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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS
Starting Date 12 August 1996
Location PORT SHEPSTONE
Names THEMBANI CATHERINE NZIMANDE, LANDELWA IVY RADEBE, MANA BUSISIWE DLADLA, MAKHOSEZWE MTHETHWA, BATHINI NGCOBO, SARAPHINA NTOMBIFIKILE HLONGWANE, NOMUSA SIBONGILE NGCOBO, PETER MAPHUMULO, PETER GOVENDER
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MS IRISH: (Incomplete) ... document looks at a brief background and history to the area, and just briefly to comment that the town, that the Port Shepstone town itself was established in 1982 - sorry 1882, and developments in the area led to an accelerated movement of people into the area. In 1980 the area experienced a serious boom, which led to further influx into the area, which in turn led to the undermining of traditional structures that were unable to cope with the massive influx of people.
The Port Shepstone area has 36 tribal authorities under is control, and most of the violence has actually taken place within these tribal authorities. And if one looks at the initial origins of the violence it could be traced back to the conflict that arose between youth and traditional authorities. Traditional authorities were called upon to administer vast, well-populated, rural areas with little revenue. Youth accused traditional structures of maladministration. Collection of revenue was not at issue, but it was the abuse practices that were used that were.
And if one looks at the actual incidents of violence, the one incident that can be looked at in terms of what sparked off the violence was in 1989 the killing of Induna Blose, where the community had called a meeting with Community Blose to discuss his involvement in alleged corruption and abuse of powers. At the meeting Community Blose returned to his home to say he was going to gather books to present to the meeting. When he arrived at his home he failed to return to the crowd. When the crowd approached his home he came out and stood in his doorway. He apparently produced a firearm, and the crowd then killed him. This was an incident that then sparked off a series of killing and revenge killing during that period.
What happened in the end was that within this process youth had aligned themselves to the UDF and ANC, and at the same time the vast majority of traditional structures became inextricably linked to the IFP and the KwaZulu Government, making it difficult for them to carry out any neutral role.
By February 1990 a number of areas around Port Shepstone were under the control of youth and emerging ANC structures, while traditional leaders in many areas had retreated to areas like Mobotsha and Umzumbe. In 1990 traditional leaders openly went on the offensive to reassert their control of the area.
The next section looks at the question of the issuing of G3 rifles and the proliferation of automatic rifles in the area, which we believe directly impacted on the intensification of violence. And what one sees from 1990 is that there was a marked increase in the use of high-powered assault rifles, and a new pattern emerged where political opponents were hunted down and killed.
During this period G3 rifles were issued through the Department of the then Chief Minister, M G Buthelezi, to headmen and chiefs. These headmen and chiefs were then able to pass these weapons on through use of permits to members under their control. The G3 rifles were officially issued for the protection of KwaZulu Government property, however numerous shooting incidents have been reported which involve persons allegedly issued with these weapons.
In Murchison in the 1990s the first reports of men armed with G3s were received. The men attacked a home which allegedly sheltered ANC supporters. Since the introduction of high-powered rifles conflict in the Murchison/Bhoboyi area intensified, where people were seen openly carrying such assault rifles. Reports of the carrying of these weapons also surfaced in Umzumbe, Izingolweni, and conflict in those areas equally coincided with increase in these rifles.
If one looks at the intensification of violence between 1989 and August 1993, more than 1 600 people died in political conflict in the lower South Coast. Initially the conflict centred around the Mzindini Valley and areas south of Port Shepstone, however it soon spread to areas north of Port Shepstone. Dweshula, Mehlomnyama and Umzumbe recorded severe atrocities. In the period June 1989 and December 1990 more than 989 people were killed.
Some of the factors that - some of the trends in violence that were picked up around this time were night camps, forced evictions and extortions. Night camps were initially set up as a defensive strategy where men gathered in order to defend the area from attack at night. However, very quickly these became offensive, and people who refused to participate in night camps then faced subsequent punishment. Monitors also received reports at that time of money being extorted from people to pay for inthelezi(?), a traditional muthi normally used in conflict and war situations, and for things like buses to bus people to places like Ulundi and Durban. At the same time in many areas people were forced to leave their areas as a result of not subscribing to the dominant political party in that area. Refugees and displacees became a major issue, and between 1990 and 1991 it is estimated that some 5 000 refugees fled to different areas. Many hundreds of families moved to safer areas in and around Port Shepstone. The sudden mass movement of people gave rise to new settlements being created in neighbouring farms. Some farmers who had been experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the drought took advantage of these people's desperate plight and rented homes out and sections of their property, wherein makeshift homes were set up.
What also emerged during this period was a breakdown of the rule of law. For many people justice was not seen to be done. The community's lack of confidence in the police and judicial system and their ability to deal with violence was at an all time low. As a result cases were reported to monitors of the frustration that individuals had when they tried to follow the normal course of law. Individuals and communities resorted to taking the law into their own hands, and the practice of people's courts arose. Between 1992 and 1993 cases of individuals and communities involved in brutal people's courts arose in both Gamalakhe and Murchison. Revenge killings became a frequent practice, and these killings then set in motion a cycle of violence. Once again a lack of faith in the judicial system fuelled this conduct.
Between 1989 and 1993 at least 10 massacres took place on the lower South Coast. The first was on the 4.9.1991, when the home of a prominent IFP organiser, James Zulu, was attacked in the Nsimbini area. Four members of his family were killed. On the 16.1.1992 the home of the Mbuzo family in Mtwalume was attacked. Seven people were killed. One of those killed was an ANC interim structure representative. On the 4.7.1992 the family of Cyril Shezi, an ANC organiser, was ambushed outside their home in Bomela. Seven people died in the attack. On the 3.9.1992 10 people were shot in Bomela when armed men attacked them. The 10 were waiting for transport to attend an IFP rally at the time of the attack. On the 14.10.1992 six people were killed when the kraal they were staying in was attacked at Ushubeni. The attackers were wearing balaclavas. On the 3.1.1993 seven people were killed in an attack in Wella ward, Harding. On the 21.3.1993 a van carrying children from Izingolweni was attacked by armed gunmen. The driver and three children were killed. On the 5.4.1993 10 people were killed in Murchison, Bhambayi ward, when armed gunmen attacked the kraal they were sleeping in. On the 15.6.1993 at about 4.45 pm gunmen attacked a home at Oribi, Paddock, killing six people. On the 20.6.1993 13 people were killed in three separate attacks on homes. It appears the attackers moved from home to home. The attackers were wearing balaclavas.
One of the characteristics of these massacres was the sophistication with which these attacks were carried out, fuelling allegations of the possibility of the involvement of hit squads. In a number of these massacres the attackers wore balaclavas, while in others perpetrators were known to the victims. What has concerned NIM, and other human rights organisations was the seeming lack of enthusiasm on the part of the South African Police to solve these brutal crimes, particularly in case where victims identified and named perpetrators.
