterians, and we were under Reverend S A Khumalo from Umlazi, from V Section.
Is this Mr Sam Khumalo? --- Yes, it's Reverend Sam Khumalo. He built a temple at Unit 1, Mpumalanga South. He finished the temple and it was opened. We had our church services at that place. That was at Unit 1 South Mpumalanga.
Just a bit can you explain to us, as you said he was a preacher at the Presbyterian Church, we heard that you used to have people especially to sort of like to give services at funerals, and that's where he got this name Umfundisi. At that time he was working for a textile industry at Hammarsdale. --- Yes, that is true.
This Mr Gogo is dead? --- Yes, that's true. This Mr Gogo was his assistant, and they were all working together in the IFP, elected by the people. At that time everything was in order and there was nothing wrong. At the beginning of the violence people were dying, people were attacked, and we were all confused, we didn't know what was happening. I remember one day there was a meeting at the school called Esikongeni. My husband used to speak. Especially when speaking he was frank and firm in whatever he wants to say. During the meeting, when people were talking about the violence, there was Mr Ngihle, who was also working with my husband. This man I am talking about was also there. All this Mr Ngihle grew up with my husband. They were used to him and they were friends. When they were busy discussing about the violence issue my husband stood up and said, "If it is Inkatha who is doing all this it means we have to resign from the organisation." There was no answer for that, and it was just one of the speeches that were given at that time, and things continued. Things started to happen. I had children, male children. We were now all afraid because of the violence in the place. You could see the children walking around were not safe. They started pointing out families which were supposed to be burned. We were all afraid because of all this. Meetings continued to be held in the place where we were. There was Mr Mlaba at that time. He was the leader during the meetings.
He's the one who is the mayor at the present moment? --- No, I don't remember well, because I don't stay there any more. We had meetings. As I said before people were all afraid, they didn't know what was happening, but it happened that they elected my husband to be the leader at the area in which we were staying. Men used to go out patrolling the place, especially at night. My husband used to join them in the patrolling process. He decided to stop patrolling because he was afraid that he could be killed at night.
In order to put our records straight, because your husband was working for IFP at that time, it means that the people whom they used to meeting holding firearms or arms, who were not in good terms with them, were they IFP members? --- Yes, they were IFP members. People used to talk about exactly what was happening, asking, "Why do we have to leave other people?" And it happened that they stopped patrolling the place.
After that are you trying to tell us that your husband disassociated himself with the watch operations? Did he also disassociate himself from the IFP activities? --- I don't remember well, but what I know is that he was no longer following the IFP views and policies, but you couldn't say that he was no longer working for them. But he could see that everything was bad, and he could see exactly what was the cause of that.
Can you tell us, while you were at home with your husband in October 1989, what happened? --- My husband came back from work. It was in the evening. During those days it was very bad. People who wake up in the morning and go to work, you were not able to tell whether the person would come back alive. Some were taken out from taxis to work and killed. My husband came back from work on that day. He arrived at home. I prepared supper for him. My children were all around, and my grandchildren. There was also my eldest daughter and my grandchildren. They were all staying with me, and these were two grandchildren. They were sitting watching TV in the dining-room. Myself I was sitting with my husband in the kitchen. Before any - before there was anything happening at that time I saw outside - we used to go outside to feed our chickens. I saw a red car, and there was a young man. I remember well he was running, coming between the houses, and he was running towards the car. We were standing just outside the door, and he just passed nearby as my family house is at the corner. I saw him drive away. He passes us, he looked at us. To me that didn't mean anything because cars used to pass by.
You may continue. --- We went back into the house. While we were in the house there was a sound as if something had been thrown to our houses. We can hear the sounds on top of our zincs, our corrugated iron. And this was happening next door. It was like the falling of rocks thrown from a distance. People were afraid and they started running into their houses. My husband, "Who is at the Ngcobo place?" because it seemed as if these sounds of stones thrown onto the roof it's happening at Ngcobo's place. I said, "Yes, they are there," and it seemed as if he wanted to get up and go out to help. I told him, "Don't worry, they are there," because I didn't want him to go out. We were confused and we didn't know what was happening at that time. We sat in the house. I put the food on top of the table. We started eating, and my husband was sitting by the window at the extreme end of the table, and I was sitting facing - on the other side facing the table. He was just sitting next to the window and the window was open, but there was a curtain on the window. We just opened it a bit. While we just started eating I heard an explosion. I stood up. I started shouting, I said, "It had happened," and then I started to draw back. I went to the passage, I stood next to a fridge which was on the passage. I tried to peep to find out what exactly was happening, thinking that I could see anything, or people running outside. I couldn't see anything, and the children from the dining-room ran to us - towards us. I heard my elder daughter saying, "Mum, they have shot my father." I looked at her. I looked at my husband where he was sitting. He was still sitting there, but I could see there was some blood oozing from his head. I went straight to him, I hold him. He stood up, he came to me, and then I was staggering because he was now falling on top of me. I was trying to find a place where I could lay him down on the floor. I heard my children crying.
Won't you need some water? Can they please give you some water. (Pause) Take your time. We know it's difficult to remember such painful events. Please take your time. (Pause) You can continue when you feel well. --- I put him down on the floor. I tried to resuscitate him. I sort of like untie his belt. I could see that he was dying. My clothes were full of blood. One of my younger child came near. He was seven years old at that time. He hold his father. He held him and he took off the watch on his hand - from his hand.
You can take your time. (Pause) --- I took off his shoes. I could see that he was dying, but I didn't know what to do because I was alone. I knew even if I could try to find some help people were afraid, they couldn't come to help me. I told myself I have to be strong. I did everything. He looked at me as if - it looked as if he was laughing, smiling. I thought maybe he will say something. He didn't say anything, and from that moment I realised that he is gone. And then I closed up his eyes. After that my children came near. They started crying. I tried to comfort them and tell them to keep quiet, because if they continued to cry that will affect me very much. There was nothing to do, so they have to be strong too so that we can all try to work something out. I had to think to find out what I can do, to find out where I am going to sleep and how I am going to survive from there. After that I told my daughter to run to make a call in one of the families.
We would like you to sort of speak up. --- I asked my daughter to go and make a call in one of the families nearby, and a daughter from our neighbour started coming towards - was coming running towards our house. I gave them the number where they had to call. They had to call one of my brothers. They ran to go and make the call. I decided to contact my relatives who were staying next to us to tell them what had happened. I closed the door and I left my husband inside the house lying on the ground. I took my two children with me. We went straight to Maduna family, where Ma Ziqubu resides. We were standing by the gate and we told them. One of their in-laws came and we told her that, "They have killed your uncle." And she started crying. I told her not to cry. She went back to the house and I passed. I knew that she would go and tell the others and they would see what to do.
I would like to take a short cut here. During your husband's funeral, since he was a member of the IFP, although he was no longer very much involved, did the IFP play any role during the funeral, or did they ever come to the funeral, or did they ever come to comfort you? --- No, nothing happened, because even after I just came back from Ma Ziqubu one of my daughters went to Mr Mlaba, the leader of the IFP, to tell him exactly what happened. They didn't find him. They came back. They came back with his brother called Bheki. He arrived at my place. He just sat in the dining-room and he didn't even want to see my husband's body. We asked him to come and see my husband's body, but he refused, and he just left us like that. Mlaba himself didn't come. The next morning I wake up with my relatives who had come to comfort me. The Maduna family tried to help me by calling the police, and one of the sons they called him from work and he arrived at home on his car, and when the police arrived he was already at our place. And they took him from my place. No one from the IFP came to help us.
After taking a statement after some time did they ever call you to appear before a Court of Law regarding the death, or did they have any inquest, or ever arrest anybody in connection with the death of your husband? --- No, we never appeared in court. They just took a statement and told me that the next morning I have to come and see them at the police station. Mr Maduna took me to the police station on that particular day. We only wrote down the statement, and they were telling me that my statement is not good, and were busy correcting some of the things in my statement.
Do you have your husband's death certificate? --- Yes, I do, but unfortunately Mr Mhlongo said I mustn't do anything before I contact him, but it so happened that one day I decided to leave the place. I took all my belongings which I could at that time and I hired a car. I took my children and went away because I was afraid. But Mr Mhlongo told me I mustn't go without contacting him before doing anything, so I didn't contact him, I just left the place. It happened after I left that I had to come back to Mpumalanga to visit the offices, administration offices. I did went to see Mr Mhlongo. He said to me, "Look, I told you you mustn't go before you contact me." I just told him that I left, and I told him exactly where I was staying at the moment, and I directed him to my place. I thought maybe he will be investigating, there will be something that he will like to give me, and from there nothing happened.
Thank you. We'll try to investigate and find out as to what happened, and also to find out who were the perpetrators and then we'll come back to you to tell you exactly what happened. And we will also try to contact Mr Mhlongo. I also like to find out, before your husband died Mrs Mncwabe died, who was an IFP member, and the Committee asked your husband to come and bury him, but your husband refused, saying that he doesn't want to be involved with any people in politics. --- But he didn't say that to the person who come to ask him. He told them that he had some other business to do so he couldn't come to bury this Mrs Mncwabe.
The picture that we get from your explanation was that your husband was a person who stood for truth and he was a true Christian, and he didn't betray anyone. This means that the Committee have lost a great man. This is a person you should all be proud of. Maybe you can explain to us that after all this psychological harassment did you ever go for treatment to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist, people who can help you to survive? --- People who did help me were the Christians in our church. One of them was Mr Khumalo. He donated the amount of R1 000,00 from the church. People from Mpumalanga were crying with us but they couldn't attend the funeral for some other reasons. At the funeral there were only a few people. Most of them were our family churchgoers. About the community, I just heard that many people were crying and they wished to come, but they couldn't, and they were worried because they couldn't attend his funeral for the person whom they used to be friends. So I had to leave, and they didn't see me from there.
What about your health? Are you healthy? We know you are strong, but we have to find out the after effects of what has happened. --- When you look at me I look healthy. I do all things, I work for myself, but psychologically I am very, very sick. When I am alone maybe I go to the toilet, I will sit there and cry alone and think, and this is painful for me. I am so worried because there was not even a court case about this matter. It just ended up there and I don't know what's happening. And this haunts me a lot.
You said you had grandchildren when this incident happened. --- Yes, they were there. At that time I didn't have any child who was working, they were all at school, and things became difficult, very, very difficult. I didn't have a home, I didn't have a father, I didn't have a husband, I didn't have a place to stay, and I have to go to some relatives at Umgababa to stay.
