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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS
Starting Date 20 November 1996
Names WILLIAM BASIL HARRINGTON, BENSON VULINDLELA NSIMBI, DANIEL JOHANNES MEYER
The attorney came up front here to talk to us, but you did not express as to whether you don't want the attorney, or the letter must be read from David Ntombela. I can't hear you. Don't scream, don't shout, don't make any noise. Please hush. Keep quiet, because we do not know what you want because you simply burst and make noise. What is it that you want? (Pause) If you had given us a chance because you wanted Ntombela to be present. Now you are not even giving us a chance as to hear whether Ntombela will be coming. That is what democracy is all about. You should forward your request so that we know what you want, then we move from that point onwards, but you are not giving us a chance. Could you please keep quiet so that we may hear one person as to what you require or what you want, because we will not be able to have a report back. So we urge you to tell us what you want. We want to hear from the attorney as to where David Ntombela is, whether he is coming or not, but at this juncture you are not giving the attorney a chance.
We are still trying to arrange for Mr Ntombela to come, together with his attorney, and the attorney and Ntombela will read a letter or a report that they have compiled, but you must promise that you will be quiet for the rest of the proceedings, because we will not be able to hear what they are here to say if you do not keep quiet. Please do keep quiet. Give them that chance to read that document that they are bringing with. Please do promise us that you will act accordingly, you will behave yourselves, because it does not help to be rowdy. You are just wasting time, so we urge you to be quiet and afford him a chance to say whatever he has to say.
Please be quiet, we don't need any noise, because if you do make noise they may just leave everything and go back, and what will we benefit as a Commission? Please be quiet. I can't hear you, you are making noise. People we will leave you alone. If you are this ungovernable we will leave you alone. We'll tell them to leave the hall. If you continue making noise we will ask them to kindly leave the hall.
Please take your seats, we are now going to start! We have - as I said earlier on, we have here today Mr David Ntombela, with his lawyer, Mr Petrus Coetzee, and he has advised us that he wishes his attorney to read out a letter or a statement which briefly gives his version of that period to the Commission and to the public. So I am going to place Mr Coetzee under oath and then ask him to give that version.
Will you distribute those before you read the document? (Pause) Thank you. Please proceed in your own time, and perhaps just explain the background as to why you are reading the statement and not Mr Ntombela. --- Those are my instructions. May I also just state if I am going to be interrupted I am not going to proceed, I am going to leave.
"(Inaudible) ... Mr David Ntombela and Phillip Zondi. We record that we attempted to contact your Mr Lyster on 19 November 1996 at approximately 14:00. We were unable to speak to him. We further refer to the telephonic conversation between the writer and Mr Lyster this morning, and confirm having been advised by him of the following
"4. that the Commission only came into possession of Father Smith's statement and the statements of the two special constables who testified during yesterday's hearing "late last week";
5. and that the other victims who testified during the hearings did not incriminate Mr Ntombela in their written statements supplied to the Commission, but incriminated Mr Ntombela during their oral testimony before the Commission.
We have been instructed to record the following on behalf of our clients. Mr Zondi only heard of the fact that he was scheduled to give evidence at this inquiry yesterday morning, when he was so advised by Mr Ntombela, who denies having received the letter apparently addressed to Mr Zondi. Mr Ntombela first became aware of Mr Zondi's scheduled participation when he had sight of the programme on Tuesday, 19 November 1996. Mr Zondi has therefore had no opportunity to prepare himself to testify before the Commission about events which occurred over six years ago, or to appraise himself of any other persons it put before your Commission. Mr Zondi is therefore regrettably therefore not in a position to appear before your Commission this afternoon as planned by yourselves, but records his willingness to assist the Commission if he is afforded
"reasonable notice and furnished with copies of statements which tend to incriminate him. Mr Ntombela, on the other hand, was only invited to testify before your Commission on Tuesday, 12 November 1996, when he received your letter dated 12 November 1996. In same he was inter alia, invited, "To give his account of what occurred during that period, and to rebut, deny or agree with the allegations that may be made at the hearing." In order for Mr Ntombela to be in a position to rebut, deny or agree with any allegations levelled against him he needs to be appraised of all the allegations made against him, and obviously needs time to study the allegations and to investigate same.
In your aforesaid letter of 12 November 1996 you advised our client, "Your name has been mentioned by a number of people who have knowledge of this event as being someone who has intimate knowledge of the incidents which took place at that time from the Inkatha perspective." Our client is therefore of the view that at the time of inviting him to appear before your Commission your Mr Lyster, and/or the Commission's investigators, were in possession of statements incriminating and/or referring to our client. Despite our client having requested your Mr Lyster in his letter of 13 November 1996 to indicate to him who had mentioned his name as an individual who had
"intimate knowledge of this incident he has to date not received a reply thereto. Your Mr Lyster in his letter of 14 November 1996 only advised our client that, "A variety of other witnesses, including, inter alia, police, defence force, violence monitors, clergy, crisis workers and the like will testify at the hearing." It is thus clear, with respect, that despite your Mr Lyster having been aware of the fact that our client's name has been mentioned by a number of persons, potential witnesses at the hearing, he did not furnish our clients with any statements which were either in his possession and/or the Commission's investigators' possession.
We have only this morning managed to obtain a copy of Professor Aitchison's submissions to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he delivered on 18 November 1996. From a perusal of Professor Aitchison's aforesaid report it is respectfully submitted that the reader thereof would appreciate the fact that both our clients have been mentioned and incriminated. We are therefore instructed further to record that our clients find it totally unacceptable that they were invited to testify before the Commission at such a late stage, and without having been furnished with copies of statements which are instructed must have been in your possession or the
Mr Ntombela has also requested to record the following objections he has against the constitution of this particular Commission and its Commissioners, namely: that one of the Commissioners, namely Mr Lax, was a member of the ANC during the period under consideration, that is during 1990 and 1991, and in addition was actively involved in assisting ANC members who became embroiled in the so-called Seven Day War, which is the subject matter of this hearing, and that he, Mr Ntombela, regards Mr Lax not as an independent person presiding over this hearing, but as a political opponent of himself and the IFP. And your media spokesman, Mr Mdu Lembede, was reported to have said in the Natal Witness on 14 October 1996, a copy of which is annexed hereto for your ease of reference, that ...
"The incident was triggered by the stoning of buses carrying IFP supporters from a rally in Durban on March 25 1990. It later emerged that the day after the stoning a large group of heavily armed IFP supporters met at the home of a well known warlord, where a revenge attack was planned."
"Regardless of whether reference is being made to my client as a well known warlord this statement clearly indicates that an official
"of your Commission had already made up his mind about the facts, and made this public in the name of the Commission. In the light of numerous newspaper reports initiated by your Commission our client instructs us that he is justified in believing that he, Mr Ntombela, is being referred to in this press statement as the well known warlord. Should this be the case our client instructs us that he fails to comprehend how such a statement could have been issued on behalf of your Commission, creating the impression that this was a fact, prior to any evidence being heard by the Commission, which only commenced on 18 November 1996. Our client further instructs us that the contents of this aforesaid media statement attributed to Mr Lembede further tends to show that your Commission and/or your investigators were in possession of evidence implicating Mr Ntombela as far back as 14 October 1996. If this is indeed the case our client fails to see why he was only invited to testify before your Commission at such a late stage, and not having been furnished with copies of statement incriminating him, either expressly or by way of innuendo.
In conclusion our clients instruct us that, although they are prepared to assist in giving their version of the events, they do not see their way clear to do so before this Commission as constituted at present. Our
"clients therefore in conclusion instruct us that they are of the view that they will not receive an objective and fair hearing. Our clients have instructed us that they will be writing to the Commission requesting that the present Commissioners of this inquiry be relieved of their positions if this inquiry is to continue and they are to testify before it."
Can you just briefly tell us what you were doing at the time of the Seven Day War, and then go on to tell us about your experiences during that period? --- Ja. I think perhaps I will follow the brief and try and be short if you allow me, Mr Chairman.
Yes, thank you. We would ask you to try and cover as much ground as you can as briefly as possible, because we are running extremely late. --- All right. I just want to say that I was elected as a member of the old Progressive Federal Party to the constituency of Greytown in 1981, and ever since then I have been a Member of Parliament. My particular interest in politics stemmed from - my particular interest in politics stemmed for my desire for change in South Africa, and I had a particular interest in the modalities of change. As such then I became increasingly involved in studying the increasing violent conflict between the State and the black resistance movement in the early 80s. I travelled extensively in all the provinces to see the patterns of this emerging violence. After the formation of the UDF in 1983 the tension between the IFP and progressive community organisations in Natal led to ever more increasing violent oppression by the State, and also by the IFP to try and drive out ANC activists and UDF-aligned organisations from communities. As such then I became involved in some of the earliest acts of violence in Ambonathi, Mpumalanga and Imbali, and increasingly became involved in monitoring the violence, and also in mediation efforts at local level. By the mid-80s I had a very extensive network of contacts and informers in most townships in Natal, and also in the rural areas in the Midlands, where violence had manifested itself. From these sources I would get lots of information about imminent attacks, and it often placed me in a position to be at those events even before they started unfolding. Now, with particular reference to the Seven Day War, I would concur with some observers that the hugely successful rally addressed by Mandela in Durban, and the subsequent low turnout of IFP supporters to the Buthelezi rally at the same venue, had created an unbearable tension in the region, and especially so for the embattled IFP in the greater Pietermaritzburg region, where they have seen their sphere of influence continually shrinking, until it was finally reduced to a few strongholds in the upper Vulindlela and Sweetwaters.
Now, could I ask you to leave a few gaps between your sentences for the translation. You're talking rather fast. --- Ja, Mr Chair, it is now a dice between brevity and time, which I don't know which one to follow. I would then have to start on the Sunday, which is the 25th of March, which is the day of the IFP rally in Durban. Now, realising the potential for trouble with the buses going through Edendale valley, I decided to monitor the situation, and I left Hilton where I live at about 7 o'clock in the morning. I travelled to Taylor's Halt via the Sweetwaters/KwaShange road, and saw at the bus depot a large number of buses and people beginning to assemble to board those buses. I then travelled down the main road to Edendale to see if there was any mobilisation of people along the road, which may cause problems if the convoy of buses came through the Edendale Road. I saw no such mobilisation at that time of the morning and O then decided to go back towards Taylor's Halt to monitor the progress of the convoy. When I came to Georgetown I saw the main convoy coming down the hill. They were travelling at quite a speed and there was quite a - or at least a very strong security force escort leading the convoy. I followed the convoy then back to Edendale Hospital, and as I still saw no mobilisation along the roads I decided to go back up the main road to see if there were any buses other than those led by the convoy. I went all the way back up the hill to Gezabuso, and then back again to Hilton via the Sweetwaters road, and nowhere along the line did I see any people assembled that might have indicated that any incidents took place as the buses were leaving through town. Now, during the course of the day I went back into Imbali and Edendale townships, and at various places youths had assembled and they were engaging in various skirmishes with the police, but that was quite normal for the time. Nevertheless I was still concerned about the potential for violence if the buses were to return that evening, and Radley Keys and myself appealed to the police to reroute the buses either via Howick or via the Sweetwaters road, but we could get no firm commitment from them to do so. After sunset that evening I travelled again down Xaluza road towards Edendale Hospital. About one kilometre from the hospital I saw many people running from the direction of the hospital. I stopped and tried to find out from them what the situation was, but since some of the youths in the back of the crowd did not realise who I was they started getting aggressive and some stones were hurled at my car, at which time I then drove back via the Xaluza road, down Old Mayor's Walk and back up to Edendale Hospital. When I arrived there it must have been around 9 o'clock in the evening, by which time everything was clear. On Monday the 26th I again left Hilton via Xaluza road at about 7 o'clock, again travelled up the Edendale Road to Xaluza, to Gezabuso, and back down to town, and again nowhere along the line did I see any incidents of stone-throwing or buses being prevented from coming to town. On Monday night I got a call from Sibongile Mkhize, who lived in Xaluza, and she said that some people in Sweetwaters had reported that there were rumours that in Sweetwaters people were told not to go to work the next day a something was planned. On Tuesday morning at about 6.30 I was preparing to leave for the airport to go to Cape Town when again Mrs Mkhize phoned me to say that there were no buses or kombis coming down Xaluza Road, but that some people from Sweetwaters had said that there is a massive mobilisation up in Sweetwaters. I immediately phoned Radley Keys and I asked him to alert the press and to meet me at Xaluza as soon as he could make it. I left almost immediately, and as I reached Sweetwaters it was apparent that there was a massive mobilisation going on. The main road was full of people, children in school uniforms, women, men, old and young, all of them running towards Sweetwaters, from Sweetwaters to Xaluza, and they were carrying sticks, axes and bush knives. I then travelled towards Nxamalala, and all the way I could see people assembling and kombis bringing people in from Nxamalala towards Maphumuze. These vehicles would drop people off, mostly young men, who would then assemble, and at that time - it must by now have been 7.30 - there would have been several thousand men, and they were making their way across the hill towards Xaluza. I then travelled down to Xaluza via Sweetwaters road, and near the house of Chief Nsikayezwa Zondi I came across a police van that was parked next to the road. I stopped to ask the policeman what was going on, and then suddenly they started looking around the bush ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 3) ... Xaluza at around 8.30 in the morning there were two police vans and two armoured vehicles parked on the road. A house was burning. I approached the police and they informed that there had been a shooting and somebody had been killed. At just about that time the main impi of several thousand people came over the hill from Mapumuza towards Xaluza. They started shooting from a long distance away, but hit nobody at the time. So for the sake of brevity I will not repeat the evidence of Radley Keys from that point, but I want to add the following points. Firstly, when we eventually persuaded the police to try and send a vehicle up to ward off the impi they showed now fear, and in fact they tried to fall in line behind the Casspir, a scene that I had seen on many occasions in the past. In other words they saw the Casspir not as an impediment, but as an escort. Secondly I asked the officer in command, and I think it would have been Brigadier or Captain Viljoen - when we asked him what steps was he going to take to arrest people he said that the police were completely outnumbered. I then said to him that he should - immediately get the video unit there so that they could take videos so that they could later on identify the perpetrators. Thirdly, I told him that he should ask immediate assistance from the SADF given the massive scale of the attack. And fourthly, I told him that he should blockade, search and cut off the kombis and the other vehicles that were acting behind the scenes, and that were obviously supplying logistical support to the impi. For instance, when the impi arrived from the top they were shooting at us, but when they filed past they in fact had no guns. They walked up Xaluza road, they went over the hill to Ashdown, and after meeting the kombis they suddenly had guns again. Now, I left the area at about 10.30, and on the way through town I stopped at the DP office, from where I phoned the SADF and asked them whether they had any troops ready. I was assured that enough troops were available to lend immediate support if they were asked to do so by the SAP. I then left for Cape Town, and on arrival late in the afternoon I immediately got in touch with Minister Vlok. I informed him of the situation and I tried to impress upon him the enormous scale of the mobilisation. I told him that the SADF was ready to lend support, that he should again get additional video teams in from other centres. I also told him that this was no mere incident between unknown - or known, identified adversaries, but a carefully planned and orchestrated attack on a whole community, without regard of person or age. Now, he replied in his usual inane way that I should call off my impi because then the situation will return to normal. I also managed to get a meeting with the State President for the next day. We impressed again upon him, firstly, the scale of the attacks; the fact that the SAP had done nothing to prevent open acts of aggression by the IFP over a large area and in broad daylight; that they had not called - that the police had not called for assistance from the SADF, and also that there was a major refugee problem developing that would require assistance beyond the resources of the NGOs or the Pietermaritzburg Municipality or the local hospitals. I also said to de Klerk that his political integrity would be at stake if he allowed the obvious collusion between the security forces and the IFP to continue, and that if Minister Vlok told him anything to the contrary that he was being lied to, and that he should get other sources of information. De Klerk said then that he would discuss it at Cabinet, and suggested that we met with Minister Hernus Kriel, who would look after what relief measures can be implemented. Minister Kriel then in discussion said that we should discuss those measures with the Provincial Administration. Now, I returned from Cape Town on the Friday, and again saw the devastation that had now taken part over a very large area, and also heard that the fighting had spread to Mpophomeni and Table Mountain. Now, for the next month the Midlands Crisis Relief Committee dealt with the aftermath of the war, and although that Crisis Committee met with Mr Kock, who was in charge of the civil defence in the town, very little real help was forthcoming. After we had time to assess the damage in more detail I had a meeting with Deputy Minister - I'll get to his name now, but - Minister Delport, sorry, and we said that in terms of a similar relief operation to Demoina that relief operation would cost in the order of R6 million. Now, a few days after the discussions the Minister announced that R6 million would be made available, but on condition that both organisations could guarantee that the reconstructed properties will not be destroyed again, and that the relief money must be equally distributed between the parties, and that they both must jointly supervise the reconstruction. I asked him in disbelief if he still was under the impression that both sides suffered, because to my mind it was not a war, it was in fact simply an assault by one side on another community. Now, needless to say that to this very day not one cent of the R6 million had been spent. Mr Chairperson, in the light of the earlier submission I would like to indulge your time to spend a little bit more on the political question, because it was very clear to me from the evidence of Mr Harrington that they, as policemen on the ground, feel betrayed by their political masters, who had allowed this war to go on. So, while I agree with Aitchison's submission that those 20-odd questions about the particular events need to be answered, from my perspective as a politician I would pose the question that, if de Klerk, Vlok, Malan did not believe what we as honest PFP MPs told them, then who is it that lied to them about this particular incident, and also about the Natal scene in general? And that is the whole situation of the collusion between the security forces and the IFP. Now, I met with de Klerk on two occasions formally, once after this war and also once after the Richmond War, almost a year later, in which 40 000 ANC supporters were driven out of their homes. Now, on all of those occasions I suggested to de Klerk that he and the National Party are either aware of the situation, and therefore they are hypocritical in their calls for peace, or, secondly, that they are misinformed. I also said that if they did not believe in my assessment that I challenged de Klerk and the National Party to find other sources of information than the security forces to establish what was going on in Natal. I also offered that I would take any MPs round so that they can speak personally to communities and see the situation for themselves. At some point after the Richmond War - it must have been in about April of '91 - the new Deputy Minister Scheepers took up the offer. I arranged for a series of meetings in the Midlands where he could meet with both ANC and IFP communities, and, as you might recall, Deputy Minister Scheepers resigned very soon after that in utter disgust - he told me so - because he could not get the message through to his seniors in the National Party. Now, Mr Chair, I am trying to be brief, so I want to skip a few paragraphs, but while - one thing I have to highlight again, in the light of Mr Harrington's - is that as a politician we often had briefings, so-called security briefings, by the military and by the police. We saw those videos that they show these young policemen as so-called orientation before they were stationed in Natal. After those so-called briefings I had discussions with General Malan and with the State President, where I said it is impossible for a young policeman to be neutral in this situation if they are shown those propaganda videos, and that they should in fact withdraw those and start afresh. That also applies to the situation after 1990, where, as Mr Harrington said, they have never had a debriefing to say that there should now be a different attitude towards the ANC. Lastly I want to just differ in one respect from the submission of Mr Radley Keys, where he suggested that to the ANC, or the UDF at the time, that all IFP leaders were targets to be killed. Now, that is not my experience, because not all IFP leaders were simply open targets to be gunned down, and we can recall people in this hall especially who will know, for instance, that in Imbali IFP Councillor Ben Jela lived his whole life in the middle of a UDF area, and he was never touched. But, for instance, the notorious Jerome Mncwabe was assassinated eventually, after he was let out on bail again by then on the 10th or so charge of murder. So my assessment was that IFP leaders had to make targets of themselves by their own aggressive actions towards the communities. Now, also the level of violence. In my own assessment, going through various communities in the province, that the level of violence in a particular area is not determined by the progressive organisations, but that it was in fact in direct proportion to the degree in which the security forces with turned a blind eye, or worked in direct collusion with local warlords. Now, again I would point out that, for instance, the Camperdown police district had exactly the same conditions as, for instance, the Bishopstowe police district. On the one side Chief Ntuli was the IFP chief in the middle. On the Bishopstowe side you have Chief Maphumulo, on the other side we had Chief Mlaba. But because the station commander in Camperdown refused to take sides Camperdown area went through this period of violence being a haven of peace, and there had not been a single act of political violence for many years. Now, we came then to the period after 1990, when the ANC was finally unbanned. In my assessment the NP was then faced with a severe dilemma, because on the one side it had said that politics is now normal, but the National Party also realised that if it came to a political fight with the ANC that they would need black organisations as partners. Now, of course in that sense the IFP in KwaZulu Natal was crucial, and I say that it is unfortunate for South Africa, and for this province, that neither the National Party nor the IFP could show the greatness that if they truly engaged in democratic politics that perhaps even those two parties would have done better in the political fight, but unfortunately both of them followed the dual strategy of talking and fighting underground, and I am afraid, you know, using young men like Harrington here to do the dirty work for them. Mr Chairperson, as a politician I can only say that these dark days seem to be over, and that wherever I go in small communities, where violence had been, that it would appear that the communities out there are tired of violence, that they are ready for reconciliation, that I have seen old adversaries now braai-ing together, but not in the other way, that they have slaughtered a beast together, and they are looking forward to peace, and I sincerely hope that these hearings will contribute to put this past behind us, and that we can proceed in Natal and make this the lovely province that it deserves to be. I thank you.
Thank you, Mr Cronje. There's one question I have to ask you arising out of Brigadier Swanepoel's evidence yesterday. He told us that there was a plan that had been arranged by the joint planning command in relation to these events. He said that the designated role of the SADF was to keep the Edendale road open at all costs. He said they had no other planned function in this process. Now, he was commanding officer of Group Nine at that time, and what you've told us seems to contradict that, in the sense that you have told us that they were ready, willing and able to enter the area and deal with the situation, but that the police prevented them from doing so, in that they were under the police's control, as you well know. Just your comments on those two versions. --- Well, I would concur with him that they had perhaps relegated them to that role. In fact when I returned on the Friday I was quite surprised to see that the army was in fact still pinned down in Edendale road, where none or very small incidents of violence had occurred. But the role of the army, when you look at the area between - let us say from Taylor's Halt towards KwaShange, where an impi had to traverse kilometres of open ground in broad daylight, that that is where the army could have been and should have been deployed, and not even in large numbers, to really stop the events from unfolding as they did. So, while I concur with him, and we all know that that is the procedure, and that they had confirmed to me that they will only come in when the police call them, and, as I say, that again leads to the conclusion that whatever plans there may have been it would not have been a plan to prevent the war, but in fact a plan to make the war succeed, as it did.
