|News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us|
Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS
(Incomplete) ... the Regional Director of the then Progressive Federal Party. We were engaged in negotiation politics from 1984. One might remember the Dakar visit. In 1989, on the formation of the Democratic Party, I became the Regional Director. In 1989 we formed what is called The Trust for Peace in Natal. It is a trust that was established to try and negotiate and mediate in the conflict to promote peace.
Yes, thank you, you may proceed with your summation. --- Thank you. Chairperson, I give evidence to this Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the full knowledge that what I have to say is from experience, and does not reflect everything that occurred in the period under review. It is evidence that I present that cannot be related by the thousands of people who have been killed in the conflict. I know there are many instances that I have forgotten, and I beg the indulgence of the Commission. I have been involved in monitoring the conflict since 1986/1987, and since 1989 trying to mediate and facilitate mediation.
I'd like to start, Chairperson, with the context of the Seven Day War. It is something that just didn't spring up in 1990, it had its roots a long, long time before that. Since 1986 Pietermaritzburg has successively been the area of violent conflict. In 1987 it seemed as if a strategic plan had been set in motion where violence started racking Imbali. What has been exposed by de Kock in his trial was being played out in the Natal Midlands by other players and his cohorts. The National Party Government of the day engineered this confrontation, I submit, Mr Chairperson. The schism that developed between the ANC and the Inkatha Cultural Movement in 1979 was a useful and opportune mechanism for the then Government of the day to widen that schism.
On the ground this conflict developed into a struggle between the Inkatha Cultural Movement, which subsequently formed itself to become the IFP, and the United Democratic Front, which was a front organisation for the African National Congress while it was banned. Much publicity was given to what was then described by the Government, and portrayed by the State media, as black on black violence. UDF was formed in 1983, and it was formed to oppose the tricameral system that was imposed on this country. The UDF identified all participants in any Government structure as an enemy, and tensions right from the beginning developed between the UDF and Inkatha.
Through 1986 boycotts were embarked upon, and measures were used to impose them on unwilling participants. Municipal transport in Pietermaritzburg was targeted. Strikes and labour action were used to increase pressure on the Government. Throughout 1984 and 1985 the spectre of the necklace killing came into its own. People identified as being in the opposition camp, many were killed by means of this necklace, where a car tyre was placed around the neck of a victim, petrol was dowsed on him and set alight. The intention was ostensibly aimed to terrorise everybody who supported the Government of the day to take up a position against it. These killings were predominantly carried out in the three provinces outside of Natal.
The regional governments in Natal were the Natal Provincial Administration and the KwaZulu Homeland Government. The South African Government imposed order in the Provincial Administration section of Natal and left the maintenance of order in the homeland of KwaZulu to the Government of KwaZulu under Dr Buthelezi, who was then Chief Minister and Minister of Police.
The uprising that took place in 1985 and 1986 in the Cape, the Free State and the Transvaal could be identified as a revolt against the National Party Government. When this revolt moved into Natal in 1986 and 1987 it reared its head in the townships, where Inkatha, through the KwaZulu Homeland Government, was the legitimate authority according to law. This revolt was interpreted as a revolt against the authority of KwaZulu and the person of Dr Buthelezi, and not a revolt against the South African Government.
In this context, Mr Chairperson and Members of the Commission, the South African Government, I contend, engineered a state of low intensity warfare - low enough to keep the UDF and Inkatha at each other's throats, but not intense enough to destroy the economy of the region. The National Party Government, I contend, was the orchestrator of that war. The Government was engaged in a war of survival. The array of onslaughts that they used to keep their white supporters in the lager - the total onslaught, the Communist onslaught, was used to bolster their white support.
The division between the UDF and Inkatha provided this National Party Government with an extremely useful and effective tool to divide its enemy, which they defined as South African citizens with black skins. The State was legally obliged to lend support to Inkatha because it had created the homeland of KwaZulu and therefore it could not destroy its own creation. Also it was a bulwark against the UDF, and the State, through the South African Police, would accompany and protect Inkatha groups in their marches, protests, but would baton charge, shoot, tear gas, and disrupt any and all UDF gatherings. In Mahlabisa we had to hold a meeting under the banner of the Progressive Federal Party for the local structure to establish and elect is own committee. That one the police could not baton charge.
There was clearly a divide-and-rule policy, pitting Inkatha against the UDF, and with the UDF attention's directed at Inkatha the State could sit back and ensure that the low intensity conflict debilitated its enemies, and the Government could proclaim to the world that, "Here we have a black on black conflict."