And how do you make ends meet? --- I had to stand up, try to find some part-time jobs, and even my children they have to go out and look for jobs in order for us to survive. So they started teaching, as I have already explained. I used to pay for their school fees. They had to go to colleges and I have to pay. This worried me a lot because I was always telling myself if my husband was around he was going to help me somehow or some way. But it was so difficult because now I was alone, I have to stand by myself and do all the things for my children. And I also have to try to find a home for them.
Mrs Ziqubu, we like to thank you, and we would like to say that we appreciate the fact that you have been strong even giving us the evidence, and we would like to tell you that this matter will be investigated and they will have to find out exactly what happened in court. And we also listened to all your requests and wishes. What we can say at the moment is that we will take all this to our leader, the President Mandela himself. We cannot make much promises, but we'll see later what's going to happen.
Mrs Ziqubu, your matter is painful, but I would like to find out - from your statement there's something that I didn't understand about the burning of the house. Was your house burnt at the day in which they killed your husband? --- No, they burned the house in 1987, October the 15th 1987.
You are trying to say that the house was burnt before his death? --- Yes, it was burnt in 1987, and we were in the house at that time, and we were lucky because he worked so hard as the house was burning. The house was burning all the rooms, the dining-room and the bedrooms were burning. My husband stood up, he worked so hard trying to extinguish the fire, and also trying to sort of like help those who were trapped in the fire, because also the Khanyile house was burning, we have to go and help them. And also one of our sisters-in-law we had to help her out of the burning house. Because on that same day they also burned the Khanyile house with petrol bombs, and we also helped them to extinguish the fire. We managed to contain the fire and they didn't burn the whole house. At the very same night the Khanyile family were sitting at my place with their children. We stayed with them, and Mr Khanyile was working night shift sometimes, but at that time he was working a day shift and he was with us. And he slept on the sofa, and my husband slept at the bedroom, and all the other Khanyile family kids and my children slept with me. However, I took some of the children because I was afraid and took them to their relatives, because I was afraid they might even come and burn our house. We also thought of running away, but we decided we should stay. The Khanyile family came to us for shelter because we are their neighbours, and if they had problems they usually came to us for help. So they had to sleep at our home.
Did you ever reported the matter to the police? --- Yes, we reported the matter the next morning, and we also made a statement. However, the police came that night to take a statement. At that time while we were busy trying to extinguish the fires we saw the red car passing, so my husband did go to Mlaba's house, and they saw this car which passed by our place in Mlaba's place, So they didn't even try to help us, those people who were in the car, they just passed.
MR LYSTER: You have given us in your evidence a very clear description of what conditions were like in Mpumalanga township in those terrible days in the late 80s ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 1)
Good morning, Mr Mkhize. How are you today? We thank you for having had the courage to come and share your story with us, the courage to come and tell this Commission, as well as the community. Maybe many people will be helped by your revelations. Even before we go any further I would just like you to give me your background, your family background, whether you still have parents, sisters or brothers? Can you hear me? --- I have a mother. My father passed away in 1985. I do have sisters and brothers. My brother died in 1988. I have a sister only. We were only three. My brother died in 1988.
We appreciate knowing your background. Just tell us briefly about what happened, or the events that preceded your harassment in Trust Feed. Just tell us what were the circumstances, what was happening, even before we get into the gist of your story. --- I would like to ask a question. As to what was happening at Trust Feed?
Where were you staying before that? --- I was staying at Sweetwater. Now, can you tell us what happened on the 22nd of July when your brother was stabbed? Just tell us what happened. Or were you not there, you just heard people telling you as to what happened? --- On the 23rd I received a message early in the morning, and at that time I went home to try and investigate. I was told that my brother had been injured. After a while I went home. When I got there I couldn't see anything. Then I went back home. Police - I don't know what the police said because I was a little bit disturbed. Then I stayed.
On the 20th of August what happened? You said the police came to you. --- Police came to me where I was. It was round about 10 o'clock in the morning. I was sleeping. They were fencing my place. The policemen came with Mfanafikile Mbongwe. He is my brother-in-law. They said they wanted to see Mduduzi Xamani. They said they wanted to see the elderly people who were at home.
Do you still remember them? --- It was Christofina Mkhize and Maria Mkhize. I am forgetting all the other ones because it's a long time since this happened. I also asked to accompany them, because whatever they were going to talk about I believed involved me. Because there was nobody from my home so I wanted to represent my family.
When you got there what happened? --- They said there was going to be a meeting between my family and the police, that is the station commander, as well as a white man whom they said had bought our plot. When we got there the station commander said he couldn't get hold of this white man who had bought our place. We spoke to him.
Was there any problem between you as a family, or you went with regard to the death of your brother? --- I think there was a problem within the family, because when I grew up they used to have altercations.
Now, when you got to the police station to Brian Mitchell what happened? --- We talked to Brian Mitchell. He was asking us as to what the problem was between us. The previous day the family was having a verbal altercation, and I was also there. I asked them as to why they were swearing at each other and saying they had squandered some monies. When you say you were dying in your family, were you speaking with regard to your brother? --- I think that's what they were referring to, and even maybe other matters before this one.
You said when you were at the police station they said they were charging you with arson. Just tell us more about that. --- As I was still saying, I asked them as to what they were referring to when they said I had squandered the money. I thought Mr Mbongwe was part of our family, but I never got an answer to that. The station commander said I should be taken by one policeman and he must put me into another office. I was taken by this policeman and put into a certain room.
Just explain to us how does Mr Mbongwe feature into the whole thing? --- I think he was staying at that place, at my place, which was where the altercation was emanating from. I think he was part of what was happening.
You were taken into another room and what happened? --- I stayed up to the conclusion of the meeting, and I wanted to know whether I was not going to be released. They said I should ask another policeman who was in Germiston at that time. I stayed there waiting for that policeman.
When you say you stayed there, how many days or how long did you stay because this policeman was in Germiston? --- I stayed for - I think it was two days. If I remember well he came on a Sunday evening. That was the first time I saw him.
Do you still remember his name? --- I don't remember his name. He wasn't even wearing uniform. Could you just tell us why he came to investigate you? What was wrong with you? --- What he said to me, he said I had burnt down the house of the boy who killed my brother.
You said when you were arrested you were tortured. How were you tortured? Just give us a brief description. --- When this policeman wanted me to make a statement he first started by assaulting me, kicking me, and he was hitting me on the head. He was wearing big boots. I think it was his own boots because they were unique. He started kicking me with those boots and he jumped on me.
In your statement you said you would like the Commission to investigate as to why you were tortured during your arrest and custody. You said you were a member of the UDF. --- No, that was actually what was being said by the boer who was assaulting me.
We will try to investigate this matter to see what was the outcome of your brother's case, but we do sympathise with you because you were also tortured and traumatised. I thank you very much for having been able to render your testimony. I'll hand over to the Chairman.
In this job that we are doing we discover that many people are killing each other for political reasons, some are being killed by policemen, some are being killed by members of certain political groups because they differ in ideologies. What I want to know now, was your brother involved in politics, as you know that at Trust Feed there were a lot of different political groups? There were UDF, there was Inkatha, there was COSATU and quite a number. --- He was not a member of any political organisation. Maybe he was a follower, but not a fully-fledged member.
What I mean is who did he align himself with? You said Mfanafikile was staying at your place, and Mfanafikile is married to your sister, and Mfanafikile was a friend to your brother. --- I think they were not really in good terms.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... for coming to tell us your story today. It would seem that you were being investigated in a criminal matter, and that the police, instead of using normal investigative methods, which are acceptable to any community, resorted to completely irregular, violent methods of investigation, in other words torture. This not only happened to you, but to many, many hundreds - thousands of people around this country, and it is a legacy that our police force still has to overcome.
As you probably have heard me say this morning, we are not able to give you any direct assistance, but once your case has been further investigated, and if you are found to have been a victim in this matter, we will make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted.
(Inaudible) ... us whatever you know about your son's death, Mrs Nxumalo. --- It was Friday morning, and I was preparing myself to leave to go to town, and I met him that morning, he was coming back from work. He gave me some money and he said that I can buy anything that I want. I took the money and went away. I left him behind and he had some rest. When I came back it was about 3 o'clock. I saw a crowd somewhere near the house. I get into the house and I asked the crowd what was happening, and they told me that my son is injured. I told them that I want to go and see him but they refused. I went to see him, and when I arrived in the car I tried to sort of peruse and see. There was nothing wrong with his head, but there were bullets spread all over his body up to his navel. From then I just said the last words and said, "Rest with peace, my son, because they did what they wanted to do." I went back into my house and sit down, and they started telling me exactly what happened. There was Stuthu, Nomusa. Those are the people who witnessed what happened, and also my grandmother was there.
Mrs Nxumalo, I will give your daughter an opportunity in a few minutes to say something, but just tell us what happened after you saw your son. --- The police came to take his body, but before they left they called my husband so that he can accompany them. They went to a place called Webber, and from Webber they turned and come back. They went to a place where the special constables resides. When they arrived at the place they find Inkatha people there and they tried to ask them who killed his boy. And they started spiting them, saying, "We can smell the blood of a Comrade." And while my husband was inside the van they pointed some firearm muzzles towards them. They harassed them and they left. They took him to a mortuary in Pinetown. While we were still preparing for his funeral we discovered that Emalangeni Cemetery at Hammarsdale they couldn't allow us to bury him there. They told us they don't bury Comrades in that place, and therefore we had to go to Clermont. That's where we buried him. While we were still there they used to come around and harass us, especially the police, black and white policemen. That's how it happened.
Mrs Nxumalo, was there an inquest or a court case of any sort after you son died? --- We went to the police station to report the matter, but nothing came of it. There was no case, we were told nothing. Thereafter while I was waiting I received a letter where I was told that I should pay R400,00, which was supposedly going to be paid to an attorney. They said there was insufficient evidence. I took the letter to R D Sishi, who was a mayor at that time at Mpumalanga. When I got to his place he wasn't there. I left the letter with a certain Majoyi, because at that time Mpumalanga was so violent I could not go back to Mr Sishi.
(Inaudible) ... of that letter, or do you have the original letter? --- As I am saying I don't have it. I left it with that lady at that place, because we even moved from that place and we went to Unit Six. We are not even at Six now, we are at Elangeni village. And as far as you know there was no court case, you never attended a court case. --- There's absolutely nothing that came out of it. I was never called, there was no case. I just received that letter that said I must page R400,00 for an attorney. That was the end of everything.
(Inaudible) ... a witness. She was never called to go to any court, is that right? --- She was not called. We went to make a statement. When she came out she came out crying. She said she was being harassed by the police. There was a certain sergeant apparently who was harassing her. She knows the name of the sergeant.