The other contradiction arising out of his evidence is that he gave us the distinct impression yesterday that they were totally under-resourced. They did not have enough troops to deal with the situation, and the statement you've made in your submission is that you were assured they did have enough troops. --- The word "enough" obviously depends on the task at hand. On Monday when I spoke to him - or, sorry, on Tuesday, they said yes, they had indeed called up - I think they had said that the Carbineers had just been called up, that there were other units deployed now, and he said that he is ready and able to go and assist. Now obviously, and if we talk about a war zone now that stretch over perhaps 25 kilometres, maybe they would have not been prepared for that. But I would still say that the army - or the SADF has got many units. They are placed all over Natal. Any unit from Durban or from Ladysmith could have arrived here by Wednesday or Thursday if they had really meant business, because the war stretched over a long period, and whatever - you know, so what I am saying is in relation to the task.
Comrade Cronje, just one short thing here I need to understand. On your presentation here when you met with Minister Vlok, appealing to him to intervene, you say here that, "He replied in his usual inane way that I should call off my combatants, that that will get some repose of the situation." Can you say any more about that? --- I would perhaps reply that I excluded some other part of the sentence - of my submission because of brevity and the /problem
Minister Vlok was one of really playing games about the security situation. Now, part of it may have been a sense of humour, but part of it I think was also that he had a political agenda, and he had an agenda which we could not crack. I refer in particular, for instance, to the time that we tried to intervene - that was Peter Gastrer and myself - with regard to the UDF activists that had been detained shortly after an agreement had been reached in this peace initiative in Pietermaritzburg. Now, at that time we went up to see Minister Vlok to plead for the release of these UDF negotiators, and he said to us, "Do you really believe that I could stand it politically to allow the UDF to be seen to be negotiators and peace-makers?" and for that reason he is afraid he cannot allow them to be released. So that on the one level - and the other point that I mentioned here is because I had many sources of information people would often tell you about attacks before they were going to occur. People who live in Sweetwaters and other IFP strongholds would tell you that they have been mobilised, ordered to take part in attacks. Sometimes when these were to be large attacks I would, for instance, phone the Minister simply to tell him that I know that something was going on. What I suspect would have happened that he would then call the police and tell them to call off that particular attack, and then as I say, in his jocular way he would say to me, "See, your information was wrong. It did not happen." Now, to me it was fine because I know some lives were saved if he called off attacks that were planned simply to play games with
when he referred you to Hernus Kriel, who also said that you should work with the provincial administration to see what immediate relief measures would be required. What was meant by that? --- No, I think that was more a question of how the organisational - or how government works, in other words that the provincial government was the channel for any funding for relief type work, and also being in charge of civil defence, and Minister Hernus Kriel was the Minister of Provincial Affairs at the time.
Just one question, Mr Cronje. I am interested in your observation about IFP leaders who were targeted, and where you were saying that not all IFP leaders were targets, only those who were notorious. I would like your comments, when one looks at the list put together by IFP, that is the list of their leaders who have been killed within the ANC/IFP conflict context, some of those leaders to me could not have been notorious, and others would have been perhaps people who were openly preaching peace. And unless you ask me to, but I would prefer not to mention names, but I just want your comment on that vis à vis your observation, which I find it very interesting. --- Ja. I would - you know, I think that is why I qualified it by saying "all," and by that I will not say that there were not a small number of those people who were targets in the sense that they were not notorious. But, further with regard to that list, I wish to say that I have challenged the press and I have challenged the Government on many occasions to work through that list and to see what the collective number of cases pending against those so-called /leaders
were, you know, cases outstanding against those. In other cases they were certainly not leaders. I can recall that at times when I served on the peace committees that we asked the IFP to identify leaders in a particular community, and they said, "We don't know who the leaders are. There is no structure." And then suddenly when somebody is killed their names appears on the list as ... (incomplete) ... terminated internally, IFP people who were killed by other IFP people because of internal fights within the organisation. More often than not people who preached peace.
Mr Cronje, thank you very, very much for coming to talk to us today. I think a notable feature of this period was the number of influential people like yourself, Professor Aitchison, Radley Keys, Khaba Mkhize and many others, who desperately attempted to intervene to try to force the authorities, the police, the army to intervene in the situation and to prevent the death and destruction which happened. And notwithstanding those attempts by yourselves, the situation in fact got worse and worse. And in these circumstances it's very difficult not to come to the conclusion that the authorities and the police saw this so-called Seven Day War as a sort of final solution to the Edendale valley in order to place it under IFP control. It is very important that people like yourself and the others that I have mentioned, whose integrity is beyond question, have all independently concluded from observing the conflict that there was open co-operation between elements of the IFP and the police during that period, and it certainly assists us in drafting a report
Can you give us some background on the special constables, who these people were, where they came from, and how they were deployed in the SAP? --- There were four shifts at the Riot Unit, A shift, B, C and D shifts, and on each shift there were about 20 - between 20 and 50 special constables. They came from Inkatha areas, acknowledged Inkatha areas. They were mostly used as guards on trucks and vehicles, as well as at certain control points, and also at Inkatha chiefs' homes.
Can you tell us something about the method by which you and the special constables operated, the modus operandi during that period? --- If I could just ask the Committee, yesterday I made a new statement. I would like to start afresh and explain to you, and then perhaps you will understand the full picture.
Please - all right, please then proceed in your own time and according to the statement that you have made. --- I am 27 years old. I matriculated in 1987 in a Transvaal school. Directly after school I went to the Police College, and after six months' training I was stationed at the Riot Unit here in Pietermaritzburg. I am currently - I have been in prison for about 15 years, serving a sentence of 18 years for the murder of an ANC supporter. I was employed at the Riot Unit between 1988 and 1991. Until my arrest I was then between 18 and 21 years old.
Sorry, can I just interrupt? How long have you been in prison for? Five years - nearly five years. Please continue. I would just like to tell the Committee and the Chairperson that the murder case started in 1991 and did not arise from the Seven Day War. The murder charge did not arise from the Seven Day War period. I also request not to testify regarding the murder case since I have been told that my amnesty application will be heard early next year, and also because myself and my attorney still have to consult on this matter. I also want to add that -before I start my evidence, that I gave my statement voluntarily to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's investigating officers without the benefit of any legal assistance. I am therefore appearing before the Commission naked and humble today, and I am also appearing like that before the public. My preparedness to testify must be seen as an indication of the willingness to be truthful, and also as a basis for my amnesty application. I also want to apologise to the Commission because I would like to supplement the statement before you. Perhaps I should explain what I mean. After and during Mr Madlala's statement I realised that I should stop defending apartheid and the apartheid era. During my interviews with Debbie Quinn and Fred Coppett I opened up to a certain extent, but I also still withheld certain names and incidents. The one-for-all and all-for-one code reigning in the old police force, and that you don't reveal the inner secrets of the police force, was still in sway in my life, and now it might appear as if I am going to betray my people, the police. Yesterday it felt as if I was betraying myself, but after I realised that I simply have to tell the truth I simply had to do it. I have long since made my peace with God about all the atrocities which I committed in my position of power, and now it's time to make peace with the people of Natal, and it is now also time that I make peace with myself. After my sentence I buried away the deeds of my past, buried it deep down, because I wanted to forget, but I can't. Through the years in prison you, the audience, the people here, haunted me. Maybe some of you here today are people assaulted by myself and my ex-colleagues. Perhaps some of you here are people whom, after such an assault, I just dropped next to the side of the road without looking back to see whether you would rise up again. I hope you are here today so that I can say to you I am sorry. Now I would like to start by saying that when I started working in the Riot Unit at the age of 18 I started on the A shift. Just a moment please.
Let this witness continue. --- The section head of the shift was Deputy Warrant-Officer O'Connell, or Warrant-Officer O'Connell, and with me on the shift were, inter alia, Bruce Parow, Len Hawkin, Delport - his nickname was Dikdalies(?) - Ray Gosling, Andre Waring, and I can't remember the other names - except for one, Tobie Alberts. He was a well known tracker. I hadn't been in the unit for a week when I was sent out with these aforementioned members to Hammarsdale area. I was with Richard O'Connell as part of the crew of the vehicle, as part of his crew. If I remember correctly we arrived at the army base in Hammarsdale at about 10 o'clock that night. There were Defence Force personnel present during Richard's situation analysis. It was made clear what was expected of everybody. If I recall correctly - I am sorry, it's eight and a half years ago - there were two Defence Force bakkies accompanying us to the homes. After Richard's lecture I fell asleep. We were meant to depart in the early hours of the morning, I think round about 3 o'clock. When I was woken up for us to leave Richard told me that I should just stick close to him, that I should just stay behind him and walk behind him, and that I should not shoot before he starts shooting. I was afraid. I will not deny that. I was fresh out of Police College and now I was confronted with the possibility of having to shoot somebody. Richard told me that we were entering a big UDF/ANC area, and he pointed out the place where Dikdalies had been fired at by the ANC a week before, and had nearly sustained an injury from a shrapnel from a grenade. We were in fact on our way to the attacker's home. My first impressions of the unit and its members were that the ANC/UDF wanted us dead, they wanted to kill us. I was now part of this unit and I would have shot if it was necessary. If I didn't fire and we were killed what would have happened then? We then stopped at some spot in the road. Richard told some of the special constables that they were vehicle guards. He told them this at the lecture at the defence base, and we therefore just got out and walked down into the valley. I suspect that the people whom we were looking for also had guards placed in strategic positions, because I can recall that I heard whistling after a while. The whistling started from about 200 metres away from us and then echoed up into the valley. Richard O'Connell shouted that we knew they were there, and we then started running. It was strange for me to be running like that, because I had to clutch my 9mm by my side at the same time to prevent it from falling out. I had to hold onto my rifle, my shotgun belt around my waist, as well as the shotgun in my left hand. On top of all this I had to prevent my ... (Interpreter: The interpreter could not hear that word) I to some degree succeeded, but what was difficult was to follow in Richard's footsteps. Suddenly we heard automatic gunfire coming from in front of us. Richard shouted that we should open fire, and we did. We then continued running and then shot again. One of the members then shouted that he had caught somebody. Our unit didn't carry cuffs, handcuffs. It was not part of our equipment. Richard had a shoelace which he used to handcuff the person. He tied his hands behind his back, grabbed hold of his hands behind his back and tied his two thumbs together. It was the first time that I had seen somebody being tubed with the inner tube of a car, the square piece of inner tube. The late Tobie Alberts then tubed this man in order to extract information from him. We wanted him to tell us where the others had run to and where they were obtaining their firearms from. After about 20 minutes of tubing and an exchange of words in Zulu they told him to get up. We then moved in a certain direction, and after about half an hour of walking we arrived at a rondavel. After searching we found the rondavel empty. Richard said that we should return to the vehicles. We had arrived with about four vehicles and 15 men. We then started walking back. After a while we saw a group of about 20 people ahead of us, 20 heads in the darkness ahead of us. It was starting to get light, but it was still quite dark. The group of black men ahead of us were just a couple of metres away from us. We saw that they were on their knees, they were in a kneeling position. The late Tobie Alberts told us to also go down on our knees. After we knelt down Tobie started making certain noises with his tongue. If I may demonstrate it sounded like this. (Interpreter: The speaker is making a clicking sound with his tongue.) And then he would keep quiet and then repeat those clicking noises or sounds. The same kind of sound came from the group of people in front of us. Tobie then got up and once again made these tongue-clicking sounds. One man in this group got up, made tongue-clicking noises, and the rest of the group also got up. Tobie motioned with his hand that we should also get up. He once again made these clicking sounds and indicated that we should move forwards. The other group also approached. We were probably five metres away from then when somebody from their group shouted,"Oh, amaphoyisa," and then they started running in all directions. Richard shouted, "Shoot them, shoot them." Somebody fired a flare and shouted that I should also fire my two flares, which I did. I then picked up my shotgun and, as the others were doing, fired at the people running away. It was as if I was seeing a movie unfolding before my eyes. A couple of light flares which were still hanging suspended in the air whilst we were shooting. That is the scene imprinted in my memory. I saw some of the people falling, and they were dragged along by their comrades, or picked up by the others. We followed them, we ran after them, but Richard called us back and said that the flares were becoming extinguished and it would be dangerous to continue moving in all directions. When somebody inquired about the one ANC man in detention it was noticed that he had just disappeared. I think it was some or other special constable who had been guarding him. I can't remember his name or his face. I mentioned that there were about between 12 and 15 of us. I can't remember exactly who were there except for myself, Tobie Alberts and Richard O'Connell. There were special constables with us, as well as Dikdalies. The two Defence Force bakkies had instructions to circle a certain area of Hammarsdale. I don't know how many people there were in these bakkies or who they were. In any event at some stage we met them and they helped us to search for this group who had shot at us. We couldn't find anybody, and as soon as day broke we went back to the army base. Richard departed to Pietermaritzburg before the rest of us. He spoke to the Defence Force people to one side. I don't know what they spoke about, and I didn't think anything of it. I wasn't particularly interested or concerned. I also didn't inquire what it was about. The things which had happened in these approximately two hours were still in my mind, and that is perhaps why I can still remember these things, because this was my first operation with members of the unit.
Sorry to interrupt you. We've just been informed that there's a very, very large crowd outside who want to hear the evidence today, and the police have asked us to the police outside have asked us to adjourn your evidence so that we can try and rig up some speakers outside. If you can just stay there on the stage we'll just ... (incomplete)
(Incomplete) ... a piece of pole lying close by, and some of the special constables picked it up and threw it at this man, and it hit him on his head and he disappeared beneath the surface of the water. After a while he fortunately surfaced again and made haste to try and get away. We left him there. I took part in my first assaults in the unit. After a couple of months I went to C shift under command of Warrant-Officer O'Connell. Sergeant Potgieter, Gary Karbens, Gerhard Kotze, Dave Higgins, P W Smith, Stuart Jones, Sebron van Dyk and a group of special constables whose names I can't remember, they were all on this shift. I can, however, remember Nxumalo's name, one of the special constables. Jajozi and Nene I can remember as well. Their initials are unknown to me. I simply can't remember any more. At this stage I was about 19-20 years of age. Lieutentant Tokkie van der Heever was directly in command of the special constables, Major Deon Terblanche was head of the unit, and Lieutenant Danie Meyer was second in command. On this shift I worked with Stuart Jones and Gerhard Kotze and their crew and took part in assaults. Jones and my crew were together when we performed raids on ANC homes, looking for firearms ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 1) ... not - I don't want to incriminate O'Connell or anybody else, or any other officer, but I was never reprimanded and told that what I was doing was wrong. My officers had to know exactly what I was doing because on two occasions I was called in, firstly by Major Deon. He told me that if I ever need him I should go directly to him first. I not only got the impression that he would help me, but I knew that he would help me. He was like a father to me, and always inquired about my wellbeing. At a later stage I was called in by Lieutenant Meyer, and he made a statement to me that I thought I was a little god, and to be quite honest I did think that. I did exactly as I pleased. I then asked to work in the office for a while, and I then worked in the office with Constable Haywood for a while. We performed duties relating to the duties of the special constables, as well as the payments made to them. I noticed that their applications to work as special constables had been signed by an Inkatha chief and another Inkatha person. Chief Ntombela's name or signature featured prominently. At the beginning of 1991 I was transferred to B shift. Lieutenant Meyer was overall in charge here. Members of my shift were, inter alia, Franz Erasmus, Mark Barnard, Jimmy Smith, Viljoen, the two van Rooyen brothers and a Potgieter, whose nickname Dompotie. There were about between 20 and 50 special constables, amongst others Madlala, the accomplice in the murder case, my murder case, Keshwa Mlambo, Dlamini, Bhengu and Zuma, and others whose names I can't recall now. On this shift I took part in various assaults with Erasmus, Barnard and Smith on various occasions. With Erasmus and Barnard we searched for arms, separately and together. I would like to emphasise that Erasmus is serving imprisonment along with me, and he was a co-accused in my murder case. He was also approached by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's investigating officers, but it was decided that he would not testify before the Commission since he was not on duty during the Seven Day War. I would also like to place it on record that he took fundamental - played a fundamental role in draafting this statement. At some stage I, along with Jimmy Smith and Vigilus Constantinopoulos, with the nickname of Billy, along with Lieutenant Enoch and warrant-officer - we worked in Mpophomeni in civilian clothes. I can't remember exactly the reason why we were deployed there. We slept in a tent in Midmar. We were searching for some suspects. I can't remember the case name or the case numbers. What I can recall is that our group took part in a couple of assaults in the Mpophomeni area. I also know that we tubed a couple of men there. We also drank quite a lot. That could also be the reason why I can't recall the events so clearly. If Superintendent Meyer and O'Connell, if they cast their minds back they will confirm that I was drinking heavily. Danie Meyer at one stage reprimanded me about my drinking habits, and Herman O'Connell will recall that I went to him regarding this problem, and that I was asking for a transfer away from the unit. I realised that I had a drinking problem and I experienced the stress of the job very severely. All the assaults and human rights violations were starting to catch up with me and having an effect on me. The unit had to help me after I had been booked off by my doctor on the grounds of stress. That could have prevented me committing murder, and that is the worst form of human rights violation. Mark Barnard and myself were also involved with some special constables in assaults and searching for firearms. Nhlanhla Madlala yesterday testified about his involvement as regards firearm sales. I would like to add that Mark Barnard and myself were involved in nine assault cases on which we were found not guilty, and I also would not like to elaborate on this matter because it is contained in my submission to the Amnesty Committee. This happened in February 1991 and does not relate to the Seven Day War. Early on in my days in the unit I was told by senior members that I should at all times carry a home-made firearm in my vehicle to use if I accidentally shot somebody dead. I would then have to plant this home-made firearm on this person so that it would look like it was a case of self-defence. After the reports - after you've listened to the reports on the Seven Day War I now realise what part I played, and to all the people who lost family members, mothers, brothers, sisters, I can only say I am very, very sorry. I missed my own mother's funeral because I was in prison. That really hurt. Just before the Seven Day War I was in Table Mountain, but we were only deployed there after the attack on Chief Maphumulo's house. During such a patrol an Inkatha group of between 10 and 15 men stood chatting to us. They asked whether we wanted to have a braai and have a couple of drinks. We agreed and they brought meat and drinks. My vehicle was parked against the hillside separating areas of the different chiefs, and at that stage houses had already been burnt down and there had been plundering by Chief Maphumulo's people. Some of these people left the area to seek shelter in Chief Maphumulo's other house. Some of them also went to other areas or to town. We were there to prevent Chief Maphumulo's people launching an attack on the other area. Whilst we were having our braai and drinking beer an Inkatha group came around the hillside unseen and launched a new attack on the ANC area. We were assured by the group that were providing the meat and the beer that they were Inkatha people and we had nothing to fear regarding the attack. According to them it also wouldn't last for very long. After the valley had been burnt we then fired 1 000 feet flares for two reasons, namely, firstly, to see whether any groups were moving in the direction of the koppie to attack people in the Inkatha area, and, secondly, to prove to the ANC people that we were present in the area. Constable Liebenberg and about six constables were in my vehicle. Our radio couldn't contact our base, and the Inkatha group of between 10 and 15 people fell back across the koppie during the period that we shot up the light flares, and after a while, when we thought it was safe to do so, we changed our position to try and get a message through Zulu control that shots had been heard in the area, as well as the fact that there were houses and shops burning. We also wanted to relay the message that we would remain in the area, and that the area was not quiet. It was extremely dangerous to drive around in the ANC area because earlier shots had been fired at my vehicle, so to perform normal foot patrol, the normal patrols, was simply out of the question. Neither myself nor my crew wanted to die during the early hours of the morning. When day broke we returned to Pietermaritzburg. We received a message that we had to accompany a female journalist to Chief Maphumulo's home, which we did. There were about 400 refugees present. Chief Maphumulo only arrived at the scene a short while afterwards, and I then withdrew my vehicle from the area. After a while Chief Maphumulo left the area and his people and sought shelter somewhere. This information I received from my specials. The area was basically unhabited and there were many empty houses. Many refugees had moved into the city. I can't remember whether this was before or after the disappearance of Chief Maphumulo, but his vehicle had been fired at, but his guards were inside the car and he was unharmed. But before this incident I knew that an attack would be launched on him. This I also learnt through the specials and the Inkatha impis. They believed that if Chief Maphumulo was killed they would then gain full control over the Table Mountain area. Later all the areas around Pietermaritzburg erupted in violence. The ANC's banning orders were lifted, Mr Mandela was freed. The fighting between the ANC and the IFP became more severe. I was sent from one area to the next to try and stop the fighting. We worked 24-hour shifts. That entailed 24 hours on duty, 24 hours off duty. The worst hit areas were Imbali, Edendale, Thambuza, Table Mountain, Dinadi, KwaShange and Xaluza and Simero. Later it spread to Dlamalala and Taylor's Halt. At the age of 20 I had to make my own choices, and I was working with special constables who were just as young as I was, and they were policemen. Their homes and families were attacked, and this was wrong in my view. The specials were all Inkatha members and supporters, and the ANC and UDF were shooting at us. They hated us and the specials hated them, and I hated them because I nearly died on several occasions as a result of their actions. For that reason I saw myself as on the side of Inkatha. I was taught by the National Party and the chiefs in the Riot Unit that the ANC/UDF alliance was our enemy, that they were terrorists, and as a policeman it was my duty to combat terrorism. The war between us and the ANC was very severe, was intense. To combat terrorism I allied myself with Inkatha. When the ANC was unbanned I never went to a lecture or anything like that which would explain to me that they were no longer regarded as terrorists. I continued my war, because the ANC war against myself and us showed no signes of abating. For that reason I did not stop taking Inkatha members in small groups to areas at night, and for that reason I assured the safety of the Inkatha members and supporters by accompanying them to certain areas, and for that reason also I allowed the special constables to fire shots at ANC people from my vehicle whilst we were busy performing patrols, and for that reason I wanted to chase away the ANC when the ANC people and Inkatha wanted to attack each other. We used stun grenades, tear gas, and even rifle fire. An incident took place in the Henley Dam area. Myself and about four vehicles were surrounded by a group of several thousand people. They wanted to attack each other, the two groups, using pangas and even guns - and assegais. The fighting then spread to the city itself. Groups of people started gathering near the bus depots and started running through the streets. We attended complaints where people had been assaulted and stabbed to death. We saw Inkatha supporters walking around with pangas and kerries, knobkerries, and we were told traditional weapons were legal, it was legal for people to carry these, and that we were not allowed to confiscate these from Inkatha people. Throughout there were groups in the Imbali/Edendale area, Dambuza, Ashdown and Simero. These groups attacked people and vehicles, committed arson, and killed people. We could only try and keep these groups apart. At certain times we had to go through to Mpophomeni to bring the fighting there under control. If there was no policeman well disposed towards the Inkatha they did it after Major Deon's death, 10 days before the start of the Seven Day War, because Roy Ngcobo was an acknowledged UDF supporter. Major Deon was a good man. He was a father figure to us at the unit. Regarding the Seven Day War I can't recall very much, but I have certain flashes of memory. Just before the commencement of the Seven Day War we buried Major Deon. It was a very emotional period in my life. I can remember that I cried a lot, and I also was drinking very heavily at that stage. That was the only way which I knew to try and help me to forget. What I do remember about the Seven Day War is that I started working on a certain day and 36 hours later I went off duty. I remember that many houses and shops were burnt down. There were many refugees. Many of the special constables didn't even report for duty at the unit. I noticed some of them in the areas in which I worked. They would have gone to acknowledged Inkatha chiefs' homes, or larger Inkatha groups, and it was these groups of between 50 and 100, sometimes larger, who were responsible for burning down homes. Who the actual role players were during this period is very hard to say, but the impression I got was that these were organised attacks from the side of the two Inkatha chiefs. Lieutenant Meyer at the time, and Captain McEverly, were also present in these areas to gain first-hand impressions of what was going on. I was busy with my own war against the ANC. Apart from saying that these two officers were in the area it would be impossible for me to say exactly what they did. At this stage my vehicle crew started firing at groups of ANC people without reason. I authorised it because I was told or commanded that we should do that. It was a radio message which I received. Firing would of course not be permitted against the Inkatha groups because there were special constables in these groups. I myself gave one or two belts to the special constables who were part of these groups running around. I repeat, I gave one or two belts to the special constables who were in groups running around. I can't remember what other shifts I worked, who worked with me, or who the special constables were that I could recognise amongst the Inkatha groups. Everything was such a jumble. It was chaotic. We were told at some stage by the officers that we should not enter certain areas since certain the people in certain ANC areas didn't want us there. 32 Batallion of the Defence Force, who worked with us, they were the chosen force to be present in these areas. Our officers told us that we could not comply with their demands and that we should simply adopt a lower profile in such areas. That suited us because then we were guarding the Inkathas. Later the same areas requested us to patrol their areas. They then wanted the Defence Force people out of their areas. That was after the 32 Batallion members apparently raped women and committed theft in the area. The war which I was waging continued until my arrest. In my view I can't see that the term Seven Day War could be connected with all the events in and around Pietermaritzburg at the time. Between 1988 and 1991 I was working for this unit. How many people died during this period alone, not to mention the period before 1988? Even after 1991 until 1996 many more people died in these areas. It was only when the Truth Commission started hearing evidence about the Seven Day War it could be seen that Natal has been embroiled in a situation of war for many, many years, and the boil will have to be lanced, and that will cleanse the wound. Hopefully Natal will be healed by the evidence to be submitted. I will never in my life forget what I experienced in my police career. My part in the events and my war against the ANC, for this I apologise. I apologise before all the people of South Africa. I am sincerely sorry for what the National Party made me do. On the other hand I forgive the ANC for their part in all the attempts on my life, as well as for murders and attacks on my colleagues and Inkatha people. I greet the new, reformed South Africa with new hope for each and every South African. My fear belongs to the past, but now, because I have made a confession today here, I leave today as a marked man. For the rest of my life I'll be stigmatised, which will declare to the world that I am a traitor, but myself, Erasmus, Madlala, did we ever think that we would walk out of herescott-free? We can't dispute it. As from today we live in total fear, inside and outside of prison. Many will say that I deserve all this, and that now I will really know how the people in the black areas must have felt, but there's a difference. You can change to a different area and make a fresh start. I have to go back to where I came from. I have no choice. I've been branded as a traitor, a traitor to my own people. But there will be people who understand, they understand that the truth must triumph in the end, and hopefully the truth will set me free one day. I would like to conclude by saying - the question which the Commission puts to people, what can the Commission do to help the suffering of the victims? As far as that's concerned, firstly I think all the people who are still without homes and a livelihood after all these years, I think they must be taken care of ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 1) ... in their housing programmes. Although the former Government must take the blame for that the current Government must ensure that these things are addressed. The former Government can make a better contribution, because it still exists as a political party in our country. Not only must the National Party become more involved, the other parties, all the other political parties and organisations should also become more involved. Everybody should make some gesture to prove that all parties and groupings are standing together as one to try and build up this country of ours. The times when political parties and organisations were just seen as paying lip service to certain ideas amongst members of the public are past. They must now make some effective contribution and co-operate. Various denominations and church groups have led the way in this regard, and they've proved that these attempts can succeed. Each party or political organisation is connected to some church or religious nomination, and that can serve as a base to bring together people from all walks of life and spheres of life to become actively involved. Secondly, people who were damaged in some way, or who suffered damage in some way, this problem must be addressed as well. People whose human rights were violated, they must be looked at. They must be brought face to face with the people who actually violated their human rights, such as, for instance, myself. I still have to be given the opportunity to appear before the Amnesty Committee to reveal my full participation in events, as well as to beg forgiveness from the people, the people whom I caused suffering to. But for me that is not sufficient. I would like to see that more is done to promote reconciliation. For instance, a non-official gathering place could be created so that the perpetrator can meet the person whose human rights he violated, and to talk about the reasons for all the various attacks which led to human rights violations. If after the amnesty hearing I am acquitted I would very much like to be part of such a movement, or even to start up such a clinic. My final and third point is the following. I suggest that more effort - more attempts are made to involve former policemen in hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to make full disclosure about all their acts relating to the apartheid era, that which they did under the banner of the National Party. Thank you.
