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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Starting Date 18 July 1996
Names PHILIP LESETJA MADRAAE
Case Number 00558
PROF MEIRING: Welcome to the stand, it's nice to have you with us. May I ask is it your son sitting at your side? That will be a good experience for you and for him to have you with him. Welcome! What is his name?
PROF MEIRING: Paul? Very welcome to you! If we look at the written testimony that you have given to us, it seems to me that the first of May 1991 is a day that you'll never forget. Would you like to tell us about that day and what happened after that day?
MR MADRAAE: On the first of May 1991 I left home with my two younger brothers, and we met a car at the shop which is next to a lounge. We saw a white guy sitting in the car. I went to him and I greeted him. We really thank and are happy to see white guys coming to our place, coming to relax with us. I asked the guy if there was anything I can get for him the bar lounge or in the shop. He told me he had already sent someone. I left him there. When I went into the bar lounge, I met another guy chasing one boy called Mathe. Mathe fell in front of the guy who was chasing him and he woke up just in front of me and he ran away again. I asked the guy who was chasing him how he can chase someone and then just leave him to get away. This guy then beat me up with fists, and I hit him back. The younger brother Samuel also helped by making us talk, then we went aside and we met the guy who was in the car coming to us with a gun in his hand. Then someone raised his hands and begged him not to shoot. The white guy didn't shoot and we tried to discuss and solve this problem, then this guy ran away, I made a grab at him but he went to fetch a gun from his car. I then faced the other way around as I didn't want him to shoot me in front.
The guy shot me and the other one helped so that he did not hit me in the body but in the leg. I ran away with my injured leg and went into the bar lounge where I fell. I didn't know what happened because I was unconscious, and I woke up in the hospital the next day and realised that my leg was bandaged and didn't know exactly what happened. When I asked they just told me that I came the day before with an injured leg and no one knew exactly what happened. Then my wife and parents came and they said people said that he was shot by soldiers the previous day. I didn't know what to say, I was just confused.
From there I was hospitalised for three weeks and the doctors realised that my leg had to be amputated. It was amputated during the third week at the hospital and the doctors came again and said I had to have another amputation above the knee. Then they told me that the whole leg had to be amputated. I just told the doctors to help me.
After those weeks on police guy came for the statement. He told me that the guys who shot me were Augustine Mabuya, the soldier and another soldier whose name I forgot. Then they told me they arrested them and gave me the date of the court hearing.
We went to court and were questioned and we just told them what happened like I just explained. They also asked the doctors about my medical report and the doctors explained everything. They charged those chaps three years. I asked the police what I should do and they told me that I must go to a lawyer. My lawyer Eben Smit helped me and he made it possible for us to go to Pretoria.
When we went to the Supreme Court, we told them the statement like I told you now and those guys also gave a statement and they told the court that they came to our place because they heard that they heard AK 47 shots. Then they reminded us that we would have to come to court again the next day. My lawyer told us that we were not to remain in Pretoria. Then he said we should just go home and we'll get a report the following day. He said I should come there at 2 o'clock. When I arrived there he told us that we had lost our case. The reason why, he didn't know and he just said the government favoured the SADF guys, so I didn't understand this. Then I asked him how we could solve this problem of ours. I knew that there was an appeal and I asked the lawyer about that and he told me that it required a lot of money to make an appeal. He told me that it can cost us something like R10 000, and I realised that i didn't have that as I was unemployed from 1991. Then since that time that we lost that case, I was just happy to know about the Truth Commission.
PROF MEIRING: Otherwise I should have welcomed her too. There are a number of things I would like just to clarify, in your testimony and then maybe some of my colleagues will have a few questions to ask too.
MR MADRAAE: To tell the truth, at my place there was conflict about the chieftainship and the situation is still like that. Chief Mutapo and Chief Refilwe are fighting about leadership. I didn't know why the soldiers came to our place. I don't know if they were called by the other people because houses were burned and people died at the time, so I wont be able to talk for other people but I know those kinds of things happened at the time. All those things happened during the time that I was injured, it was because of this conflict for chieftainship. Even the way I gave my statement I did not want to include anything about this other conflict, I just wanted my problems to be solved.
PROF MEIRING: What I would like to establish is, do you think you were injured, you were shot because of political activity, because you were a marked man or were you shot because of a scuffle that broke out that day near the lounge, because you were unfortunately the man that this person ran into and there was a scuffle, and it was because of that you were shot?
PROF MEIRING: Do you thing you were shot because of political activity, you were a marked man, or do you think that you were shot because of the scuffle and they could have shot anybody else standing there at the lounge that say?
MR MADRAAE: I think I was shot because of the situation at my place. Actually I had just arrived at that place and I was unfortunate to meet those people, so I do not really know the reason why I was shot, because it was like peaceful when I came on the scene. The person whom they were chasing, I do not know what was wrong, I was just unfortunate to get involved in that. I think that was just done to me because I was unfortunate.
PROF MEIRING: So then after you were shot you were taken to hospital and then you told us and you realised, and the doctor came and told you that your leg has to be amputated, and then in your written testimony, you say that it was discovered that there was poison on your wound, and because of the poison the leg wouldn't heal and it had to be amputated. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
MR MADRAAE: In that three weeks when I was in hospital they tried to heal my wounds and they didn't want to amputate my leg, but the wounds were so bad that they couldn't heal, and they say some bones were lost during the attack.. The poison that they were talking about, I do not know if it was from the bullet or something, so that is what necessitated my leg to be amputated.
MR MALAN: Mr Madraai, just a few questions please, in what way were you politically active, you say in your statement that you were politically active, were you politically active in this conflict taking place between the different chiefs?
MR MADRAAE: The way it was in our village, I knew under whose leadership I was before. I knew it was T J, he was the guy which we knew from the beginning. Later on he married and she is Refi Lomutabo and they were just fighting about chieftainship.
MR MADRAAE: I did not really know the reason why they were chasing after him. What I knew is that I met them chasing the guy and he fell in front of me, and then I just asked, how can he just leave a person whom he wanted, and I laughed at him. That's why he grabbed me and we started fighting.
MR MALAN: Were you perhaps in any way seen as interfering in what was going on between Johannes and the other person who was chasing him or were you seen as interfering or having got in the way in any way?
MR MADRAAE: I think those people, they didn't look like they were having a real problem, and the way he fell in front of me, it looked like he just left the guy to run away, so I didn't think there was something very serious between them. I thought maybe they were just running after each other, doing something else.
MR MALAN: When you took your case to the court, who were you charging, were you charging them in their individual capacity or were you charging them as members of the South African Defense Force? What was the case?
MR MADRAAE: In Pietersburg Court they sentenced these guys three years and after that we went to the Supreme Court for compensation. When we arrived they postponed to the following day, when we went that day Eben Smit just informed us that we have to go back home, they will fax the information about the case back to us, and when we got the information they just told us that we lost the case. When I asked the reasons why, they said those guys were favoured because they were members of the SADF.
MR MANTHATA: We heard your problem Mr Madraae. We will try by all means as the Commission to solve your problems. We realise the situation you are in at the moment. We know you are experiencing problems as you are a family man. We will try and work together with you to solve this problem. Thank you very much for coming forward.