I think it would be appropriate now if your daughter could just tell us what she witnessed, and then after she has given evidence my fellow Commissioners and Committee Members can ask both of you some questions.
Nomusa, your mother has told us that on the 11th of November 1988 you were at home or near your house and you witnessed the death of your brother, is that correct? Can you tell us what happened, and while you are telling us can you briefly tell us what was the situation in Mpumalanga at that time. --- We were sitting at home. He was preparing to leave for work. His work starts at seven and it was about half past four in the morning. He used to wake up at half past four in the morning so that he can get to work early. And he left at half past four. After some time, a few minutes after he left the house, we heard some car stopping outside. When we came out we could see that he was shot, and the people who were in his company were calling his name, saying, "Xebo, Xebo." The car left and we also went up to see what was happening. When we arrived he was lying down on his face. From the back I could see a bullet hole. I hold him up. People started arriving and my elder sister came. We tried to resuscitate him, but he was so weak he couldn't even speak. Then we carried him, and a van which was a Ford came and we asked them to take him to a clinic. They took him to a clinic. He couldn't run because the first bullet hit him on his leg. The people who shot him were special constables. We used to call them "bloem." They used to travel on a Toyota Corolla which was red. It had ND numberplates. I don't remember the number. I don't remember the number, but what I remember is that - if I remember well the car was white, not red. There were four special constables. One of them was Stanley Nkehle. He was driving the car. They were driving around the place and they were pointing their guns throughout the window.
(Inaudible) ... see them after they shot your brother? Did you see them as they drove away, and you were able to recognise one of the people as Nkehle, is that right? --- Yes, I did see him. I don't know the others, but I am sure about Stanley Nkehle, the driver.
(Inaudible) ... reported this matter to the police. Was that at the Mpumalanga Police Station or the Hammarsdale Police Station? Which police station did you report it at, Hammarsdale or Mpumalanga? --- SAP at Webber. Hammarsdale Police Station.
What sort of reception did you get there? How did they deal with you? --- The boers who were there, one of them was van Vuuren, and there were other two boers and one black guy who was wearing private uniform. They were harsh on me. They just had no time for me. They didn't question me properly. They were just harsh, that's all I can say. They were not sympathetic.
(Inaudible) ... you had recognised Stanley Nkehle as one of the people who attacked your brother? --- Yes, I told them. Then thereafter there were attorneys from the Legal Resources in Durban who came to take a statement from me. Also The Natal Witness was there.
(Inaudible) ... mother has said you were never called to any ... (intervention) --- No, we were never called to anything. Nothing happened. We just received that letter that said we must pay that money. We were trying to bring civil action against the State as to why, as policemen, they killed a civilian.
Did they demanded the legal costs of R400,00? --- They just sent the statements and telling us they will put a claim against the State on our behalf. Those were the lawyers from the Legal Resources Centre.
I discovered that you and your daughter concur that at the time your son was killed he was with his four friends. After these four friends saw that he was injured they shouted at him, but we haven't got the names of his friends. Do you still remember the friends? --- Yes, my daughter knows them.
You also mentioned one of the constables who were holding pump guns. You mentioned the name of Stanley. Where does he stay? --- He used to stay at Unit Four. They moved out, but I don't know where they are at the moment. Their house had been burnt and they had to move out. The special constables were mentioned at the police station when we were giving a statement by Mposho.
I would like to ask you a short question. I just want to ask you about your health as a family as you have gone through such harassment. Have you ever been - have you ever tried to contact some health institution to find out if ever there's anything that can help you? --- Yes, we were badly affected. I have got so many problems with my health. I have bone sickness, high blood pressure, and I normally go to clinics. My biggest problem is that my son's eldest son is mentally disturbed. Even at school they are complaining that he sometimes acts funny.
Thank you. --- I will try to relate about the incidents at school. He stays with me, and I am staying at 'Maritzburg and he is schooling at Scottsville. And most of these reports they normally send them to me about these problems. They used to call me to school, and the last time they called me was this year. The principal had to call my place of work to tell me that I have to come to school. His class teacher called me and he asked me to explain about Andile's life, because they are thinking that there's something wrong in his mind. I told them this is my brother's son who died - his father died long ago. He came to my place at the age he was six months old, and he grew up at my place. And we think maybe he has been affected by the death of his father. The things that they tell you at school you can't believe that he can do them.
Maybe you can help us. Which are those things? --- They are taught by white people at school. At one day we were told that he told that he was going to beat his teacher. When he doesn't want to learn, while the others are still concentrating he will stand up and collect all the rulers in the class and throw them away, so that all the people can pay attention to him. Sometimes while the teacher is reading if he doesn't want to read he just don't read. They wanted to know what is the problem. I just told them he came to my place while he was still young, and he suggested I must take him to his mother, but I tell him he came to me while he was still young, I don't see why we have to take him to his mother.
It seems clear that the child has been mentally harassed, and we wish to work in consultation with you, together with psychologists and social workers from the Truth Commission, to find out if there's any help that we can give this child. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... story today. The period that you have told us about, 1998 in Mpumalanga township, November 1988, was a very turbulent period in that township's history, and it has been quite well documented by people who were there at the time, journalists and other people, and from the information available it seems that there were large scale attacks on the township from rural areas near Mpumalanga known as Woody Glen and Inkandla, across the valley from the formal township, and that there were attacks by armed groups of men who were members of Inkatha on Mpumalanga township, and that during those attacks those people were assisted, and sometimes even transported, by members of the South African Police. That evidence has been given before in court cases, and the role of the special constables during that period is also very notorious, and your son and your brother was a victim of those special constables.
You have lost a loved one, like many, many other people who have given evidence before this Commission, and you have also lost a breadwinner, because you told us that as well as supporting his own two children he was also assisting to support you, and we extend our deep sympathy to you. You have probably heard me say this morning that we don't have power to assist you directly, but we will be making recommendations to the President and to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted in the future with regard to assistance with counselling, and with the young children. As my colleague, Dr Magwaza, has said, that is probably something that we can assist with in the immediate future, but with regard to compensation or anything like that with regard to the loss of your son and your brother, that is something that we will be making recommendations to the Government about.
Good day, Mzwakhe. Can you hear me? We appreciate your presence. Can you please give us your family background just to acquaint us with yourself. --- My father passed in 1987. I am staying with my uncle and my grandmother.
So it means you are self-employed. Thank you. Before we get deeper into your matter can you tell us what happened, the events that led to your case. --- There was a stay-away at Sarmcol, so there were differences between the workers and the violence started from there. People were killed. Most of us in the township were UDF members and ANC members. IFP used to come and attack us. We used to defend ourselves. WE used to fight with stones to defend our homes. When the IFP were attacking us the police used to join them and camouflage within them.
On the 26th of February 1986, it was about 6.00 pm, you were walking around at a place called Emakwakabeni. Can you tell us what happened from there? This Emakwakabeni section, which place is this? --- This is at Mpophomeni
You can continue. --- I used to work at a bottle store. I was just out from work. When I get out of the gate this friend of mine came with me. He was from work too. We went to visit Dumisani. We met Dumisani and we went to another location.
What is the name of the other place? --- No, it's still Emakwakabeni. It's just one place. Dumisani said, "Let's go to see our lady friends." After that we went to Sifiso's house so that he can entertain us. It was Friday if I remember well. Before we arrived at Sifiso's place there was a house nearby. It was Khumalo's place. Someone had died there and there was a service at that time. Before we reached that place we saw a van pass us for some few metres, and police alighted and they started shooting. We just stand there. We were surprised because we didn't know what we did. They were also hitting us with sjamboks. I ran into the family where they were having a night vigil. I have to run, and I went to another street and they caught Sifiso.
You can continue. --- I jumped to another street. Unfortunately there were the other policemen. There were so many, and I found myself like in front of them. They catch up with me and they started beating me. I fall on the ground and someone step on top of my head with his boots. And they were insulting me and calling me "Fucking Qabane," and they were kicking me. They were tired of hitting me. And I went around looking for Sifiso and the others. I went to Sifiso's place. He was alone, and I asked him, "Where are the others?" He told me, "They haven't yet arrived." He was also injured and there was blood coming out from his head, and he was looking at me. He said, "We have to go to your place so that they can take you to hospital," so we went to my place.
At that place can you tell how far were you injured? --- On my body I had bruises of sjamboks which they are still visible even today, and my teeth were kicked until they were shaky. I went home at that time, and at home they said they can't send me to hospital because it was late at night, and they just give me some pain killers and I had to go to hospital the next day.
You people you mention in your statement, can we reach them if ever we need them? --- Yes, you can find Sifiso and Dumisani Cele. The ladies who were with us, I don't know where they have run to, because they have moved out of the place and I don't know where they are.
After you were injured you have to be taken to hospital, and how do you feel today? --- From that time up to today I was not actually normal. Sometimes I can't sleep at night. Sometimes I just become afraid, not knowing what is going on, what is happening. I had to visit a hospital about two times.
Yes. Is this all that you can tell us about your health? --- Yes. One other thing that hurts me the most is that I can't sleep because my father is also sick and I have to think - and he was also harassed by the police.
How did this happen? --- We were next to a Roman Catholic Church. We were there trying patrolling to stop the Inkatha people from infiltrating our place, but they came in the company of police. And they came to us and they started shooting.
And the others, are they well? --- My grandma is not well. If ever she hears a sound of a gunfire she normally asks us if we are all well, and she goes around. She has to go hospital and she had been operated, and she is sugar diabetic. I think this was caused by the psychological ordeal that she suffered after the death of her children.
We will try to help where possible, but at the present moment, as you have told us that your family is not that healthy at the moment, we might try to help you there. There can be some places to which we can refer you in order to get some help. I don't know, maybe you might have something to say on top of that. --- I will like to briefly say that my father has this headache problem, and he has to go to a doctor so often, and if this continues I think we will have a problem because he might not even be able to continue to work, and we won't have means to survive. He is 70 years old at the moment and he has been operated.
We'd like to thank you Mzwakhe. We have heard your evidence, and we have heard from other people that the people of Mpophomeni have been harassed. We believe that things will come to order and you will be able to live in peace at your place. I would like to thank you and I will take you back to our Chairperson.
Mzwakhe, in your statement you said you wish the Commission could help you to continue with your studies. I didn't hear about your school background. How far did it go? --- Because of the difficulties that I had I dropped out while I was doing standard six.
Would you like to be able to continue with your education? --- No, because I don't think at the moment I am ready to go back to school, but I will be so glad if the Commission can help me to continue with my work, the panel beating work, if ever there is any way of helping me in regard to that.