Mr Harrington, thank you for that testimony. We understand the code of secrecy that exists between policemen, and we know how difficult it is to break that code and to talk about your former colleagues, and we thank you for having had the courage to do so. Before you step down we would like to ask you some questions. You have been here for the last few days, for the last two days, and you have heard your accomplice, Mr Madlala, talk about his role and the role of the other special constables in the Seven Day War, and the involvement of Mr Ntombela with the special constables. You heard his testimony. Is that your understanding of the role of those people at the time, Mr Ntombela, the special constables? Do you agree with the evidence that was given by Mr Madlala yesterday? --- Yes, I fully agree.
Can you tell us something about the relationship between the Riot Unit Eight, the special constables and Mr Ntombela? --- What I can say is that the special constables and our members were very close to each other. We worked 24-hour shifts alongside each other. Sometimes for longer periods. At such an early age, especially in my case, you are trapped in politics and you can easily be influenced in a certain way. Through the influence of the special constables - they were attacked simply because they were policemen. That was wrong as far as I was concerned. They were also part of the unit, they were also family. And if you, for instance, go out in a group, and some of your friends are members of this group, you wouldn't start shooting at this group. Obviously not. I even went to the home of Chief Ntombela. I dropped off special constables at his home to act as guards there, and I was invited by him to have dinner with him, to have a meal with him.
Now, the evidence which you gave, you said that you were with special constables in the Table Mountain area, and you were invited by an Inkatha group to join them in a braai and to have drinks with them. Did I understand you correctly when you said that when you were braai-ing and having drinks with them another Inkatha group launched an attack on a nearby UDF or ANC area? --- That is correct, Chairperson.
And the Inkatha people that you were with told you not to worry, and that you did not take any action to prevent or even investigate the attack, but that you continued to braai and drink? --- That was the case, yes.
Mr Harrington, you fell under various senior officers at the unit, Lieutenant Meyer and others, Lieutenant van der Heever. Were they aware that the Riot Unit and the special constables were being deployed in this fashion and that they were behaving in this fashion? --- That is difficult, it's difficult to say yes or no, but it was so generally done and openly done that none of us were reprimanded about this. It wasn't seen as wrong.
You said also that you saw on the application forms which people had to fill in to become special constables that they contained the - or included the signature of IFP chiefs, is that correct? --- That's correct.
You also mentioned that you used your army vehicle to transport IFP people to certain areas. Could you just elaborate on that? What was the purpose of transporting them, and to what areas were they transported, and what was their aim when they went to those areas? --- I often came upon groups of Inkatha specials, about between 10 and 20 people, at night, where they were on their way to specific areas to attack an ANC home. I then thought it a good idea to convey them in my own vehicle and to take them to such a house or area. I never specifically took part in these raids myself, because my objective was to stand back, to keep my distance, to prevent ANC supporters from running away from this area. My other objective was to - after the shots that I had heard, to escort the special constables back to where they had come from.
You also said that you were under orders not to disarm any IFP people whom you caught with illegal or home-made weapons, is that correct? --- No, these were traditional weapons. We were told not to confiscate traditional weapons.
And what about guns, firearms? --- If I came upon groups and they had firearms in their possession - such an incident took place in the city. I noticed that there were firearms involved, that people were carrying firearms. We didn't confiscate these firearms from the people.
Were these specific standing instructions which came to you from your unit? --- No, I wouldn't say they were specific instructions, but the fact that an officer was in the vicinity or at the scene, you know, for that reason it was authorised.
From your experience then at the time can you tell us about your involvement with refugees, and just try and give us some idea as to the sorts of problems you encountered, and specifically the scale of the problem, the size of the problem? --- Mr Chairman and all the Members of the Commission, and the audience at large, I do want to say this first of all, to highlight a few things that I may forget. This word refugees we did try our best to remove it from people's mind, and instil displacees. That we did because this word refugee could make people afraid and scared ever of going back to their places - original. For the fact that they have been moved for a while we thought they will be always longing to go back to their places, original places, because it was clear to us that the way they've been removed from their original places was not an acceptable way in any way. I do want to say this. First of all I will begin here, that even you have asked me to say something about the people who fled from their places there are many things that make one feel that talking about them some things are implicated right there. As I was a pastor at Georgetown, not too far away from the main road which runs from Pietermaritzburg to Vulindlela, there was no any other way that we could avoid - to avoid being spectators and folding our arms. And also we thus believed that the church stands to help those who are going through atrocities, and it is also my belief as a person that my duty calls for me to enlist help to people that need help. It has been evident the story about the children of Israel leaving Egypt to the Canaan land, I'll read about in the Bible and other books. I've never seen it, or witnessed such thing. But on the 28th of March in the morning of that day the picture that always read about from the books came back, and it was so clear and visible in my mind. From around nine in the morning I saw people coming from the hill top with possessions and some boxes, and some with their babies in the back, women. Some trying to help those who were not feeling well, sick, and others because they were old they could not walk properly and probably fast. Some others trying to guide their children to make sure they are safe. They were headed towards the valley. After a while some of them arrived in Edendale, where I was stationed at the time. I would like to say at this point in time, because of my duty I was not only working in Edendale, but I was -the circuit of pastors was all over in Vulindlela. These people came, arrived, and after two hours they were already at Thuthuka Community Hall, had arrived there. Right at that time the people who were there that day were approximately 5 000 or even more. Most of those people were already accepted by the St Albert Mission of the Roman Catholics in the valley. Some were taken into the school down the valley, higher primary school. Those who had already arrived in Edendale it was imperative that within a twinkling of an eye we should provide them with accommodation. We were not hesitant at all. The community was actually conducive to contain about 1 000 people, but it was inevitable of us to even put more people to be accommodated in that place. We asked YMCA of Edendale to accommodate others, and different churches in the area to accommodate those people. I will also like at this point in time to make mention of this. I do salute them, the pastors and the leaders of the churches who accommodated those people, except for the Seventh Day Adventist Church, because of the reason that their church was beautiful. It also had a carpet, so those people could make it dirty. During those days the youths of Edendale wanted to burn the church house. I do thank God by giving us strength to prevent the youth from burning that church. I don't want to dwell in that one. Subsequently to that we tried to figure out as to who those people were, and also know how many they were. The great need was that of food, water, blankets and clothes. It was as clear to us that as pastors of the area - I had already touched other pastors from the valley - we had no way of meeting the great need. I do want to thank the PACSA, Peter Kirchoff who was the leader, who came to us when we needed them most, so that there could also be communication not only of the people in the church, but also to start a committee which was subsequently named Pietermaritzburg Crisis Co-ordinating Committee, which was subdivided - people from the church, politicians and other community members, and ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 2) ... we could not attend that meeting because there was still violence in the area. But that meeting did help to meet the need of the things that I've already mentioned. Some of the things that we needed were toilets, because people were many. There was that fear that gathering of such a large number of people in such a small area could probably have caused diseases after that. But one other thing was that the people who were coming it was not only the reason that they were - they were not only running away for their safety, but also they had left behind dead bodies. Some were their mothers, some brothers, some sisters, and their children, that even when they were here their minds were still back crying and mourning that at least those of them that were already killed should be buried decently. Their pain was so deep and excruciating, and it was not so easy that they should go back home because the way they had escaped, and the things they related to us that were happening there, and how those who were killed were killed, young and old, made them not to even wish to go back home any more. It was such a difficulty, especially that at the time the police even - even when you report a matter to the police that could probably help them to go back home the police would not even take notice of that, or they will probably take their own time to attend to the matter reported. I do also like to express that one great help emanated out of the organisation that we already formed, because this organisation monitored in the whole area as to what had happened, and did point out clear to the newspapers how great and how deep the damage was, so that those who had compassion could bring food and clothes. Let me also state that when we had already received all those things the difficult part of it was to distribute these things to make sure that everyone is helped. It is amazing that people in such conditions, those who were not affected at all, also wanted to come nearby so that they also could get some help. Especially when you distributed food people who were not so much highly affected by this could come and even destruct the whole thing, so that at the end no one could get food or benefit from that, because they were not in need at all. It is surprising that those who have things, possessions, is the one who is greedy more than the needy ones. I do believe that the one who is in need knows for sure that - what it means, and the greedy ones always want to remain greedy ever. This was one of the problems we encountered in trying that we meet the needs of the people. We did not have such a problem in as far as blankets were concerned, but we did encounter a problem in as far as clothing was concerned. Truly some of the people that we knew who were amongst those who were giving, distributing clothes to the people, had - we saw them now wearing new clothes suddenly. It came out to us that as they were going to distribute these clothes to these people they did steal some clothes from the ones that we gave them. Although I must say that I don't say this was such a disturbance to us. I will also like to say that of the things I've already mentioned here one other challenge we had was in as far as preparing for the funerals. We had to make arrangements that the corpses get to the mortuaries, or we had to take the people here that we were helping to the mortuaries so that they could identify their people from the mortuary. One painful thing in that act I remember particularly. I was with these particular people. When we got there they discovered that the corpse was so brutally injured that they could not continue, they could not be at peace after seeing that. One of those people, before we left back to the churches we had to take him to the doctor. I must say that at this point in time the Edendale Hospital had no good reputation at all. I think one of the reasons which led to that was that one day the ambulance of Edendale Hospital was discovered not undertaking its duties, instead colluding with the other organisation in destructing and destroying the UDF. That led to the bad reputation of the Edendale Hospital. The males who were injured even among the refugees would cry and say, "Please, no," in case you want to take them to the Edendale Hospital. I do want to thank the private practitioners who were prepared to enlist help to the people. Some of those people we could not take them to the hospital or the surgeries in an ambulance, as I have already said, and our cars as pastors, and others who were working along with, became ambulances. We rendered now ambulance services. I don't want to dwell in that one, but I do want to say one other thing is that a woman before she could deliver it does not matter where she is. Now, one day in my car, even before we got to the hospital, because those who were expectant agreed to be taken to the hospital. Because I have a station wagon car I heard at the back the cry of a baby, of an infant, but I had to drive to the hospital. I said to the parents of the baby I would like to give the baby a name, and I will say she is Nobubaleka, but they did not take that name, and I had never seen them after that. I have since seen them that time. Now, these are some of the things that we encountered. One other thing that transpired, we know that to be afforded an opportunity and to be a family is that it is important to know that it's quite important to be a family. Now, because they were in that condition in such a situation the family concept, the concept of being a family was completely lost. The growing ups, especially the boys, did not accept to be accommodated in the churches and halls. Instead of that they requested for a place at friends' places in the Edendale area. We only had - we had males and females under one roof, not divided inside. That created a situation of not having any privacy at all as families and so on. This - as a result of this some encountered marital problems. I think because of this reason, because of the way the situation was, no privacy at all, secondly they were intermingling with many other people under one roof, I am sad to say people - I won't mention people's names here, because they came to me as a pastor to confide in - it was called for that after that some should go through a divorce. I know of two couples who encountered that problem. I also know that there could be some others, but it was not so easy for them to approach me. I think those two approached me because they respected the church. That brought in my mind that it was so clear that being exposed in such a situation brought difficulties to families, and that led to the breaking of families. I also want to highlight in as far as education is concerned. Those refugees - I remember Mr Zondi was a teacher at Nzameni High School. I believe he already came forward here to the Truth Commission. I think even some others who were teachers as well were made not to carry on with the teaching profession, because in the schools in which they were teaching people of Vulisaka and Mnyandu had fled the area. They still did continue and carry on, but the teachers could not go and teach though they wished they could because they had fled and escaped, and not wanting to go back to the area. And also there was no one who was prepared to guarantee their safety. And there are many other children who were forced to leave school. Some were already in higher standards. Their education was highly disturbed. Even though what I am going to talk about now concerns me, but I would like to say that I had a boy who was doing matric at that time at a vocational school. He was highly involved in the Seven Day War, that after the Seven Day War he decided to leave the country and escape. Even after trying to encourage him, to tell him that all has passed now, let's look into the future, he refused completely. He left, he went to Zimbabwe. Even there he faced problems. Right now he is trying to bring himself to a better standard of living. I do want to highlight on something about the things that already have been mentioned before regarding the Seven Day War, that this gentleman here, Meyer, who was right here, I am surprised he repudiated everything about the fact that the police were also shooting, because in the Xaluza fight there's a person I know, by the name of Rudolf, who was shot at by the police in a helicopter. He was shot and he was carried back home. And one other thing that is puzzling me is that where he was shot the area was predominantly of the ones that were attacking, but he was shot in that very area. Let me backtrack and go back tot he story of the refugees. I say that Thuthuka Hall was used, and other churches - especially the Thuthuka Hall. After all this was over because it had accommodated refugees there were those who attacked it and burnt the hall. Even today that hall is useless, cannot be used in any way. The insurance of the hall had altercation and arguments to the effect of, "You were in charge, not us," and so forth, because there are two insurances, there's state of emergency insurance and the usual normal insurance. After leaving Edendale it was estimated that to refurbish the whole hall would cost R4 000,00. I do want to request from the Commission that if there is any way - Mr Chairman and the Members of the Committee, is there anything that can be done regarding this hall, because it did not help one person but helped many people at the time of need? As a result of this help that it rendered to the people it was destroyed completely. Even if that was not the reason, but the way the arguments went on between the two different insurances led to us think that's the problem. One other thing that was important was that our duties as pastors that we carried on on daily basis, we had to put them aside and have second-in-charge people, because we had telephones ringing continuously for 24 hours, people wanting to inquire about the state of the refugees. One other thing was that we could not also conduct as daily duties as usual because the most important thing at the time was for us to help - enlist help to the refugees, especially attending meetings of the organisations that I've already explained about before, and going up and down about other things with regard to the situation. Our level of performance and Christianity deteriorated, and we could not attend to some other things. Also that created some kind of enmity in the church between those who were
suspecting that why did we accept and accommodate these people in the churches. But by God's grace we don't know how it happened that the church was not divided into two, having one group saying, "We will go to church, to our church, because we are Inkatha," and the other group saying, "As UDF we will go to our own church." I say this because in our church the church was predominantly Inkatha than UDF. One other thing that people had in mind at the time was the Apostle Church was working hand in hand with UDF. I don't even know what was wrong in that even if it was so. Truly speaking I did encourage people to take one side instead of being neutral, because there are many people who died who did not even know what was happening, because those who died knowing what was happening at least they died satisfactory. But it is pathetic to know that many people who died are people who died not knowing whether they were going or coming, no direction at all. I do like in closing to highlight on this, that after the refugees in the attacks that took place on Tuesday there are people who were killed in KwaMnyandu on Thursday. One was shot and died just towards our church building. That boy did lie there since Thursday up to Sunday morning. One of you Commissioners up front there went with him, were trying to locate the corpse, dead bodies of the people around the area. We found out that Sunday morning there were bodies that were already beginning to spoil and getting rotten lying there. We tried to ask the police to come fetch all the corpses and dead bodies lying around the neighbourhood. I do believe that people who were resident in the places they had left now, and those who witnessed how people were killed brutally, that I believe
that even today they don't wish to go back to their places. One other thing that adds to this. One of the chiefs who's now late, who said he will plough in KwaMnyandu sugar cane. Even today when you pass by that place you see trees more than houses, because people were so scared, they were traumatised about that, that they don't wish to go back to those places. I do believe that even when this is all said and done now, and in the past, it will take a long time for sure that those people's minds and their souls get back to a normal state of a normal person. There are people who will say - who were hiding in those churches, when you say to them, "Hey, there is Ntombela," they will run and almost want to get out through windows. When you say, "There is Nsikiza," they will look for a door so they can run away as fast as their feet can carry them. Some others I do believe that even at night they do have those dreams, scary dreams, nightmares that make them shout at night, and cry. I think the healing of those people who were exposed to that will take time. Now we are happy that you in front here are putting so much effort that all the things which took place should come out into open, that the healing should start and proceed. I am one of those who will take time to be fine, and this is why I said, "Please clean the chair before I sit," and do forgive me for that. It is because of the things I had seen, and also my upbringing has a lot to do with this. I think it will be my grandchildren who will see the Canaan land. I just think I will die here, here in this wilderness.
dedicated work of people like yourself, and the many others from the churches, from the Pietermaritzburg Crisis Co-ordinating Committee, doctors and others, the terrible suffering of those people who were victims during that week would have been even more unbearable. It should not have been the responsibility of churches and NGOs to care for these people, it should have been the responsibility of the Government, but as we heard yesterday the Government said that it would only provide monetary relief if it was equally distributed amongst both sides, and as a result of that not one cent of the ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 2) ... the churches, Crisis Committee and others, and we want to thank you, and those others who are here today, for their hard work and their dedication, and to thank you for your submission today. Thank you very much indeed.
Inspector Meyer, we understand that you have been instructed by the police to give the official SAP version of this event which became known as the Seven Day War, is that correct? --- That's correct, Mr Chairman. I am actually Director Meyer, not inspector.
Sorry, I apologise. Director Meyer, sorry. Can you then prepare to read from your statement which I understand that you have prepared, and you have made copies available to the Commission. --- That is correct, Mr Chairman. I would like to ask - after the submission I would like to change to Afrikaans. I am reading the submission in English because the whole documents were prepared in English.
"Submissions by the South African Police Service regarding the incidence of public violence in Edendale and surrounding areas during March 25 to April 1990, also referred to as the Seven Day War.
"This report endeavours to set forth this Department's version of the events as accurately as possible in the absence of several official records relating to the
"period in question. Unavailable records which were kept by the former Riot Unit Eight, Pietermaritzburg, are SAP15s, section sergeants' reports, which contains the details of all members as deployed in their sections during the period, and SAP280 radio incident report forms, on which all incidents reported to Riot Unit's operational room were recorded. Departmental prescriptions for the destruction of the ephemeral records relating to these forms is a period of one year, and the present commander of Public Order Policing Unit No 8, Superintendent O'Connell, states that these records were in fact destroyed in terms of the relevant instructions. The other official records are the pocket books of individual members, and eight occurrence books relating to that period, and the crime registers, and these were removed by Mr Cockett of your investigation unit on 96.10.25. Notwithstanding a request that the documents in question be returned to enable us to scrutinise same they have not been returned. This office report is thus based on the recollection of individual members involved and the accuracy thereof can thus not be guaranteed. The following members were consulted: Director McDuling, Director Meyer, Senior Superintendent Upton, Superintendent van den Heever, Superintendent O'Connell, Captain Brookes, Captain van Huysteen.
