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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 17 June 1996

Location PIETERSBURG

Day 1

Names MELITA MORONGOA LEGODI

Case Number GA0516

(day 1 start oftape 1 Pietersburg...... no introduction).

MRS LEGODI: .... and he just heard a gunshot and he was shot and he fell down. After he was down he was kicked and he was called a comrade, he was hit by sjamboks and they took him to the police station. Instead of taking him to the hospital, they took him to the police station, and they asked him to give the statement of how he was shot. Phillip said, "I asked them to take me to the hospital but they said they can't take me there before they take the statement." So he told the police that he'd rather die, and wouldn't give them the statement before they take him to hospital. He'd only give them th statement if they take him to hospital.

When they took him to hospital, Dr Molepe admitted him, the policeman asked the doctor to get a statement from him and the doctor refused, and he said to the police, "If this man was your brother, were you going to do the same thing you're doing now?" And then the doctor operated on him and he sent him to Ranguwa Hospital.

Some boys came to our house and told us that Philip was shot. My sister went to the police station to ask if it was true that philip was shot, and when they arrived at the charge office they told her that that person hasn't been shot and he asked to see him so that he can give him some food and they said no, now he's in police hands she can't give him food. And then when she came back she said, no, the person there said he was not shot.

The next day other guys came and insisted that this person has been shot, they've seen him. And my sister answered and told them that the policeman has said to her that he wasn't shot, he was there, but they insisted that he was shot, they saw him.

One policeman by the name of Matambo, Philip's friend and he said that his father said that Philip has been shot and Mr Matambo saw him fall down and when he went there to check he found out it was Philip. This boy asked us not to say that we heard this news from him because it was secret information. That's when we beleeved that this person has been shot, and then we started going up and down calling hospitals. Pietersburg Hospital, Noble Hospital, Rankuwa and Kalafone said he wasn't there. But most people came and insisted that he was shot, they saw him and they saw blood as well coming from the charge office.

We were now confused because he wasn't in any of the hospitals. Two months went by without a trace of him. The third month someone came, Philip was a student doing a course in panel beating, and this man came wanting Philip to fix his car. We explained to him that we've been looking for Philip for over three months now but don't know where he is, some people say he has been shot and we've tried to trace him. He asked how long we have been looking for Philip and so my father explained that we've been doing it for over three months and one sister from Noble Hospital said that she had admitted one boy who had been shot by the police. She said that she could only assist them by calling Garangkuwa Hospital but she did not anyone to reveal that she was the one who was assisting us.

So he said he'll help us because he was Philip's lawyer and we might be able to find out where Philip was. He found out that Philip is alive, he eats but he just can't wake up because he suffered a spinal chord injury from a shot. He was in Garankuwa from the period 1986 to 1987 before he came home and we were all happy.

After the second week the police saw him in the street and told him to come to the police station to give a statement. When they took him to the station, they said that he robbed money from BAC and gave him a date to appear in court. When he appeared in court, the driver of the BAC denied that he was the person and just said that he saw Philip being shot. Philip decided that he needs a lawyer because he had been shot for something that he did not do.

Philip was a secretave person, and he was doing things that we did not know. I didn't go to court as I was in school.

A long time passed, Philip was in a wheelchair until January last year and then he was attacked and killed by an illness brought on by bed sores from spending so much time in bed.

After the ANC members heard that Philip died, Mr Mapola and other people came and explained to us that Philip had been a freedom fighter and they said that they would help with the burial. They did this and carried all the funeral expenses.

MR MALAN: If the briefer could help you with some water and when you're ready you may continue.

MRS LEGODI: I'm through with my statement.

MR MALAN: Mrs Legodi, thank you very much for your information shared with us. Would you be in a position to respond to a few questions, if there would be any?

MRS LEGODI: Yes.

MR MALAN: Thank you. If I may kick off. The interpretation services gave the date as 1985 in the translation, did you say 1985 or 1989?

MRS LEGODI: I made a mistake, my first statement was written '89 and when I got home, I explained everything to them, they said no it was in 1985.

MR MALAN: Thank you. We also had a supplementary statement from a Mr Ronnie Thabo. Do you know Ronnie Thabo?

MRS LEGODI: No I don't know the person. I only know Ronnie Kubiane.

MR MALAN: The name we have there is Mgombane. Is he known to you?

MRS LEGODI: Yes I know him.

MR MALAN: My concern at this stage is that we have to look at the political background and also at the involvement of the individuals, the victims at the time. Can you tell us more about your brother's political involvement, was he a member of the youth movement at the time?

MRS LEGODI: I don't know, Philip was a very secretive person, he was quiet at home, he would just go out saying that he was going to visit his friends. We didn't know of him taking part in any political organisation.

MR MALAN: You did in your statement also say that the funeral there was a tribute by a Mr Mapuulo who spoke and said that he was a comrade. That the ANC paid for the funeral, is that so?

MRS LEGODI: Yes that's correct Sir.