MR LYSTER: Mr Ngcobo, like many other ... (inaudible) ... you have told us about what happened in Mpophomeni township during the 1980s. When the history of this country is rewritten it seems as though a whole chapter will have to be devoted to the happenings in Mpophomeni township from 1988 - sorry, 1985 to 1990. Terrible things happened in that area, and we saw a total breakdown of law and order and an open alliance between the police and those elements in the area who were opposed to the ongoing solidarity amongst the Sarmcol strikers.
So we thank you for coming in to talk to us today, to share your experiences with us, and what you have said helps us to gain a clearer picture of what happened in those days. So we thank you again and wish you well as you leave us. Thank you very much.
(Inaudible) ... about what happened to you, or particularly to Jeffrey. Just give me a picture of the background of your family. And before you do that - I don't know who's going to start. Anyone can start. Your family, how many children do you have? --- I do have children. They are at school. I have five children.
Just explain to us what classes are they and in which schools are they. --- The other one is in standard nine, the other one in standard eight, and standard five. The other one is in standard six and standard four respectively.
Could you please start afresh, because now according to what you've just told us it seems there are six. --- Standard nine, standard eight, standard three - I think my wife should speak. I am really confused. (Pause) We men tend to forget all those things about children. One is in standard nine, in standard eight, standard seven, standard five, as well as standard four.
Just relate the circumstances surrounding to your attack. Did you belong to any political organisation? --- There was ANC, but I hadn't yet joined the ANC, but I had a desire to be a member of the ANC.
Before you even go any further let's get some clarity here. Were you sick when you say you felt something choking you? --- No, I was from work and I was going to - I was working night shift and I was supposed to go back to work at 3.00 pm.
Now, were you preparing yourself to go to work? --- Yes, that is correct. At that time I wanted to see what was choking me. I heard my wife asking me whether I was still asleep. She said people were fighting, children were being assaulted by the police. Who were fighting? Was it the children and the police? --- That is correct, at Myezane - at Myezane High School. It was when Mr Koornhof had come to visit the school.
Was it the day that Koornhof was from the Government to come and see the mayor? --- Yes, that is correct. I went there to see what was happening, but I came back and made my bed and I started washing up. I had opened the windows as well as the doors because I thought I was being choked by tear gas. As I was still washing ... (intervention)
Just a little moment. Were you sleeping with the doors open? --- No, I only opened the doors when I heard something choking me, because I realised that might probably have been tear gas so I opened the windows as well as the doors.
Was the whole of the place, Imbali, was it affected? --- In other houses there were fights. As I was still taking my bath there came children running. They said they were being chased by police. I tried to chase them out but I couldn't. I think there were about eight. There were quite a group running towards my house. They got into both the doors. The children got inside and closed the doors. I was full of soap on my face.
What caused you to push the children outside because they were running into your house? --- I was pushing them outside because many of them were getting into the house and flocking into the house, and at that time I didn't know what was happening. Then at that time police came.
Did you ask these kids as to where they were coming from and why they were running? --- They said they were being chased by the police. They were from a certain hall, a community hall in Imbali. Police came and they threw tear gas in my bedroom. They put one in the kitchen.
What sort of police were these? --- They were white police. They were boers. As I tried to open the door - because now the tear gas was suffocating us in the house. We opened the door. Then they threw another tear gas in the kitchen and I shut the door. Now the children were trying to open the door and get outside.
In the house it was yourself as well as the children who were running away from the police. Who else was there? --- I was the owner of the house together with the children. All the others were not at home. They threw the third canister of tear gas into the house. At that time we started choking, coughing and suffocating, and crying. When I got out I met policemen. They started kicking me and assaulting me. They jumped on my body.
What were they assaulting you for? --- I don't know, because I just started running out of the house and these police came and assaulted me. And I didn't know why they were assaulting me because I was at my place.
Which arm is that? --- It's my right-hand arm. Then there is another boy from Khumalo's place who saw me. Who was that? --- It's Maqanda Khumalo. I was behind the house and Maqanda assisted me. He got me up and tried to get a car to take me to the hospital. He showed me another white guy, and they were busy assaulting the children and taking them out of the house.
What was Sithondo? --- Sithondo was a policeman. He was stationed at Pietermaritzburg then. Then he took me in his car to the hospital. I left my place as was. I went to Edenvale Hospital. I stayed. The following day I was taken to the theatre. They put some iron rods inside my arm.
Let's not be in a hurry. What happened? You were taken to the hospital with a broken arm. Did you ever get an attorney? --- Yes, I did, after I had been discharged from the hospital. I was told by a certain gentleman that I should go to this attorney. This attorney was at certain offices, but these offices now are occupied by the IFP.
Is he the one who told you that there is an attorney who can assist you? Can we get the attorney's name. --- I don't know whether he can help, because I don't know whether I can get Mapanga in the first place. He was staying at Esikopo.
Where did you see Mr Sithondo amongst the police? What was happening at the time you saw Mr Sithondo? --- He was one of the policemen present. He was one of the people. He never assaulted me, but he was amongst the boers who assaulted me. In your statement you said there was an identification parade thereafter. --- I am still talking. I am coming to that point. When I came back from the hospital I went to see the attorney. The attorney asked me whether I could identify one of the police. I said yes. I asked him how much it was going to cost me. He said I should give him R800,00. I even gave him the tear gas canisters that I got at my place. I directed my wife to look for the assault and collect the evidence so that I could give it to the attorney ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 2) ... and police kept on coming in and going out in Mountain Rise. They said to me I should identify any of the police who were present during my assault. I looked at them. Some used to wear clothes with quite a number of colours. Then I made a pointing out, identified Sithondo. I was taken back to work.
Was he not scared? --- I don't know whether he was scared because I was also scared. Even my attorney was not there, so I was all by myself, so I was scared. I went back to work. On the day of the case I was subpoenaed. When I got there I couldn't see my attorney. I asked from the Magistrate as to what was happening. They told me that that was a criminal case that I had opened against the police, it was not a case against me. Then I asked them what had actually happened.
Where was the case held? --- It was at Umgeni Court. I was not being asked by the Magistrate as to what was happening. Police kept on questioning me. They asked me what colour was the tear gas. I told them, "What colour is tear gas? I don't know what colour tear gas is." They asked me in what container was it. I described it to them. They said I must pay the court costs because I was just talking rubbish. Then I had to run away because they wanted to arrest me and put me in custody.
Did you go to your attorney to tell him the outcome? --- No, I never went back to him because I felt he was a traitor because he never showed up on the day of the hearing. I think he also colluded with the police because he never showed up.
Had you paid the R800,00? Did you keep the receipt of payment? --- At that time violence erupted and I didn't know that there was going to be a Commission like this where I would have been required to keep the receipt. When we ran away from the place they got lost.
How is your arm? --- It has not yet completely healed. I still have this iron rod that they inserted in my arm. Now what troubles me is that each time the police keep on coming. Even then my wife had to run away from home, and she kept on sleeping at neighbours' places.
Now what is your expectation from this Commission? I don't say that I grant you your wish, but we usually ask people as to what their expectations are from the Commission so that we may pass these recommendations to the State President. But he is the one who ultimately makes a decision as to what assistance should be granted to the victims. Now I would like to know what your expectations area. --- I would like this Commission to investigate, to conduct a thorough search as to what was actually happening that culminated to my getting injured in this manner. Maybe if I could know, even get the perpetrator to explain to me as to why I was assaulted, what happened to my case.
And what about you, Mrs Mnikathi? Is there anything that your would like to add? Is there anything that you would like the Commission to do for you, because when this happened you were in your own place? You need an investigation to be done, as well as a search conducted with regard to the attorney who purportedly handled the case. --- I also want to see this attorney. I want him to explain to me what was happening. Was this some sort of a plan to get me into trouble? What happened to the attorney, because the attorney never turned up on the day of the case?
Is there anything that you would like to add? --- My wishes are the same as my husband's. I want to know why was he being attacked without having done anything. I also want the attorney concerned to be investigated. Maybe he can come forward with some information that we don't have at hand.
We sympathise with you. It sounds really unreasonable for you to be just attacked, tortured and harassed for no apparent reason whatsoever. This is a matter that should be investigated. We shall try by all means to meet you halfway, to assist you in trying to investigate this matter. We have heard your wishes. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: Mr Mnikathi, and Mrs Dorothy Mnikathi, like many other witnesses you have told us about conditions in Imbali township at that time in the 1980s. We have heard a lot of evidence about Imbali yesterday and on Tuesday this week, and we have heard the names of many of the perpetrators who were responsible for the conflict and the lawlessness which affected Imbali in those days. In your particular case the incident was sparked off by the presence in Imbali of a Cabinet Minister of the apartheid government ... (incomplete)
(Inaudible) ... what happened to you. You said in your statement that you were preparing to go to work on that day, the 31st of March 1990. --- It was early Saturday morning. I wake up and wash myself. After dressing myself I was about to take my jacket to take a taxi. I heard from other children that the Inkatha people are coming. I went out of the door and I looked at the top of the hill, and I could see a group of people coming down carrying spears and dangerous weapons. I decided to move towards the rank. I had options, either to go to the rank or to go to the other rank on the left side. I was travelling down the road and I just covered a distance about from here until the Commercial Road. I was walking along BBI Street when they started shooting. Before I arrived where the Inkatha people were standing they started attacking the families which were nearby. As I was approaching them, the people who were staying in the location, they were holding stones, trying to defend themselves against the Inkatha people. After that I saw a Hippo, and it was followed by a bus, and as I was walking, talking to one of the boys who was standing on the road, I heard the sound of a gun. When I looked up I saw a white policeman standing on top of the Hippo, and at that moment I could feel some warmth on the other side of my stomach. When I put my hand inside I could feel the blood inside. At that time the Hippo was just passing. After I had turned to feel the other side I was facing the other side and I heard the gunshot. I tried to run and the bullets were coming from behind, and one of the bullets hit me on my leg. When I tried to pull my leg it was difficult, and I fall on the ground. I became weak as if I was shocked. I tried to turn. When I tried to hold my back it was cold, and there was blood all over my body, and the blood was dripping. I was sweating and it was painful. I tried to take off my jacket but I couldn't. When I looked up it was dark. When I tried to breathe I could see some smoke coming out. I tried to move, but I couldn't stand up. The gunshots continued and I could heard the sounds. I tried to sort of like go for hiding, but I couldn't move from there. And from there I wake up in hospital.
(Inaudible) ... with me a copy of your - a certificate from the Department of Health and Welfare which certifies that you have partial paralysis of the left leg and a laparotomy, is that correct? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... back to the time that you were shot. You said that you heard from other people, young children in the township, that there was going to be an attack, or that an attack from Chief Mkhize's area was taking place, is that right? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... the police making any effort to prevent those people coming into the township, those people carrying dangerous weapons? Did they make any attempts that you saw to disarm them? --- The police were doing absolutely nothing. They were trying to help the people who had come to attack us.