"Director Meyer was the officer from Unit Eight most directly involved in dealing with the matter on an ongoing basis, and has therefore also been assigned to present the official account of the matter to the Commission.
Background: . Edendale township is bordered by rural areas occupied by several tribes, who resorted under traditional authority with chiefs and headmen. These tribes are Mpumuza, Inadi, Mafunze and Nxamalala. The bulk of these tribes are comprised of members of the IFP. Edendale on the other hand did not resort under the tribal authorities, and the bulk of the township's inhabitants were UDF/ANC aligned. Since 1987 unrest began to break out in several of the outlying areas such as Taylor's Halt, Gezabuso, KwaShange, Mpumuza, Xaluza, Sweetwaters, Nxamalala and Elandskop. As UDF/ANC stepped up recruiting campaigns in these rural areas IFP members in Edendale were driven out of the area, and clashed between rival groups frequently took place. Inhabitants of areas had to state their alliance either to the one or to the other of the opposing political parties, and large scale intimidation took place. No go areas for members of opposing political parties became established, and incidents of violence only persisted in those areas where no clear domination by a particular grouping had been established. Because the main route
"to Pietermaritzburg goes through Edendale rural IFP supporters who worked in town were compelled to make use of the routes, and frequent attacks began to take place on commuters in buses and taxis. Between 1987 and 1990 the conflict escalated and the UDF/ANC gained support and control in certain of the rural areas. During the period industrial labour actions and strikes were intensified. These were mainly spearheaded by UDF/COSATU alliance. IFP supporters who did not want to participate and wished to continue working were prevented from going to work as they would be attacked en route. Bus drivers were also influenced to participate in the strike action and stay-aways were initiated, resulting in no transport being available. This again resulted in counter actions or boycotts of the bus transport by IFP members. It also resulted in heightening of the tensions. Bus drivers who ignored the call and drove through Edendale were attacked, and several buses were damaged by stones and petrol bombs, and they were shot at. Commuters were also injured and killed. As a result of these attacks there were large scale mobilisations of IFP members bent on launching attacks on the inhabitants of Edendale. It was only through the proactive intervention of members of Unit Eight that these large scale attacks were averted on three occasions, when
"IFP members who had mobilised were persuaded not to carry on. During certain of the periods when attacks were intensified members of Unit Eight and the SADF patrolled and lined the route through Edendale to prevent attacks on buses and taxis.
"The Seven Day War. On Sunday the 25th of March 1990 there was a big IFP rally in Durban, where Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi was to address IFP supporters. On the way to the rally the buses which travelled through Edendale were attacked. The police had anticipated that there would be such an attack because these attacks on buses occurred regularly. Director Meyer spoke to Mr David Ntombela and requested that the buses use another route. Mr Ntombela, however, insisted that they would use the route through Edendale in the morning because it would be early in the morning and therefore there shouldn't be any trouble. They would then use the Howick route when they come back in the afternoon. This was a detour of about 20 kilometres. According to Director Meyer Mr Ntombela was quite adamant about using Edendale road in the morning. There were approximately 100 buses in the convoy. The police did escort the buses, but because there were so many buses the policemen were widely dispersed among them. SADF members were also deployed along the route together with SAP members. Despite
"these measures numerous attacks took place along the route. There were instances where buses stopped, passengers disembarked, and chased the attackers. There were accusations by both sides, passengers and bystanders, that the opposite side had initiated the attacks. The police did everything in their power to keep the buses moving, and were specifically instructed to do this. During the course of the day several illegal blockades were erected on the roads in the Edendale area, consisting of burning tyres, old car wrecks, etcetera, which the police had to clear away. Whilst trying to clear the debris and attend to an accident which had occurred as a result of the roadblocks they came under attack from Edendale township dwellers. They had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds that attacked them. Contrary to Mr Ntombela's undertaking that the buses would not return via Edendale road Director Meyer observed a bus taking that route. Members of his unit then reported that they had tried to direct buses, but several refused to stop and continued. He then took members to Imbali robots to try and stop buses, and went into Edendale itself to assess the situation. The members contacted him by radio and said that the buses didn't want to stop. About 12 to 14 buses stopped opposite Edendale Hospital. All the passengers disembarked and wanted to march
"through Edendale. He and about six to seven members tried to stop them and turn them back. While the SAP were trying to turn them back shots were being fired at them and the passengers from houses in the township. At the same time people at a nearby shop were also firing shots. Two members approached the shop to apprehend the shottists. One was arrested with an unlicensed firearm. The groups of passengers insisted that they wanted to walk through Edendale. Presumably they wanted to demonstrate a show of strength. The police refused to let them through. Director Meyer was compelled to hold their firearms at the ready, and this persuaded the passengers to re-embark. The police blockaded the road and told the bus drivers that they could not go through Edendale, they had to turn around. None of the buses from the rally therefore went through Edendale. However, other buses which came through Edendale not connected to the rally, especially empty buses with just the driver, were attacked. These buses were badly damaged. At this stage the police came under heavy attack. Every vehicle through Edendale was a target. Policemen were put at Imbali robots and at Gezabuso on the Edendale road to stop all vehicles from going into Edendale. Police vehicles were continuously attacked. Police worked until midnight and then withdrew so fresh people could be
"deployed the next day, because virtually all their resources had been utilised during the afternoon and evening. During the planning it was planned that the SADF would be placed at various strategic points on the main road. They generally performed patrol duties on the main road. Their manpower was also somewhat limited as the assistance which they could offer was limited. On this particular day Director Meyer cannot remember if the SADF were at their positions where it had been planned that they would be. On the same day at Marawa House, the KwaZulu Government offices and IFP offices in Edendale, was attacked and building damaged.
On Monday 26th of March no buses were running, so no IFP people could go to work. Blockades were still erected on the roads. A few taxis tried to go into town. A petrol bomb was thrown at a taxi near Georgetown, forcing it into the gutter and resulting in one passenger being badly burnt. On Monday morning Nsikayezwa Zondi's vehicle was attacked at Thulani's Garage in the Moscow area. He was chief of the Inadi tribe."
"The IFP supporters who were unable to go to work were already mobilising at Elandskop as news of the attack on the chief's vehicle was received, which incenses them even more. At
"this stage Mr Ntombela was not in the area. He went directly from the rally to Ulundi, since he was a member of KwaZulu Parliament. He only returned on the Monday evening after he had heard about the trouble.
On Tuesday 27th March IFP supporters from Sweetwaters mobilised and marched towards Edendale. Police stopped them on the border of Xaluza and Mpumuza boundary. Director Meyer spoke to Philip Zondi, IFP leader for Sweetwaters, and the brother of Chief Zondi. He undertook to take his people back. The IFP supporters had traditional weapons with them. No firearms were observed. Whilst these discussions were taking place a group broke away from the main group and went into Xaluza, where Detective Sergeant Nene's house was attacked, and he was injured and later died of his injuries. Stun grenades were used by the police to prevent the break-away group from going further into Xaluza. Another group also broke away and went into Xaluza over the hill. They were cut off my police and SADF and forced to retreat to Mpumuza area. On the other side of the hill, on the Mpumuza side, an attack was also launched on Ashdown residents. During the attack several houses were burnt down. During the day the police had their hands full trying to prevent IFP groups from several areas forming and marching to Edendale. On Tuesday night an IFP leader,
"Poswa, was shot dead and burnt in his car at KwaShange turn-off. The hostility from the people in the area as UDF supporters was such that the police could not go in and remove the body immediately. The following day the Riot Investigation Unit, under Senior Superintendent Upton, went and retrieved the body.
On Wednesday 28 March attacks started early in the morning while it was still dark. News was received of several attacks at: Botswana, IFP area, houses burnt; Ashdown, UDF area, houses burnt; Mpumuza, IFP area; Xaluza, UDF area; Sweetwaters, IFP area; Simero, UDF area. All available manpower was mobilised in these areas. Elandskop people mobilised because of information received concerning Poswa's death. They then launched the attack on KwaShange, Gezabuso, and the bottom section of Vulisaka. Police had to try and deal with all these attacks. There was simply not enough manpower to cope with the magnitude, and consequently reinforcements were requested from Durban Riot Unit. The attacks on the two prominent IFP leaders was an aggravating factor that exacerbated an already tense situation, and which appeared to have sparked off the intensity of the confrontation. Attacks on KwaMnyandu, a UDF stronghold, also took place on Wednesday and several people were killed. The terrain in several of these areas was such
"that no vehicles could traverse, and it could only be reached on foot or by helicopter. The helicopter was deployed on more than one occasion to disperse groups of attackers, and also to assist members under siege under the command of Superintendent O'Connell. In the Ziboveni/KwaShange area a group of looters were cornered with the help of the helicopter and Riot Investigation Unit members. They were caught into a tent. Several people were arrested and charged for possession of suspected stolen property because complainants could not be identified. IFP groups also mobilised at Sweetwaters, Ezimbomvini and Umvundleweni. On nightfall attacks had subsided and reinforcements had arrived.
On Thursday 29 March and Friday 30 March sporadic incidents still occurred in several areas, resulting in some deaths and damage to property, but the intensity of the attacks had subsided. The violence also spilled over to the Imbali and Mpophomeni areas on these days. In one incident in Simero area Superintendent van den Heever and three other members responded to a request for assistance from a member of the Riot Investigation Unit who was trapped in the area. They were ambushed and involved in a shoot-out with heavily armed men before they could extricate themselves. A foreign reporter and Natal Witness reporter also got caught in the same situation and also
Police investigations into the Seven Day War: . Investigations of reported cases arising from the conflict were done by the Riot Investigation Unit under the command of Senior Superintendent Upton, consisting of 27 members. It is clear from the number of incidents that took place that only a very small percentage were reported to police for investigation. During the period 25th of March to 4 April 1990 87 cases were reported for investigation by this unit, of which approximately 49 were murder cases. From newspaper reports it would seem quite apparent that far more people were killed whose deaths were not reported to the police. The investigation team experienced tremendous hostility from both parties involved, and there was very little, if any, co-operation whatsoever with the investigations ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 4) ... by the Riot Investigation Unit to assist, but notwithstanding not much success was achieved. During the investigations members of the Riot Investigation Unit were ambushed, fired upon and petrol bombed. On Wednesday 28 March members of the Riot Investigation Unit arrested several suspected looters of property, during which shots were fired by the
"Investigation Unit whilst the attacks on Ezibomvini/KwaShange areas were in progress. Due to the non-appearance of complainants looted property could not be identified, and several of the culprits were acquitted due to lack of evidence, although a few convictions for possession of suspected stolen property did ensue.
In conclusion it is apparent from the observations of members involved, and is also borne out by newspaper reports quoting monitors as stating that there were as many as 12 000 persons involved in the conflict at times. These numbers of course varied from place to place and time to time, but frequent incidents involving large groups of 2 000 to 4 000 persons occurred. Prior to the reinforcements from Durban arriving the manpower position of Unit Eight, which was supplemented by approximately 50 members on detachment duty from elsewhere, comprising a maximum of plus/minus 200 people. This included the administration staff. Even the fact that members worked shifts it meant that normally plus/minus 100 members would be on duty at any given time. Many members of Unit Eight resided in troubled areas, and were subsequently unable to come to work due to the unrest. With this limited manpower at their disposal the police were hard pressed to cope with the magnitude of the problems. The SADF
"also did not have many available members, and at most were able to field one company, comprising between 90 and 120 persons. Given these limitations it is submitted that the police played a significant role in minimising and quelling the violence. To illustrate this I wish to quote the following extracts from newspaper reports. Natal Witness, 28 March 1990: "Police moved in again. The attackers were eventually herded out of Xaluza. Residents mobilised to defend the area and a sporadic gun battle ensued. Police again moved in and warded off the attackers." Daily News, 28th of March: "Yesterday at Xalusa, near Edendale, a group of about 2 000 were fighting in fierce battle until Riot Police got into the crowd to disperse them. The fighting soon started in another area close by. The police moved in again and the attackers were persuaded to leave Xaluza. Later a crowd was seen to move to Mpumuza, but the police warded off the attackers." A quotation by Democratic Party MP, Pierre Cronje, commended the way in which the police had dispersed the crowds. The Echo, 29 March 1990: "The police move their Casspirs up the hill which divides Xaluza from Simero. It is with relief that I see those minute figures in blue more than 1 000 metres away dash down between the groups and head off the attack. On the main road between Xaluza and
"Sweetwaters we see the police form a barricade and drive the impi back towards Sweetwaters." The Natal Witness, 29 March: "Police arrived on the hillside, cutting off the attacking group. Police eventually mounted a preventative exercise, warding off the attacking group and herding them back onto the road. The attack began, but bloodshed was averted when the police arrived."
Finally I once again refer you to the introductory remarks, and wish to emphasise that our task in presenting as full as possible a report has been hampered to a large extent by the lack of available records, but I trust that the report has served to place the Commission in a position to understand the police perspective of the events of that period."
"The Police response to submission of Professor J J W Aitchison, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, on the 18.11.96.
"however, not aware of any aid to Inkatha in successful counter attacks. However, the fact that the learned professor refers to counter attacks presupposes that there were attacks on Inkatha members by the so-called non-Inkatha refugees, to whom we will henceforth refer to as the UDF/COSATU alliance. This is in keeping with the SA Police submissions that unrest commenced in the rural areas bordering on Edendale township during 1987, when the UDF/ANC started recruiting campaigns in the rural areas and clashes began to occur. 1. The suggestion that the security forces should guarantee the rights of people to live in safety is a reference to utopia. It is impossible for the security forces in any country, let alone KwaZulu Natal, with its history of violence, to guarantee the rights of people to safety. We can only strive to do our best in this regard, and it is our submission that the SA Police members risked their lives on daily basis prior to, during, and after the events of the Seven Day War. Anyone with any understanding of the nature of the conflict existing in those days would realise that it would be an impossibility for the SA Police and other security forces to have maintained a daily presence at the houses of thousands of refugees, who had fled the rural areas and moved into the Edendale and surrounding townships to avoid the counter
2. To suggest that the SA Police was not serious in their efforts to prevent vehicles from being stoned is ridiculous. Police were engaged on an almost daily basis in patrolling the area, and the SADF were requested to assist by placing vehicles on strategic places along the route through Edendale township. This road spans a distance of plus/minus 12 kilometres from Vulisaka to Imbali robots. From 1988 to the period in question incidents of stone-throwing occurred sporadically. Incidents of stone-throwing increased substantially during stay-aways, mass protests and ...
"... on these days, but it was virtually impossible to determine beforehand where such incidents would occur. Apart from the main route referred to incidents of stone-throwing also occurred on the route to Gezabuso to Sweetwaters, especially in the KwaShange and Nxamalala area, which stretches over 10 kilometres. At times when stone-throwing was anticipated the police did their best to escort vehicles through these areas given the limited manpower and logistical resources.
" SADF, for the purpose of sharing information and planning operations. Obviously the planning depended on the nature of the information received and the reliability thereof. Naturally the police did anticipate the possibility of further mobilisation of people during this period as it was clear from intelligence reports that tensions remained extremely high in the areas concerned. Regular police patrols were mounted in identified flash point areas, and it is naturally impossible to say what effect these patrols had in preventing further mobilisation, but we are convinced that these patrols played a vital part in containing many outbreaks of violence. With particular reference to the situation immediately prior to the outbreak of the Seven Day War, the police did anticipate that buses could be stoned en route to the IFP rally in Durban, and this is dealt with in paragraph three of our submission.
"paragraph three of our submission in detail. The police, however, find it amazing that there should be a suggestion that they, with the awesome firepower at their disposal, should contemplate shooting at attackers of the buses when it is a well known fact that security forces pursue a police of minimum force. At all times the police endeavour to avoid armed confrontation with groups by negotiations and mediation.
Day three, 27th March 1990. In regard to the allegations of involvement with people dressed in "kits konstabel" uniforms, we wish to draw the following aspects to the attention of the Commission. The uniform worn by special constables was blue overalls, which was commonly available in many shops and also worn by many workers at various places of employment in the city. In addition many of the special constables had been discharged from the SA Police, inter alia for desertion, and many had not returned their uniforms. The SAPS, however, do not discount the possibility that several of these special constables may have become embroiled in the violence since they also resided in the areas wrecked by violence. If they did so, however, they were embarking on a mission of their own and did not have the sanction of the SA Police. The Commission is respectfully referred to paragraph 5 (1) and 5 (2) of our submission.
"These newspaper reports directly contradict the allegations that police did not halt attacks, and this is in any event disputed most strongly by this department. We maintain that we did everything in our power to stop the attacks.
8. If some policemen on various occasions supplied Inkatha forces with weapons and ammunition this was most certainly not done with the knowledge and/or collusion of the officers in charge of the operations at the time. Such actions would never have been tolerated, and, given the strict control over the use of ammunition and firearms, could hardly have gone undetected. We therefore express serious reservations as to the accuracy of such allegations.
9. Fourth day. In paragraph 3 (4) of our submissions we have pointed out that several attacks in at least six areas already occurred early in the morning prior to daybreak, and all available personnel were despatched to these various areas to attend. It was specifically because of the magnitude of the violence that additional security forces were brought in from Durban during the course of the day. The attacks were spread over an extremely wide area, and it was impossible to mount police surveillance teams everywhere to monitor the movements of groups of people. The four SAP vehicles deployed in Taylor's
"Halt were the only available vehicles to despatch to that area. The SA Police is unaware of the role or the reasons for the presence of the two KwaZulu Police vehicles.
10. The SA Police are not aware of the transporting of warriors from Cato Ridge in KwaZulu Government trucks. We are also unaware of any conspiracy with regard to the planning of the attacks. There are conflicting versions before the Commission as to the origin of these trucks. Some say Eshowe, which is Taylor's Halt area, and others refer to KwaMnyavu in the Camperdown area. The aerial survey referred to would very likely have observed 25 police vehicles since the police were deployed all over the larger Edendale area. The police emphatically deny the allegations that they ignored the Inkatha attackers and only took actions when the youth defended their homes. I once again respectfully refer the Commission to the newspaper reports referred to in our submission, which contradicts this allegation. It should not be lost sight of that the police themselves were frequently the targets of attacks where firearms were used and had to defend themselves, whilst at the same time trying to contain the situation. It is no secret that the SA Police were the subject of intense distrust and animosity from the UDF/ANC alignment, and mostly came under
"attack when operating in these areas. On the other hand the tribal structures in Amakhozi were the legitimate structures of the day, and tended to co-operate more willingly with the security forces. In most circumstances it is little wonder that there was a common perception of collusion between the security forces and the IFP.
11. We have already endeavoured to outline the magnitude of the violence occurring on that day. Whilst the groups were advancing from Taylor's Halt an extremely serious confrontation was taking place in Ashdown and all the other areas mentioned in paragraph three of our submission, which warranted the attention of the bulk of the security forces deployed on that day. It was simply impossible to concentrate on all the areas at the same time.
13. The magnitude of the attacks only became apparent on Wednesday morning, at which time reinforcements were urgently requested from Durban. Due to the unavailability of police records regarding manpower deployments we cannot give accurate figures of the numbers of reinforcements. We have already referred to the fact that there were only a limited number
"of SADF members available, and these members were deployed along the main Edendale road according to the joint planning for the day. It is easy with hindsight to say ... (incomplete ... end of Side A, Tape 5) ... need to be understood within the context of what was taking place throughout the province at the time, where there were several areas of conflict. At national level similar situations prevailed in various provinces, and the National Riot Unit 19 had already provided 50 men some time prior to the outbreak of the Seven Day War.
14. We have already referred to the limited SADF personnel available and the operational planning provided for their deployment along the main route through Edendale, which provided access to the Edendale Hospital for the many injured persons, and to keep the route open due to several road barricades erected by the residents. It is not correct to state that the SADF was not requested by the SAP to assist, since joint planning took place with them on a daily basis.
15. The police were engaged in several areas at that time, trying to prevent attacks or to separate attacking groups. We have already pointed out that there was no manpower available for surveillance of the groups moving in various directions, and this was no doubt also the position with regard to the
"group moving over the bridge to KwaShange. By the time the police became aware of this group they were already launching attacks in the KwaShange area, and several huts were already burning. The only policemen in the area at the time were the Riot Investigation Unit, who had gone to retrieve the body of Poswa, which is referred to in paragraph 3.3 of our submission.
16. The police had no prior warning that an attack was to be launched on KwaMnyandu, and were still concentrating their efforts on various of the flash-point areas of the previous day, where violence had subsided, but could have broken out at any time. The KwaMnyandu area does not have a proper infrastructure and there are few access roads. It is situated on a hillside and access by vehicles is difficult under normal circumstances, let alone the muddy conditions which prevailed due to the heavy rains at the time.
Day Five. While it is correct that action was taken to disperse the protesting women it is emphatically denied that the police adopted a soft-line approach to the impis, and this fact is supported by several newspaper reports. Given the prevailing situation in the area the potential for violence by any group remained a serious threat, and the dispersal of the women was aimed at averting
"a possible attack on these protestors. It was also the women's refusal to disperse at the request of the police which compelled the police to warn them of the use of force if necessary. We also wish to point out that the attack in KwaMnyandu took place during the early morning, whilst the protest march occurred much later in the day. As regards to allegations that repeated attempts to deploy members of the SADF were frustrated by the police, this department wishes to place on record that it is totally unaware of, and denies, that it frustrated the SADF in any way from deploying in Imbali. We also question the accuracy of Professor Aitchison's statement that a 10-platoon convoy of SADF members were deployed outside Huletts Aluminium. One platoon consists of 30 men and three vehicles, and it is the recollection of the department that the entire contingent of SADF members available at the time in Pietermaritzburg area did not exceed four platoons and a total of approximately six vehicles. The SAPS wish to record that we find these allegations extremely strange since no complaints of this nature were ever recorded at the meetings of ... (inaudible) ... on the Friday the 30th of March, at which the SADF was represented, and at which incidents of this nature would be raised. Furthermore it needs to be pointed out that
"the SADF did not fall under the command of the SAP, but operated under their own command structures in support of the SAP. This allegation is also starkly contradicted by the testimony of Mr Radley Keys, according to whom SADF reinforcements only arrived on the 10th of April.
Day Seven. Although official police records are not available the SAP members have no recollection whatsoever of having shot three people at Mpophomeni. Whilst opposing groups were attacking each other in the area the police arrived and were immediately shot at themselves. The police responded with tear gas grenades and shotguns and the groups were dispersed. The bodies of two males were found at a private dwelling which was not in the vicinity or the direction in which the police had fired. It is assumed that these persons were killed during skirmishes between the opposing groups. As far as the allegation relating to the wounding of 35 people at Table Mountain is concerned, the SAP emphatically denies that they were ever involved in a skirmish in which they wounded 35 people in Table Mountain area. We have previously pointed out that the SADF acted in support of the police, and it is inconceivable that the police would be involved in fomenting the violence and handing out firearms and ammunition in Imbali as alleged, and
"thereafter call in the SADF in order to quell the violence which the police themselves were allegedly involved in. If one has regard to the previous allegations of Professor Aitchison, which are in any event denied, then it would seem that the SADF would never move into an area unless requested to do so by the SA Police. We are referring to the allegations relating to the 10 platoons waiting fruitlessly outside Huletts Aluminium. It cannot therefore be contended that the SADF vehicles which allegedly later moved into the Imbali area did so of their own accord.