But if one looks at the violence on the South Coast it would be simplistic to see it purely in terms of ANC/IFP conflict, and not to look at other factors and forces involved in this violence, and one of the major factors that has contributed to the intense levels of violence has been the role played by the Security Forces. Numerous submissions have been made to the Goldstone Commission and to the Commissioner of Police and the Ministers of Police at different times around the role played by these Security Forces. In particular the role played by the Internal Stability Unit during the period of 1989 to 1993 needs to be isolated and looked at for serious investigation.
The Internal Stability Unit, under the command of then Colonel H A Fourie, had been accused of being sympathetic towards the IFP, and this was evident from the special relationship that existed between senior IFP members and the Unit. Fourie was so blatant in his support for the IFP that he allowed certain IFP members to be in possession of an official police radio. During the duration of Fourie's command as commander of the ISU there were serious complaints of incidents ranging from intimidation and harassment to what some community members allege was the extra-judicial execution of suspects. The majority of victims in these cases had little remedy from the law.
The next unit within the police that deserves special mention is that of the Murder & Robbery Unit and the Unrest Crimes Unit. The network of independent monitors has for some time had suspicions regarding the violence on the lower South Coast. The continuing killing of people despite the increased police and military patrols, plus the extremely poor record of what was once a very effective detective force has left much to be desired. What became very apparent was the lack of enthusiasm with which such cases were investigated as compared to certain others. Monitors have always been suspicious of the conduct of police and the role that certain South African Police members have played, especially in regard to the investigation of politically motivated crimes, and the collusion of perpetrators of politically motivated crimes and unrest.
NIM is further of the view that ordinary people of civil society have become drawn into a cycle of violence as a result of deliberate manipulation by elements within the South African Police, and/or shadowy forces acting with the knowledge, and perhaps approval, of the Security Forces. We firmly believe that certain members of the community, some of them implicated in multiple murders, have been provided with police back-up in some instances in order for them to carry out such attacks without being apprehended by Security Forces present in the area at the time. In cases where suspects have been arrested members of the South African Police were instrumental in securing their release by, amongst other things, giving evidence in mitigation of sentence.
NIM and other local organisations have made numerous requests for independent investigations into the progress of investigations on the South Coast. No thorough investigation has been conducted into the progress of investigation or the conduct of certain policemen. We've cited a number of cases which we would request the Truth Commission look into and investigate, which we believe backs up the allegations that we have mentioned so far.
Another aspect which has fuelled the conflict on the South Coast is allegations of hit squads. During 1991 allegations emerged of hit squads operating in the Port Shepstone area. These hit squads were alleged to be involved in the targeting and eradication of political opponents. In submissions to the Goldstone Commission made by the Local Dispute Resolution Committee in 1993 the following comments were made.
"It is again beyond our ability of the LDRC to produce conclusive evidence of the existence of hit squads. It is nonetheless our belief that apparent professional type assassinations and well executed massacres may well be the work of hit squads."
A number of cases and factors fuelled of these allegations. The first was the exposure of paramilitary training camps that existed throughout the province. The second was an allegation made by Mr Koener in the Vry Witblad in 1992, where he alleged to have been part - together with the South African Police, to have taken part in hit squad activity on the lower South Coast.
The sophistication with which some attacks were carried out, and the use of balaclavas, the repeated involvement of the same group of people in a number of different attacks in different areas, and the use of vehicles and men from outside the Port Shepstone area in carrying out these attacked also fuelled allegations of hit squads, and we have cited two cases, the case of Wiseman Mthembu on the 10.12.1991 and the case of Caius Nzindlela on the 20.2.1992, which we believe an investigation into these cases could shed some light onto the allegations of hit squads.
"From the circumstantial evidence at our disposal it is our reasonable belief that there are those who are intent on fomenting violence and derailing initiatives aimed at reaching peaceful settlements on the ground. The level of investigations required to uncover such activities is well beyond the realm and jurisdiction of the LDRC."
However, in July 1992 the Local Dispute Resolution Committee initiated peace talks between the ANC and IFP. By late August the talks had reached quite a significant level, and in early September progress seemed to be - they seemed to be making significant headway. However, three incidents took place between the 3.9.1992 and the 5.9.1992 which effectively derailed these processes.
On the 3.9.1992 four people were killed in attack. The victims were allegedly ANC members. On the 4.9.1992 10 IFP members were massacred at Bomela. On the 5.9.1992 Wilson Cele, an ANC member, was shot and killed by the ISU in Gamalakhe. Shortly after these incidents, and largely due to the attack in Bomela, the IFP withdrew from the initiative and subsequently suspended participation in the LDRC.
In November 1992 the Commonwealth Monitoring Group, in consultation with traditional structures and parties, launched a peace initiative in the KwaMavundla area and the KwaNdulane area. This initiative led to a serious reduction in violence in these areas. However, there was an increase in violence in other areas, such as Izingolweni, Dweshula, Mehlomnyama and Oshibeni. The Practical Ministry's report dated August 1993 comments,
"There was no apparent reason for the violence to flare up in these places, but there was a marked pattern throughout the period of unrest. When violence decreases in one area it increases in another."
Finally, in conclusion - in conclusion we just want to add that the violence that was experienced between this period continues to exist in present day. Many of the people who were accused of being perpetrators during that period are facing accusations of being involved in violence now, and we would recommend that the Truth Commission take seriously the circumstances in which these hearings will be held, and the fact that there maybe cases where witnesses and victims may wish to meet with the Commissioners directly in camera or without the public or press being present.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much for that - for that background on the Port Shepstone area. I just ask the commissioners or committee members whether there's any questions which they want to ask. Perhaps start off with - could you say something briefly about the role of the white right wing in this area? I know that's not something that was mentioned, and I understand that there has been a role played.
MR CHETTY: I think we - in the complete submissions we will be - we will include some information on that, but it became - we only became aware of the white right wing as late as 1994, of their involvement, but there has been suspicions of the involvement of the AWB the IFP and the SAP in some kind of a unit, perhaps unofficial unit that was operating. And that became very clear in the form of affidavits from people that are now being charged.
MS IRISH: What we have done with the submission is every single allegation we've made we would have cases to back it up. Unfortunately the cases related to the involvement of the right wing relate to the period of 1994, which ... (intervention)
QUESTIONER: Excuse me, with the first speaker we had some problems because she was running too fast and we couldn't catch up, so we just let it go. We tried to ask, there was nobody to talk to. Thank you.
QUESTIONER: I think that can be investigated, where he is. You have mentioned here that there were monies which were paid for inthelezi and that interests me as the person in the Reparation and Rehabilitation - what-do-you-call - Committee. Is there any idea where this inthelezi was found? Where did they get this inthelezi?