(Inaudible) ... was that took you to the hospital? --- I heard when I was at the hospital already that I was helped by the Dlamini family. They took me and put inside the house, and I was taken to the clinic.
(Inaudible) ... recovered, and when you were back at home, you said that two policemen came to see you, is that correct? --- Yes, they came, one black policeman as well as one white policeman. They asked whether there was a boy. Then my sister told them that I was asleep.
(Inaudible) ... to you. --- Yes, they said my sister should call me, and at that time I couldn't walk, so I took my crutches, I went out. They asked me what had happened to me. I told them I had been shot by the police. They asked me whether I knew the policemen who had shot me. I told them that I did not know them, I last saw them when they shot me. Then they asked me whether I had made a statement, and they said there was an ANC attorney who helps people in my situation. Then they said I must sign a statement. They asked me whether I wanted to make a case. I said no because I hadn't spoken to my parents.
(Inaudible) ... to make a statement and pursue a case against the police. --- Because the police came to ask me. They told me that if I was trying to make a case against the police I would not be successful.
(Inaudible) ... your income in any other way? --- No, I am not able, because the money I was earning when I was working was - the amount was far larger than the one I am earning now. Because before then I could fend for myself, but now since I am not working the money that they are giving me is not really satisfactory.
With reference to the questions that have been asked by Commissioner Dlamini, I know that as a young man you are not feeling well. Maybe you wish that we can help you to get some work where you will be able to work at home. What do you think - how do you think we can help you? --- I can do any job, whether it's tailoring - any job like welding. I might like to do that. But the problem is that I have a problem with my eyes, but I don't think I will be able to do welding.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... coming in and telling us your story. It seems that there was no case whatsoever. This is probably the first time you've ever had a chance to relate this story formally. You lived in Mpophomeni township during a very turbulent period, and, as I said to one of the earlier witnesses, when the Truth Commission writes a report to the Government we will have to devote a large amount of space and time to the happenings in Mpophomeni township because there was such a lot of suffering in that township. You've said that on the day in question you were going to work, and a large group of armed men, armed with traditional weapons, from the neighbouring Inkatha area, came down into the township, and that as far as you could see they were being assisted by armed policemen. And on your way to work you were shot six or eight times, and as a result of that you are partially paralysed.
We extend our deep sympathy to you. As you have heard me say earlier on, we are not able to assist you directly, but we will be making recommendations to the State President and to the Government as to how you, and other people like you who have suffered so badly, should be assisted, and we are very grateful that you have come here to tell us that story.
Good day, Mr Kubheka. We are grateful to have you in front of us today. We would like to hear about your harassment, but before you can tell us more about the way in which you were harassed we would like you to tell us more about yourself and your family. --- I have got the wife. I have got five children, four daughters and one son.
We have heard about your family. What are your children doing? --- One of them was studying at university. She is finished, and the other one is still studying. One is still at Technikon, and the younger one is schooling at our place.
Can you please tell us as to whether you belong to any political organisation? Tell us how old you were at the time you were harassed, and the other events as to what was happening at that time. --- I was 35 years old. That was the time I was arrested. I was a member of the ANC, the underground movement, because the ANC was banned at that time. I was the organiser and I had to teach people about politics.
We heard about your involvement within the ANC. Can you take us further and explain how you were harassed from 1975, November? --- I would like to say that I was working at Edendale Hospital as a clerk. At night, it was about 7.00 pm, boers came and they dressed privately.
Can you please speak up. --- They asked me, "Are "you Sipho?" I said, "Yes, I am Sipho." They said, "Take your keys, give them to someone here in the hospital. We want you, we are taking you with us." I did as they said. They took me and put me into a car and off we went. When we arrived at Loop Street they put me into an office. The one who was - this was the Special Branch, and they started questioning me and they said to me, "Today we have found you." They cross-questioned me and I didn't know what they were asking me about. And this man Dreyer, who was the commander, he asked me, "Are you the one who is preaching politics to the people?" I didn't answer him, I just kept quiet. Then he asked me, "What are you people doing? There are some people escaping the country. How do you help them?" I told him I don't know anything about that. He told me some people will work me out. It was at night. Some other white police arrived, and they took me to Loop Street in a certain room. They asked me the same question that Dreyer asked me about my political preachings.
Can I just disturb you just for a moment? I would like to ask you two questions. What exactly were you teaching the people? --- We were teaching them about politics. We want people to go underground so that they can fight for freedom.
The second one, were you also involved in helping people to escape, to get out of the country? --- I did get involved in helping those people to escape. While we were at Loop Street Police Station they asked me questions and I denied knowledge of any of those things. They locked me up until the next morning. In the morning van der Merwe - this is the one who ill-treated me the most - came. He came with Mr Nyoka, a black sergeant. He was working for the Special Branch too. They took me home, saying that they were going to search my place. It was during the day. They searched my home. They couldn't find anything. What I remember is that they took one letter from my home. It was a letter about trade unions. We went back. They took me to Thornville Police Station. The station commander at Thornville was Le Roux. They also put me into another room. They interrogated me. They said, "You are denying, but we know that you know the truth." Van der Merwe tell me I must undress. He sent Nyoka somewhere. I don't know, maybe he sent him to go and hide somewhere. And he started hitting me, punching me on my stomach. He said I must get on top of the table and squat. I said, "I can't do that." He said, "I will show you." He continued to beat me. I was now tired and I was now squatting, and he said, "No, stand up." He was beating me while cross-questioning me. He said I must take out my belt. He said, "I have to take care of this belt because you might hang yourself with your belt." They continued to interrogate me until the next morning. I remember one gentleman who was know as Sergeant Gold. He didn't harass me that much. He was there. On the third day - I couldn't sleep for those three days. They told me, "You are not going to sleep." I was still in the very same room. Van der Merwe came in and he also interrogated me. He said I must write down some statement, and he said, "You will speak the truth." After some time one security policeman came. He was a white man. It was my first time to see him. He said, "Oh, you don't want to talk. I am going to beat you." He said, "I will take you and throw you at the railway lines. Next to the police station there is a railway line, and we will tell the people that you were hit by the train while you were trying to escape." And he hit me, he banged my head from both sides, and I lost my mind, and he said to me, "I want you to go crazy." They were hitting me from all sides. Van der Merwe was also involved in the beatings. They continued to interrogate me. As I have already explained I didn't sleep. The next morning - I don't remember after how many days, but they took me with a car to the Central Prison in Pietermaritzburg. They put me in a place called "emgodini." This is a small cell, a very small cell. It has cockroaches and it was very dirty. That's where I heard the first time of noises and voices. These people were talking like throughout the day, that I didn't understand what was happening. When you were locked there in solitary confinement, as I were, you don't know what's going on outside, and even your thinking capacity decreases. I stayed for such a long time - I think it was about two months or three months - in solitary confinement. One day one of the warders took me out of the small prison and told me to just walk around the corridor. My clothes were so dirty because they didn't even allow me to change them.
You said you heard voices. Do you think by that time you have already lost your mind, or there were people talking? --- I should think maybe I was mentally disturbed, because I didn't know, I could just hear some voices. Maybe it was a creation of some sort, and I don't know exactly whether there were people talking in the cells.
Can you go on and tell us about what happened at Howick? --- They took me to Howick Police Station. That's where I was seriously tortured. And there was these voices. I could still even hear the voices, and I tried to sort of pinch myself to feel if I am still alive, but I couldn't feel the pain. I was just going up and down in the cell, close my ears, but still there were noises.
Can you tell us more about the noises? --- These were voices which - people talking something that you could not understand. These were just noises which were confusing. Let me try to explain these noises. After I was released I heard about white noises which was used by British Intelligence for interrogation. I read an article, and I tried to compare with what happened to me. It looks like it was similar. I am not saying this is the noises, but the noises were so similar. Because I remember one day I forget myself, I didn't know who I were. I lost my mind. I didn't know where I were. I was asking myself, "Where am I?" And this noise was just coming on - on and on.
After leaving Howick what happened? --- They took me to Bishopston. It's a police station somewhere next to the farms. I didn't stay for a long time at that police station. I came back, and one day, it was at night - this
- this happened at Howick before I went to Bishopston. Van der Merwe took me and he was with another policeman. They took me to Thornville Police Station. It was at night. They were playing a movie. There were so many people watching the movie, but I couldn't see who were the audience because it was dark. Van der Merwe said to me, "Have some beers." And I sat also drinking the beer. I didn't know what kind of beer it was, but I did. I didn't know the name of the movie, but we watched the movie. I didn't enjoy the movie because my head was swollen.
What was the film all about? --- If I remember well it was something to sort of like talk about your mind, something that shows inferiority, like you could see some baboons kissing. It doesn't even had any message. There was something - you couldn't make anything out of it. From Howick they took me to Thornville. I was at Thornville by this time. They were still interrogating me. Dreyer also came to Thornville Police Station and he said, "You still don't want to talk. That's okay," and they continued to keep me in solitary confinement and also ask me questions. One day van der Merwe came. He opened the door and looked at me and said, "I know that you don't want to change." He just say that and leave. And he did that so many times. He said I am teaching people wrong things. I didn't answer him, I just kept quiet. As they were interrogating me now and then they brought me a statement and said, "Now you have to sign this statement by force. You don't have anyone with you here. I am your lawyer today. You have to sign it." This was painful, because if you were detained for political activities you didn't even have the power to get a lawyer by your side. /Security
What was the statement about? --- The statement was about my involvement. They were saying I should sign to say that I did aid the people to escape the country, and that I was also working for a banned organisation.
And what happened from that time? --- After some time I would like to conclude that we had to attend a court case, and they said to me, "We'll be next to you. Just go there any say everything that you have seen in our statement. Because of my situation after all the things I went through, the solitary confinement, my beatings and the noises, which I think it's a white noise, I was not well at all.
And what happened during the court case? --- There was a Judge. They said I must read the statement that they made me to sign. They were asking me questions and I had to read the statement. I forgot something. Something happened. As I said police have got more powers. They took us as a group and they took us to a prostitute. I am sorry, it's a prosecutor, and the prosecutor have to ask us to confirm as to whether we know the things which were written in the statements.
Was Harry Gwala involved in all this? --- Yes, he was also involved. I remember well when I arrived at prison Dreyer make a joke about me, about Harry Gwala and me. He asked me, "Where is your father?" referring to Harry Gwala.