Through 1987 to 1990 this low intensity warfare was maintained. The leadership of the UDF and Inkatha was sucked into the divide-and-rule strategy. The followers on the whole were unaware that they were being used as pawns in the political struggle for power. The allegations of a third force abounded. The fact is there were three third forces. The Government had its police and military, who operated clandestinely to undermine its opponents. The de Kock and Malan trials have vindicated that and exposed that.
The third of the three forces was that of the Inkatha Freedom Party, where camps were established inside the country and on the border of this country, with the collusion of the South African Defence Force, where their members were trained in insurgency and counter insurgency.
All three of these third forces were well armed and trained to destabilise, kill and destroy their opponents. The South African Police, especially in Pietermaritzburg, particularly the Riot Unit under the command of Major Terblanche, who was then captain, were used as a tool to implement the National Party's policy of divide and rule. Their actions were predominantly aimed at undermining the UDF, as it was a front for a banned organisation. Their powers under the state of emergency legalised the atrocities and abuses that the law empowered them to do. Detention without trial was used extensively against the UDF members, with only a few Inkatha members incarcerated to show how impartial they were. Brigadier Marks and Colonel Fourie were the other top South African Police players in promoting low intensity conflict, while Brigadier Buchner of the Security Police ensure that detentions without trial were managed.
Members of the Commission, I have here from the Detainees Support Committee a list of people that were detained without trial. There were up to 20 000 detainees under the state of emergency - under the emergency regulations at a particular time.
The first salvoes of the 'Maritzburg war were in Imbali. Inkatha-aligned councillors in Imbali Township Council dominated the local government structures. The UDF had chosen as its modus operandi not to involve itself with any form of government structure, not with the people who were in them. The battle in Imbali was a fight for supremacy. Inkatha dominated the local government structures put in place by the National Party Government, while the UDF attracted popular mass support. Stage one and stage two were the sites of conflict. Patrols day and night were established to ensure control. Soon areas came to be known as either Inkatha or UDF. It was during this time, Members of the Commission, that the Imbali Support Group came to be established. Its aim was to ensure that police did their impartial duty, a task that was most difficult to impose.
In Ashdown in November 1987 Inkatha took control of Ashdown, but again in 1988 the UDF regained absolute control. And what happened in areas where the Inkatha was in control, people who had allegiance to the UDF had to leave the area, people who lived in UDF areas and had Inkatha allegiance had to either remain silent or leave the area or be killed.
In Edendale - from Imbali to Ashdown the conflict spread into Edendale. It was as if somebody had put a match to a forest, and nobody could stop the fire. Mr Chairman there were night marches to ensure that there were no attacks on the communities. I know many who have participated in the night marches. It was what some would describe as the Neighbourhood Watch, but it was a chilling time.
Vulindlela, an area under the control of the AmaKhozi, west and south of Pietermaritzburg, is predominantly IFP, with pockets of UDF supporters. The general relocation of people ensured that those supporting Inkatha moved into Inkatha areas, those supporting the UDF moved into UDF areas.
In Xamalala incidents of assault and murder had occurred between the UDF and Inkatha. Intoxotho and Evaleni came to be known as UDF areas, while Bobonono and the rest of Xamalala remained strongly Inkatha. Eventually Evaleni got burnt down and everybody was expelled. In Sweetwaters and Umphumuza a strict regime existed. Any dissent was swiftly dealt with, and anyone who was sent in with UDF sympathies was forcibly expelled.
Mr Chairman, the conflict in the Midlands raged through Vulindlela, Imbali, Ashdown, Edendale. People relocated to Table Mountain, specifically Maqonqo, where Chief Maphumulo was the inkosi in the area. His area came under threat in January and February of 1990. Inkatha members accused him of bolstering the UDF component in Maqonqo and weakening the IFP presence. Chief Maphumulo made it public that anyone who loved peace he was willing to accommodate them. The Douglas Commission of Inquiry that took place in November and December of 1989 into the violence of the Midlands almost precipitated Maqonqo being thrown into the same violent cauldron.
On the 2nd of February, while F W de Klerk was unbanning the ANC, the PAC, and all other organisations, the war broke out in Maqonqo. Frontal assaults by large impis from KwaNyavu and local impis loyal to Maphumulo. The police moved in to disperse them and contained the situation temporarily. A haven of peace was destroyed, and the pattern of conflict described elsewhere was repeated. The SAP Riot Unit from Oribi village - I went to speak to the commanding officer of the Riot Unit to implore them to establish a police strongpoint in Maqonqo, but Colonel Fourie and Captain Terblanche said, "This is merely a faction fight that has been going on for hundreds of years." They would not accept the fact that Maqonqo was a peaceful place prior to the 2nd of February 1990.