MR CHETTY: It would appear that they would be - I mean they would be found at different places. We had reports of it coming from somewhere south - Izingolweni, Harding areas, and we also had reports of it coming from Ulundi, and some were in the townships in the Durban area. And people had to pay - local communities had to pay for someone to go and fetch that particular muthi and come back, the transport and the cost of purchasing it.
MS IRISH: Most of the information that we have about that comes from people who were forced to pay, not necessarily people who were actually using the inthelezi, so as a result they would not necessarily know where it came from, but would have been forced to pay, and the affidavits and statements that we have are in that regard.
MR CHETTY: Well, at one time it was one unit, and later on - I think some times around '92 or so - they separated and they had a separate office in a separate building away from the police station. And I understand at that time the head of Murder & Robbery was Colonel Koekemoer.
QUESTIONER: Just one more question if the other comrade has finished. You have here mentioned the cases of murder like Wiseman Mthembu and Cayfus Nzindlela. Are the families of these people still around here in Port Shepstone?
MR CHETTY: It is possible to locate them, but it would take a bit of time because there's been a lot of movement. With the conflict there's been a lot of movement around the Port Shepstone area, but I think it would be possible to trace them.
QUESTIONER: I think that will be very important, because if we were to heal the land we need to trace where these people are. They must be traumatised where they are and they need to be traced. Thank you.
DR MAGWAZA: The question I was going to ask was related to the community. You have already answered that one. I wanted to know that in Port Shepstone there was disruption of community life and people ran away to different areas. To what extent have people come back to resettle themselves? If not do you have an idea where most of the people are now?
MR CHETTY: We have around 1991 when there was - with the introduction of the G3 rifles, and of course we had a lot more illegal weapons coming in, like AK47s, home-made weapons, the fighting intensified. We had estimated 5 000 displacees. A lot of people had moved to neighbouring farms, and some of them moved to safer areas that was not as badly affected by the violence, and some them are - you would see shack type settlements in the areas of Louisiana, and closer to the Oshibeni areas. It is very visible, and most of these people come from the Murchison and Bhoboyi areas. The other is that many of the people from the Murchison conflict had fled to the Gamalakhe area and became refugees there. Some of them have been absorbed into those communities, and with the peace initiative at the end of 1992 one of the agreements of the peace initiative was that the refugees be allowed to return to their homes, and we had a lot of people coming back, and so we have now a peaceful co-existence in the Murchison/Bhoboyi area of both ANC and IFP people.
MS IRISH: I think the problems experienced in terms of dealing with the problem of displacees in this area is similar to that experienced throughout the province, where you have entire communities displaced at one time, where a whole entire community, or possibly up to 20-30 people fled their homes. Very often those people would move into church halls or whatever as a temporary situation, and would stay together. The problem arises when you have individuals forced to flee their homes, and in particular when it came to youth who were forced to flee their homes, and often landed up in Durban, or staying in somebody's back room, and it would be very difficult to contact and find out exactly what those people's situations are. But in many of the instances where those people fled to some of the areas around Durban they've been unable to attend school since their displacement, and some of them have not returned to the areas.
QUESTIONER: One last question. You'll understand that one of the duties of the TRC is that they must not be partisan, so this makes me to have an interest in what has happened to the Induna Blose's family. Where is Induna Blose's family? Is it still around, or where?
MR CHETTY: To be honest I cannot say exactly what is location is at the moment, but I think that it may be possible to locate either families, if they are still alive, because there has been a lot of fighting in that particular area, and it is practically impossible for us to keep actual accounts of each family members that might have had - you know, been victimised as early as 1990 or 1989 because of the constant movement of people and the continuous fighting.
QUESTIONER: I think maybe it will be good if you do - what-do-you-call - make a follow up. I mean an induna is a high profile person in the community. It's easy to get where that family is of that induna.
COMMISSIONER: Just one last thing. I know it's quite difficult, but has any research that you might be aware of been done to try and quantify the extent of the displacement of people, how many people involved roughly?
MS IRISH: The Regional Peace Accord in 1994 attempted to conduct some research throughout the whole province. I think the figure that they came up with at that time was 500 000 people throughout the province being displace. They came up with the same problems that we did, that where communities as a whole were displaced and kept together in some way they were much easier to address than where there were individual people, mainly youth, that fled. But I think the other group that would be possibly useful to contact in this is the Trauma Centre for the Victims of Violence in Durban, where they have been doing some research into this area and trying to work with some of the youth who have been displaced.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much for coming to talk to us today. I know it must be very, very difficult for you to relive the memories of what happened to you in 1992. You are from the Murchison area. We've recently, in the last few minutes, have heard about the terrible violence in the Murchison area, and you were affected there in 1992 by an attack on your house, and that is what you have come to tell us about today. Before you tell us that story could you please stand and take the oath.
DR MGOJO: Good morning, Thembani. Please just sit down. We are so happy that as soon as you heard the announcement that the time to verify has come you stand fast and came forward before the Truth Commission. We'll just go along with you because there's still a lot that we would like to hear from you. Firstly, I would like you to tell more about yourself - where were you born, how big is your family, and so on - before you start telling us more about your evidence? --- I have a very big family.
Yes, you may continue and tell us more. --- I have a very big family. I am from the Nzimande family. I am a cousin to Ndelani family. This means that I was born at Mbojwa at the Ndelani tribe. My mother got sick. She was working at Murchison Hospital, and that was 1986.
That was the year in which she died, and we were still staying at Mbojwa. After her death it became clear that my elder brother suggested that we have to leave the place because my mother died. We went, left the place, and went to Murchison. That was 1980. We stayed at Murchison, and that it was wonderful. During 1976 this other brother of mine with whom we left Mbojwa said that we have to change the place to Murchison, and it happened that he passed away.
At the time when all this happened, July 1992, did you belong to any political organisation? --- All I can say is that at that time - at the place where we were staying at Mbhayimbhayi we were under the ANC.
Is it not 1996? I would like to remind you? --- Yes. Yes, I am sorry, I mean 1992. It was on Wednesday, somewhere in the evening about 7 o'clock, and it was winter. I was sitting just staying at home, and then an old lady came to my place. She was my neighbour. Do you remember the name of this neighbour? --- I don't know well, but I just know her surname is Mampoja.
Yes, you may continue. --- As I said it was cold. I was just sitting on the fire at home. This neighbour came to my house. She said, "My child, things are bad outside. You don't have to sleep before - make a prayer before you sleep. I would like to ask you to come to my place so that we can make a prayer before we sleep." I said to her, "Mother, I am sorry that I am still busy at the moment, I am still washing," but she said, "No, just finish wishing, you can come and join us at home." I did that. I washed and I finished. I took my young child and I went to her place.
Yes, you arrived at your neighbour. --- As we were entering the neighbour's place they were already finished dishing out the food. The food was on top of the table, and the younger daughter said, "Let's sit down and eat because we have just prepared the food." I told them, "I have already eaten at home. The only thing I can take is just tea."