MR MALAN: Would you know if he was involved in the trade union, you said in your statement that he was a panel beater?

MRS LEGODI: Yes he was a panel beater.

MR MALAN: You also said in your evidence, that when he was charged, taken to the police station, he was told that he would be charged for having stolen money. Did you not also in your statement refer to a situation about stoning a bus or the public transport?

MRS LEGODI: The first thing that I referred to was the stoning of a bus. I think at the time when they were stoning the bus, there was also a robbery where they robbed the bus of the money, in that whole incident.

MR MALAN: Are you saying to us that it was indeed triggered at the stone-throwing and I'm not reflecting, I'm simply asking whether that was your understand all through, that indeed they did get involved in some stone-throwing at some stage, because that's also backed up by the statement of this Ronnie that I told you about?

MRS LEGODI: Sir can you please repeat the question, I don't understand.

MR MALAN: In the supplementary statement from Ronnie that we got, he refers to a charge of stoning the public transport and I think in your statement you also said that when your brother went to the police station, he was eventually charged for stone-throwing, stoning the bus but aquited, found not guilty. Do I understand you correctly, that you are aware of indeed such an incident having taken place on the morning that he was shot?

MRS LEGODI: Yes I was aware. We were only given the facts, we were not there, we didn't witness this. But all this happened the time when he was shot.

MR MALAN: Thank you, that sets the picture more clearly in my mind. Maybe my colleagues would have questions?

DR ALLY: Mrs Legodi, how old was Phillip when he was shot?

MRS LEGODI: Philip was born in 1965 and then it was in 1985 when this incident happened.

DR ALLY: So he was 19/20. Now before this incident, did the police, the security police show any interest in Philip before this, had he been visited by the police, was he ever detained before, or anything like that?

MRS LEGODI: No he was never visited by the police, nothing.

DR ALLY: So this May Day celebration, was this the first time that you as a family became aware that Philip may have been involved in political activity?

MRS LEGODI: It was my first time.

DR ALLY: Philip died a few years later, and you say he died because he developed bed sores, what else actually happened to Philip, was it the bed sores or did he develop any other illnesses?

MRS LEGODI: It was the bed sores Sir that killed him.

DR ALLY: And this was when, when did he die?

MRS LEGODI: He passed away last year in February.

DR ALLY: Thank you.

MR MANTHATA: In your statement it is said that Philip ran into the house belonging to another woman, who tried to hide him. And then the police came to fetch him. Do you know the name of the woman who hid him?

MRS LEGODI: No, we didn't come to know the woman because Mr Mapulo gave us the statement after Philip's death, but we as the family members know nothing of that issue.

MR MANTHATA: Did you hear from Dr Molepu about Philip or did you receive the news after his death as well?

MRS LEGODI: I don't understand your question Sir?

MR MANTHATA: You said he was examined by Dr Molema.

MRS LEGODI: Yes that's correct.

MR MANTHATA: And thereafter did you meet Dr Molepo, so that he could help you as to what kind of injuries he sustained?

MRS LEGODI: We were told that Philip was taken by Dr Molepo and Majekani. When he came back from Garagkuwa he used to go to Dr Molepo's surgery for check ups because he had back pains. We heard that the comrades arrived after Phillips death.

MR MANTHATA: While he was sick at home, did they ever come?

MRS LEGODI: Yes they would come to visit him. I must say thatwhen these bed sores were not so bad on him they would come as friends and sit with him at home. At one stage we took him to the private hospital because he was severly attacked by these bed sores, and then he was only seen by the members of the family.

MR MANTHATA: Did you understand the activities of the comrades at that time?

MRS LEGODI: No we didn't know anything. We only they were visiting their friend.

MR MANTHATA: Thank you.

MR MALAN: May I just, I'm not sure whether you've given us any information. The shooting of Philip, do you know what kind of gun it was? Was it a bullet gun or was it a shot gun?

MRS LEGODI: I don't know anything, but his operation was not so big where they removed the bullet. It was just a small wound.

MR MALAN: Do you have any of the medical records, any of the x-rays, any of the examinations by doctors?

MRS LEGODI: If I can search for them at home I will find them.

MR MALAN: Please if you do find them, if you can give them to the Commission?

MRS LEGODI: I will do so Sir.

MR MALAN: My last question, Philip was paralysed, was he paralysed from the waiste downwards, could he still use his hands, or was he paralysed from the neck downwards?

MRS LEGODI: It was from the waist down. His hands were still functioning.

MR MALAN: Melita, what would you request the Commission to do for the family?

MRS LEGODI: I don't know what to say, because Philip was the last born. The older sister is married and then the other one took Philip to school, and then she didn't work after that. I was also taken away from the place where I was staying to take care of Philip and I'm not working now. His grandmother is getting a pension, I don't know what kind of help the Commission can offer my granny. I really don't know.

MR MALAN: Thank you Mrs Legodi, I think we'll break now for tea and we'll come back at 11 o'clock. Thank you.

 
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