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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Starting Date 17 July 1996
Names MARIA RAMADIMETSE MADITSI
Case Number 0512
MRS MADITSI: I'm Mama Maditsi, the mother to William Maditsi. William is my only son. In 1983 in December William disappeared, we didn't know where he was. One day, while I was sitting at home, three men came. I didn't know who they were. They came there with a white man and two black guys. They asked me if I was William's mother and I affirmed it. They asked me where is and I said I didn't know. They asked when he disappeared. I said to them since December. I can't remember which month they came, but they said to me that my son joined the African National Congress and that he has left for exile in Botswana. They said to me that they don't want to kill him, they want to help me. When my son comes back I should just go and tell them.
I stayed with this issue from 1983, I could not sleep without knowing whether my son is alive or not. After six years, let me say after seven years, it was in 1990, one day on a Friday evening, while I was sitting, my husband was at school and I could see that it was getting dark and he's not back. Then I wondered where he had gone to. He came back with my sister, I don't know what time, and started of by saying, "Your son". When I asked what about him, he said, "Your son is dead". I could not do anything, it took me a long time before I grasped it myself. I didn't know what killed him. When he told me that he's dead I didn't ask what killed him. Then they tried to comfort me. After that I just saw family members fall in the house and I realised that it is true, my son is dead. Then my husband got up in the morning to go and find out what happened. I didn't ask him, I just heard that he was shot in Pietersburg. They went to Pietersburg to find out what happened. I was so disturbed that I could not even look at him.
MR MADITSI: Thank you. My wife gave evidence which is still short. I am the person who knows what happened, I used to visit the police for a long time. I was the one who was told about my son's death in the last minute, and in that report which I gave you I complained about the timing, how the police treated me.
On the 2nd of February 1990, when de Klerk declared that all the organisations are unbanned, when I listened to the radio, I was told to come and identify my child, and that's when I came to find my son. I went back home and I passed by my relatives and I knew what kind of a woman she is. And when we arrived there she fainted for a very long time, she was unconscious because it was a long time that we didn't see our son and that was the only son, the only child. It was eight years while I was trying to cooperate with the police, the way they told me to cooperate, but at the end of the day, the police station of Middelberg, they said they came home, they bought a station in Marble Hall. I cooperated with the police, sincerely, I cooperated with them. They come home to come and tell my wife that if she wants her son, just go to the police and give the information. I went to the station, I went to Lusaka, it was a long time ago. He left at the age of 25 and it was a time for me to look for a wife for him, and it said don't worry, you'll have to go to Johannesburg too. And this TerugsL, I told my wife that this man told me to go to jail first, to see this person, and I refused. When I refused they gave me two months, I will send my boys who posed as terrorists, but they were soldiers, they came to my house and then they asked for accommodation. They came from Angola and now they have a mission in Marble Hall. And then I chased them, I sympathised but I chased them.
Moolman heard that I chased them away, they called me at the station and they told me that I chased the terrorists and I told them that it's better. Now they were arrested in Johannesburg, they were interrogated and they were told that they were arrested in my area and if you want to cooperate with me, go to jail first. During that incident, one boy came from a side office. I know him. I was angry. I told him that he's making a bloody fool out of me, and that's where I was leaving the police. I knew the tactics of the South African Police. They've been to me four times.
I chased them away, that's where Moolman said to me, while we were watching television, that day, I could hear that these people were killed in Pietersburg and I realised that it was my son. He was with his friend Jacob Rapulo. After having shot him the case was handled by Sad Kachalia the lawyer. They said these fellows were fighting back. Willie's body was riddled with bullets, but know what is a corpse. In my youth I was an orderly, no no no, I was a male nurse so I knew what a corpse is, what post mortem means. So I went to investigate Willie's body, he had only one bullet wound on the leg and the killing bullet went through the thorax. There was no hole in the front of the chest, but there was one at the back which meant that they could have shot him down while he was lying there and he was shot from above.
We came out from the problem with Willy and now I don't agree. My wife gave evidence, very scantily, the whole issue happened in my hands, I know what happened, I know why. He was born in Bushbuck Ridge. He had friends in Nelspruit and what surprised me was found in Nelspruit and I could see that when Moolman told me this, I'm not going to take him as ...(indistinct) of a friend, thank you.
MR MADITSI: We used to discuss these things. A woman is a woman. When I tell her about these things, she didn't take them into consideration. When I go to work there's a car following me every day. When I take a turn, the next turn it's not there, when I park the car in town, there's no car. When I explain all these things to her, she didn't take them into consideration (I can't hear what the witness is saying) until these things happened and then I said to her, you see. (I can't hear the witness).
As I was saying, a lot of things which men know, when I arrived at home and told her what's happening, she did not take them into consideration. That day when Moolman called me to the station, I took the whole hour and when I arrived at home I just slept. When she asked me where I came from I told her that I came from the police station and it he knows me very well.
PANEL MEMBER: Ms Maditsi' if I can just ask some questions to try and put what happened in some kind of context. Your son left the country and he came back in December of 1989. That's when he came back into the country, in 1989?
MRS MADITSI: Ja he admits that they were friends. ...(indistinct)thinks this statement that you have in front of you was compiled by Jacob Rapulo, Yugoslavia, Tanzania, that was compiled by Mr Rapulo?
CHAIRPERSON: Earlier when Mrs Madisha came forward to speak about Donald, one of the Commissioners asked if Donald and your son William, if they knew each other. Do you know if Donald and William had any contact with each other?
CHAIRPERSON: Can I ask whether Mrs Maditsi has anything to add whether she would like to add anything more at this stage that you may want to bring to our attention but we don't expect of you to give us more information?
MRS MADITSI: What I want to ask is who are to police who killed my son? If they are known, I want to know them, because now we are talking about reconciliation. You can't forgive and reconcile with a person whom you don't know. So I want to know them.
Secondly, Willy was killed on the 13th of January but told us on the 30th of February. What did they want to do with him? Because even now the certificates, the death certificate we got with difficulties. We buried him without a death certificate.
CHAIRPERSON: We'll look further into this matter. Our investigative unit has made contact with Mr Rapulo, Jacob Rapulo, he is now a colonel in the defence force and he's not in Pietersburg any more, he's at Voortrekkerhoogde, but we are pursuing this matter and we will see what more information we can bring back to you. Thank you very much for coming to us.