Who is this Mazini? --- This Mazini was the daughter to Mampoja, and she said, "Since you don't want to eat then I will put the tea aside for you, the others will continue eating." Yes, they started eating, and she put some - boiled some water for tea for me. While they were still eating we heard some noises outside.
Were you singing, or what? --- Not yet. We hadn't started singing at that time. When they finished eating my tea - this neighbour of mine started preparing my tea. Before she can place my cup on top of the table before me - we were sitting in the dining-room with the grandmother - she started a song, a chorus, a church song. We started singing in that house, we were singing these choruses. While we were singing a young lady and her mother gets into the house. They told us they are hearing gunshots outside the house.
Where was this young daughter from? --- This daughter was from another neighbour by the surname of Jama. And they suggested that we lower our voices. They didn't enter the house, they were just standing in the door, because the door was open. And they went back where they came from. The way they were walking you could see that they were also running away from something. As things were happening just like that after some few seconds or minutes we heard some shots, gunshots. This didn't worry us much because we were used to gun sounds. And we heard another shot. The second shots awakened us and we could see that the people are coming nearer. While we were sitting there and we heard the third gunshots. When we realised at last we find that like the noise was just outside the house, with so many in the house, and there was a lot of noise inside the house, while we were trying to get out of the house the people were shooting just outside the door. We tried to run away. Since the door was facing the other side I have to go to the other side of the corner, and the other grandmother we were with in the house ran to the opposite direction from the house.
Before you started running is it true that one person entered the house before you started running? That is one of those people who were attacking. --- Yes. At the time while I was trying to get out of the door I met him. I didn't know who he was, but I could see that he was wearing a big ... (intervention)
You started crying and running? --- Oh yes. As I just finished the corner of the house I realised that I was hit. I was holding my child and I realised that I was bleeding heavily and I was sort of like losing strength, and I fall on top of my child. I slept there. I could feel the warmth on my stomach. When I touched the place I saw the blood and I realised that I was injured. I saw someone standing next to me afterwards, but I couldn't recognise the person. After that I started running again, and I was just limping because I was hurt by this time, and I ran to a neighbour's house.
After you entered the Cele family house what happened? --- When I entered the house there was someone coming behind me. I didn't know who the person was. Since the door was open I just got in and closed the door and this person couldn't enter. He pushed the door. I also pushed the door to close it. So he couldn't force the door to open it, and then I locked the door while I was inside. There was fire burning in the house, and I sat next to the fire.
When did you get help from Daphne Nzimande and Mazini Nxumalo? --- They started to help me after I realised that I was about to die as I was sitting at the Cele house. So I sent my child to go and talk to Daphne, who was our sister-in-law, to come and help. The child went out and he said, "These people are coming towards us." So she came back we waited for them to come in, and I realised now I was losing my breath, and I said to my daughter that, "I am dying."
Can I remind you as to what you said in your statement? You said at the moment you were bleeding so heavily you started shouting, and you realised you were becoming powerless, and you were being helped by Daphne Nzimande and Mazini Nxumalo, who took you into a house. Can you explain to us briefly? You are now in the house and you are bleeding. Do you remember the time the soldiers arrived? --- Yes, I do.
Where were they coming from? --- I am still coming to that point. I sent my daughter to go and call our sister-in-law to come and help. My child did so. My sister-in-law came. My daughter-in-law came to the place where I was in the house I was in, and she asked me what happened and they took me back to my home. As I said previously I was becoming powerless. Then my daughter-in-law went to another house, the Mbambo family, because we saw some soldiers standing there during the day. So we sent her to go and ask for help. And it so happened that when she arrived she find the soldiers, and she explained exactly what happened to me. My daughter-in-law came back. I was sleeping at that time, but I heard the sound of a car engine running outside the house, so I saw the soldiers coming to me. They asked me, "Where were you injured?" and they also asked who injured me. I just told them I didn't see the person because it was at night. My daughter-in-law asked them to take me to hospital. They said - the soldiers said they are not allowed to take people to hospital, but they will try to make a call to make arrangements so that the ambulance must come to pick me. They telephoned the Murchison Hospital. Unfortunately the ambulances were all out, and I was just lying on the ground and I was burning. And later an ambulance arrived and took me to hospital at Murchison. When I arrived at the hospital one of the black policemen said, "The way she is injured she doesn't have to be sent to hospital." They ran straight to the theatre, and then they rushed me into the theatre, and then they put me on top of the bed and they started operating on me. (Pause) INTERPRETER: Interpretation will continue as soon as the witness gains composure. (Pause)
Can you tell us briefly about the soldiers who arrived at your place? What kind of soldiers were they? Were they black or white soldiers? --- There was one white soldier and there were two black soldiers. What kind of soldiers - what kind of clothes were they wearing? --- I can't remember exactly the type of clothes they were wearing.
In your statement you said that at that night while you were in hospital you came to know that there was about five people who were killed in the same incident. Do you know these people? --- Yes, I know the people.
About your health what would you like us to - how would you like us to help you? I can't hear you well. What about - you told us that you have been shot and injured, and what kind of help do you need? --- (No reply)
You say it is fine, that the doctors have operated on you and you are healthy. --- No, I am not satisfied because I can't do hard work at the moment. I can't do the work that I used to do while I was still fine. And this hurts me a lot.
Thembani, what I know ... (inaudible) ... is that most young children were victimised and harassed. You told us at the time you were shot you were holding a child who was six years old, and you said when you fell you fell on top of the child, but you never told us exactly what happened to the child at the time you were shot. What happened to your child? How is your child at the moment? --- My child is healthy and there is nothing wrong with her. I was the only one who was injured.
Beside physical injuries didn't you recognise anything psychological injury to your child? --- There has been some changes in my daughter, because sometimes when they asked her, "Where is your mother?" she said, "My mother is dead." They asked her, "What killed your
Beside that is there - or has there been any changes in your child's life? --- There has been no changes besides that when I take off my clothes and wash - because normally I wash in her presence, I normally see her looking at me, and after that she will cry. In other words I think she remembers the time as the incident was happening.
Did you ever try to ask for pension? --- Yes, I tried, because when I left the hospital the doctor wrote me a letter. I took this letter to the headman, and what hurt me the most is that after all these injuries I didn't even get a cent.
Good morning, Thembani. I wanted to ask you a question about your child, but it seems so far you have already explained much about your child, but it seems as though you haven't told us much more about your family as a whole. You mentioned your elder brother who is helping you. Are there some other brothers and sisters at home? --- My elder brother is married. My elder sister, I am sorry, is married, and she is no longer living with the Nzimande family. Where is she working? --- She is a teacher.
