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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 18 July 1996

Location PIETERSBURG

Day 2

Names MAEBELA DORCAS PHALA

Case Number 00564

DR ALLY: I just want to welcome the following people who have joined us. Mr Bennie Boshilo, one of the traditional leaders in the area, Elias Nong, a member of parliament, of the traditional parliament here in the Northern Province representing the Traditional leaders.

MR MANTHATA: We'll call Mrs Dorcas Phala, to come forward.

MAEBELA DORCAS PHALA: (sworn states)

MR MANTHATA: I will ask Russel to lead you in your testimony.

DR ALLY: Good day to you Mrs Phala, have you brought somebody with you?

MRS PHALA: The one I came with is my friend.

DR ALLY: Welcome to you to. Mrs Phala you're coming to speak to us about what happened to your husband Lohulu in 1991, could you tell the Commission your story please.

MRS PHALA: I will talk about my husband who died in 1991 on the first day of 1991. He left home with his friend Joseph Mothiba a cousin. They left at 10 o'clock, they went to Mutabo to see his brothers in law. They left me at home with his mother, he went to a bar lounge. When he arrived with Joseph, they sat there, there was no problem, and they were very happy because their brother in law was there. Joseph Mothiba who was with Joshua Phala, while they were at the gate on their way out and opened their cars, Joseph and Joshua looked back, they saw a person was coming behind them carrying a fire arm. He said to Joseph, "This person has a fire arm", and the man heard Joseph, and saying, "You see a firearm?", and then he shot him below the ear and Joshua fell down. It was said that the person is a soldier, Andreas Dikgale from Dikgale area. I was told that EntrJes killed Joshua. We accepted it as it is, it was in 1993. In August 1993 I'm not sure about the date, I put the 15th in my statement, I was called from home that I should go to the magistrates court.

When I arrived there, I went there with my family to listen to the hearing. When we arrived Andreas Dikgale was there, he had a rifle. While we were sitting there, EntrJes had a lawyer, and we didn't have one. When we entered the court and they started prosecuting him, we the witnesses of Joshua were there, but we were not called, we were not asked anything, we were just there in court to listen as a family. We only heard that the case is finished. When we went out, we were told that the court didn't say anything about us. Even now, today we are just sitting, so we are coming to the Commission to ask the Commission to help us.

DR ALLY: I'll just give you a few minutes Mrs Phala, would it be okay if I ask you a few questions.

MRS PHALA: Yes I will try.

(No recording heard)

DR ALLY: Was he questioned in the court, Dikgale?

MRS PHALA: Dikgale or myself, I don't understand the question?

DR ALLY: Was he asked to explain why he shot at your husband?

MRS PHALA: Dikgale in his explanation, only the lawyer spoke on his behalf, and he was asked whether he had committed a mistake, is he guilty or not? He never said anything, only the lawyer. I only heard when they asked whether he finds him guilty or not, and he said yes.

DR ALLY: Did the lawyer say on Dikgale's behalf that Dikgale was guilty?

MRS PHALA: The lawyer was speaking on his behalf.

DR ALLY: And did the lawyer plead guilty on Dikgale's behalf? Did Dikgale actually say, "I was guilty of shooting your husband"?

MRS PHALA: They asked Dikgale and Dikgale said with his own mouth , "I find myself guilty", if I remember well.

DR ALLY: And no reason given for why he shot, any explanation?

MRS PHALA: No he didn't say anything, only the lawyer was talking on his behalf. He was just reading a statement in court, only the lawyer was talking, everything was explained by the lawyer on behalf of Dikgale.

DR ALLY: Thank you Mrs Phala, we will definitely try and get those court records, I think that our investigators office has already been trying to get them, so we'll follow it up and try and establish what actually happened. Thanks very much for coming forward, are there any other questions?

MR MALAN: Mrs Phala, where were you staying at the time of the incident that your husband was killed?

MRS PHALA: I was at Gamaja.

MR MALAN: Where you're still presently staying? Is your present chief still Maja?

MRS PHALA: Yes.

MR MALAN: You said in your statement that your chief was Mtapo, was he ever your chief?

MRS PHALA: In the statement at Gamotapo, that's where I was born, at Maja is where I married.

MR MALAN: Was your husband shot at Gamotapo or Gamaja?

MRS PHALA: Gamotapo.

MR MALAN: Was he living there at the time?

MRS PHALA: No, he only visited the area.

MR MALAN: In questions put to you you say that your husband was not politically involved, certainly not there, he was a visitor, he was from another area at the time?

MRS PHALA: Yes.

MR MALAN: Was he politically active anywhere else?

MRS PHALA: No.

MR MALAN: I have no further questions.

MR MANTHATA: As I was listening to you, you were saying you were just married and you had two children.

MRS PHALA: The two children were born while you were still at school.

MR MANTHATA: You are saying when you heard, how did you know it was a soldier who killed your husband?

MRS PHALA: They came to tell us, they knew who he was. I was not there, I saw in court that he's a soldier. The people who came to tell me, one of them said he's a soldier.

Those who were with Joshua knew that he's a soldier. They knew on the spot. We knew that he was a soldier. When they shot him I was not there, my brother was there, Joseph my brother was there.

MR MANTHATA: I understand that you were not there.

MRS PHALA: My brother was the owner of the bar lounge.

PROF MEIRING: May I just ask what has been happening to your two children? What is the circumstance of your two children at the moment?

MRS PHALA: My life, we are just looking at the old woman for assistance but she's a pensioner but she can't afford.

PROF MEIRING: I will repeat again, I know it's very difficult, it's not clear why your husband was shot on that day. As you said, there was an inquest which was held on 15th of August 1993 and we are actually still trying to get hold of these inquest records. We have made one attempt and we were not successful but we will certainly make further attempts to try to get hold of these inquest records, but I know that that's not all that helpful for you because you would also like to know what happened but it is receiving attention from the Commission.

MR MANTHATA: As we said, that this is one of the cases that we have already started investigating, we will continue investigating. We now thank you very much for coming forward.

 
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