Members of the Commission, there are no winners in this war. The initial form of attack, there were large impis attacking each other. There was no clear victor and no clear vanquished. Clearly something had to be done. The low intensity conflict was merely a re-arranging of the deck chairs, of strengthening Inkatha areas and strengthening UDF areas, and the State evidently was not happy that the opponent to their regime was not being conquered. The Minister of Police at the time, Minister Vlok, publicly declared war on the UDF. When the Mayor of Pietermaritzburg intervened and tried to get Minister Vlok to send the police, and to ensure that peace prevailed, he was asked bluntly by the Minister, "Do you want the UDF to win?" Malan, as Minister of Defence, was clearly exposed as to his role in his trial and that that has come out in the courts and this very Commission.
I would like now, with your permission, to go on to the Seven Day War. On the 25th of March 1990 there was this IFP rally that was in Durban. Professor Aitchison has described the details of that. The tradition of mass rallies organised by Inkatha were that throughout the area all people living in a specific area, and under the jurisdiction of the Amakhozi, were encouraged, and indeed instructed, to attend meetings, and were required to make donations. Buses were hired and they were transported to Kings Park. People from Vulindlela were ferried down through Edendale and not along the Bulwer/Pietermaritzburg road, despite the fact that there had been clashes along that Edendale Road consistently over the last couple of weeks. Conflicting reports emanate from that, but the fact remains that there were skirmishes. We had a report to our office of a number of people that were injured and one was killed. We had received telephonic report of two children being injured in the attack. I was concerned when the buses returned from Durban that there would be further repercussions. I requested the police to negotiate with the IFP leaders to circumvent the area, that they escort the buses along the Bulwer road into the access road of Vulindlela to avoid further clashes, but this was rejected. Violence was foregone conclusion after the rally. It indeed happened, and we received more reports of injury and attack.
On the 26th of March, Monday, proved to be no different from the low intensity conflict that we'd been monitoring through the years. There were a number of reports that emanated from the Vulindlela and Edendale areas, but there was no alarming rise in the conflict.
"Tuesday, 27th March. On Tuesday the 27th of March calls came through to the DP offices thick and fast. There were panic stations being sounded and calls for us to get to Xaluza road in Edendale valley, where there was a full scale frontal attack in
"progress. I called the Natal Witness. They had heard about the situation developing and had despatched one of their reporters. I called other interested parties and members of the Democratic Party to inform them of the happenings. More calls came through of an impending bloodletting. Our secretary, Pam Pathmore, assumed control of the calls coming in and I was released to be at the scene. Before leaving I called our then Member of Parliament, Pierre Cronje, who lives in Hilton and is situated north of Vulindlela, and asked if he would enter Xaluza through the Hilton/Sweetwaters access road. I arrived at the scene at about 9 o'clock that morning and saw many thousands of people and scores of policemen and their array of armour-plated vehicles. I went to meet some of the newsmen who had already appeared on the scene, and other monitors alerted to the attack who had arrived before me. From them I asked the sequence of events and what the status was at the moment. From what they said and what I saw the following had occurred. A large band of impi from the Inkatha stronghold area of Sweetwaters and Umphumuza and beyond had converged on Xaluza at approximately 7 o'clock in the morning and attacked residents in the border area between Xaluza and Umphumuza. In the battle an off-duty policeman who lives in Xaluza was injured, and died later, and his house partially destroyed and his car shot and windows broken. Approximately a dozen other houses had been damaged, and about six homes had been set alight and were either totally or
"partially destroyed. The UDF residents on the border area that had fled their homes had sought refuge with residents lower down in the valley. Those who were above the border were still to be seen in possession of their properties. The girls would be there and the boys and men would be with a large impi. I positioned myself with other monitors and a number of pressmen on the hillock in what is now a no-man's land because of the attack in progress. We had an uninterrupted view of the battle unfolding before us. Cronje by this had arrived and had been filled in with what was known, and informed us that there were a couple more hundred, possibly thousand, people coming down from the top of the road to join the existing impi. Those who had fled their homes were now attempting to stage a defence action. The police at this stage were not intervening in the battle. It seemed as if they were content to let the battle continue, and favour the attackers who were coming from the area of Sweetwaters and beyond. There were an estimated 4 000 comprising the attacking impi ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 2) ... in the area, and seemed set to stop the advance at that point. Cronje and I went round to behind the point to assess the situation. There we were able to find out that their arsenal comprised two or three guns and a dozen or so rounds of ammunition. There were urgent appeals for us to do something, and suspicion was rife that the police were co-ordinating the attack. I walked back to the vantage point with another