You once mentioned this daughter or young girl by the name of Jama who came to tell you that there were some people outside. In your mind do you think that she was also working closely to these people who were attacking you, or she was just someone who was coming to warn you? --- As I explained that this child came with her mother. They were from the direction of my house. It seems that they were running from the volatile situation and coming towards us and telling us that we should lower our voices because there are some gun sounds outside, and from there they just disappeared. They went away.
In other words you're saying they were also running away? --- Yes, they were running away. After they had disappeared then it's then that we started hearing the gunshots, and after the third gunshots and then it's then that we were attacked.
You said you reported the matter at Port Shepstone Police Station. Did they open any case on the matter? --- I will say that investigators came to me while I was in hospital. They asked me whether I know the person who shot me. I told them that I didn't know the person who shot me.
What did they ask you? --- They asked me whether I know the person who shot me, and I told them I didn't see the person who shot me. I told them that however as I fell down I saw someone standing next to me, but I couldn't recognise the face. I don't know the person.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Nzimande, you said there were a whole group of you in that house that evening who were involved in the singing, and that had had a meal together. How many of you were there? Can you remember at all? I'll repeat the question because you didn't have your earphones on. How many of you were together that evening before the shooting started? --- We were so many. I can't remember exactly the figure or the number, but we were many. During those days we used to ask her daughter to go and collect all the girls so that we can all meet together, so we were many together with the children.
How many were either shot or injured or died of this group that were together with you that night in that particular room? --- I would like to say that people were shot during that day. Some of them died, some of them survived. Five of them died.
Mrs Nzimande, thank you very, very much for coming in to talk to us today. Is there anything more that you want to say about what you have said? Is there anything further you want to add, or have you said what you want to say? --- No, I don't have anything.
We can see how difficult it has been for you to tell us what happened to you on that day, and how difficult it has been for you to relive that experience. It's also very difficult for us to understand what makes a person come into a house and shoot women and children, to shoot a woman holding her child. It's very difficult to believe that people can do that, and we express our deep sympathy to you. You were very lucky that night because you could easily have been amongst those five dead, and it seems as though that is what that person intended, whoever shot you, that he intended to kill you as well. We will certainly do our best to investigate as to why this happened, why those five people were shot on that night. It's a terrible thing that we don't already have this information. In most other countries in the world if five people are massacred there's a huge police investigation, people are arrested and charged and put in gaol, but that's not how things happened here in Port Shepstone, and in many other parts of our country. So we will try to get to the bottom of what happened to you and to those other people who died that night. And so we want to thank you very much for coming and sharing with us that story, and we wish you well. Thank you. --- I also like to thank you.
COMMISSIONER: (Incomplete) ... like the previous witness in the Murchison area in 1991, and you are like many, many other mothers across this country who have testified before the Commission about the loss of your children. sion about the loss of their children. There are many other women like you who have lost their sons, usually their sons, in the violence which has affected so many parts of our country, and we express our deep sympathies to you. Before you tell us your story please can you stand and take the oath.
DR MAGWAZA: We greet you, Mrs Radebe, and we thank you in a special way for being here. Today you are going to tell us about the harassment and all that took place leading to the death of your son. First of all please tell us about our family. Tell us about your children and how many they are, and after that tell us about the late. --- My children - I have four children, and Bhekithemba was the fourth. Now I have five children.
In 1991 how old are your children? Just explain. Be clear. The one after Bhekithemba is 1962. The third one is in 1965. The next one is 1980, and then 1968, and I have one other born in 1972. That's it.
We already have the details, now we would like for you to relate what happened. --- I left home headed for work in the morning. I left him at home, and I asked him to please soak and cook the beans because I will come back late from work. When I had left for work at 25 past nine I took my tea break. I got a telephone, and the telephone message was telling me that I should rush with an ambulance because - it was the neighbour who called me, and then I asked her, "What do you mean should I come with an ambulance? What's happening?" and then she said, "Your son has been injured." I said, "Can I please ask who did that?" She said, "Don't ask me too many questions, just rush." And I left to the casualty, to the nurses. I reported the matter and I asked for an ambulance as my son was already injured. And as they were looking for the driver suddenly my last-born came in, my very last son came in and said, "Mum my brother is now late." I prayed suddenly. I suddenly prayed. I prayed. And Mdlalose, Pastor Mdlalose came in, and Pastor Ndladla came in, and they were also praying for me as well. I was continuously praying. And they took me, and the nurses and the matrons came, and the house was packed with doctors as well. I was continuously praying. And they gave me an - they injected me and they said I shall go to sleep at two in the afternoon. At three my family came, my members of the family came and I left, I went back home. When I arrived at home the neighbours came to mourn, also to relate what
happened. They also told me that it was the IFP that killed my child. That took place in the morning, and everyone could see. People witnessed his death. As I was sitting there they came, they jumped the fence and they said, "We are finishing all of the Comrades today. We are putting all of them to death." In the afternoon - at night I could not sleep. I left, I went to the hospital. When I got to the hospital I also heard that my brother was injured and admitted into the hospital, and I was taken to another house, to another room, and the doctor said we should not mingle with other people because it's just confusion going around. Beds were taken into our rooms. I was not at home when all this was happening during this period. Every time I would be at the hospital. Now, when we tried to go out we will see them at the gate, and we got back to the rooms again.
A few questions I would like to ask inasfar as your son's death is concerned. You have said when you heard that he was injured after - what happened? --- I was unconscious for five hours, and I was injected and I slept, I took a nap at the hospital.
At the hospital that's the place you were kept when - each time you were harassed at home? --- No. Yes, I am working at the hospital. I was working at the hospital, and that's where I was usually kept all the time.
And another thing that you have said, you have just said something about your brother. What happened? --- Yes, I got a message that my brother was also injured, and I tried to go to look for my brother at the hospital and they said he was already dead.
Let's come back now to your son. What exactly happened to your son? When they have explained to you what exactly did they tell you about your son? --- They said people approached. They came to our neighbour, our opposite neighbour, and the back opposite neighbour. People just came suddenly, and one guy said, "Don't leave him alone." There were so many massing. He asked, "What have I done?" He tried to escape, he tried to run away up to Sister Ngcobo's place, and they killed him in the garage of that place, of that house.
Do you know them? --- Yes, and one neighbour of mine came to tell me that he witnessed the incident, and some other people of course are hiding. They don't want to come forward and tell me as to what exactly happened. They also told me that they stabbed him, they shoved the assegais through the body.
You also go on ahead to tell us that after that you reported the matter to the police. --- Yes, I did. I went to the police and they were just making me a laughing stock. They laughed at me, and I left for the ANC offices. And the boy who was just here right now, he took all the details, the boy who was just right here with Chetty. He is the one who took all the details, and I used to contact him so often, and he would attend to me and take me to the hospital as well. He is the one I do all things with.
Did you also - you also reported to the ANC, but the matter was not taken to the police. --- No, it never was taken to the police. I therefore ran. I left to live in Gamalakhe at the garage. That's where I was with my kids. Okay, I took my kids to Durban. That's where I had some kind of a shack there with the kids occupying it.