We can see that you were harassed, but I would like to ask you some few questions in order to find a clear picture as to what had happened to you. If you can explain briefly as to how long did you stayed at Loop
You mention a lot of names of people who harassed you. You told us about van der Merwe, Le Roux, Gold, Nyoka, and the Special Branch police who fetched you from your home. Do you know the whereabouts of all the people you mention? --- I don't know.
Not even a single one? --- I have never seen them again. I would like to add, after I was released I applied for a passport. Mr Meyer came to my house to tell me that, "So does it mean now that you have applied for a passport you want to do the thing that we were asking you about?" I just kept quiet, I didn't say anything. And he said, "The next day you must come and see me at Loop Street." When I arrived the next morning at Loop Street he said to me, "You must stop this way of yours," and he said to me, "We can buy a person for R5,00 to kill you,"
moment? --- He is still around. He is staying at Sobantu. When they came to my place to pick me up he was there. He was with the police. Comrade Xaba, was he not arrested? --- Yes, we were arrested together with him.
Lastly I would like to come to talk about your health, because in most cases people like you who have been put into solitary confinement, this was aimed to sort of like disorganising you mentally, as you have already explained that you were also losing your mind. Have you ever received any psychological treatment? --- I will say that after I was released I tried to get some help, but I was afraid that maybe if I go to the doctors they will take the matter to the police. It was a bad time.
Mr Sipho Kubheka, you were harassed up to a stage where you were about to lose your mind. You were beaten, you couldn't sleep, you drank some beer which you never knew what kind of beer it was, you were made to sign a statement which you did not know where it came from. Is it true that the statement that you signed in that condition is a statement that put you in a situation where
you found yourself as a State witness in the case of the State against Harry Gwala? Did they tell you that if you become a State witness against Gwala you will be released? --- Yes, that is true. That is true.
I am putting myself in your position. After Harry Gwala was released did you ever met him? --- Yes, I did, several times. When he was released I had to deliver The Sunday Tribune to him at home. I was working for an ANC branch at Sobantu,in the offices. We used to meet in the offices several times and talk.
MR LYSTER: You've given us a very graphic account of what it was like to have been tortured by the Security Branch. So much of the evidence that we have heard over the past few days has been about what happened to people in the 1980s and the 1990s, and we tend to forget about the terrible conditions which prevailed in this country in the 60s and the 70s, which was when you were arrested in the 70s. One of your friends, Mr Anthony Xaba, also gave evidence here at these hearings a couple of days ago, and he also told us about his torture at the hands of the Security Branch, and he too mentioned the name of Mr Dreyer as somebody who had led his interrogation and torture. And, as Mr Xaba said in his evidence, it is a terrible indictment on our Courts that they routinely accepted the evidence of people whose confessions were extracted after long periods of torture, solitary confinement, and isolation from their families and from
You have suffered terribly from what happened, and we thank you for coming here today and having the courage to relate those stories again. As you have heard me say, we don't have the power to assist you directly, but we can make recommendations to the Government as to how you should be assisted in the future.
MR LYSTER: You also have come from Mpophomeni township, and you will tell us about the death of your husband, Umfana Julius Kunene, who died in January 1990. Before you tell us that story please can you stand up and take the oath.
I would like you to give us a picture of your family. --- I have seven children. My first-born is working in Durban, the second one is married, the third one is at home, he has just finished his matric. The fourth one also finished matric. He's at home. The fifth one is doing standard nine. The other two twins, one is doing standard six, the other one is doing standard five.
The one who is working in Durban, up to how far did he study? --- He dropped out while he was doing standard eight after the death of his father. His uncle helped him to find a job so that he can support the family.
You said you were members of UDF. It was on the 5th of which month? --- It was January 1990 ... (inaudible) ... to see my children since they were no longer staying at home. They were running away because of the violence. They were staying at a place called Nxane. They were staying with their aunt. I went to visit them. I was going to give them some food. When I arrived there I slept there. One day, I remember it was Friday in the evening, I left my husband at home to guard the family. One of his friends came to help him to get the livestock into the kraal. It was about seven.
You may continue. --- He helped him to get the livestock into the kraal, and Mr Shelembe's children came to tell them that the Inkatha have organised a meeting for that evening, and that they should come to the meeting. My husband accompanied Mr Shelembe to the meeting. My husband went there only to hear what was going on.
When they arrived at the meeting they were given some orders that when it's the time of war they must distinguish between the Comrades and the IFP people. My husband's brother had a shop, and they were complaining that my husband's brother was a Comrade, and they were saying to him, "If you are an Inkatha you will have to go and kill your brother."
What was his name? --- His name was Henry Kunene. My husband refused to go and kill his brother, and he had to leave the meeting at that time. At that time they decided that they should kill him. Some of the elderly people said, "No, we mustn't kill him," and then they left him alone. He slept that night.
Before you can continue, in the IFP meeting were there some people wearing some red bands? Who was the chairperson of the meeting? Do you still remember? --- I wasn't there, so I don't know anything about it.
Which it means that the people who said your husband mustn't be killed were people like Mr Shelembe. --- Yes, these were the elder ones, but the young ones they devised a plan to find him by the next day. It was the next day at night.
Can you tell us what happened at January 1990. --- It was at night and we were asleep, and they came and knocked at the door. My husband was asleep at that time as he was from work, he was tired. I didn't even wake him up when I heard the knocks. They knocked for a long period. They didn't identify themselves and they stopped knocking. And my husband coughed. They started to knock again when they hear his cough, and they were telling him that we have to go to the camp. He didn't say anything, he just woke up.
Was this the second camp? Where was this camp? --- Yes, this is the same camp that they did visit the previous day. He woke up, he dressed and took his shields, and he took the band which he was wearing the previous day and he went away. When he get out the door he realised that it was cold and he came back and asked for a hat.
You can continue. --- I told him where the hat was. He took it and went off. They were gone for the whole night. Early in the morning I woke up and looked around, and I decided to go to visit my neighbours about this camp. This was Mrs Mamphule Majosi, my neighbour, and I asked her, "Where is your husband?" She said, "He is around."
What was her husband's name? --- I don't remember, but I think her surname is Majosi. She said, "My husband didn't go to the camp." When I told her that my husband went to the camp she was surprised. I heard one woman shouting. These were ... (intervention)
Is she Mathombi? --- No, Mathombi is the lady who told me about the death of a person. We were preparing to leave and we meet the lady by the name of Mathombi. She said to me, "Auntie, there is someone who died on the way. Can you come to see the body?" And I went with Mathabethe and then we went to the direction of the body. And we found the body at the back yard of the house, and I discovered that that was my husband. They chopped him.
Please take your time. I know it's painful. (Pause) So you want to tell us that when you discovered the body you were with Mathabethe Ndlovu, and what happened from that moment? --- I just collapsed and I started crying.
This Mathabethe Ndlovu who helped you, as you told us that she was busy packing to run away from the place, why was she planning to run away? --- She was running because they said her son was a Comrade.
Since your husband was a member of the IFP, after his death did it happen that some of the members of the IFP come to your place to comfort you? --- No, they didn't. I had some problems because I couldn't even find a place to bury him. We took him to his brother's place, where we could bury him, but the IFP people came and they said he couldn't be buried there because he was a Comrade, and they said if ever we try to bury him there so many people are going to die.
Are you still young? We pity you because your husband passed away while your children were still young. He died because he stand for the truth, because there's no one who can kill his brother. He refused to kill his brother and this cost him his life. Does his brother know that he was killed because he was trying to protect him? /--- Yes,
Out of all this harassment we know that you have suffered a lot, and can you tell us how you feel at the moment? --- I am not feeling well, and my children are not getting good education because I don't have money to send them to do some further studies. They just passed standard 10 and stay at home. I can only afford to send the young ones to high school and primary schools.
What would you like the Commission to do for you? What is your request before the Commission? --- I would like them to help me with my children, give them some help to further their studies, because even when we leave our former home we didn't take all our belongings, we just left everything there.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... evidence here today. You have told us a tragic story about the death of your husband. Like Mrs Ziqubu, who was the first person to give evidence here today, your husband was a member of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Mr Ziqubu's husband criticised what the IFP were doing in Mpumalanga in those days in 1988, and as a result he was shot in his own house. Your husband, who was a member of the IFP, did not wish to take part in the nightly meetings, or camps as they were called, that Inkatha used to hold outside Mpophomeni township, and he also refused to take part in the killing of his own brother, who was a member of the UDF at the time, and for this he died. He was hacked to death in a most brutal fashion. This is a terrible story of political intolerance which you have told us, and we are still not free from that political intolerance in many parts of KwaZulu-Natal even today.
As my colleague, Dr Mgojo, has said, we shall be making recommendations to the Government on behalf of you, and other people like you, who have suffered. We cannot assist you at the moment directly, but we will make recommendations to the Government as to how you should be assisted.
So we thank you again very much for coming in today and telling us your story, and we hope that even just by telling that story - because it seems as though this has been the first time that you have been able to tell it in public - we hope that it makes your burden a little easier to carry. So thank you very much, and we wish you strength as you leave us.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Mvubu, we greet you and welcome you here today. You have come from Sobantu township, and you have come to tell us about the period during which you were tortured by the police in 1976. Before you tell us that story can you stand and take the oath.