"... going through the ritual of collecting evidence in the murder of the off-duty policeman and removing the body. There seemed little urgency in their manner or their actions to deal with the battle that was unfolding but half a kilometre up the hill. I returned to my vantage point, and by this time occasional shots were being fired from the advancing party to the party defending. There was police vehicle above the scene of the firing, but it seemed to be parked off observing. I went down to where last we saw the brigadier, and with Cronje demanded that they take action to halt the attack before it became a full scale battle. We suggested to him that the police vehicles intervene and drive the attackers back. We were curtly told that the situation was under control. We continued to insist that some action be taken, but the brigadier turned and left us. We continued to badger him to take action. I returned again to the hillock, where other people were monitoring the situation, and as we were standing there, taking photographs and assessing the situation, a shot rang out and the air just above my head was disturbed by a bullet. We retreated down the hill a little to be less of a sitting-duck target for whoever was taking pot shots at us. Within half an hour we saw the police Casspirs taking up position at the head of the advancing column of impi, travel with them for a
"while, and then turn and divert their advance. They were then spoken around and accompanied back the path they had advanced. One or two groups attempted to circumvent the retreat and continue the attack, but they were checked and marched back to the tar road and then accompanied further back up the hill. A large number of young boys were part of the impi. I estimated there were some as young as 11 years old, accompanied by adults and younger men. Young girls were on the periphery egging them on. The situation became less tense and we left the area, and I returned to the office to the reasonable satisfaction that things had been diverted. However, later that afternoon we continued to monitor the situation, and received calls from Ashdown and the lower end of Umphumuza on the Npipheni side that there were further clashes and attacks taking place. We despatched a number of monitors.
On Wednesday, the 28th of March 1990 I started at about 7.45 in the morning, and no sooner had I arrived at the office than the phones started ringing. Calls came in at all three lines at the same time."
Members of the Commission, we had established a 24-hour monitoring service by this time. Prior to that the Democratic Party had a monitoring service that operated on the office lines of the Democratic Party and my home telephone number, and we co-ordinated things that way.
"The picture that emerged was that there was a full scale war in progress. It was time that we moved in to an on-site inspection on the situation. It was approximately 9 o'clock when we could confirm that this was the most severe outbreak of fighting we had seen since the start of the hostilities in 1987. Calls to other monitors proved frustrating as they were committed either in other areas or were privately engaged. On this day of all days we had arranged a tour of DP women to visit Imbali to get first-hand information on the situation there and to meet a number of people who were willing to speak to them about their experience over the last few years. We had no idea that there would be a full scale uprising. However, the battle that raged on in the upper valley trickled down into Edendale and the lower reaches of Imbali during the day. The ladies that we introduced to Imbali had their eyes opened that day. A few more calls were made around to try and get as full a picture of the happenings in Vulindlela Valley as possible before going into the area. The picture was horrendous. Full scale frontal attack by large groups of men; houses burning and being pillaged; people butchered and maimed in the path of the advancing mob. I called Khaba Mkhize and got his impressions, and then called the police and informed them that I was going
"in and wanted their assessment of the situation. I was strongly advised that I should not venture into this area as it was very volatile and dangerous. I requested police presence and the company of a senior policeman, but was abruptly refused and was told it was not safe for the police to move into the area. Khaba Mkhize evidently received the same blunt message. I demanded to know whether the safety of the residents was assured, or what was being done about the situation to guarantee the safety of the people in the area. The response was from the police that they were doing all that they possibly could, and that the situation was under control. I told them that I was going in, and the policemen on the other side of the line said that they would not guarantee my safety or the safety of anyone travelling with me, and that I should not go in as they themselves would get the situation under control. A call from Khaba confirmed my suspicions that this was not the case, and we discussed the possibility of getting into the area by air if we were unable to get in on the ground. He requested that I investigate the possibility of getting airborne and seeing for ourselves the situation in Vulindlela and Edendale. After a few calls I located a light aircraft that would take us up for a little less than R400,00."