Let's come back to the police. It looks like your matter did go to the Port Shepstone Police, because according to history it looks like they were aware, they know about the death of your son. Do you have any knowledge inasfar as this is concerned? --- Yes, it looks like Ngcobo went to give the statement to the police as the police were asking. Now, Mr Ngcobo was my neighbour. I was always at work.
I thought you were saying you built some - you rented some shack or something. --- Yes, I did, yes. My son was doing computer science in 1991. He was staying at Gamalakhe. That's where I had - he was hibernating. After that he went to Durban to his uncle.
Yes, it seems to me that your family was scattered all over. Tell us just briefly about your children. How were they affected about this, the loss of their brother and not having a home and being all over in the city. --- Yes, my children were highly affected, and one, the other younger one, also wanted to commit suicide on the day when his brother died.
Is there any other thing that you could tell, any change that you could tell from your children? --- Yes. Often times they are naughty they always say - make mention of the fact that this person and this person has killed our brother. You know, they often talk about this issue. Even at the hospital - one other is suffering from sugar diabetes will always come to the hospital, and just look down and avoiding to look at me complete. He is also a relative. He is the very one who's alleged to have shoved the assegai through my son.
Is there any treatment that you get? --- Yes, I take tablets from work. Are the children fine and going to school well, or working well? --- No. The one who was studying computer science is still looking for the job, he is not employed yet.
Yes, I get your story quite well. It's so hard and difficult to lose a child. We are just trying to figure out how can we be of help to this situation so you could also feel that we are by your side. In times like this people do say this is what you can do for me to help me get out of this situation. What are you saying? --- I don't know really what to say because I have this load. My children are not working. The other girl is working somewhere in the industrial site and gets paid R70,00 weekendly, and the other girl is attending school.
We do hear. What I will say is that as we are here, coming here to listen to everything, and taking the requests of every witness, we want to compile all this what we hear in these hearings and take it forward to the President, and the President will take a decision and see what to do. Thank you very much.
There is one thing I want to follow here, but if you are not free to say this - we are trying to get all the truth. You keep referring to the person who was the first one to shove the assegai through, and you keep seeing the person, and I want to go back to this, because we want to gather every single thing to write. Please tell us about this person who had the assegai. You also tell us at times you want to - you look at him but you don't feel like looking at him. Tell us. If you don't feel like maybe you should not say. --- I may say this here, but some people here who are sell-outs will go and tell him.
Will you also tell us about the person who said he witnessed this, he saw this, so that when we try to investigate the issue further we may get in touch with him. Who is he? --- The name I don't know, but the surname is Ngcobo. I have just forgotten his name.
Landelwa, we have heard your story. I just wanted you to explain to me. Somewhere you make mention of the name, of the attacker's name. In the statement there is the name appearing there. Is that person still around, or what happened to the person? --- You mean the one who killed him?
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Radebe, you mentioned in your statement that some people were kidnapped by this group. Do you remember that? Will you tell us a little bit more about that. You said after they had killed your son they chased some of the witnesses away and then they kidnapped three people. You mention the names Malinga, Nchengizwa and Jabulani as being people who were kidnapped by this group. --- (No reply)
When you said that the police laughed at you, made a laughing stock of you, was that the last time you had anything to do with the police? You said you reported it to ... (incomplete) --- No, I never got hold of the police or went onto the police after that.
We do have it already. And you said that you made a statement and you got assistance from the young man who was sitting at this table earlier this morning, is that right? --- Yes. I gave the statement to them.
Mrs Radebe, thank you very, very much for coming in to see us today. As my colleague, Dr Magwaza, has said, it's a very, very difficult and a hard thing to lose a child, and we can see that your memory of him from over six years ago, or five years ago, is still very much alive in your mind, and we express our sympathies to you. We will make investigations. You have mentioned the name of the person who you believe led the attack on your son, and we will follow this matter up. We will hand it to our investigative unit to see whether they can get to the bottom of this - who did it and why it happened. Have you - are you still working? You said at the time of your son's death you were working in a hospital. Are you still working in the same hospital? --- Yes, I am still employed at the hospital.
Thank you, Mrs Radebe, very much. We again thank you very much for coming in today. We again express our deep sympathy to you on the loss of your son, and we promise you that we will try and do what we are able to do to get to the bottom of this and find out who was responsible for your son's death. Thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today.
QUESTIONER: We remind you that if there were any people who were tortured, harassed, who did not get any opportunity to give their statement there are statement-takers amongst us. Please go forward, get in touch with the statement-takers so you can open up.
COMMISSIONER: And please can I just ask anybody here who has got a cell phone to please switch them off, because when it rings it interferes with the television cameras. Thank you. Mrs Dladla, thank you very much for coming in. You have also come from Mkwanezi, which is in Murchison, like the other two witnesses before you, and this relates to a death of a family member as well, like the witness before you, and we express our sympathy to you. Before we ask you to tell us that story please can you stand up and take the oath.
MR LACKS: Good morning, Mrs Dladla, thank you for coming. Before we proceed to hear the story of the death of your uncle could you just tell us a little bit about your family. How are you related to the person that died, Robert Dladla? --- It's my uncle.
Please tell us as far as you know what then happened that evening, you said round about 9 o'clock, when this second incident happened. --- We stay with my grandmother. We arrived to my grandmother that night and they told us that we have to sit in one place, and they told us a man should go to a camp. It was in that evening as we were sitting, and then two men came into the house and they said - one of them said, "We would like to get into your house and light a cigarette." The other one said, "No, we mustn't do it here because when the attackers come here they will find us here. They might even end up injuring these female people inside here." After they went out of the house we just heard some sound, and he was crying, crying, he was calling his mum, and after that we didn't hear any cry. I asked from my grandmother to go outside to relieve myself, and she said, "You mustn't go outside because it's dangerous outside," and then I couldn't go outside. It was early in the morning and it was dark, and I insisted that I should go out and relieve myself. When I get out and I meet one of the neighbours from the Dladla family and they said that they have taken my uncle to hospital. They told me that one aunt from the Mfeka family they have carried my uncle to hospital with a wheelbarrow, and I decided to go and see him at 10 o'clock. When I arrived I realised that he was badly injured.
It's okay, you can take your time. (Pause) Do you think you can continue now? --- I tried to ask him as to, "Who hurt you?" He told me that some other men attacked him, and I asked him their names and he gave me their names. He was injured on the face there, and I went to see him on Friday. Later on Saturday we went back to see him. Unfortunately when we arrived there was some liquid oozing from his mouth. He was stabbed all over the body. On that day he couldn't even talk, on Saturday evening when we went to see him. We used to sleep at the hospital, and in the morning we decided to go home from the hospital and we went home. My dad sent me to go and tell the relatives that my uncle's dead.