18. It is true that informal inquests were held in respect of the victims of the Seven Day War. It must, however, be pointed out that the authority and the prerogative to decide whether a formal or informal inquest is to be held vests in the Attorney-General, and the SA Police are not in a position to dictate or to influence the Attorney-General in this regard. It needs to also be pointed out that the SAP received very little, if any co-operation at all from the affected communities in their investigations in this regard. The Riot Investigation Unit, under command of Senior Superintendent Upton, even approached attorney firms such as Cheadle Thompson & Haysom and others to request their assistance in persuading members of the community for whom they were acting to provide
"the police with sworn statements identifying culprits. Requests were also directed to leading political figures such as Mr Radley Keys to assist in this regard, and despite this very little information was provided to the police. The investigation team also published details of property recovered from looters in the local media in an effort to identify owners to ensure successful prosecution against offenders, and even this report met with no success.
19. The SA Police dispute that the persons named were not questioned about their knowledge or role in the attacks. However, the same problems relating to witnesses who were willing to identify the persons referred to, and describe their role in the attacks, was encountered by the investigation unit. If witnesses had come forward and given this information to the police it is quite possible that prosecutions could have been instituted. It needs to be pointed out fear of reprisal and fear of intimidation probably played a significant role in the reluctance of witnesses to come forward. The SA Police can hardly be blamed for this, however.
20. The SA Police are not in a position to comment on the alleged role of Major General Buchner in regard to the Seven Day War. It is not known which senior officers Professor Aitchison is referring to, nor exactly what
"actions or inactions he is referring to. If he is prepared to provide details the SAPS undertakes to look into these allegations."
Thank you, Director Meyer. I've already said that any questions that will be put to you, and which you may answer, will certainly be in Afrikaans, but we have decided that, because it's already 5.30, everyone's had a long and stressful day, we're going to ask you to come back in the morning to answer the questions which we will put to you then. So we will adjourn now and meet tomorrow morning at 9.00 am. --- Thank you very much.
(Incomplete) ... last day of the public hearings of the Truth Commission. We left off yesterday with Director Meyer of the South African Police Services, and we will resume with his testimony this morning, if he can please come up onto the stage.
Sorry, just for the record, who was that person? --- I am not sure who it was. What I do know is that the commanding officer of Group Nine wasn't always the Chairperson. He mostly sent an operational officer involved in planning. The Security Branch was also represented there, the Detective Branch also represented, sometimes the NPA Traffic were there as well, and other members, co-opted members for these meetings.
Who would - just give us examples of what sort of people would be co-opted, by which departments and so on. --- These would have been people such as Civil Defence people, Ambulance Services. I think in brief that's about it.
On the video footage we saw about two days ago he was the person interviewed as being in charge of video - being in charge of the Civil Defence and the subsequent so-called relief programme. --- Chairperson, all these things happened a long time ago. I think that the person in charge of Civil Defence in Pietermaritzburg was Mr Shaw.
Now, you've said that the chairperson was usually the unit commanding officer, or some other delegated officer. --- The chairperson was usually the commanding officer of the unit, and ... (intervention)
And by then you knew the rally was going to happen, and you would have known there were arrangements, and buses, and - it was a public rally, it was well announced. --- The normal route which we would have followed in our planning is the following. During these JOC meetings there would have been discussions regarding the availability of manpower for the occasion, information regarding the rally, and also what kind of problems there might possibly be. After such a meeting the operational officers involved in that kind of planning would have then sat down and worked out all the finer detail of the plan, and they would also commit the planning to writing. The parties involved would then be consulted.
Now, just for the record, where are the minutes of those planning meetings and where are the written plans, the records and so on, at the moment? Do you have any idea where they are? --- No. I believe most of these documents were destroyed, but I am not sure.
In the submission you say that quite a number of documents were destroyed in the normal course of regulatory getting rid of records that are not required to be kept. --- I think I should just correct something there. The Archives Act provides for the period of time that documentation must be kept for, and during that period we didn't have computerised systems to keep our records. Everything was done by hand and filed, and certain documentation was destroyed after about a year, others after three years, and others after five years. I am not familiar with the provisions of the Act regarding periods of time. That's fine, I really understand that. What sort of intelligence reports would you have relied on in your planning? --- I think the circumstances surrounding the rally. In the specific instance we would have looked at previous meetings and rallies, the problems which we experienced during those meetings, whether there was any information available regarding attacks on buses, the areas involved, and also the number of buses to be used. Because during that time we experienced a lot of problems with attacks on buses, and also attacks launched from the buses on the communities.
No, I am asking you specifically about intelligence reports that your own intelligence officers would have gathered at that time. People like the present Captain Brookes, for example, was very active in the Edendale valley, and he's told us that, and we want to know - he would have made reports to you about the situation in the valley, about his discussions with Mr Ntombela and others. --- That is correct. That is the type of information which we gathered.
So you personally would have been aware of the exact number of buses involved, what their proposed route was going to be, and all the logistical arrangements in relation to that rally. --- That is correct.
Now, obviously it's easy to be wise after the event, and one understands that the benefit of hindsight always helps, but looking back now how would you describe the situation that subsequently unfolded, in the sense that certainly for someone like myself, looking at this period six years later, your members seemed grossly inadequate for the purpose at hand? --- Yes, I agree with you. I think, to give you a little bit of background, this was not the first time that a rally of this kind was to be held. If am confusing the events on the 25th with previous events it's possible, because I experienced several such rallies and events, so I might, for instance, say the buses stopped at a particular place when it wasn't the case. For that particular day, for instance, to take the buses through Edendale in the morning with an escort, and presence during the day, I think we had sufficient manpower. But, on the subsequent days we definitely did not have enough manpower.
I want to just deal with the events of the bus coming through Edendale in the morning. You, as the officer on the ground in charge at that point in time, and I am assuming that from the nature - from the comments made in the submission. Is that correct? --- That is correct.
Now, in the submission you are reported to have had discussions with Mr Ntombela in the upper Edendale valley somewhere. It's not clear exactly where you were, but it's somewhere round about the Taylor's Halt, probably at the bus depot before the buses left. --- No, that's not correct. Perhaps I should just say before this occasion the IFP was specifically approached to avoid Edendale road. On the morning of the occurrence itself I went to Mr Ntombela's home - and during all these events and occasions the buses would always first meet at his home beforehand - and during this talk with Mr Ntombela I tried to persuade him once again not to drive through Edendale.
Why didn't you just order him not to go that way? You were a police officer, you had the authority to do that. Why didn't you just order him not to do it? --- That is a difficult question to answer now. I think any policeman on the ground must sometimes make decisions, right or wrong. Ultimately he has to account for what happens. If things turn out well then he made a good decision and nobody would ever refer to it again, but mistakes are sometimes made. And I think at that stage the political climate and events were so focused on political access routes and so forth that - well, I don't know whether you are interested in a specific newspaper report in which Mr Mvelase - I think it's V B Mvelase from the IFP - made specific statements regarding public roads, and he said these roads were not IFP or ANC roads, so I think the whole matter was a very, very sensitive one at that stage. And I think that my approach was that the buses would drive through early in the morning, and normally in the mornings we didn't experience too many problems, and I thought we would more than likely get the buses through without problems.
You see, what I don't understand is this. In the submission on page two, point three, it's clear from what is written in that last paragraph on that page that Mr Ntombela was utterly adamant. Now, as a police officer you recognised a very real threat of problems on that day. So much so that you people had delegated the Defence Force to keep the road open. That was their delegated task for at least that day specifically. That Swanepoel has already told us. So you foresaw the very real possibility of trouble, and you deployed the Defence Force to keep the road open. --- That is so.
The question I then have, you see - and this is what we find very hard to understand, and I recognise all the political factors you've mentioned, but at the end of the day as a police officer your duty was to prevent damage and problems, potential loss of life, which you knew was a real possibility. --- Mr Chairperson, if we look at the alternative, the statement was made to me that the buses would be attacked. The statement was made to me that the same route could not be used in the morning and in the afternoon. From the IFP's side it was perhaps a strategy to use different routes, but the threat regarding attacks on buses was a fact. Edendale was not our only problem area. If we look at the route round Mpophomeni, buses had been attacked there on previous occasions, so the possibility and the threat of buses being attacked was significant. If I had forced them to go past Mpophomeni and there had been an attack then there would have been as great an onslaught from the IFP side.
I want to take you to the issue of the military, and your submission refers to two days of news reports, wherein which you have shown articles which tend to indicate that the police effectively prevented attacks. That's correct? --- Chairperson, the statement is correct to some extent. I think, however, that it is more of an indication to say that everything wasn't bad. In the same newspaper reports we were also strongly criticised. I only pointed out those certain reports to try to show that we were making attempts to prevent the whole thing from happening. It was certainly not all moonshine and roses.
Well, I am pleased that you at least have the frankness to admit that to us. However, the situation goes much further than that. By your own admission in this submission there were at times more than 14 000 people mobilised. --- I think it was 12 000. These were also statements made in the newspapers. If we look at the extent of the whole event, in the document Seven Day War written by Professor Aitchison he makes it very clear what his sources were, and these were UDF sources. It was not information obtained from the SAP, and it was not information obtained from the IFP side. In his document he refers to about 500 incidents, and I think that if we add IFP incidents and we add the SAP incidents, and we then look at the events surrounding - more less three days, not seven days but three days, then I think we'll start to see what the true extent of the whole thing was. Mr Pierre Cronje made a statement in Parliament, and he also mentioned a newspaper report, and he said - let me just find his exact words, I don't want to misquote him. "(Inaudible) ... outnumbered, and the reports he received from the area yesterday indicate that the police were once again not able to control the situation." That was a newspaper report on the 29th of March. He did criticise us as well, but this was simply to give you an indication of the magnitude of the whole thing.
That's precisely the point I am trying to make, with all due respect, Director. Whether it was 14 or 10 is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that your personnel were grossly and totally outnumbered, and the fact of the matter is that you were simply unable to contain the situation. In a few places you were successful. You couldn't be everywhere at the same time. We understand that. --- I agree.
The issues is, why didn't you call the military in immediately? --- Chairperson, on day one we were more or less in control of things. On day two we were still reasonably three. On day four we were no longer in control. Apart from that - I am talking now of Monday morning, the 26th, the 27th and the 28th - on those mornings. In the mornings the Defence Force and police had joint meetings, so there was definitely consultation between the two groups. The specific reason for not calling in the Defence Force I would say is not correct, because we did use the Defence Force. But we must also realise that if we are talking about a company of Defence Force members we're looking at about four platoons. We're looking at 120 members ... (intervention)
But the point I am trying to make is this. Ladysmith is an hour up the road. You've got a battalion at Ladysmith. You've got Civil Defence - you've got Commando units situated all around Pietermaritzburg - Umkomaas, Umvoti, Camperdown area, further down towards Kloof, Pinetown, you have civilian force units. Estcourt you have civilian force units. Not one of those units was mobilised to come in and prevent what in reality was a major emergency. --- I hear you.
You can't give us a single explanation. Why? --- I can't speak on behalf of the Defence Force, but as far as the calling up of the forces is concerned that is not for the police to decide. That would have been a Defence Force decision, not a police matter. We did have contact with the Defence Force to call up more people, and that request and report did go through. I don't know who the contact person was, so unfortunately I can't comment any further.
You see, what Brigadier Swanepoel told us was that they weren't called upon to go into the area other than patrol the road. He said the only role designated to them was to patrol the road, they were not required elsewhere. He made that absolutely clear. The other thing he made absolutely clear - if you'll just let me finish the question - is that the Defence Force was under your control at that time, so the prerogative to call them in was your prerogative. And when I say call them in I am not talking about patrolling the road, I am talking about calling them in to contain the hundreds of acts of violence that were going on around you that you couldn't control. --- I hear what you say. As far as liaison between the police and the Defence Force was concerned I didn't have that much to do with it, but what I can say is that when I was operating in the field and needed manpower I did make use of the Defence Force. Once again the Natal Witness, 29 March ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 1) ... mostly concentrated on Edendale road. I don't deny that
I want to move to another area, and that is just the last issue of the specials. Your submission and your replies to questions indicate that the specials under no circumstances formed part of the Amabutho. That's correct? --- No, I don't think that's correct.
(Inaudible) ... the point I am trying to make. No, no, the issue is that you conceded they may have been there without your consent, but under no circumstances was it sanctioned. --- It wasn't police policy, but I don't think it's a state secret that special constables was one of the single biggest mistakes made by the police in KwaZulu Natal. I don't think that's a secret.
(Inaudible) ... happy to hear that admission as part of an official police submission. It doesn't appear in your actual submission here. --- Chairperson, once again I just want to rectify something. A lot of what I am saying now is my own personal opinion. You must understand this is a submission from the police. I was there on the ground, I worked with these people, and I think my views might be different to other peoples' views, and in my opinion it was a huge mistake.
I just want to take you back to Mr Shabangu's evidence, and - you heard that evidence? --- Once again - I heard his evidence, but once again there was a specific lie which he told, and I will point that out later.
(Inaudible) ... now please, rather than later. --- All right, let's discuss it. Mr Shabangu made an allegation that Constable de Wet, on the day of the Seven Day War, was present when they loaded a police vehicle full of stolen goods. And then we go further. Mr Harrington told the Commission that they wanted to hear something regarding the Seven Day War. Mr Harrington wasn't even here during the Seven Day War, and he told the Commission what the Commission wanted to hear. I am sitting here with documentary proof in front of me in which Harrington and de Wet, as from 26th of March 1990 to the 5th of April of that year - which proves that they were on a course in Newcastle at the time. I have the document here, and I may hand it in. And it's a specific reference to their course results in the course which they completed. I am not saying that everything that they have said is wrong. Maybe they're simply mistaken as the facts, or they might have had other motives, but I don't believe that their entire story was accurate and true.
Director, you said that the deployment of special constables was one of the biggest mistakes the police ever made. Now, you heard evidence yesterday, and evidence has been given to this Commission by other policeman, about the role of special constables working together with the Riot Unit. And we heard evidence yesterday from Constable Harrington, Madlala, Shabangu, saying that they were deployed with the Riot Unit. They always moved around with Riot Unit members. You heard Constable Harrington say that it was commonplace before, during and after the Seven Day War, for Riot Unit vehicles to be used to transport Inkatha people into UDF areas to launch attacks; it was common for the Riot unit and the special constables to confiscate weapons from UDF areas and to give them or to sell them to IFP people; that it was common for shots to be fired at passers-by in UDF areas by the special constables, not knowing whether those people were left alive or dead, and so on. What is your response to that? --- If I could elaborate on that I would like to do that. You see, it wasn't police policy at all to use these people for these kind of acts, but I think that many of these people went off on their own missions. And there were many reason for that. If I tell you that the first 300 special constables which we got, their conditions of service stated that they were entitled to take their firearms home. On the first day we discharged 16 when they returned, and we then drove around trying to collect their firearms as a result of problems which they caused. So we threw out - tried to use other methods to control these people. The main reason why they came to us was to take over guard duties, to guard IFP leaders' homes, and also to man strongpoints. When they started working with members on shifts, and forming part of the vehicle crew, I can see how Harrington perhaps went astray. You see, we placed young policemen in positions of power, and in which they exercised control over about, say, 10 special constables. And I believe that in some cases the special constables could also have constituted a threat for the policemen. I might also mention that our command structure at the time was pathetic in the unit.
So do you concede what I've said, that Riot Unit members operating with special constables engaged in very, very serious criminal acts such as the ones I have described during that period? --- I agree with you, but I must say that it wasn't police policy. We weren't all like that. I certainly wasn't like that, and I wasn't aware of these things. But as a result of certain cases for which people were prosecuted I did take note of these things, so I can't deny it.
Of course you can't deny it, and we thank you for making that concession. Constables Harrington, Erasmus, Madlala were convicted for that very thing. They were driving around in a Riot Unit vehicle with special constables. They picked up a passer-by. They murdered him by strangling him with Constable Harrington or Constable Erasmus' belt, and once he was dead they then ordered a special constable to shoot the body with a shotgun, and then they tried to pretend that it had been an incident of unrest. So it's impossible to deny that these things happened. --- I agree, Chairperson.
Now, you have tried to portray the role of the South African Police as being impartial, unbiased during the Seven Day War, and working as hard as possible to try and bring the unrest to an end. That's the picture you've painted to us, or that's the picture that the submission that you read out painted to us. --- That is so, Chairperson.
Why then does the second part of your submission, the answers to Professor Aitchison's questions, why does it say that the South African Police were the subject of intense dislike and mistrust from the residents of the Edendale valley, which the submission refers to as the ANC/COSATU alliance for some reason? How do you reconcile those two? You were an impartial, hard-working force, and yet you were the subject of intense dislike and mistrust from one side. --- I don't want to delve in history now, but once again I am a policeman like all policeman, and from our college days we were told about the threat which the ANC constituted, and our training in riot control was focused on the onslaught against us from the ANC side. That was the biggest threat at the time. During the period, I think perhaps because the IFP were authorised, the indunas and the Amakhozi, they were legal organisations and institutions.
(Inaudible) ... so were the ANC. UDF, ANC, they were all legal organisations at the time of the Seven Day War. --- That is so. I hear what you say. The same question which you asked, namely why were the communities at Edendale so opposed to the police, that question I asked myself many times. Maybe I was stupid, and maybe I was being naive, but, you know, through the years you pick up a lot of what's happening, and even things which I heard at this very Commission are things - I've learnt new things. It's made it far more clear why the communities hated us so much.
A couple more questions, Director. Several witnesses have said that this event, this Seven Day War, so-called Seven Day War, was not a war at all, it was - one witness said it was a cleansing. Another witness said it was an armed invasion from one side into another side. Do you agree with that? --- Yes, I agree with that, because all the indictions regarding the attacks from Ashdown to Henley, all these happened on the borders of the UDF areas, although in areas such as Mpumuze, just above Ashdown, in that area Inkatha homes were also attacked.
Finally, Director, you said that the views that you were expressing here, now, were different from the submission that you made because you were there at the time and you knew what was going on. --- That is correct.
Who wrote the submission that you presented? --- It was prepared by a group of people, and people's views differ, and that is why I would like to say that my opinions are my own personal opinions, and I would not like to pass them off as police prescriptions or police policy.
Director, I think many questions have been asked which I wanted to ask by my colleagues. Just to follow up on Richard's question, which you have also conceded that the many places which were attacked and houses burned were the houses belonging to the UDF. What kind of methodology did you use in dealing with this situation, because according to Mr Harrington's presentation it is said that when there was that situation the people who were always dealt with first were those who were defending themselves, that is UDF. Would you concede to that? Did you first deal with the attackers, and if you dealt with the attackers what did you do? Did you disarm them when they attacked these areas, or you concentrated on the defenders? --- Harrington wasn't even there. I don't think it was police policy to attack the defenders. We should also bear in mind that it wasn't only attacks from IFP on UDF. The police were also a target. There were specific occasions at which I tried to deal with a group, such as the group walking through Indobo. Whilst I was trying to defuse the situation I was shot at from behind. So there are two sides to the story.
Let me ask you the question again. From these police sources you say that some of the people who made presentations here they were giving the sources from the UDF side, and then from the South African Police sources it is said that the people who were always disarmed were the UDF people. Did you ever disarm the Inkatha people? If not, why? --- Yes, we did. Inkatha persons were arrested - mostly arrested for this. On one such an occasion we arrested at least 100 people at once. I am not talking about the Seven Day War, I am talking about a period before that.
Why did you not do it? --- There could be many reasons for that. On that specific day we were so busy - I am now talking about the Tuesday. I just had to run from one scene to the other to attend incidents of shooting.
You were so busy that you could not disarm the people who were going to kill other people and burn their houses? You were busy doing what? You were running up doing what, if you could not disarm the people who were going to take lives of the people? --- I hear you. Chairperson, once again from my side I am quite sure that the circumstances, even on the Tuesday, would have been far worse. Unfortunately what you might have prevented can't be measured. One can never measure anything which you prevented, and nobody can afterwards criticise you or say that you did good work. But to say we did nothing is simply not true.
Last question. So are you surprised that the UDF people hated you as you have just said? Are you surprised that the UDF people hated you as you have just said yourself? --- No, I am not surprised. I am not surprised, especially not after all the evidence that I have listened to.
Director Meyer, I am not going to be very specific in my questions. I will just ask questions related to conduct. Firstly you have just said there two sides of the - to a story. What I would like to say is that there is one truth, one and only truth. In your presentation you are almost discordant or inconsistent with the presentations that have been made by many other people yesterday, on Monday and Tuesday. You are almost at odds with them. I am beginning to wonder what is your conception of truth. We are a Truth Commission here. So the big question in your conception of truth. Number two, with regard to the specials, you clearly and loudly say most of them were on their own missions. I completely disagree with you. The specials were recruited, were brainwashed, were trained to kill, by somebody. Probably you know who that person was. Who was behind that? They were not trained to be guards, they were trained to kill. Can we hear from you who was responsible for that training? --- As far as the first question is concerned, during this hearing, where the truth has to emerge, we are trying to find out the entire truth, but as it relates to a period of about six, seven or eight years of our lives. Now we want to use bits and pieces and try and present that as the truth. Perhaps I should just ask, the second part of question one, if it could perhaps be repeated.
I said I am beginning to be confused about the conception of truth and your own conception of truth. --- Further as regards question one, for this specific hearing of the Truth Commission we are searching for absolute truth, and it is expected of the police to answer to allegations which were never put to the police. Two weeks ago we were told that a hearing was to take place, and that we should start preparing something for the Commission to give answers as to what we did during those times. I think that in any democratic system, where certain allegations are made against a person, a person must surely be in possession of the allegations to be able to prepare a defence or a submission. So to say to me - comment on answers given by previous witnesses, it's not very easy at all. As far as training and indoctrination is concerned, and everything surrounding the special constables, these issues were not my decisions, and I don't think that those decisions and training - those decisions weren't made on our level, and I think that those answers must be sought with the government of the day. Our policing today is such that we work for society, we work for the communities, but in those days we worked for the Government.
The last question related to this is that if you look at lines of authority and accountability you are accountable for the atrocities - for all the atrocities and gross violations that were committed by the specials. You agree with me there? --- I agree, as long as it happens in a just way, and if my personal involvement in it was such that I committed any offence then I agree with you.
If you are accountable for those commissions I do think it's unfair for the specials to take the flak, to be considered responsible for all the atrocities, because if we look at what has been happening people sitting in high positions have got away with murder, while the people who were in lower positions, who have taken directions from them, have been treated as scapegoats. This is my analysis of the situation. That is why I think you are accountable in a way for these atrocities. --- Very probably I was, because I was part of the Government and the structures of the day.