"I negotiated splitting the costs between ourselves and the Natal Witness, which they agreed to. By 10 to 10 we were at the Oribi Airport and waiting to
"take off. The company that had agreed to fly us had provided a plane with wings below the passengers. We requested a plane with wings above the cabin so we could get a clear view of what was below us. Soon after 10 o'clock we were in the air - Khaba Mkhize, Clint Zasman, both from the Natal Witness, myself, and the pilot. As we climbed the temperature in the plane dropped radically as we had asked them to remove the doors of the plane so we could get clear vision underneath the plane. What was a pleasantly warm day on the ground became a bone-shivering temperature in the air - no door on the plane and the wind chill factor. From the airport looking west one could see a smoky haze as one created by a large forest fire. We climbed and headed west across Edendale. We saw hundreds upon hundreds of people milling across in a frantic type of undirected activity, with roadblocks of burning obstacles, stones, block and metal objects. There were people moving in and out between the houses, and the police were very much in evidence in Edendale. After a short while we directed the pilot to fly due north above the Xaluza road. Here I saw the first bodies. There were blue uniformed special constables in the direct vicinity of the bodies, which were lying just off the Xaluza Road. There were scores of other people about, but it seemed the constables were stationed there to stop people getting close to the bodies. The air was filled with smoke, and the pilot remained at what was considered a safe height as he had heard that we may
"be a target for somebody who might want to shoot at us in the air. The road curved and we headed west again, and we followed its path through an area known as Sweetwaters. Here there were no houses burning, but as we approached the area of Inadi, bordering on Xamalala, the air became heavier and we turned south-west, faced KwaShange. The full impact of what was happening hit us. Hundreds, literally hundreds of homes were in flames. Most of the homes in that area were thatched, and most of them were either burning furiously or smouldering or were totally burnt down. A little further on was the area of Vulisaka. Here the devastation was worse. Almost every house was burning. There were large groups of people moving in the area. Some groups numbered 50 to 100, but others we saw on the tarred roads above and adjacent to Vulisaka were literally thousands. One of the groups we estimated to be two and a half thousand people moving in the vicinity of KwaMnyandu and Vulisaka. We turned and headed towards Elandskop, the area at the west-most point of Vulindlela, but were interrupted by a police helicopter. It came at the plane and the police communicated with the pilot of our aircraft, ordering us to clear out of the area, that we were illegally in the area, that it was a restricted area. The pilot relayed this command to us, but Khaba said that he'd been in liaison with the South African Police in Pietermaritzburg through the District Commissioner's office, and that they were fully aware of the fact that he was up in the air
"above Vulindlela and Edendale. I told the pilot that he did not have to obey the orders of the police as they had no authority to make such an order, and that I was there on express instructions to find out what was happening and to report to our Members of Parliament at the National Parliament. From what I could see it seemed as if it was Colonel Fourie in the helicopter. The pilot obeyed us and refused to leave the area, and said as much to the South African Police. He did express concern that he might lose his licence if he continued, and we assured him that he would not be left in the lurch, and that we would do everything in our power to ensure that he would not. We then went to Elandskop. Along the road were thousands upon thousands of people. They seemed to be moving under command and with purpose. I noticed a number of Military Police vehicles, but there were not as many as were evidence in the Edendale area. In the Elandskop area there were no houses burning from what I could see, but there was a hum of activity. On the road outside the home of Induna Ntombela were approximately 1 000 or so people, and I saw a police vehicle or two. There was no fighting that I saw, but the crowd did not give the impression from where we were that they were attending a church service. All along the road down the Vulindlela Valley to Edendale there were these large groups and masses of people, some moving back towards Taylor's Halt/KwaNqane area where they came from, and others going in the opposite direction. The evidence
"before us was that there was a wholesale attack in progress; that there were selected areas and selected houses left untouched in the wake of the assault, while most of the houses in the designated areas were wiped out. We noticed no school ablaze, and none of the clinics or other Government-like institutions. The areas worst affected as we saw from the air were Vulisaka, KwaShange and KwaMnyandu. These three areas formed a broad belt between Edendale and the major part of Vulindlela. Almost every home, or a house of every homestead, was burning in that belt. We flew over this area for the better part of 45 minutes and surveyed the devastations with utter disbelief at what was happening before our eyes, events that would have been reminiscent of the type of the attacks that were commonplace on the latter half of the previous century, or the early years of our century. The comments that passed between us in that small, cold cabin of the light aircraft were of utter disbelief and incredulity of what unfolded below us, and the dire consequences that this would have for any hope of finding a solution to the war that had been raging since 1987. Our despair was tangible, especially at the evidence lack of police action to prevent the disaster from growing. There were no more than two or three miliary vehicles that I saw, and that in the vicinity of Gezabuso at the edge of the area under attack. At that time the military had not moved into the Pietermaritzburg area in any great number, and we had to wait 10 days before the
"army did actually arrive to stabilise it and bring some order into the area, much like the rainbow after the storm as the fighting had died down within about seven days. The end of the flight came quickly and we headed east towards Oribi Airport. We landed and thanked the pilot, and after a few words with the newspaper people went back to Pietermaritzburg.