Can you then tell us what happened at that time, what you were planning to do and what happened to you? This was in September '76. --- That is correct. It was on the 11th of September in 1976. I was just going out of the country. It was because of the boers who were oppressing us, as well as their tortures, that made me decide that I wanted to leave the country. I was heading for one of the countries where I could be trained to be a soldier for the Umkhonto we Size. As we were in the train we got to Durban Station. We could not even stop. The police had already come into the train together with black policemen. They were having all sorts of weapons. Then when they got into our compartment they said we must all stand up and they wanted to search us. They could not get anything because we did not have any weapons with us. They collected us and they arrested us. They manhandled us. These were not boers. I do see the others, but these were not police. There were also dogs. It was as if Durban was owned by the boers. It was in the afternoon round about half past five. Each and every one of us was taken into the cars. Each and every one of us was put into a separate car. We were taken back to Pietermaritzburg. When we got to Pietermaritzburg I think it was at about quarter to six or 6 o'clock when we got to 'Maritzburg. As we were getting out of the cars we wanted to wee because we were scared that the whites had got us. We were taken to a floor, a certain floor. We were separated when we got there. Each one of us was put into a separate room. As we were going along the way they kept on asking us where we were heading for. I tried to hide as to where I was destined for. I told them that I was going to Lamontville to visit my other relatives. They said to me I was talking rubbish. They told me that I was going to tell the truth. I thought they were just joking. I got into my own room. That is where I got a certain man by the name of Driemeyer, as well as Mr Potgieter and other men. There was quite a number of men besides the ones we came out with. There were quite a lot of them. They looked as if they were just fresh from training. The manner in which they treated us we were being asked where we were heading for. I kept on saying that I was heading for Durban. Then that's when the trouble started, the way they assaulted me. I was even assaulted by my very own people. There is one black person who had a T-square, the very big one and the very hard one. When I was being hit and kicked he was busy hitting me with the T-square on the head. I tried to persevere, but I felt they were not satisfied with my denials because they apparently had some information about me. They kept on asking me. I felt so much pain at that time because I was severely assaulted. They said to me they knew everything, but they wanted to get it from the horse's mouth. And they told me that all the others had told them stories about me, now they wanted me to say it with my own mouth. I still felt I should tell them lies. I told them lies, knowing fully well that I was wasting my time. They asked me as to why I wanted to skip the country. I explained to them that it was the way in which we were suppressed, as well as the 1976 riots when they were killing black children. That made me lose my mind, and as a result I decided that I should leave the country because I thought that the boers were still going to continue killing our people. I told them that I wanted to leave the country because I wanted to go and learn how to hold and operate a gun, so that I could come back and protect my own community. It was as if I was pouring water over the duck's back. They assaulted me. I felt that I knew being assaulted, but this was definitely something else. They told me to take of my clothes. They took little stones, gravel, they put them inside my shoes. They told me to put my feet inside, then they tied the shoes so very tightly. They told me that I should do a frog jump 100 times. It was very difficult for me to reach that 100 jumps. It was very painful because I had already been kicked and assaulted. When I get tired, maybe after jumping six times, there was this man who was having this T-square, and he kept on hitting me on the head with the T-square. That wasn't the last they did to me. They told me that I should be naked because I could not jump 100 times. They said to me I should take my clothes off, and they told me that they were still going to deal with me accordingly until I tell them the truth. They took certain needles. They said I must display my fingers, then they put these little needles in my fingers. After that they said to me I must press on the table 50 times. That was very difficult. Each time I hit the table I felt some pain because I am human. I couldn't even hit the table 10 times. By the time I got to 10 each time I didn't do it there was this T-square that was busy on my head. I ultimately got to 10. Just as I got to 10 they told me to continue. I told them I wasn't able to do so. That was enough, because I was bleeding by that time. The one with the T-square was busy with the T-square. Each time he did it. Each time I didn't do it he would just hit me with the T-square on my head. I also have scars to show. Even though I may not be able to identify him, but I knew. They were black policemen who were fetch from Newcastle. I was assaulted until the following morning, then at 5 o'clock I was made to undress once more. They took a towel, they made it wet, and they tied it into a knot. They used that towel to assault me. They even kicked me. Each and every one of them just wanted to do something to me. They wanted to assault me. I could see that they were from training. At about six in the morning - I don't remember quite well what time it was - they said we should go into a car. I was taken into a certain car. I couldn't walk properly, I was limping. I was put into that car. I didn't know where we were heading to. I was taken to Mooi River. At Mooi River Police Station I stayed in a tin cell. That was very cold at that time. In Mooi River it's very cold. Staying there at Mooi River was part of the torture that I had gone through, because in the tin cell there were holes. Whenever I was asleep there were rats that were coming in through the holes, because I had to take this enamel plate and hit it down so that the mice might run away. I had to sleep quite for a few hours and wake up. I was being awoken by all the rats. They gave us porridge three times a day. There's no sugar. They give it to you in the morning - morning, noon and night. They used to put it at the door at round about four in the afternoon. There's a little hole through which I used to peep and see the porridge. That porridge I think at times used to come at six or half past six, ever since they have been putting it at one. I would even see the birds that were hopping on top of the porridge and eating the porridge. Then by the time the porridge comes to me the birds had already soiled it, and I had to eat that part because there was absolutely nothing for me that I could do. There were certain times where the Magistrate of that place used to come, every after 14 days, to come and ask me as to whether I had any complaints. I used to tell him what my complaints were, but that was as good as not telling him because there was absolutely nothing that he used to do with the complaints that we were giving to him. I told him that he must come for the very last, because each time he asks me questions but he never does anything about them, there's absolutely no change that takes place. He is just asking me these questions for the fun of it. That was the last time the Magistrate came to see me, because I really spilled hot beans on him. I did not wash at that time. I think three months lapsed before I could get a bath. My hair looked like I was mad. My beard was long. At that time my beard had turned red because I didn't see the sun. After about three months it was in the morning, I think it was round about eight, one of the boers of that police station came into my tin shack. He asked me whether I wanted to wash. It was very cold during that day. Then I said to him really I wanted to wash because I was full of lice. I said I did need to wash. I went out. I was guarded. The people who were looking after me had guns. When I went to wash they followed me with guns. They opened up very cold water. Just as the water was being opened, as my body was still scared by the very cold water, even before I was started washing they would say "You had finished now, you had finished washing," even before I started. I was told that I should dress because I had finished. All in all I didn't wash. I was just brought there to be got into the cold. I stayed there until it was summer. We didn't get water to drink. At times two days would lapse without you getting any water to drink. At times when it was raining I used to put my little place so that the rain drops could come in. That glass you see in front of you is too much. When I had taken only sip the water would get finished, then I had to put the place once more for the rain to drip in. Whenever I reported to the station commander he said there's nothing that he could talk to me, I had to talk to the SB which had brought me there, because they knew nothing about me, they could not help me. I got a toothache later on. I reported that I had a toothache and I wanted the tooth to be extracted. I was told that there was absolutely nothing that they could do, there's nothing that they could help me with. When the SB Unit was told that I had a toothache they said that I couldn't go and see a doctor because I would run away. I asked them how could I run away when I was in so much pain. They told me that I thought I was clever, I wanted to run away. I had this toothache for quite some time without getting any medical attention. After I had chased the Magistrate away the food changed. I think the food changed because of my conduct. I had not seen bread for three months, because I had been eating the pap three times a day every day of the week. Then there came a loaf of bread as well as the smallest tin of fish, without food at 9 o'clock in the morning until the following morning at nine. This bread was supposed to last me the whole day. I would get another ration the following morning. So it meant every day I had to eat this tin of fish as well as this loaf of bread. In this tin there's about two pieces of fish, which I had to finish with this loaf. And I had to get some water, which I couldn't lay my hands on. Now I didn't know what to do. They know that fish makes you thirsty. After having eaten fish you feel like you can drink a lot of water, but I never got the chance to drink the water because water was not available. From there they took me to Mshwathi, New Hanover. At New Hanover it was a prison. There my hopes were raised a little bit because the room in which they put me was still new. Apparently they had nobody who had occupied the room. The blankets which were brought in were so dirty and was full of lice. We were forced to fight with the chief of the prison that we could not use those blankets, because we were not arrested for stock theft, we were from our own homes where we were comfortable. We were arrested for struggling, for being involved in the struggle for fighting for our rights. When we demanded the blankets, because the place was clean and we felt that these blankets were not befitting the place that we were given, they had to change the blankets and gave us better blankets. There were even washing facilities, hot and cold water. There was a toilet inside. It was a direct opposite of Mooi River, because at Mooi River I was eating and the toilet was right in front of me. That was slightly better. But the food there was terrible, because I used to eat the prisoners' food. At times they would give me food and tell me that, "This is soup," only to find it was just boiled water. The food was not healthy. I stayed at Hanover I think it was plus/minus three months. There was a slight change in that we could sit with other people who were fetched from their homes. We were able to even converse, talk. We used to talk, and I used to lose my concentration most of the time. I did not want to explain to them as to why I kept on drifting in and out of concentration. I am wondering as to whether our children are going to grow up in the suffering and go through the very same suffering that we went through. We stayed at New Hanover I think it was three months. At times there was a district surgeon, Dr Strait, who used to come. He was a district surgeon. Whenever you explain or tell him that you were sick he would say, "Katha, katha." I don't know what he meant by "Katha, katha." Maybe he meant that you should katha in Zulu if you wanted to be attended to medically. I don't know whether he was a doctor really, or he was just sent by the Government, or he was a veterinary surgeon. Whenever he wants to extract a tooth he wants to inject you right at the back of the throat, and now I didn't know whether he wanted to deal with my tooth or he wanted to inject my throat. Because according to my knowledge your gums had to be injected in order for the tooth to be extracted. I asked him as to whether he was a real doctor or a veterinary surgeon. This doctor leave just - they took me later on to Boston. When I got to Boston the station commander was Greer. I stayed in my cell all by myself. I was from sharing my cell with other people, but now in Boston I was in solitary confinement. But it wasn't very difficult in solitary confinement because that boer who was there didn't have the same heart as his fellow boers. He was more sympathetic. The very first time he saw me I explained to him that I had not seen the sun for a year now. I said to him he should help me, because I was not planning to run away so there was absolutely no need for them to be tough on me. As I have already said this boer was more sympathetic. He phoned the SBs. The following day I was told that I should be able to exercise, to go out of my cell and do little course. I asked them that I wanted to exercise, either do some gardening or do some cleaning. He told me that I should come and sit outside. Whoever didn't know that I was a prisoner would have thought I was one of the policemen, because at that time life was a little bit more relaxed at Boston. I could not listen to the radio or get a newspaper because I was not supposed to know what was happening around me. I don't know what that meant. I stayed at Boston. It was a little bit more relaxed. It was not like Mooi River. Moor River was the worst where I got tortured. Even being tortured I was tortured more in Mooi River. I think this T-square caused me a lot of confusion, and what made me even more annoyed is that it's a black person who was hitting me. Now I did not understand why this black person was torturing me so much, because he was part of my struggle, I was fighting for him too as a black person. In August, whilst I was still at Boston, I saw the boers coming to fetch me. I wasn't even told where I was being taken to. They said I must just pack my belongings and come with. I got into a car. We drove off. We went to Bulwer to fetch another one. We proceeded to Howick and fetched another one. We came back to 'Maritzburg. When we got there we were told that we had to go home, and we had to come back the following day to report. We did not know why we were being released. Why were we being arrested in the first place, because there was no case? We were given no date to come back for the case. We went back home. The following day we came back to report at the police Station. They were happy at home when I came back. They even gave me money to go and buy a chicken to celebrate my arrival. I went there. Did I ever come back with a chicken? Because when I went to the police station they told us that we should stay. We were arrested once more. We asked as to why we were arrested. They told us that they needed to do some investigations. We were taken back to Boston. It looked like we would stay for quite a few weeks, but that wasn't like it. We came back in November 3 in 1977. Then we were arrested up to 1977. We were released without being told. They used to come and check us. On a particular day just next to SPCA there was a certain sergeant, a police sergeant from the SB Unit. He was shot. He was staying at Sobantu. It was Sergeant Zondi. When this happened the boers came to my place. I didn't even know that they had shot a certain sergeant. They just got in. My elder brother had a car. They asked as to when last was the car driven to town. My brother never used the car so much, he only used it on Friday. I explained to them that it was my brother's car. They got into the house, they asked about the car. They asked me as to what I was doing. I explained to them that I am not doing anything because I couldn't get any job. Whenever I got a job, once I started working a few days thereafter I would get arrested. When I get to the offices I would be told that I am being retrenched. At times I would even tell my wife that I've got a job, and I would go to the job for only a few days. Thereafter I would be told that I am being retrenched. Each time I got a job the boers used to follow me and go to my workplace. They used to threaten my employers that if they did not retrench me they would do something to them. It was for quite some time that I was looking for a job. Each time I get a job it went back to one and the same thing. I got tired now of looking for a job, then I decided to just sit around and not work. I had children who needed to be supported. I tried to think as to what I could do to make ends meet, and I have a friend who likes gambling. Then at times he would come and show me how much he has earned from gambling. Then I realised this is the only way that I could earn a living, I should be involved in gambling. Then I tried to get some money and I got involved in gambling. My children realised that I was into gambling, because my children's friends used to see me gambling and they used to tell my children, and my children were very traumatised by this situation. And there was absolutely nothing that I could do because I had no job, so I had to gamble. I was just a father in name, but not in deed, because whenever my children wanted anything, whether they wanted shoes or uniform, I used to tell them that I will try some means, but three months would lapse without me getting any money to buy my children shoes. I could not give them money for transport, I could not give them money for school. My wife ended up baking cakes so that she could sell them. I wasn't winning at gambling. At times I would get money, at times I would not get money. I was getting R200,00 and R150,00 each time, which was not enough to support my family at that time. That is the type of life that I lived. My children were so traumatised because that put me in financial trouble.