And my last question. Having said all this do you feel comfortable occupying the position you are occupying today, having been partly accountable for all the atrocities that killed hundreds of blacks, thousand hundreds of blacks? And also sitting in a position where you are not trusted by the majority of blacks in this country. Thank you. --- Firstly I am happy with the position in which I am at the moment. I know what I did, and I can tell you that I did not commit murder. I didn't. And I think there are many ANC people today who will testify on my behalf to say that I wasn't involved in murder. But once again there were certain people who went off on their own missions, and those specific people must come and explain.
Director, I just want first to make a comment on the alleged impartiality. It's just a note, you may not respond to it, but I just want to say that I would argue against your claim that ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 1) ... your submission makes it clear that the attackers were only local people. People in the bus only disembarked to chase away the attackers. At no stage are they referred to as aggressors, they were always defending themselves, and I am finding it difficult to believe that, because some witnesses have referred to instances where the buses would stop, and the passengers will do some unpleasant things like urinating at other people's fences, which to me is provocative. That's observation number one in relation to impartiality. And also you have admitted meetings between yourself and Mr Ntombela, which was good, but what I am trying to say here is that I am not hearing you telling us of similar meetings between yourself and with leaders of UDF or ANC to demonstrate impartiality. And also the manner in which Mr Ntombela seems to have been handled by yourselves. I am not going to go into details because Mr Lax has thrashed this point thoroughly with yourself, but the fact that he ignored your advice about the road, and he was not confronted, he was not reprimanded. That reminds me of what some witnesses said about how Inkatha leadership was treated softly by police force. And the question now. Those were just notes. On page six you made reference to arrests, that people who were looting were arrested. Were they convicted? --- As far as the first question is concerned I would like to refer you to the same report further on, where we say that during these occasions allegations were made from both sides - if you continue reading - and it's not always easy to say who started it, because the parties accuse each other. As far as I'm concerned, and my own impartiality is concerned, as far as the peace at Nxamalala is concerned, I played a big role in that. I don't want to go into detail, but there are people who will be able to vouch for me on that. I'd like to go further and mention Imbali before the Seven Day War. I had talks with UDF leaders. I had the UDF leaders in the Unit Eight hall and we had talks with them. We were trying to make peace, to stop the factions from fighting. At that stage the specific leaders would have reported back to their communities on the Sunday. On that Sunday our State President, Mr Mandela, was released and the meeting never took place. And the process was actually to some extent thwarted at that stage. So, to say that I only consulted with one side is not correct.
Thank you. The convictions, were those people convicted? --- Some of them were convicted for possession of presumably stolen property, but I think the detectives might be able to give more information on that.
Yes, I think it will be interesting to get documents, because at some stage we were told that the same stolen items were transported in a police vehicle, so one questions justice under those circumstances. So I think it will be in the interests of everybody concerned to know what really happened, whether any convictions emanated from that. --- That specific statement was made by Mr Shabangu. In the same statement he said that Constable de Wet was there. I have documentary proof here which makes it clear that he wasn't there. Once again witnesses say things which aren't always true, or perhaps they're not quite sure of certain facts. If we, for instance, look at one particular witness, he said how the police had attacked the house with R4 guns. Once again R4 guns were never used by the police. R5s, the first instruction which started taking place in R5s only took place in 1991, and I have here a certificate which proves when the first instructor in R5s was trained. And this particular lady has to be very well trained, because anybody who can see the difference between an R4 and an R5 rifle at a distance must be very well trained. I can't do that. So I think if all the evidence is properly tested the truth will out.
Yes. Won't you say that in the same way that you were explaining some inconsistencies in your submission, that it's because we are talking of something that happened about six years ago, that instead of accusing these witnesses of saying things that are not true, that probably the same problem that they are facing with it is to try and recollect the sequence of the events? Anyway, finally, yesterday I got an impression, wrongly perhaps, that in your presentation you were a bit defensive, and I was worried because part of the objective of the Truth Commission is to bring about reconciliation. And one challenge that we have in South Africa is reconciliation between the police service as well as the community at large, especially the black sector of the community. And with that kind of perception that I had I became very pessimistic compared to the time when the likes of Mr Harrington, Mr Madlala and Mr Shabangu, where I sensed some sincerity. There could have been flaws, but I definitely sensed some sincerity, and I had hoped that with that kind of sincerity the gap between the police service and the community will be closed. With hindsight, if you were to handle the same situation again, what are the things that you will do differently, if at all, and how would you handle the situation? --- If I have to be honest, if I, as a member of the SAPS, as I sit here today, hear the evidence about what the police did then, you're embarrassed. You're embarrassed to have to align yourself with these criminal acts. But, if I have to be honest with you, if I had to go through a period such as from '86 to '92, then I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't have chosen the same career.
Director Meyer, I just have one question to ask. Yesterday Mr Harrington, when he made his submission he clearly indicated that they had instructions that they should not arrest IFP people. I would like you to make a comment on that. But following onto that my other question is, you have tried to paint a picture of sincere impartiality of the police. I would like to ask whether you remember that during this unrest during this period there was an attempt to set up a peace committee by business, IFP and UDF/ANC members, and we have also heard that the ANC members, UDF members who were part - who formed part of that committee were arrested just at that time. Could you explain why, when this was such an important thing to try and bring peace in such a strife-torn area, that those who were involved in that had to be arrested at that time? --- As far as Harrington's evidence is concerned, he and his men were on a mission of their own. He yesterday mentioned that I had told him that he seemed to think that he was a little god. What he neglected to mention to the Commission was that I told him that there were many stories doing the rounds, and that Harrington would go to prison if the didn't watch out. As far as arrests are concerned, I don't know anything about this specific arrest or arrests, but I think what must be mentioned is something which perhaps contributed to the community's opposition to us, and that is the emergency regulations in force at the time. You know, the emergency regulations were there to suppress the communities, for the same reason as these arrests were performed. If we got back to the records, if they are available, it was mostly UDF people detained under the emergency regulations. I agree wholeheartedly. But these specific arrests referred to, I am not aware of those.
Just to follow up on that. You will recall yesterday that Mr Pierre Cronje gave evidence, and he raised this question of the arrest, detention for many months, of the UDF negotiating team. And Mr Vlok, who was then Minister of Law and Order, said to him - said to Mr Cronje, he said, "Do you really think that I can allow UDF members to be seen negotiating for peace?" So I am not asking you to comment on that, I am just saying that was the official Government line at the time. And if UDF people were seen to be negotiating peacefully to bring about the end of political violence in an area it seemed that it was State policy to arrest them and place them in detention, because the Government could not be seen to allow UDF people to be involved in peace negotiations. That came from the Minister's mouth.
Thank you, Chairperson. Just two last questions for you. You're aware that during the evenings on all those days the vast majority of the combatants camped at the chief's residence. You're aware of that? --- I can't remember that specifically, but let me put it this way. Now I have certainty about it, but I can't remember whether it was so at the time, I really can't.
Well, from the evidence we've heard so far, and other witnesses, it's clear that that's what happened. Now, the question I have to you is, why didn't you just arrest those people right there and then at those places? Or if not arrest them, disarm them and send them home? It was nightfall, you had people, you could have surrounded them. It would have been absolutely a simple matter to do at that time. --- I don't have an answer for you. Unfortunately I don't know.
My last question, and it's probably an unfair question to ask you, but I am going to ask it. If the violence on that scale had happened in a white area you wouldn't have tolerated that at all, surely. --- During those times more than likely no, we wouldn't.
Director Meyer, thank you for making the submission on behalf of the South African Police, and thank you today for departing from that official submission and giving us the benefit of your own personal views which you formed from your experience at the time. Thank you. --- Thank you, Chairperson. Thank you, Commission.
Thank you, Dr Nzimande. You are here today to give the official - can you hear me through the earphones? Yes. You are here today to give me the official account of the ANC on this event which has become known as the Seven Day War. You are presently a national MP, ANC MP, but at the time of this incident six years ago I understand that you were in Pietermaritzburg. I understand you have prepared a statement. Could you then take us through your statement. --- Mr Chairman, Honourable Chairman, I come before this Commission having been sent by the ANC, and as a member of the national ANC organisation. The most important thing is that I am here representing the ANC as a person who has been a member of ANC after the unbanning of the ANC here in Natal. After that I've continuously been a member of ANC in this very region, doing different things, undertaking various things, and also a spokesman of the ANC in the Midlands. What we've come to tell the Commission today won't impact the details of what happened in the Seven Day War. We do believe that all the lost ones and the damages that were incurred should be left to the people who were affected, and they shall see what they do. What I will say here has to do a lot with the state of the politics in the region, and also give you a picture as to what led to this Seven Day War as far as we are concerned. We also have questions that we would like to forward to the Commission that we will wish to be answered as the Commission is carrying on with their duties. What I will say here, Mr Chairman, please allow me to mix English and Zulu so
"(Inaudible) ... Seven Day War has been given to the events that took place in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas from 25th of March to 31st of March 1990. The events took the form of attacks on communities on a scale not previously experienced in this area, if not the province as a whole. Whilst the Seven Day War was to some extent a repeat of previous attacks on communities, but on a larger scale this time, it is our submission here that it was to a greater extent a turning point in the conflict in the Pietermaritzburg area. Why do we say this? It seems to us that the strategy of detention of UDF and COSATU leaders, and small scale attacks on communities in Pietermaritzburg, had failed to stem the rising tide of the people's legitimate struggle against apartheid in Pietermaritzburg townships."
It looks as though she's having difficulty interpreting what you're saying. I'm not sure whether it's a problem with the machinery or whether she's not following you. Is it possible for you to speak only in Zulu, or is that - I know that the statement is in English. --- A large part of it is in English, but - I mean is in Zulu, except certain smaller sections. Maybe then I'll try to interpret as I go along. It might not be easy. Let me just continue then in Zulu. Why do we say the things we are saying now? It looks to us as if the detention of the UDF and the leaders of the COSATU, and the way the attacks took place in the community, all this could not prevent the people of Pietermaritzburg to continue with the violence. This Seven Day War to us started a new way of attacking the community in the manner in which they were attacking the community, and soon after that the tendency of killing of the leaders of ANC started in this area. So the nature of Seven Day War, the way one will look at it, and the manner in which the attack was undertaken, it does show that those were ideas coming from the apartheid government. At ANC we did believe that - we were made to believe that this Seven Day War has to do a lot with politics, but one could tell and it was clear and obvious that that was perpetrated by the government of apartheid, and it was intended to destroy ANC and UDF. It had no part at all in getting this country independent. ANC believe that we should look deep into the following things. We believe that we don't understand the Seven Day War if we don't give the picture of the role that the people of Pietermaritzburg played, especially after 1976. For us to understand even the way the violence outbroke in 1975 we will say that since the banning of ANC in 1960 towards 1980 there was no a political organisation that could not say it represents all the people of Pietermaritzburg. And we believe that Inkatha wanted to destroy ANC completely in this area. We do believe that this area, this war was deliberately making the Inkatha stronger and a strong hold than other organisations. Places like Sobantu and Imbali were not so much affected in this. Even the forming of UDF in 1983, many people were not affected at the time when the UDF was being formed, but afterwards that started. We will first talk about the pensioning in Huletts Aluminium(?). This boycott brought some light and shed light to the community of Pietermaritzburg regarding this company, which is one of the biggest in Pietermaritzburg, and had so many employees, and employees had nothing called specials then. We will say that the boycott, the importance of that boycott was described as though the leaders, and those who were behind it, were ANC members and UDF, and were fired from the company as a result of this boycott and the belief. That brought so much influence in the community, and this stay-away took place in 1985, which was called to sympathise with those who were expelled and fired from work. This stay-away followed shortly after boycotting the stores and buying and shopping from the shops. And what is important to us, and which led to the Seven Day War, is that even so the people in Pietermaritzburg were very supportive, and that showed that they wanted to be with the UDF, as well as COSATU. But what I will stay started the whole fracas in 'Maritzburg, and it even led to an outbreak of violence were the deeds of the Inkatha to force people to join Inkatha. These plans of Inkatha to force people in order to join Inkatha were people like Sikiza Zuma from Harewood, Joseph Mabaso, KwaPatha, Makaliza and Dambuza, as well as Jerome Mncwabe in Imbali, David Ntombela at Vulindlela, as well as another Mr Mncwabe from Sinathi, just to make a few examples. This led to the violation of the black people. What was more apparent was that the police were not taking any action against the Inkatha in trying to force people to join them. This made it so clear to us as the community that this was all a ploy, and it was a well-orchestrated plan. Thus it did not come as a surprise that many of the places that were attacked during the Seven Days War were part of Vulindlela, which had many members who were aligned to the UDF and the ANC. To count just a few, Taylor's Halt, Gezabuso, KwaShange, KwaMnyandu, as well as Inadi. All these places made connections to be formed between Eden as well as Imbali, as well as the upper part. That's why we believe that the attack that was orchestrated in these places was to prevent the UDF and the ANC so that they could not spread up to Vulindlela. During that time of the intensification of violence is that the police were taking sides, because they were arresting UDF as well COSATU members, and they were not arresting Inkatha members. One of the most important things that you must take note of in order to get a picture of the Seven Days War was that there were certain talks in 1987 between UDF as well as COSATU. They were speaking with Inkatha, but the police came there during the negotiations and they arrested members of the UDF as well as COSATU and they left Inkatha members. Now, this is what should be said and be put on record, that these talks of peace were initiated by UDF as well as COSATU. Furthermore we should ask ourselves as to why these arrests were made and why did the police come to arrest UDF as well as COSATU members so that these talks may be derailed. We believe that this was part of a plan that was well orchestrated that there should be no negotiations between Inkatha as well as the UDF, so that the apartheid government could use Inkatha as a tool, a tool to try and prevent the struggle of the people. This is what made a background so that there could be Seven Days War later on. We also believe that the Seven Day War was not an action initiated by the community, that they were throwing stones at the buses as it has been alleged, as we are saying we believe that it was part of a State security strategy at that time. What makes us say that, here are things that we wish to point out to this honourable Commission in order to clarify these issues. We can just say the police were part at all times of the problems that we were facing in 'Maritzburg. The National Party, it was important for it that at all times it should make sure that there continue - the killings amongst blacks was a continuing thing, so that people would think that this was a black on black violence. The second thing that you must take into consideration, each time that the police - as it gives us hope that some of them have already made statements with this regard and some were saying that their aim was to kill UDF as well as ANC members. That is why even the police were the ones who were giving Inkatha money, or sponsoring the rallies, especially the rally which was on the 25th of March 1990. It was paid for by the police as it has already been said. What is more important that we see as the members of the ANC and that we wish to put forward to this honourable Commission is that the apartheid government as well as Inkatha, they had the same aim that UDF and ANC should not go forth. The thing that is most important is that on the side of the apartheid government the apartheid government was helping and it was being helped by Inkatha, because it used to make Inkatha to be on the forefront of the violence. This is what we believe that was the job of the then government, and the white people would say it's a black on black violence, which was actually orchestrated by them. And, as I've already counted, it is very apparent that people in 'Maritzburg had decided now that they should join UDF/COSATU as well as the ANC, and Inkatha found this as a loophole to align themselves with the police so that their people would not be attacked and would not be few in 'Maritzburg. One other thing that we wish to put forward to this Commission is to give a reason as to why we say that the Seven Days War was a war of apartheid. We think that at the time of unbanning of the ANC caused some tension amongst other groups, because they did not know what would be the consequences of unbanning of the ANC. Some feared that if the ANC was unbanned maybe it was going to align itself with Inkatha, so they wanted to make sure that at all times all these other organisations are in conflict with each other so that there might be no unity. One other thing that makes us say this is that the Seven Day War, we have never seen a fight that broke out during the day but nobody would be arrested and nobody would pay any attention to this. What the leaders of Inkatha as well as the police were doing, it showed that there was a culture of impunity and they could do anything without being arrested. What was the cause of the Seven Days War? As I have already pointed out, now I want to say - or point out the core or the reason of the whole war. The Inkatha says the reason - as well as other people and top police officials were saying that it was because the buses were being stoned. That is the buses which were carrying the Inkatha members, that is on the 25th of March 1990, whilst they were heading to a rally in Durban. They said the buses towards Vulindlela were being stoned by the residents. We do not believe as the ANC that such action took place. We never got any evidence as to how far true these allegations were, and we do not believe that it was only the stoning of these buses that caused such havoc. But some of the residents of Eden came to report to us that they were actually attacked by members of Inkatha who were travelling in that bus. We do agree that at times there would be stoning of the buses. We will not deny that, but according to our knowledge this usually was done by the youths who had run away from the upper part of the valley because they had been chased away by Inkatha because they were followers of the UDF as well as the ANC, and at times because they did not want to align themselves with the Inkatha. There are certain people who had been chased away because they were not members of Inkatha and they did not want anything to do with Inkatha, which means they were enemies of the Inkatha. Some of our people had been tortured, had been traumatised, and the police did not help them in any way, and they were not even arresting the perpetrators. One other thing that I wish to put before this Commission that had not yet surfaced was the stoning of the buses. The history of the Inkatha, as well as the stoning of the buses, is a matter that should be viewed in a different light because in 1992, when the Inkatha was coming back from Durban, they went past KwaShange and they started shooting the residents. And they went to report to the newspapers and the media that the bus was being attacked, but a later inquest revealed that in actual fact it was the direct opposite. Now, when we look at this we must look at it critically from both points of view. We should know that this is a blatant lie, and they are shielding themselves, they do not want to speak the truth. They just wanted a reason as to why there was the start of the Seven Day War. Let's agree that the buses were attacked on that particular day, but now the question that arises is now could there be such an attack simply because the buses were stoned? So many people were killed later on. Could the stoning of the buses be that reason? And thereafter we should ask ourselves as to why the places that were attacked were not the places where the stoning of the buses took place. One other thing that we should take into consideration is that many people who got injured and who were killed were the women as well as the children and elderly people. We do not want to believe that this category of people could have thrown stones at the buses. Why was it necessary that people should be killed because of the throwing of stones? These are just reasons that they used to kill people. The question is, if the people who were attacking were saying they did this in retaliation because they were also attacked, then they are saying that they did attack, whether it was in retaliation or not. And they are agreeing that they were planning, and it was a well orchestrated plan which was launched later on. We want to put it before this Commission that the Seven Day War was a means to try and foment the violence that we have already talked about. We want this Commission to look critically at this matter and ask itself as to why this fight or this war took place on the 25th March of 1990. We, as the ANC members, believe that this was a well orchestrated plan, and it was planned by certain members of the apartheid system so that they could prevent the ANC from mobilising the people and making people to align themselves to it, because this happened hardly two months after the ANC had been unbanned. This was quite an attack that we saw taking place throughout the world immediately after the ANC had been unbanned. Because of that we see it's wise that this Commission should look at this matter critically, because the reason why the Seven Day War took place could have been linked to the unbanning of the ANC. What did the other people or members of the Inkatha do? Many of the people who were directly involved and directly affected, as well as eye witnesses, they have mentioned names of certain members or leaders of Inkatha who were prominent. They mentioned the names of David Ntombela, Shayabantu Zondi, Gavaza Khanyile, Lololombo, as well as Philip Zondi. We believe that these people who took part in these should be investigated by this Commission. They should come forward to come and give an explanation as to what happened during the Seven Days War. We are mainly expecting that the leaders should come and answer these questions. The first question that we would like them to answer was that they knew or didn't they know about the attack before it took place? All these people who had been mentioned were leaders in certain areas. We find it very difficult that there could be such an attack when the members or leaders of Inkatha didn't know. With regard to David Ntombela there is testimony that there was a meeting that was held at his place on a Monday, that's the 26th of March 1990, and that was a day before the attack. The second question that I would like to ask this Commission that they should come forward answer to this Commission, what steps did they take in order to try and prevent the attack? Are there any attempts that were made to prevent certain people from attacking? Why didn't they take steps to get in touch with ANC/UDF as well as COSATU members in order to try and prevent the attacks, or why didn't they get connected with other members of the ANC besides the ones in 'Maritzburg? Let me just remind you that there were certain talks between the UDF and Inkatha members. This means that there were some connections through which there could be negotiations between these two particular groups in order to prevent the Seven Day War. The other question that should be answered by these leaders is that did they ever report to the police of the imminent attack? Did they ever tell the police that they should come and quell the situation, especially in preventing their followers from being attacked? The other question that we want them to come and answer is that did they ever condemn the attack after it took place? Did these leaders help the attackers to get arrested? Now we are going back to the security forces, in particular the SAP, which was operating during that time. For the ANC the fundamental questions revolve around the role played by the security forces in the conflict - the police conduct. Firstly, were the security police aware of the planned attacks prior to them commencing? We wish to say that we do not accept the fact that the police say they did not know that there was going to be an imminent attack. The first point that we should bring forth is that the police were very quick to arrest ANC as well as UDF members. The Flying Squad would arrest you at that very moment. Now, they cannot come forward and tell us that they did not know that there was an imminent attack when there were so many people milling around, going around being armed and conducting meetings. We also do not believe that the police did not know about the meeting that was held at Mr David Ntombela's house on the Monday, 26 March 1990. The other question that we ask ourselves that the police should come and answer, why did not they know that there was a conflict in 'Maritzburg, and why didn't implement some plans to stop these attacks from taking place? Why were the police or security forces unable to contain the attacks? We do not believe that it could happen for seven days without the police not being able to contain the attacks. The attack was KwaShange, KwaGezabuso, KwaMnyandu, Xalusa, Ashdown involved a large group of armed men, and they used to travel long distances during broad daylight. The police had vehicles, as well as the soldiers. Why didn't they prevent this march from taking place? After the massive attacks on Tuesday the 27th March 1990 the police should have been able to foresee, even if we do agree or we don't agree, maybe they were taken by surprise, but during the attacks on the 27th they should have foreseen the consequences of the attack. Why weren't they able to contain it? What we find very difficult as the ANC is that there is not even a single person who was arrested. As we have already said these attacks took place during broad daylight. There was not even a single person who appeared in court and was acquitted. The police had a culture of telling us the reason, but we do not accept the reason as the members of the ANC and as people who have got hindsight. The police said they could not arrest the people because there were very few people who went to report to them with regard to these attacks. We think that this is an unacceptable reason. When there's an attack during broad daylight for seven consecutive days why do - why should the police wait for the people to come and report to them? Why can't they go out and investigate the matters? General Buchner also went to a meeting of the Inkatha and he was listening to certain speakers who were addressing the meeting. But there is a matter that is of fundamental importance that the Commission should look at, as to whether the police were able or not to quell that situation, because it is a known secret that the police had alliances with Inkatha. Director Meyer, who had just given his testimony, it is very important for us to say that he was condemned by the Supreme Court Judge because of the relationship that existed between and Abdul Ahwed. Superintendent J P van den Heever ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 3) ... positions in the police force. The question that we ask ourselves is if they had this relationship is it not what culminated to the Seven Day War? In this new South Africa if these attacks were directed at Scottville, or Wembu or Priestbury I am not doubtful at all that it was not going to take more than an hour. This shows us quite clearly, as members of the ANC, that the lives of black people were taken very cheaply during the apartheid era, and the Seven Day War is evidence to that. To conclude we shall request this honourable Commission to investigate deeply about the role that was played by the police, as well as the soldiers, with regard to the seven day attack, especially the Flying Squad and the SBs. In other places it has been shown that the SBs were directly involved in these attacks, and what troubles us most is that this branch of the police force has never ever been investigated with regard to the attacks. We do not believe that they conducted themselves in an orderly manner. We wish that the Riot Unit should be further investigated, which was later on called the Stability Unit, and it was led by Major Terblanche, as well as the KwaZulu Police and the special constables. What we want to say about these groups, as members of the ANC, is that even if they can give lengthy explanations and say that some of the police were acting on their own accord, we wish this Commission to investigate as to whether these groups which were existent under P W Botha, and they were called security management structures, and what was done by these groups was done in Pretoria, and it was known in Pretoria and well orchestrated. We also wish this Commission to investigate as to what Jack Buchner's part was in all this, because he was also a high-ranking official in Pietermaritzburg. We wish that he could also be investigated. Before he came to 'Maritzburg there are some rumours that he was very connected with the Vlak Plaas. During the Seven Day War Buchner was in charge of the ZP Police, and we know that the KwaZulu Police have got a very bad reputation, especially with regard to their conduct. Some of the police, like Captain Brooks, Warrant-Officer Verber, as well as all the other high-ranking officials should be investigated, especially with regard to the part that they took during the Seven Day War, if they did. We will not be free if these investigations do not take place as to what part did they play. Honourable Chairman, as members of the ANC we believe that the names of the people who were directly involved shall come forward on their own accord to come
and speak the truth as is, and tell the people as to why they committed these deeds, who were they working with, who were they working for, and what were they working for. We also hope that, as the members of the ANC, this is the only thing that will create peace in this place so that the people could be at peace with themselves. We believe in peace as members of the ANC. We've shown that several times. We were the ones who initiated peace talks in 'Maritzburg, but what we always say is that we cannot build peace on top of lies. We should first reveal the truth so that was have a basis or a foundation for peace, because we cannot shake hands whilst there are certain things we are sweeping under the carpet. Lastly, in conclusion, we were requesting this Commission to try and assist us that there should be some certain mechanism by which these people who left their homes and became refugees should be brought back to their places, so that they could even go to the graves of their ancestors as well as their loved ones. We should also take into consideration that there should be democracy in 'Maritzburg. But what we want to say is that democracy, as far as politics are concerned, is the revealing of the truth so that we know who the perpetrators were. This is what I have brought before this Commission today as being sent by my group, the African National Congress.