On Thursday the 29th of March it was a lot quieter by comparison. On the front page of the Natal Witness was a picture a third of the page exposing what we had seen the day before. This publicity seemed to spur the police to engage in damage control to their image. Isolated skirmishes were reported and these were dealt with in the way our monitors were trained to do. The 24-hour monitoring service continued and was co-ordinated from our offices in Chapel Street. Volunteers from all walks of life offered their assistance to man the telephones and complete the report forms that had been designed. This 24-hour monitoring service continued to operate well after the so-called Seven Day War ended. Monitors were called out regularly throughout the week, occasionally on mercy missions to take injured and shot people to hospital when the ambulances would not enter the area. I had to accompany other monitors in running the gauntlet to pick up shot and injured people and take them to hospital. Neither the police nor the ambulance services were willing to assist the injured in hot spots. The police alleged that they had only
"authority to pick up dead bodies, and in those cases with the mortuary van alone. The ambulance would not enter areas where shooting occurred.
On Friday the 30th of March 1990, with all the reports and publicity that had been given, a contingent of prominent business people had been invited by IDASA. It was called an Eminent Persons Group, and they were asked to meet with, among others, David Ntombela, local church leaders, community leaders, and to visit the refugee centres that had sprung up to deal with the influx of refugees from Vulindlela. The planned meeting with Ntombela was delayed and transferred as he was busy arranging a large tent for a proposed public meeting, where Dr Buthelezi and Mr Mandela would meet the following Monday to give a public commitment to peace at Taylor's Halt. This meeting fell through before it even got started. At that meeting between the Eminent Persons Group and the Induna Ntombela, that eventually got going 45 minutes late at the site of the tent in Taylor's Halt, a group of churchmen, politicians, businessmen, a city councillor heard him express his horror at the happenings of Wednesday and Thursday, and refuting any responsibility that might be cast upon Inkatha. He assured the group of prominent leaders that these events were the communities in the different areas responding in frustration at the intimidation they experienced from the peoples in the areas now deserted and burnt out, and to the intimidation at work and in town. He denied
"vehemently that there was any planned, co-ordinated attack that had taken place. This despite a question by one of the members in the group as to how come there was a report of a truck carrying cans of petrol behind the attacking group on Wednesday, which were allegedly used to set fire to the homes. The whole interaction took place while he sat with a belt full of live ammunition strapped around his waist, with a revolver stuck into it and two armed bodyguards within earshot. They were both armed with pump-action shotguns not unlike those issued to the special constables of the SAP, or to the KwaZulu Police. The whole discussion between the members of the group and Induna Ntombela was carried out in Zulu. He assured the group that he was a God-fearing Christian, and that he was committed to peace and would go to any lengths to find peace. The group left soon afterwards and continued the inspection through Imbali, where the fighting had spread in the form of individual houses being identified for attack and residents evidently marked for elimination."
"Saturday the 31st of March 1990. We continued to receive reports of attacks that seemed to be isolated, emanating from areas wider that Vulisaka, KwaShange and KwaMnyandu. Access to the areas was not denied to us. We continued our monitoring, but
"there was still no large scale military presence. On Wednesday the 4th of April 1990 military personnel coming under the command of the police moved in mass into the area."