(Inaudible) ... do you have? --- I have four children. The eldest one is a girl. She is 20. The second one is a boy. He is 16. The third one is a girl. She is 14. The fourth one is a girl. She is 11 years old.
(Inaudible) ... support yourself? --- As I have already said I try by all means. I am still involved in gambling even now, and there's no security in gambling. You don't know whether you are going to come back with money or you're going to come back without. My wife is also baking, she's selling cakes. That's how we try to make ends meet, but the money is not sufficient for the whole family.
Did you have permission for relatives to visit you? --- Our parents didn't even know where we were. They just know that we have been arrested. They didn't even know the place. They were not allowed to know. Even a person like coming from a place we were not allowed to talk to such a person, because if we talk to these people they will arrest them too.
I just want to clarify my records. If I remember well the first question that they asked you, they asked you whether you were married or not. You said you are not married, but I just heard you mentioning a wife with four children. Can you explain to us exactly what's the situation? --- We are not legally married, we
are just staying together. The one who is staying with me is just a friend. She doesn't have four children, she had only two children. Like my first girlfriend had two kids by me. She is my girlfriend. We are not legally married. Yes. --- I think this was caused because of the oppression.
Mandla, you have explained your painful situation. As you have expressed you are even shameful to be with your children. Can you tell us about your educational background? Up to what level did you study? --- I finished at standard eight.
Mandla, a 41-year-old person is not that old to study further and acquire some skills, and I would like to advise you to try to find out whatever career that you might like to follow. You can attend evening classes for a six month diploma or anything like this that you can have something to survive. --- I might be very happy to take such a chance, especially if I can get a chance to do the studies at night.
Mandla, I only have one question for you. Normally when people are harassed or tortured or kept in solitary confinement the main aim was just to torture you psychologically. Most people who have suffered the same way they normally come out with psychological disorders. I would like to ask you do you still feel the same? Are you healthy? --- I would say there's a difference. It's just that from the time they took me from Mooi River I had some headaches, but it's not that bad. But I was confused at the time, and I used to help myself by counting the fence wires, so I was just counting the squares so that I can keep on - my brain can keep on functioning. So I used to know all the squares in the windows of the cell. I only did this to exercise my mind, because they didn't allow me to read any books.
(Inaudible) ... coming in, having waited patiently to give your evidence all day. Like Mr Kubheka, who gave evidence earlier on today, and Mr Xaba, who gave evidence on Wednesday, you have given us very detailed evidence of torture which took place at the hands of the Security Branch, the Security Police, at Loop Street Police Station. You were held from September 1976 until November 1977, where you were detained without trial and tortured. The methods which the police used to torture you, the methods which you have described to us, have been used all over the country by other members of the Security Branch. In Cape Town and Johannesburg many people gave evidence before this Commission about torture which they received at the hands of the police, and in many cases exactly the same sorts of torture were used.
Although this happened 20 years ago it's clear that it has had a lasting effect on your life, and we see that you are still suffering as a result of it. As you have heard me say today, we don't have the power to assist you directly, that's not within our power as a Commission, but we are able to make recommendations to the Government as to how they may assist people like yourself, and we will be making recommendations to the Government in that regard.
MR LYSTER: Now, according to information that we have been given by our staff there were three more people who were going to be giving evidence today. It's Mr Sipho Khumalo, Gina Mfeka and Janet Ngcobo, but we have been told that those people have not arrived to give their evidence ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 4) ... particularly the witnesses, very, very much for coming here and exposing themselves and sharing their stories with us.
We have heard over the past four days - we've heard stories of murder, torture, intimidation, arson, assault and abduction. These are terrible stories, and we've heard stories of high level police involvement in these activities in places like Trust Feeds, Mpophomeni and in Imbali as well. We've also heard stories of alliances between these policemen and senior members of the Inkatha Freedom Party. On that score we have sadly not had any evidence at all from members of the Inkatha Freedom Party. The only person - the only two people that we heard, Mrs Ziqubu and Mrs Kunene, their husbands died in brutal circumstances. Their husbands were both members of the Inkatha Freedom party, but from the evidence that we heard they stood up and criticised or refused to take part in certain activities of that party, and were killed as a result of it. We wish that we had had the co-operation from members of Inkatha. We know that there are many, many members of Inkatha who suffered and died over the past years, and we wish that we could have heard their stories so that when we report to the Government at the end of this Commission's life span we can present a full and objective picture, and we want to reiterate that we would like to hear from those witnesses. We can guarantee that they will be treated as sympathetically and objectively as anyone else who has come to this Commission.
DR MGOJO: As Mr Lyster has already said, I also want to add something to what he has already said. Firstly we want to thank you, as the community of 'Maritzburg, for your support in this Commission. We thank your presence. We appreciate the fact that you have come here to hear with your own ears when we try to cleanse our country which was spoiled by the torture and harassment, which created cracks in our community.
As from Tuesday up til yesterday we, as the Commissioners - there was only standing room according to our own observation. Even today, on the very last day of this Commission, it's on a Friday, people are still full. This encourages us so that we may come back to 'Maritzburg. This Commission will end next year. There are so many people from 'Maritzburg who've submitted statements. We still have to come back to 'Maritzburg. As we are here we are more than 100. There are more than 100 who have already submitted statements. We must come back next week to take in more statements. This encourages us to come back to 'Maritzburg.
We wish that you may also encourage others who haven't come to submit statements so that they might as well do so. It does not mean that when you submit a statement you are forced to come here. You may submit a statement and you may have your case heard in camera.
I wish to stress once more that as we are a Commission we are not directing or conducting a witch hunt. We have been warned many times, because we are not allowed to take sides we have to listen to whatever we are told without showing a stance. It does not matter which political affiliation you are, but we regard you as an element of human nature. We wish that all of you from all angles of life, as well as from all political groups, to come and present your cases, because our main objective is to promote peace and not to conduct a witch hunt of any particular political group. We wish you all to come and submit your statements.
I have stayed in 'Maritzburg for 17 years, I regard this as my home. Secondly we want to thank the counsellors, voluntary counsellors who have dedicated themselves to this Commission. Some have momentarily forgotten about their jobs because they wanted to be part of this Commission. We want to cleanse our country of the deeds of the past. As you see that people get so touched they get emotionally charged and they end up crying, and we have people specifically designated to deal with such. Now we will need these people in future. May you continue rendering your voluntary services. We hope that this will bring you pride in that you have lended a hand. We regard this as a privilege. We regard this as a gift from God when you are able to help other people without expecting anything in return.
We also thank the policemen. We are not talking about the past police who used to torture people, those who are working hand in hand with us. We believe we trust these police. These are our police. We are very proud of them. We want to treat them well, we want to respect them, because they are also getting into this new era, this era of change that is dawning. We thank the police very much for having stayed up til this very last day.
We also thank the interpreters in the little cubicle. They did a wonderful job, because they made it able for everybody to hear every language. If you could not hear English you could listen to Zulu. If you couldn't hear Zulu you could listen to English. We thank them very much. May they not tire, because they are doing such a wonderful job. There was no time where they did not do a good job. They are doing perfectly well with so much perseverance and courage. Thank you.
I want to thank the press, the media, as well as the radio. I have just heard that these things are being reported in newspapers, but we never get to see these newspapers because our schedule is to hectic. But we are glad that all these matters are being reported, they appear on TV. They are being reported in Zulu as well as English so that everybody might be able to get a glimpse as to what was happening. We do hear that this is being reported over the radios. We thank the TV crew. But I have a slight complaint with the TV people. Here they are, we are thanking them, but they are controlled right down in Johannesburg. Now it seems as if South Africa is only in Johannesburg, and other places are just stepchildren. You shall remember that as the place is so full the people or the Commission that was covered by the media was Soweto, Queenstown, where their reception was not quite well, as well as the turn-up, but here 'Maritzburg was not fairly covered. We feel that we had been hard done by because the media did not concentrate on us very much. As a result your presence here was not publicised. We feel very bad about this. They were here, but we never saw it in TV. Those who are here, we thank them very much.
We also want to thank the Mayor of this town. We thank them for having given us the City Hall for us to conduct the Commission. Before the City Hall was like heaven. You used to only see it from outside, and you used to wonder what sort of people get into the City Hall, because then our Government - now we are a rainbow nation. Whether you are black, whether you are yellow, we are one nation. All that we have we possess collectively, we must share. There are not those who should be dispossessed. We thank the Mayor for having given us four days to conduct this Commission here.
Before we close we want to thank the Lord, because we would have neglected to do something very important if we don't. There is what we call affirmation. Here I have got Christians, but I shall ask one of the females or the women, because they have also been tortured severely. Then we shall ask Mrs Gcabashe to close this Commission with a prayer. May we please pray.