(Inaudible) ... the names of the people that he told you that's fine, you can tell it to us later, but if you feel free that's okay. Could you tell us who he mentioned, the people who attacked him? --- I think I included the name in my statement.
(Inaudible) ... and come to your grandmother's house. Did I hear you correctly? You said you had run away and gone to stay at your grandmother's house, is that right? Did I hear you properly? --- Yes, that's true.
Do you want to explain to those of us who don't know about these things what was the camp, what were they doing there? --- They were camping because they normally fight during the day. Then they wanted to try to prevent the people who are coming to attack during the day. Unfortunately these people arrived at night.
Busisiwe, as you have already told us about the loss that you suffered, you said that you uncle did have a meeting with police. Which police force from which government? --- I will say they were soldiers wearing brown uniform. During the day, after the attacks, they sit down and tried to talk for peace and they started negotiating for a peace settlement.
As you say there were two groups, which group was he? --- There were two sections separated by a road. On the other side was the ANC, the other side was an IFP, so they came together to talk, to reach a peace agreement. /Unfortunately
During that time where were the police? --- At the time they started shooting at us the police were not there. They only arrived after they heard that the IFP people had kidnapped other people who were there.
I would like to ask you a question. When these people met to try to negotiate for a peace settlement do you remember the names of those people who were ANC and IFP members? Who were they? --- It was Kehla Luthuli and this other gentleman I can't remember.
You said in your statement earlier, at the end of your statement, that you felt that the police in fact were acting together with the IFP member in Murchison at that time, is that correct, in many of the killings which took place? --- Yes, that's true.
Further questions? Mrs Dladla, thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today. Like the two witnesses before you you are from the Murchison area, and it is quite clear from what they have said and what you have said that that area has suffered terribly over the last five or six years, and one would have expected in areas like that, where people from different political parties were fighting and killing each other - one would have hoped and expected that the police would have been ready and willing and able to become involved assisting people, bringing peace to the area, arresting those people that committed these crimes, and trying to ensure that the killing in those areas stopped. And it's quite clear from what we know about the Murchison area, and many other areas around Port Shepstone, that the police did not do that. They did not work in the interests of the people, but they worked very often with one political party in order to assist in the defeat of the other political party, and we hope very much that those days have gone now, although we know that in some areas the police are still not playing a correct and proper role. But we hope that in time, and as our new country grows, that the police will be forced to play a proper role in our society. But in your case they did not protect you and they did not protect your family, and we sympathise with you. We will do what we can to find out who killed your cousin and your uncle, and we thank you very much for coming in to tell us the story that you have told us today. Thank you very much.
You're on pension, right. Thank you, Mr Mthethwa. Can you tell us then what happened to you on that day, on the 22nd of June? --- I left in the morning going to work. As I was going just along the stop they were three. I met them. I tried to greet them, and the next thing there was a gunshot that responded. They never responded. And I was shot.
And do you think that they intended to kill you on that day? They fired bullets right at you? --- They intended to kill me. They actually praised themselves, saying, "We have already started." Little did they know that I was safe.
And then what happened? How did you manage to survive? Did you go to hospital? Who took you to hospital? --- I was admitted into the hospital. They operated me, getting out - extracting the bullets from body. Who took you to the hospital? --- The police came and they called the ambulance, and the ambulance came and took me into the hospital.
I see. And do you remember the name of the policeman who was meant to be investigating this case? --- I would be lying, because when they were investigating I was still injured, lying in the hospital.
How long did you stay in hospital? --- I was admitted on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. On Saturday it seemed like they were discharging me. On Monday I was discharged, and the person who shot me was already dead because he was shot as well.
And before you were shot how many of these camps do you think you attended? How many did they make you attend? --- I used to go often, and at the same time this was against my wish, you know, my will, and I started saying, "No, I am not going to go to the camp any more."
And were you required to be armed, carrying some arms or weapons? --- No, you will just bring your weapons and sticks the Inkatha use. They used to have guns. The ones who were forcing us to go camping they used to have guns.
And then after you recovered were you able to go back to work for some time before you retired? --- Yes, I did go back to work, and I was working for a long time. But at the same time I could feel that I was no longer fine and in a good condition as I used to be, and I got on pension.
Just for the record, and so you can know this, your case was referred to the police and we've got the reference number of that case. The investigating officer was a Detective Sergeant Mngadi. --- Yes. As I have said I was not there. I just heard that they gave a statement.
According to information we've been able to ascertain so far a person by the name of Mbongwa Shezi was charged at court. Do you know that person? --- Yes, I know him very well, but I never heard anything. Because I never even talked to him. I don't know what happened in the court of law.
We will try and follow that up further to see why he was the one that went to court when he seems to have had nothing to do with the case, and why the others didn't appear in court. Thank you. --- I never even talked to him inasfar as why I was shot. Maybe it's one of the other things that he used to do as well.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Mthethwa, you said that you retired early because you could no longer work as you used to work. Was that because of your injuries, your bullet wounds, or do you just feel that you retired because you were getting old? Why did you ... (incomplete) --- Yes, the bullets did contribute.
Did you receive any medical treatment as a result of your shooting, or ... (incomplete) --- The last time I went to the doctor it was the time when they were extracting the bullet, and I know I can no longer go to see the doctors for any treatment because I am not employed.
Do you feel that you still need - you should see a doctor? Do you want to see a doctor? Are you still suffering in such a way that you need to see a doctor? --- Yes, I think doctors will be of great help. I do feel pains from my operation. It tells me I am - something is not yet right.
Anything else that you wish to add to what you've said here, or what you've said in your statement? Is there anything else you wish to say about this? --- I will not say I will like to add anything to what I have already said, because what I told you is exactly what happened and there is nothing beyond that.
Thank you very much, Mr Mthethwa, for coming in to see us. Just like I said to the last witness, you are the fourth person who's come from Murchison today from Nkanyezini, and it is an area which has seen terrible violence. It's one thing to get people to come and join a camp, but it's another thing to try and kill them because they refuse to join that camp. That shows absolute complete lack of belief in another human being, and it is a terrible thing that ... (intervention) --- More especially that we could not even sleep at night because of this camp. Every time we will be told to go to the camp.
We understand that, and I just want to repeat that it really shows absolutely no respect for another human being that you should try and kill another person because he or she does not agree with you. And, as I have said earlier today, we hope that that sort of thing has by and large passed. We will try and get to the bottom of this. We will try and find out why the correct person was not charged. I see from your statement that two of those people have already died, Majola and Mhlongo. We will follow up with the third person to see why he was not charged, and we will also try to make arrangements for you to see a doctor. If you speak to one of the briefers after you have given your evidence today we will try and ensure that you see a doctor in this area so that he can assess whether you still need treatment for your wounds. Thank you very much, Mr Mthethwa, for coming in today. We're very grateful for the fact that you came and shared your story with us. Thank you. --- I also thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much. You are also from the Murchison area, from Mbhayimbhayi,a nd you have come to tell us today about the death of your husband, Isaac Ngcobo, who was killed in April 1990. We extend our deep sympathies to you. You are one of many people who has come to the Commission all over this country to talk about the death of their husband or their child, and we know how difficult it is for you to come and repeat that story in a public place, so thank you very much for coming in. Before you tell us your story can you please stand up and take the oath.