We thank you, Mr Nzimande. There is one question that I would like to ask which places us in a problem as the Truth Commission. Those people who are listed here - as I am speaking to you I am glad, because you are a member of the Parliament, you are not just an ordinary ANC
member. Those perpetrators, together with their assistants, are still occupying very high positions in this region, especially in the police force. Do you believe that they have stopped their deeds as we are striving for peace? What makes me say this is you remember that even though there's this new government you know what happened in Shobashobane in Port Shepstone, and the very same people, the very same government is still keeping them in those high positions. They are directly involved in the killings. How are we going to broach the subject? How do we deal with those people who are occupying high positions and being killers? How sure are you that they won't continue with their deeds? --- I thank you very much for that question, Reverend. It troubles us as members of the ANC that there are still people who were involved, or previously involved in criminal acts during the apartheid area, but these people are still occupying high positions. What I wish to explain to this honourable Commission is that as we are the ANC members we are the government. That is why we were the ones who tried to initiate some means or mechanisms so that the truth may come out. That is why the Parliament passed this law which created this Commission. Because what we were trying to avoid, as our President always says, is that people should not point a finger at us and say we are using our position to retaliate. It is better that a certain mechanism be implemented that will be acceptable to each and every person, so that those who are not willing to come forward, as they have been given a chance to come and say whatever they know, then they will have to be arrested. The ANC
Government is very much prepared that those who want to come before the Commission should come and testify, and those who think that they will run away from the whole matter we are very much prepared for them. We are going to investigate them and take all the evidence that we can gather, and that they could be formally charged. The second aspect, just adding to your question, is that the ANC Government formed investigation task units, and a lot of them are within the province of KwaZulu Natal. We also have one in the 'Maritzburg region so that they can investigate. We should not wait for the answers from the Commission, but we should also implement other means from the government sector that they should investigate these independently. Now, in conclusion, even though I may not say or name that police station, you find that there might be 3 000 cases or more of attacks and killings, and the files have remained there in those cupboards and many years have lapsed without anything being done. Now, we have got a report from these investigators that they have already started investigating some of the cases, and some of the people are already appearing in court as a result of these investigations. Now, we want to do everything legitimately so that people will not blame us at the end.
Dr Nzimande, we've heard evidence of some counter attacks during this period by ANC, or by people from non-Inkatha areas, let's say, and you've partly answered the question, but I'd just like you to give it a direct answer. It would obviously help us if - to the extent that some of those people involved in those counter attacks may have been ANC or UDF members, would your party be willing to encourage those people to come forward and testify to us, so we could get a picture of what their motivations were? --- Thank you. In an attempt of answering the question, first of all is that it won't be right to say there was a counter attack coming from ANC. I will be putting that wrong. I am prepared to say this with no fear at all, and also prepared to say this over and over again. It has never happened before seeing ANC gathering together, going to attack the Inkatha areas. I will stand for that. We've never done it before. All the time it has been Inkatha gathering and coming to attack the ANC areas. If the community was being attacked what happened also still even during this Seven Day War, the community itself, because of the attacks, especially the youth, would gather and create committees to prevent this. We also agreed when we were making an agreement of peace accord in the Parliament that those committees are allowed, and should take place all the time people were being attacked. Besides this there is nothing that ANC has done, because there's no one who will just fold his arms when he is being attacked. Those committees were trying to prevent this, and also trying to defend themselves when the Inkatha and the police were coming to attack. One other thing I would like to make mention of is that if there are ANC members who would gather together and plan to launch an attack at Inkatha areas, that definitely is not according to the constitution of ANC. That will obviously mean they were up to killing, and we've never had people in the past who would have those intentions. If there were people with those intentions instead of preventing and defending the communities, but plan and launch an attack like this Seven Day War attack,
definitely the law will have to take them into task. We are prepared also, and we are behind these committees, because those committees were doing a good job, and we are not ashamed of them. And maybe they should be called upon to explain as to how they used to operate the very committees of preventing and defending the communities in case the Commission is interested of that, because we take those people to be the community police, because the community police and the SAP was the direct opposite. Thanks.
Dr Nzimande, your report is clear, such that one cannot - there is nothing ambiguous with your report. I would like to get your view and your perspective. Maybe you were not there when Mr Radley Keys gave his own perspective, but amongst the things that he has made mention of he does agree with you that the Seven Day War was not a war as such, or probably a war from the two groups, but this was planned by the apartheid government. But there is one other thing that he said, and I think that is of fundamental importance with regard to UDF in 1983, that some of the things that took place and transpired it's known that UDF took people who were serving under the government, like the police, civil servants, and so forth as enemies, first. Secondly, fighting with the apartheid government UDF used weapons like boycotts, or means like boycotts, stay-aways. To make that even more successful they used to discourage people who were not complying with the arrangements. It even got to the time where the Inkatha got devastated and they started retaliating. Now, my question to you,
Dr Nzimande, is maybe as an ANC member is there in retrospect not a time where you've looked and decided that probably it has been our fault there? If we hadn't done this thing in this fashion this would not have taken place. Can you comment on that? --- Thank you, Commissioner Dlamini.
I was not here present when Mr Keys was addressing. When he said the UDF was formed in 1983, and it took police and some other government servants as enemies, I think he made a mistake there. I think the police made UDF an enemy instead. That was clear, and it is clear even now. There is no point of me dwelling in that one. If they took us for an enemy, doing those things that Mr Harrington has already explained, that they were telling the special constables to shoot randomly in ANC places, then it was called for for UDF to do something. Were they supposed to fold their arms when the special constables were shooting their areas and their mothers? Mr Keys should have said police said UDF are its enemies, not vice versa. I would not say the police and the government servants were enemies, because we do have a majority of people who were serving the government in different areas, and were UDF members, and they were always part of the community where UDF held a strong position. It was - our enemy was not people as individuals, but an enemy of UDF was a group and the organisation of apartheid. That I will not deny and repudiate. But some police were in the community, belonged to the community, but who had done nothing because they did carry their duties right, so ... (inaudible) ... that were the enemy, but it was the system
itself. Regarding the fact that the UDF was forcing people each time there were boycotts, what I would like to say is, if that was really true I do not think today we will be having this freedom and independence. If it's true the followers of UDF and ANC were forced to be their members today they should have opened up and disclosed that information that they were made and forced to be members of these organisations. As I am speaking today we have won two-thirds here in Pietermaritzburg. At the same time I do not want to refute the fact that at times there will be people, some belonging to UDF and ANC, who will want to force things to be done, but I will say those things were happening there and there, and even in our statements that we used to give out we made it clear, explicitly clear, that we were not forcing people, and we don't at the same time repudiate the fact that there were instances like that, and we would condemn such actions and such things. And that was one other way which was opening the gate for the enemy to come in. I will end there, Mr Chairman.
Dr Nzimande, I have one question for you. Maybe ti's deviated. I ask this because I am ... (inaudible) ... scheme of things, so you have looked at things very broadly. In your presentation you do mention that one of the things that led to these attacks in Pietermaritzburg started in the companies here in Pietermaritzburg. I do wish to know from you the stand of the companies. It is difficult for me not to look at - it's confusing for me. /I can't
and so forth, and also that as companies have authorities and powers they could have probably had some way of getting people to come to work, or what? --- Thank you, Commissioner Magwaza. What you have talked about now, it is important nationwide, especially here in Pietermaritzburg. If I go back to the discussions of 1987, the businessmen did take part in those discussions. I will say without doubt or hesitance that some of them did try to prevent these attacks, because they were the ones who suffered the most because people could not go to work. In other words I would wish - I don't know whether that I have missed some other thing since I did not attend before. We know about Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce then, and Chamber of Industries, that should come. We know about those, and should come forward and present, and especially that they were there when the police came to arrest the members of COSATU and UDF. They have witnessed everything and have seen everything. Especially COSATU was the one which helped at all times to push and put pressure to the companies to play some role in light of solving the problem. I will briefly say that I would wish for the Commission to call the companies to come and open up and disclose what they know, because they were also directly affected by this.
Dr Nzimande, thank you very much for coming and talking to us today. It is very important to have the official account of the ANC to what was a major event in the history of the Midlands. Unfortunately we have not had the benefit of a similar submission from the IFP. A letter was sent some weeks ago to Premier Mdlalose, and to
Mr Ziba Jiyani, inviting them to appoint someone to give the official IFP version of this event, in the same way that the ANC appointed you to give the official ANC version. A letter was received from their spokesman, Mr Koos van der Merwe, saying that they would not participate in any way in this hearing this week. And that is a pity, because it would be very important to have had the IFP account of those days. And the IFP must then live with the consequences of refusing to come to this Commission. I am glad that the ANC has admitted that, for example, there was stoning of buses in Edendale by young refugees from Vulindlela, and this certainly does explain the anger of those IFP people from Elandskop and Vulindlela. What we have to ask ourselves is whether it was appropriate then to launch what amounted to an invasion on the surrounding areas, along with the mass destruction of life and property that went along with it. So thank you for a frank account on the part of the ANC. Thank you very much. --- Thank you.
Thank you, Inspector Marion, for coming in today. You are currently an inspector in the South African Police Services, and ... (intervention) --- No, that's not correct. I'm a superintendent in the SAPS.
Now, at the time that is under examination here, March/April 1990, where were you stationed and what rank were you holding? --- During that period I was a lieutenant in the South African Police and I was second in charge at the Riot Investigation Unit at Edendale.
Now, you've given us a short statement. Can you please just tell us of your experiences during this period, using your statement as a basis from which to proceed. --- Yes, I'll do that, Mr Chairman. Thank you. During the period of violence in the Edendale area, which was then commonly known as Death Valley, I served as a lieutenant in the South African Police, and second in charge to the commander of the Riot Investigation Unit at that time. During that period 87-91 I regard as the worst outbreaks of violence in the Pietermaritzburg/Midlands area. The incident referred to as the Seven Day War during March/April 1990 was in fact in my experience the most serious series of violence during that period. Prior to the Seven Day War I was on investigation in the Natal Midlands. I looked at my diary, and the date was the 23rd of March 1990. Whilst in the New Hanover area I saw approximately six bus loads of people coming from the direction of Greytown. The buses were fully laden with people, and they were armed with weapons. At that stage I used to conduct inspections and investigations throughout the Natal Midlands as far afield as Greytown and Wartburg. Being curious I stopped the lead bus and inquired as to what was going on. I learned that they were IFP supporters that were en route to a meeting in Edendale. I then contacted the Riot Unit and informed them of the situation. I was asked at that stage to allow them through.
And you said that you were asked, or - were you instructed or were you asked by your unit to let the vehicles through. --- No, I was informed to allow them through. You see, at that stage whenever the police had seen anything with regard to crowds or people in groups or large gatherings we reported it to the Riot Unit. And because of this peculiar incident of six buses coming towards 'Maritzburg it had raised my suspicion and therefore I had contacted them. During the investigation at the Riot Investigation Unit we experienced a number of problems with regard to investigation. There was no co-operation from people, from both the UDF and the IFP sides. During the Seven Day War I myself attended a number of scenes of murders. The areas in which the murders had occurred were deserted at that stage, and we had received no information from the people when called upon to do so. During that period, 1990, shortly after the Seven Day War, I investigated a number of killings, numbering about between 20 and 24 murders and attempted murders, where a serial killer was convicted and sentenced to seven life terms of imprisonment. During the same period, the same year in October, I also investigated the killing of Ololo Lombo, who I knew at that stage was seen in the vicinity of the Seven Day War killings, and arrested the - the suspects or the killers of Mr Lombo were arrested on the same day and appeared in court. They subsequently escaped and went abroad. Mr Chairman, ironically I have re-arrested them two weeks ago and they are now awaiting trial. Soon after these incidents of investigation I was called up to at that stage regional headquarters in Durban, and paraded before the then General Steyn, who was the head of the Security Branch in KwaZulu Natal. When I introduced myself to him he called me a communist dog, and he informed me that I was being followed, and that the Security Branch had been keeping surveillance on me for about a year. He told me that I should refrain from arresting members of the IFP. If I did not refrain I would commit suicide.
Just to interrupt there, Superintendent. Are you saying that he called you a communist dog because you had been involved in the investigation and arrest of IFP people? --- That is correct, Mr Chairman. Is that what he told you, or is that what he implied? --- Yes, Mr Chairman.
What did you understand by that? --- Well, at that stage I was not a little child in the police, and I know from experience that people mysteriously committed suicide in custody, and I was under the impression that somebody would come along and murder me.
What was your response to General Steyn. --- I informed that as far as I am concerned I would not stop doing my work, and informed him that I'll work in accordance with the law. Mr Chairman, not so long thereafter my home was petrol-bombed, and fortunately of us - or my family was injured. I did a check on the vehicle that the occupants were in, and it proved to be an IFP leader from KwaNdengezi, who had since sold his vehicle, and eventually along the line we could not trace who had the vehicle at that stage.
Now, is there anything else that you want to add about the activities of the police during, before, or after that period? I understand that you were not directly involved in the Seven Day War other than the incident which you advised us about earlier on in your testimony. --- During that period, Mr Chairman, I was busy with the investigation of that case which I referred to, which was in court and the accused had got seven life terms of imprisonment. I had in fact visited certain scenes of crime on the Seven Day War, and did initial investigations there, but as I explained the difficulties that the police experienced during that time.
Brigadier Bertus - you have mentioned here in your statement - Steyn, is he still an active member of the force? The one you reported the incident. --- No, I am given to understand that he had since retired.
Let me just ask you a very pragmatic question. You say that you were one and there were six buses. You were just alone, but you managed to stop one bus, the leading bus. What was the reaction of these people because you were just by yourself? --- Your Worship, I put on my blue light - sorry, Mr Chairman, I put on my blue light on the top of the vehicle and made it known that I was a policeman, and when I stopped in front of the lead bus the buses stopped, and there was no reaction from them in respect of confrontation or anything of that sort. They stopped and I questioned them.
So in your own opinion you think that the police - they could stop the people if they were moving to a direction if they wanted to? --- Well, if I stopped it myself they could have stopped - a whole squad of policemen could have stopped people and turned them back.
You say that when you reported the matter to the Riot Unit you were told to let them through. What did you think about that? --- Well, at that stage, you know, I didn't think anything about it. I was under the impression that they were going to a meeting, and that's why, you know, they were allowed through.
It's only now that you see what it means. --- Well, I don't know whether the same buses were involved in any attacks in the KwaShange area, but obviously there seemed to be people streamed into the Edendale area from other areas.
This man who called you a communist dog, and he said you were going to commit suicide, and you reported the matter to your attorney. Did your attorney do anything about this? --- Well, I requested him not to do anything about it, but just to bear knowledge of it that if anything does happen he should know in what direction to go.
Superintendent Marion, in your statement you say that you were selected to the Goldstone Commission. Could you say why you declined that? --- Well, at that stage I basically wasn't too well because of the trauma that I worked in, the unrest situation and the violence, and I elected not to be involved in violence for a time.
The second question. You noticed that these people who were travelling by bus were heavily armed. Do you remember what kind of arms did they have? --- Well, they had spears, assegais, pangas - weapons, traditional weapons. I didn't notice any firearms.
Inspector Marion, thank you - sorry, Superintendent Marion, thank you very much for coming in. I think that your evidence is instructive from two points of view. It indicates that a single policeman driving a motor vehicle could, by the authority that he represented, could have stopped a large convoy of armed men. Because the story that we have heard from the other policemen here is that they were completely unable to do anything to halt the movement of armed people during that period, and other people have said that there was a great unwillingness on the part of the police to stop those armed groups. And you have indicated that it could be done. Secondly the remarks made to you by the head of the Security Branch at the time also go a long way to showing the views held at the time by senior policemen such as Brigadier Bertus Steyn. So, again than you very much for coming in and sharing that information with us. --- Thank you very much.
Now, during 1987 and thereafter, particularly during March 1990, you ended up doing much of the investigation arising out of what has come to be called the Seven Day War. What was your rank at that time? --- Then I was a constable, the first rank in the police.
What was the average amount of dockets that a detective would carry at that time? --- It's not easy for me to answer this question because it differs, depending on the area where you will be working, how many cases you will find and how many people to be investigated. So it differs, making me - putting me in a position of not answering your question.
Now, were the majority of those cases related to the violence that had taken place - in the Vulindlela valley that week we are talking about. --- There are not so many of those which have to do with the Seven Day War.
Tell us about those that you were dealing with in relation to the Seven Day War. --- The one that I remember is the case where Brian Sihle Zondi was killed, and one other lady from Zondi family. That incident took place on the day when the rally took place in Durban. The buses which were coming from Durban passed by Mnyandu by Mabeza's store. That is exactly where the late Sihle and the lady from Zondi family met their untimely death.
What sort of supervision did you get to try and help you cope with such a huge amount of work? --- At that time things were in such a way that when the investigating officer gets a case we would go and investigate on it, so that the following day you give it and hand it over to the superior, and the superiors will inspect and peruse through it and give guidelines thereafter for him to carry on investigating. That is the first guideline that was given to us. One other thing that used to happen, at least once a month one of the investigating officers in chief will call all the dockets so he can go through the dockets one by one. In that was the investigating officer /will be
On the Wednesday - that is a couple of days after the 25th - you were at KwaMnyandu. Tell us what you found. --- What drove me to go to Mnyandu, we were stationed in Sweetwater in fact. I therefore heard about the outbreak of violence. When we were in Sweetwater, looking on the other side, what I will refer to as Mnyandu direction, we saw houses burning and we rushed there. When we got there we found out that many houses were set alight and burning, and the residents already had vacated the area.
Carry on please. --- I therefore went around in the area with the intention of seeking more information as to what happened. That's where I discovered that there were many people who had already been killed lying around. That day I discovered corpses, dead bodies of the old and the young ones, about 10 corpses. I therefore requested for the mortuary vehicle to be called in, and as well as all other necessary helpers we could get from the police force.
This may not be easy for you, but just so that people get a sense of what happened to the people whose bodies you found, in your statement you've told us the sorts of wounds that they had. Please just tell us for
the record, so we get a sense of how people were killed. --- The first body I came across was Moses Zuma's. This Moses Zuma, according to my inspection then he had different wounds that were approximately 31. The next one - and I also discovered that he is the father of Moses Zuma, by the name of Israel Zuma - also he had 30 wounds (Inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 4) ... who was an elderly lady, one wound. And Mvusane Ngubane, who had 16 wounds.
The people you found, you've told us about some -obviously elderly men, elderly ladies, and then young people. Were there children amongst these people? --- There were no children amongst these, but I do have an idea that - and knowledge that there was one female, one woman, from Ngubane family. She had just delivered a baby, but among these there were no children at all.
In total you found 10 bodies at that particular scene, and then later you found another five. --- These five, I was not the one who discovered these five bodies, but it's part of what I investigated. What led to these five is the bodies that we used to discover lying around as well in KwaMnyandu, but I did not see them when I discovered the previous 10. There was enough evidence that they were also murdered at the same time when the 10 got murdered. That is exactly what led me to combine the two and treat them as one case.
What sort of success did you have with your investigations? --- This was not a usual case, or rather an easy one. People here were harassed and tortured as well, so that this made me not feel so comfortable.
What did you ... (inaudible) ... how would you - looking back now - and let me just for the record say that after some years you went to the Goldstone Commission, is that correct, and then you thereafter moved to the ITU, so you now have a much greater experience of investigation techniques and other ways of doing things? --- That is correct.
In the light of that experience how would you have tackled the matter, knowing what you know now? --- It is clear that this was a serious matter. It would require that I have a senior person, a superior person, an experienced one - experienced investigation officers who were so much versed with knowledge and experience, put together with an intention of investigate further and deeper in as far as this matter is concerned.
to make a decision, with an intention of conducting the inquest, the prosecutors would request us to separate those cases so that each and every corpse would have the documents that relate direct to him and with him.
Okay. I am saying, even with the best intention in the world - and we are not blaming you personally, but it shouldn't surprise anyone that if that's the kind of investigation that happened, and if that's the way in which, say, the Justice Department treated the matter, it shouldn't surprise us that the real picture didn't come out at that time. --- Yes, I do agree with you.