I think it's important that the question is raised - the Cabinet knew about the war on the 27th and 28th of March. I have letters confirming from Dr Zach de Beer that he had been in touch with the Minister, and that nothing had been done, and on the 4th of April only did the military move into the area to stabilise a war that had ended ostensibly. Members of the Commission, I'd like to make just a few comments on the aftermath of the conflict. The war did not end on the 31st of March. These documents on my right are the report forms from 1986 to 1992, reports from different areas of incidents of unrest, of assault, of burning and of intimidation. The conflict continued, and unfortunately high profile leaders became the targets, notably Mhlabumzimo Maphumulo, who was shot in the driveway of his home. He was the Contralesa president and a close friend to the ANC. Also Thomas Gcabashe, shot in a similar manner in the driveway of his home in the Grange. He was the chairman of the IFP in Maqonqo. Members of the Commission, education suffered that year and the years after. Schools were closed down and teachers were afraid to go back into the area to teach. A large number of teachers came from Edendale to teach in Vulindlela, and they feared for their lives that they would not be able to return, and for a year and a half they couldn't get back to school. I was asked to give evidence in a court case against the Minister of Education and Culture of KwaZulu Government for non-payment of teachers' services. In this case it was 95 teachers who were not paid because they did not return to their duties. Members, there was social dislocation. The social dislocation is still being felt in this region. Local government structures have to still deal with it. Thousands of families had to relocate to safe areas, abandoning their investments which they had built up all their life. They had to obtain a piece of land somewhere so they can restart their lives from scratch. Many families are still waiting for a place that they can call their own. Families were desiccated. The murder and killing that took place have left our society with orphans, single-parent families, and destroyed families. The social effect of the war will be revisited on our society for a long time to come, and needs the concerted effort for all to heal and rebuild. In Edendale the population exploded over a week. Refugees fled into the area to seek refuge. Large camps were set up. These families have subsequently had to find areas to resettle in Edendale or go and re-establish themselves in KwaShange or parts of Vulindlela. There was also a relocation of people from Taylor's - into the Taylor's Halt area. Families who fled the areas of KwaMnyandu, KwaShange and Vulisaka because of the violence, and were supporters of Inkatha, relocated to homes and sites near Taylor's Halt. Families were allocated sites by the local tribal authority, and they too had to rebuild their homes and their lives again. Professor Aitchison has mentioned that it was an economic disaster. This war was an economic disaster for all the people involved, for the families involved, for the communities, and for the City of Pietermaritzburg. Investment was turned away, and development, and the society as a whole was a victim to the violence because of the Government's not willing to put money into development until the fighting had stopped, ironically the violence that I contend that they orchestrated. In conclusion, Mr Chairperson, I would like to say that what we have learnt from the war and the subsequent violence as a community is that there are no real winners. We are all losers. The communities around Pietermaritzburg developed a loathing for violence, and we must never forget the war. We must not forget. Yes, Mr Chairperson and Members of the Commission, we can forgive, but if we forget we will go down that same path in the near future. Thank you.
Mr Keys, thank you very much indeed. You mentioned that the - certainly senior people in the police and in the defence force knew about what was taking place early on this period, 27th and 28th of March, and yet the first time that any significant - the first time there was any significant military deployment in the area was on the 4th of April, is that right? --- That is correct. There was ... (intervention)
I've got two questions just to put to you, and we'd like your opinion on that. Why do you believe it took so long for the army to be deployed in that area, and (b), do you believe that the army would have been able - had they been deployed earlier would they have been able to prevent the sorts of loss of life and damage to property from taking place? --- In answer to your first question, Mr Chairperson, the police and the local military had what was called a Joint Operations Command Centre. This met weekly, if not daily, to co-ordinate the activities that they had. At all times the police were in control. They were the authority and the army were the ones that were to be controlled by the South African Police. Why the army did not get called in earlier - I think I have made my submissions that I believe they were ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 2) ... military methods one could stop.
Well, Mr Keys, I know that you have been speaking from a different document, but which is very much near to the document you gave us here. I just want - is it intentional in your presentation that you never mention the people by name? You speak of a police sergeant and you don't tell us who that police sergeant is, and you speak of a brigadier, and we are never told who that person is. I am asking this question because this helps the Commission when maybe they have to try and liaise with these people and corner these people, and, if it needs be, to suborn some of these people to come forward and give us the full story. But the names seem to be lacking. Is it intentional that it has been done that way? I am not forcing you to mention their names if you don't want to mention the names. --- I had mentioned certain policemen that I had remembered clearly, and that have been documented. I have documents here that will be available to the Commission which I couldn't add in the whole document. The naming of policemen I think was the top commanding officers that oversaw the operations in the area, and they were the ones that I had put the names to in this document, and I will submit this document to the Commission where the names are. Thank you very much.