Why do you think you were assigned and appointed to this position, only you, especially being a senior position like this, and you being so much of a junior to be appointed to this position. What did you have in mind? Did you have mixed feelings, or what? --- Maybe what I should emphasise here is that the unit in which I was assigned and appointed to, even though I was young at the time, but I already was a trained investigating officer, being already transferred from Murder and Robbery, when I compared myself to my colleagues at that time, because they were only coming from uniform branch. I am talking about my colleagues now. They had no vast experience in
Let me ask one more question. I will take you back a little bit. We've seen here people with many wounds here. Now, as an officer upon inspecting those bodies what did you think about those wounds? You see, probably they were stabbed with assegais, or with bush knives, or were they shot? Tell us about the nature of these wounds. --- Almost each and every weapon that we have that exists, from the gun upward. You have the assegais, bush knife, and anything you can think of was used, because even the wounds were not equal in size. Some were bigger than others, and there were lacerations, and one you could tell that these were chopped.
When you were investigating, busy doing that, did you discover probably something which led to an idea as to who killed those people as an investigating officer? The very perpetrators, did you have any kind of idea who could those be? --- With help that I was rendered, and especially from the refugee camps, those who witnessed, it ultimately was clear that some people were disclosing that they were being attacked by Inkatha, and the leaders of Inkatha, some of them, the names were implicated.
Bongani, I have about two questions. I would like for you to explain concisely, is it a usual procedure that upon investigating some issues you will be assigned to do so much more, being the only person? --- It is difficult for me really to answer this question satisfactorily, because it depends upon the unit, and as to how many cases should be investigated. When there are more cases the officer in charge then is in for it and it's a challenge.
Over how long a period did you investigate these cases? --- I have given you 80 as a figure of the cases. You will find out that today I receive five cases in addition to what I already have. You find out the following day I get 10, or probably six that have to be closed. That put me in such a position and a situation that figures were - did vary to a great extent the whole time I have served that Riot Unit.
How long is the time you are talking about? --- I remember I joined December 1987. I will not quite remember, though I think it was late 90s when I was transferred. Or let me say 1991 when I was transferred to Bulwer to work on the cases there.
Did you find this acceptable to you that you were so much busy investigating these various cases which were so intense? Was there a reason? Did you see any reason why - as for why at that time should you be transferred to Bulwer? Do you think that was acceptable and was fair, or did you suspect some other things why this was done? --- At that time nothing really came into my mind except I just said to myself, "It's fine, let me go and work." One other thing when it comes to you, like in my case, in Bulwer I was going to be placed in a position of being in charge of the cases that were related to the violence.
Bongani, according to my opinion I think if you were so much of an expert I think you were supposed to be kept in this area and finish up the work that you already started, instead of being transferred. --- I will not repudiate that, but I am just telling you things that happened there, and getting instructions from the commanders telling me I should do this and that. I did not see myself in a state or probably wanting to say something to them.
Did you not feel bad, or get to a point where you felt bad, and also thinking that you were being disturbed from your work? --- Yes, of course I did feel bad, because already the relationship I had already developed with the victims of the Seven Day War, that was not easy. I knew that one day they also wish and hope that they will succeed in their cases, and also that it was my wish. But I had no two ways about it. When they told me I have to be transferred I had to comply and adhere to the arrangements.
Bongani, one question. I was touched here by your opinion that the incident of the Seven Day War was a massacre. That's how you've put it. And also according to you and your opinion you felt there should have been a special task team placed there to investigate the damage and the violence in the area. Why - what was the reason that they did not think of doing that? I mean we're talking about your superiors. --- As I have explained
before I don't think I will give you a satisfactory answer here, because I only discover such things now, especially with the experience that I have now, but at that time I was just being instructed to do this and that and the other, and I will simply do that.
This opinion that you have here is of fundamental importance to us, and it seems to me this should have been undertaken then, making us believe some of the things that have been mentioned before us, that in the police force, especially the superior officers they had some kind of strategy that they were using to destroy and confuse the black nations using IFP. Thank you.
Just one last question, Mr Nxumalo. One of the purposes of our work in this Commission is to try and see what lessons we can learn for the future so that we can make recommendations. As a very much more experienced investigator what should we recommend, say, for example, about the carrying of the number of dockets that a detective should reasonably carry? --- It's very easy to answer that one, because even if there - there are many things that are being implicated here. I have this belief that at least an investigating officer can conduct his work successfully if he is put in a position of handling at least not more than 20 cases, because you find out that one officer has more than 80 cases, and even if he is told to go and work he will go with three other colleagues to work with, and these other three other colleagues have their own cases, 80 respectively. When you look into this /you find
instance, I am driving, everyone in the car should be satisfied that at least let's take one cases each, or two cases each per day. That puts us in such a state that you get people attending more than 200 to 300 documents in one car, and you find out the officer are in one car and they cannot perform effectively.
Just one last question. Was there any difference between the number of cases black members would carry as opposed to white members? --- That I may not say explicitly clear. It's difficult for me to answer the question, but at the time I did not see anything that will make me say this was the difference in the Riot Investigation at that time. And also it's inevitable of me to say it does happen that you realise that amongst the black members there's more work allocated to them. And on the other side, the white side, you find there's less work allocated to them. And the answer you get related to that, you find they tell you that many cases - most cases are black cases.
Mr Nxumalo, thank you very much for your evidence. It seems to us from what you have said that to deal with these incidents, these deaths which arose from the Seven Day War, there should have been a large task team of senior, experienced detectives, who should have been appointed to investigate these incidents. It should have been a co-ordinated investigation, with co-operation and participation from senior policemen at every level, and it should never have been left to constables like yourself, who were carrying a case load of eight dockets. You nevertheless attempted to investigate these cases to the best of your ability, and in retrospect it seems a great
Monica, I greet you. I think what we are going to need from you is just a narrative of your experiences during the time of the Seven Day War. We know that you are one of the people with a certain group who were very much involved, especially at Imbali. And there was a time when you were shot there at Imbali, which was very unusual for the white people to be at Imbali during that time. Can you give us your whole experience, your whole narrative about what you know about what was happening during the Seven Day War, especially with reference to Imbali. --- Thank you. I could give much more. I was asked to relay just one incident of the 29th, and I'll be very brief on that.
Yes. --- But I want to record that I was there from the beginning, or nearly from the beginning. I was a bit late due to compiling that box, first aid box in which the famous tweezers were missing. It was not an act of sabotage, it was an oversight.
This is why I didn't want to pin you to the 29th, because I know that from the very word go you were very much involved in the affairs there. --- And I do want to record that I agree completely with all the evidence given during these days. Now, to the incident on the 29th March. Due to atrocities done by white policemen in Imbali at night we were asked to come and monitor the situation. A group was formed, who stayed overnight in threatened houses, made reports, and tried to prevent further incidents. On the evening of Thursday, the 29th March ... (Inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 4) ... days earlier when Graham had stayed in the house of police torture victim, Larry Silwane. Incidentally, may I include that that policeman confessed, that is Mr Harrington. He confessed, and he is forgiven. When we reached the area of Imbali Breweries Graham watched a black car, allegedly belonging to Councillor Awetha, to do a sudden U-turn and then following us closely. Graham accelerated, and suddenly it turned up a street, when a shot hit the rear end of the car. We drove fast to the house of our destination. The black car roared up the next street. Everybody ran into the house. I had left my handbag and camera in the car, and swiftly went to retrieve it. There was no time now for me to run into the house. I quickly had to duck behind the thigh-high garden wall. I thank God for that garden wall. Mr Mlotshwa was standing behind a pillar. Through the ornamental holes in the wall I could see everything clearly. Three rather handsome young men came up through the bushes on the empty plot opposite the house carrying an R1 rifle. The older of the youth handled this gun skilfully. He struck me as being well trained. He went around the car and shot and shot and shot, first into the tyres, then into the front and rear windows. He repeatedly shot into the petrol tank, but it did not explode. The cheek with which they moved about showed me clearly that they were certain that nobody in the surrounding houses had guns. They could have shot them 10 times over. I was so mad at them, and sitting so close that the thought came up that I could easily photograph them. I grasped my camera, a flash went off, leaving me terrified and them running off. Meanwhile the occupants of the house had huddled together on mattresses in the pitch dark passages. Many people had been shot through the windows. As soon as the first shot ran out they phoned the police, the families, and the newspaper. The police arrived three hours later with four squad cars. They wanted us to enter the completely gutted car immediately and leave Imbali with their escort. When they realised this was impossible they wanted to take us in the police vans. The hosts were very afraid of a petrol bomb attack in case we left, so we had to sign a statement that we had refused to be rescued from this dangerous township. About half an hour later we saw huge flames. Graham's car was burning fiercely. This time the police did not take so long. They were four young men from Transkei, who hardly could speak English and were pleased to be able to talk Afrikaans to me. After a while, having asked many questions, one of them said an amazing thing to me. "What I see here and what I am told on TV does not click. Why does the Government lie so much to the people on TV?" Again I realised that one policeman is very different from the next.
Thank you very much, Sister Monica. I just want ask you just a few questions. You've said that here you were asked to monitor the situation. Who asked you? --- The family of Mr Sipho Gabela, who was my foster son for many, many months, had suffered very much at the hands of police. He has given evidence previously before this Commission.
So when you went to Mlotshwa's house you were already involved in the Imbali situation? --- Yes. We started after the last very severe attack on Mr Sipho Gabela. By the way, Mama Monica, how many were there in the
Because people could not believe that whites could be there at Imbali during that time? --- I think they didn't want to know. Not - I mean I come from the German-speaking Lutheran community. Nobody asked me any questions. They didn't want to know.
Who was Mlotshwa? --- We had a group in Imbali with whom we liaised. We had to have the people with telephones. The Mlotshwa's was one of the houses with telephones, and that's why that evening we went to the Mlotshwa's house to have a telephone at hand. They are both working in Fort Napier Hospital. Mrs Mlotshwa is one of the matrons there.
Was it common for him to invade the houses of the UDF people? --- I guess that there are many cases. I wouldn't like - I must give evidence that I know about, and this case I must say I heard about it.
In your statement you say that when there were shots you grabbed your camera and a flash went off. Did you manage to take the ... (intervention) --- I would have been killed. I didn't. I didn't photograph them.
You didn't trouble to phone them. Who was leading the police force which arrived first? --- We had our course about being good witnesses after that. At that time I didn't do the trouble to take car numbers and names yet. Afterwards I knew better.
And it showed how powerful people can be if the whites and blacks work together. It became proved very well at Imbali, and I must really thank you for that. This is why I said yesterday if the history of this area is written, and your name is not there with your group, then the history of South Africa will not be enough, and I want to thank you very much. And it was during the time when you had problems too in your family. You son too, Martin Wittenberg, was being arrested, detained, but that did not deter you as the mother in following your mission, and we want to thank you very much, Mother. --- Thank you.
I have one question and one comment. The first question, did the fact that you were white in a black township give you some advantage in not being intimidated by the police? --- We were - they tried to severely intimidate us, but there is a way you can refuse to be intimidated by police. I personally was - they tried to severely intimidate me, but somehow I refused to be intimidated by them.
Okay. The second one is a comment. I would like to make these comments. It might be an unfair comment directed to you, but to me it's important. That we as the Truth Commission nationally we are worried that we are not moving along in the same direction with most of the whites. We still feel there are very few people like you. --- I'm afraid so.
We - yes we are supposed to reconcile. We are polarised even at a time of pain. You just have to look at this hall and see who is here. It's hurting us blacks very badly. Probably the process for you is not finished. You can help us in the process of reconciliation, I think, by trying to bring in as many whites as possible. We want to reconcile. We can't reconcile without them. That's a challenged to you and people like you. Thank you very much. --- They don't want to hear, that is the problem.
Just one question, Monica. You have already said that you were intimidated, and you have already say that your group was a group comprising of whites only. Now, I would like to know whether perhaps at any stage did you feel that you were threatened in the suburbs or the areas in which you lived because of your involvement? --- Oh yes. We had tyres slashed in front of our house. We did have our share of - I had a death threat, and I had my strong suspicion who did it. I had a death threat and subsequently was nearly killed in an accident, which was a peculiar accident, in Imbali. But of course that was the police who phoned me. That was police who phoned me to give me the death threat. Otherwise from my own community it was just a sort of a turning your back and not listening. But we had tyres slashed in front of the house.
Thank you very much, Mrs Wittenberg. Just before you go, are you aware that the constable who gave evidence here yesterday, Constable Harrington, has admitted to us that he shot the vehicle on the night in question? You're aware of that? --- Yes. I did tell him that I am sure Graham Swan has forgiven him. Knowing Graham Swan I know he has forgiven him.
I don't think I've got anything further to add to what Dr Magwaza and Dr Mgojo have said, other than to commend you for your bravery in those times, and to ask you to continue to be an example to other white people in your community. Thank you very much indeed. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: We are not done yet. Please let's respect ourselves. Richard Lyster is yet to summarise everything that happened and took place here. Let's give him and afford him an opportunity to do that. Please respect and be respectful.
MR LYSTER: We, as a Commission, have not had time to analyse the evidence and to draw conclusions or to make findings, and all I will do here is to briefly summarise the evidence and to look at some of the trends and the patterns that the evidence points to.
We've been looking at the week from 26th March to 4th April 1990, and I think that it can safely be said that this week was not a good week for the people of the Edendale valley. We have heard evidence in vivid detail from both victims and perpetrators that the people of this valley were subjected to an armed invasion by thousands of heavily armed men, resulting in 200 residents of that valley being murdered, hundreds of houses being looted and destroyed, stock driven off, and 30 000 refugees being created, many of whom are still homeless today.
For the people of places like Ashdown, Xaluza, Mpumuza, Gezabuso, KwaShange, KwaMnyandu, it was undoubtedly the most terrifying experience that they had ever and will ever undergo. Several witnesses said that this was not a war, because a war implies a battle of equals. One witness said it was a political cleansing, while another said it was an armed invasion.
Just as that week was a bad week for the people of the Edendale valley, so also was this week a bad week for three organisations, the Defence Force, the SAP, South African Police, and the Inkatha Freedom Party. Many witnesses who have testified over the past four days, people who were both victims and perpetrators, pointed fingers at these three organisations, and I will look briefly at each one of them.
With regard to the Defence Force, Brigadier Swanepoel said that the role that he was given by the police to play in the Seven Day War was to ensure that the Edendale Road was kept open, so that Edendale or Vulindlela residents could get to work without being stoned. He confirmed that at no stage were his troops deployed in the upper valley, where the destruction was taking place. He confirmed that if his troops had been stationed there they could have prevented loss of life and destruction of property. Residents of these areas, journalists and violence monitors pleaded with the Defence Force to deploy what forces they had in the areas where the attacks were taking place, but the SADF did not respond. The reason that Brigadier Swanepoel gave was that the plan that had been worked out by the Joint Management Centre did not provide for the deployment of troops in the unrest area. This may appear to many of us to be unbelievable, but I believe that that is what in fact happened. The Joint Operations Centre decided that the army should only be deployed to keep open the Edendale road. There is no doubt that vehicles were being stoned on that road before the Seven Day War, but there has been no evidence that any political party was responsible for the stoning, and it seems that it was probably young people who had been driven away from their homes at Elandskop and Vulindlela.
Brigadier Swanepoel and Director Meyer of the police contradicted themselves as to whether the Defence Force was sufficiently resourced to enable it to enter the upper reaches of the valley where the real trouble was taking place. Brigadier Swanepoel said that the Defence Force was hopelessly understaffed, whereas Director Meyer said the SADF resources were quite adequate. One thing is certain, is that if the six armoured vehicles and the 100 soldiers which the army did have had been deployed in the valley there seems to be no doubt that a substantial proportion of the death and destruction could have been averted, and Brigadier Swanepoel agreed to this. Another thing is certain, if army reinforcements had been called in immediately the Seven Day War could have been averted altogether.
This brings us to the role of the police. Director Meyer presented the official version of the South African Police, and he portrayed the police as being completely impartial and unbiased, and as having done everything possible to prevent loss of life and damage to property. On the other hand the version from Special Constables Shabangu and Madlala, and a Riot Unit Constable Harrington, was one of open complicity on the part of the police with the IFP forces.
Shabangu said that he drove a Riot Unit vehicle to pick up special constables; that he met up with a large Inkatha crowd, including Mr David Ntombela; that he went with this group to the outskirts of KwaShange, and there he watched with other members of his Riot Unit as the special constables attacked, burned and looted houses at KwaShange, and returned with stolen property, which they loaded onto a police vehicle, which was then driven to Mr Ntombela's home, along with cattle which had been stolen from the residents of KwaShange.
Mr Radley Keys and Mr Pierre Cronje, then of the Democratic Party, testified that they had watched a 3 000 strong IFP group prepare for an attack on Xalusa. They said that the police, under Brigadier Viljoen, sat in their armoured vehicles and silently watched while that saga unfolded before their eyes. They said that only after very strenuous argument on their part did the police very reluctantly begin to intervene to ward off that impi. Other witnesses testified to watching in disbelief as police provided buckets of ammunition to Inkatha combatants.
During the course of his evidence Director Meyer did make some significant concessions. He said that it was probable that some special constables had participated in the violence, but that if they did so it was contrary to the instructions of senior officers. He said that it was possible that arms and ammunition had been given by the police to IFP combatants, but that if they did so it was contrary to the instructions of senior officers. He said that he could not account for the participation of the KwaZulu Police in the Seven Day War on the side of the IFP, and said that the KwaZulu Police were part of a different command structure.
When he was asked why no legal action had been taken against IFP leaders like Mr Ntombela, and many others who were alleged to have been involved in violence, he said that prosecutions may well have been instituted against them had there not been intimidation of witnesses. He said that he could not deny the evidence of Constable Harrington, who said that as a member of the Riot Unit he had participated in many serious crimes, including murder, the sale of weapons to the IFP, torture, assaults, and the use of police vehicles to transport IFP members to attack UDF areas. He also conceded that the creation and the deployment of the special constables was one of the most fundamental mistakes which the South African Police had made.
With regard to the role of the special constables generally, I do not believe that Director Meyer was frank with the Commission. Evidence has been given before this Commission by several other people, not only witnesses at this hearing, but other witnesses, that the special constables were specifically recruited, trained and deployed to act against the UDF/ANC and to support Inkatha. I have no reason to disbelieve Constable Madlala, Shabangu and Harrington when they say this, and I also have no reason to disbelieve ex-police Captain Brian Mitchell, who has given evidence under oath to this Commission, when he says that special constables were in fact the so-called third force during that time in the entire Midlands area, and that the sole purpose of the special constables was for them to be deployed offensively against members of the UDF, and to support and assist the IFP.
Constable Harrington told the Commission that while he and some special constables were braai-ing meat and drinking beer in the Table Mountain area with an IFP group another IFP group launched an attack on a nearby ANC settlement. Instead of intervening and stopping the attack, or investigating the attack, or even observing the attack, Harrington and the Riot Unit and the special constables continued to eat and drink, after having been assured by their IFP hosts that it was merely an attack by IFP on UDF people. He said that that attitude and that behaviour was typical of the work of the Riot Unit and the special constables during that time. He said that he routinely assaulted and tortured people, threw people from the back of police vehicles, used his police vehicle to transport IFP people to UDF areas to carry out attacks, confiscated weapons from UDF areas, and gave them or sold them to IFP members. He said that this was commonplace behaviour in the Riot Unit, and that it was done by many of the Riot Unit members.
I accept that after the death of Major Terblanche the official attitude towards the ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 5) ... Erasmus and Madlala to have taken place. However, I cannot believe that the police hierarchy in the Midlands did not have a full appreciation of what the special constables actually were, and what they were to be used for.
With regard to the investigations into the deaths caused by the Seven Day War, we have heard the evidence of Inspector Bongani Nxumalo this afternoon, and it is clear that those investigations were completely inadequate.
every witness who has appeared before this Commission, other than the SAP and the SADF, laid the blame for this terrible event at the feet of IFP members. The IFP have not given us an official account of its involvement in the Seven Day War. As I said earlier on a letter was sent to the Premier, Mr Mdlalose - sorry, Dr Mdlalose, and to Mr Jiyani - Dr Jiyani, sorry, inviting them to send someone to give an official account of the IFP to this Commission, and a reply was received from Mr van der Merwe saying that the IFP had made its submission in Cape Town some months ago to the Commission, and that it did not intend making any further submission. Now, I was present in Cape Town when the IFP made its submission, and in the several hundred pages of submissions that it made to the Truth Commission it did not make mention of the Seven Day War, or of any incident or event which took place during that period, and that is the route that the IFP has chosen.
Mr Ntombela was invited to give evidence before this Commission. The Commission had originally agreed to subpoena Mr Ntombela to come to this Commission in the same way that it subpoenaed many other witnesses, but we decided that we should rather first invite Mr Ntombela out of respect for his public office. He initially accepted the invitation, but on the day that he was due to appear he refused to give evidence, and instead he called for the dismissal of the entire panel as it was constituted for this hearing.
to appear at this hearing that the city of Pietermaritzburg would be plunged into darkness. Mr Ntombela has requested that we make available to him copies of the witnesses' statements in order to allow him to formulate his response to the allegations made against him, and he is entitled to those documents. And he has told us that he will be responding to those documents, and until such time as he has done so I will not make further comment on his role, except to say that he has been implicated by many witnesses in this terrible tragedy.
In conclusion I want to look at a hypothetical scenario. Let us imagine for some bizarre reason that the black residents of Imbali swept out in a huge group of 3 000 people and attacked the white suburban residents of Pietermaritzburg, killing them, burning their houses, stealing their property. We would not have seen a few police Casspirs driving around negotiating with the Imbali residents, escorting them back to Imbali. We would not have seen the South African Defence Force confined to its base, or deployed to keep a road open, and we would not have seen members of the Riot Unit sunning themselves in the gardens of Imbali leaders. What we would have seen if this had happened was the mass deployment of thousands and thousands of policemen and soldiers. We would have seen hundred of armoured vehicles in the streets and helicopters in the sky. We would have seen a mobilisation of resources as never before seen in this country, and we would have seen hundreds of people arrested and tried and convicted for murder, theft, armed robbery, arson, and other serious crimes.
Edendale valley. This is what the residents of the Edendale valley were entitled to expect from the police, but because they were poor, and because they were black, and because they represented what Director Meyer called the UDF/COSATU alliance, they did not get that help. And we hope that those days have passed.
Finally I just want to thank all the various people who have worked hard during this past week to make this hearing proceed as it did. I want to thank the witnesses, because without them we would not have had a hearing. We want to thank them for their courage and bravery in coming forward. We want to thank the special Truth Commission task team which worked so hard to pull all these witnesses together, and the other TRC staff members who also worked very hard. We want to thank the police for protecting this building, the interpreters who interpreted for us, the press, and the many other voluntary people who worked so hard to make this hearing a success. Also thanks to the media in general for their coverage and their hard work.
Before we part please let's not forget that each time we gather we don't part before singing a cultural song or traditional song. We came together in this fashion, talking about those who've left us, who died, and simply depart easily like that. Let's stand up so we can sing a traditional song or some kind of a song.