Just a number of follow-up questions please, Mr Keys. You mentioned this Joint Operations Command Centre. Who at that time was in charge of that centre or who was commanding that centre? You would have dealt with those people on a regular basis. To the best of your ability are you able to recall the actual people involved? --- I know that it was the officer commanding the Riot Unit, which was then called the Riot Unit of the South African Police. I know the district commissioner was - I think it was Brigadier Kotze at the time. He was in that Joint Operations Command Centre. I would have to dig out from the report who the other commanding officers were, but it was the commanding officers of the Riot Unit, the South African district office and the military commanding officer that co-ordinated the resources that they have controlled.
You spoke about speaking to the police on the 28th of March. That was before you flew out, and then after you got back - in your written presentation you speak about getting back and confronting them with what you saw. You didn't actually talk about that in your presentation. Two things. Firstly, who did you speak to when you got back from the aeroplane, and how did they respond to your allegations that you put to them? --- We phoned the Riot Unit predominantly when it came to unrest and violence related matters. It was not always that we got the commanding officer. Sometimes we landed up speaking to the local constable or the sergeant. The commanding officer at the time was Colonel Fourie, and under him was Captain Terblanche. That's as far as my memory can go. We did contact the police after we got down to demand action, to bring to an end what was happening on the 28th, and they said they have got everything under control.
Okay. And then one last question. You mentioned this court case where you made an affidavit in support of some teachers. You can give us after this hearing, but do you have the details, and will you be willing to make those affidavits available to us? --- Yes.
Mr Keys, I would like us to end your presentation with a note of moving into the future. Your party has been very involved in all the activities in the past. In your own evaluation would you think the community at the present stage has moved to a level where there is some form of reconciliation? Would you say that the activities of the third force have decreased? Would you say that the divisions that were created by the third force in the communities are now being breached? --- I think the process has started, but I don't believe that we've yet established the bridgehead that is needed, and I think if we're looking forward, yes, the third force activities seemed to diminish with the exposure that's been given to them. But old habits don't die hard, and I think that within each organisation there needs to be a concerted effort to redirect the activities and energies of the members of the police, of Inkatha, of the ANC, to rebuild this country, to seek reconciliation, and to learn forgiveness of each other. Because we cannot bring back the dead. We can remember them, but let us honour them and build a country that we can work with. That's what I'd like to see. The third force - I think the State has to engage in some sort of activity, as was done to the military, the young white soldiers that were brought back from Angola, they had to re-educate them in civilian life. So too I believe that policemen who have been abused have to be re-educated, be brought back into civilian values. A number of policemen that I know have taken that step, have gone and made a step towards making a better South Africa, but there are others that have been brutalised and need it. There are people who have been brutalised in the community that need healing. And the society needs to work towards that, we need to put our energies and our resources towards that.
I just have one more. I know it's late, but it's just for the sake of completeness. I would like to know how can your party help in this reconciliation process, bearing in mind the constituency of your party being mostly the white constituency, because we all want to move together forwards? --- By being there is one help, because, as the previous speaker, Khaba Mkhize, mentioned, that we must respect that each person has a right to associate with whomever he or she wants to associate with. We can engage our opponents. We can engage each other in a way that will build this mutual respect. A basic human right that we've all got to acknowledge is the right of consent, consent to be governed, consent to be part of something. That's a human right that we need to put across the spectrum. We will engage wherever we can to encourage that right of consent, and to make South Africa as you and I want it to be.
Just briefly, Mr Keys. The Captain Terblanche which you mentioned, is that the man who subsequently became Major Terblanche, who was head of the Riot Unit? --- That is correct. The same man who was shot outside Mpumalanga.
And this is the man who has been named by ex-Captain Brian Mitchell of the South African Police as being the person who was in charge of orchestrating the Trust Feeds massacre. Captain Mitchell gave evidence in this city hall a few weeks ago when he was making his amnesty application, and he implicated Major Terblanche as the person primarily responsible for orchestrating that massacre at Trust Feeds. So does it surprise you then that, this being the same person, Captain Terblanche, that the Riot Unit behaved as it did during the Seven Day War? --- Yes, I was surprised - I might not have been surprised, but I despaired at the level at which they had sunk to.
Mr Keys, thank you very, very much for your account. Like the two witnesses before you your account of this period is vitally important. Unlike the victims of this war you had access to resources, telephones, motor vehicles, other monitors and observers, even a light aeroplane, and you used these resources in a most responsible way to gather information and to try to get to the bottom of this incredible event. Your subsequent report is vitally important to the Commission, and to political and social observers, and in fact to anyone else who has an interest, or who believes that it is important to find out the truth of what happened during that period. So we thank you again very much for coming today and giving your evidence to the Commission. --- Thank you.