In the statement you said at the time while you were having supper they arrived and they started knocking at the door. It means then we have to correct the statement. --- Yes, they didn't knock, they just pushed the door and come in.
Did you hear what they were talking about? --- No, we couldn't hear anything, but we heard later. We heard him saying, "Don't touch me here. I don't have a gun." While we were still listening he was saying, "Don't touch here, I don't have a gun."
After they ran away what happened? --- From that time I was able to run out of the house, and went to the place where he were. I asked him what happened. I tried to turn him, and then he was lying on the floor facing up. /When you
You said you called your neighbour to call the police. Is that true that you called the neighbour? --- No, I didn't call the neighbour. I didn't ask him to call the police, I just saw the police arriving. I don't know who called them.
After this incident you were afraid, you ran away. Where did you run to? --- We ran to my brother's house just next to our house. We stayed there for one day and came back to our place. We stayed at our place.
When all these things happened I didn't hear anything as to what the chief's reaction was. Are you under a chief? Who is the chief? --- Yes, it's Chief Ndwelane. Did he happen to know all the incidences that you experienced? --- Yes, he did.
Your children, did they see the people or the whole incident when your husband was shot dead? --- Yes. I also think they were psychologically affected, because it looks like they were affected, and the way they were asking questions during the funeral. (Pause) I am sorry.
ask some few questions as to how we can help you. These sufferings that you went through, how did these impact on your life as you have already told us that your husband was killed in front of your children. --- This has caused us much pain. Most of the time when things go touch the children always say, "If Dad was alive things were going to be better."
Sorry, I am talking about your psychological problems, things like worry, like you have nightmares, seeing all the incidents what happened before. It's necessary that you get into contact with people who can help you. Did you ever go to such people? --- No, we didn't go to such doctors.
MRS GCABASHE: Mrs Ngcobo, we pity the whole situation, especially your harassment and the loss that you have suffered. You also told us that you are not working. In your statement it's written you were born in 1983. Can you exactly tell us exactly as to what is the correct date of your birthday? --- I don't know because I am not educated.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you for coming to talk to us today. You have suffered a great deal. We have heard many, many stories from people who've come to this Commission, but yours is one of the saddest stories I've heard. We've all suffered in some way during our lives, to think of how you have suffered, you have watched someone shoot - murder your husband right in front of you, you have had your house burnt down, and you have had all your assets, your cattle, stolen from you. And that is a terrible burden to carry, and we really do extend our deep sympathy to you. I would just like to ask do you have any idea of why those /things
When you discussed it with your neighbours did they share any ideas with you as to who it might have been, or didn't you talk to your neighbours about it? --- I couldn't stand for what I get from other people because people told us a lot of stories.
Thank you, Mrs Ngcobo. We will try and see if we can uncover any details on why your husband was killed and who killed him. We again extend our sympathy to you for the suffering that you have had to undergo, and we thank you very, very much for coming in and telling your story with us - your story to us today. It showed great courage for you to come and tell us that story of how you watched your husband being murdered right in front of your eyes. Thank you very much for telling us that today, and we wish you strength as you leave us now. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: I believe she is here. Is it Hlongwane, Saraphina Ntombifikile Hlongwane? You have come to tell us about the tragic death of your daughter in 1992. You are like many, many other people who've come to this Commission who have lost their children, and we extend our deep sympathies to you. Before you give your evidence can I ask you to stand please so you can take the oath.
Now, can you tell us about what happened as far as you know as far as Nonhlanhla is concerned? --- Nonhlanhla left home going to Gamalakhe to visit her father. She was already looking for another school to attend at that place, Gamalakhe, and she went to see her father at Gamalakhe. I was at home, hoping that she was with her father and already got the school. One day one lady came to me and asked me, "Where is Nonhlanhla?" I said, "Nonhlanhla is at Gamalakhe." She said to me, "Just stand up and look for the child. Be sure and ascertain that the child is there." And another one came to me and told me that she heard that Nonhlanhla got killed in Gamalakhe. She was taken forcefully by a group. And I suddenly left and I went to the police. I told the police the matter. The police said they did not know anything, and they told me to go to another place where I could probably locate Nonhlanhla's corpse. I went to that place. They checked from their records. They said it was not going to be easy to be located because the people who are here are the ones who are known, Nonhlanhla is not know. I left, I went back home. One day the police came to my place and told me to go to Port Shepstone to approach Goldstone. I went truly to Goldstone and he asked me what clothes was she wearing on that day. I explained back, and he said to me the child who's sort of similar to what I am explaining had been seen, but they cannot locate the child. And finally it was heard that she was buried in Dabeka.
Please take your time. --- (Pause) The police she was buried at a place called Dabeka. I went in search of that place, looking for that place in Isipingo, and I asked from the police - I asked the police to exhume the body so that I can take her and bury her, and they said that's not possible because that will cost a lost of money, and they showed me the grave where she was buried. I couldn't believe that that was her grave. I asked them "If someone is dead how do you bury the person? Do you just throw the person into a hole?" (Pause) I asked the people working at the graveyard how they buried my child. They told me they just threw the body into the hole. They didn't even wash the body, they just threw the body into the pit. This is painful to me. They told her that she doesn't know her mother. They heard the child crying at night, saying she wants to know her mother because I am not the mother. She wants to know the truth what happened to her mother.
In your statement, Mrs Hlongwane, you mentioned that you were told some stories as to two possible reasons why your daughter was killed. Do you remember that you told that to us in the statement? --- They said because she fell in love with a police.
You also said there was another reason, and that was that some boys had got hold of her and had insisted that she do their washing for them. --- (Inaudible) ... one girl who's already late. They said to her she must do the laundry. They would do the laundry, the clothes - they will wash up the clothes which they were wearing when they were committing all this crime.
Now, if I can just go back and ask you some small questions please. You've spoken about her going to visit her father. Who is her father? What is his name? --- His name is Dennis Mushaba, working for KZ.
As far as you know she never got there on that day? --- It looks like she never reached the father, because the person who told me about her death also told me that she was killed putting on the very same clothes that she left home with.
And then you said that after that another lady came and told you that she thought that - she'd heard that your daughter had been killed at Gamalakhe, a second lady. Who was that lady? --- I don't know the second one, but we used to work together. I have just forgotten her name.
Now, it is correct that you went to the Magistrate's Court at Port Shepstone and you got from them a death certificate, which we have before us. --- That's correct. As far as one can see from the death certificate there is reference to a police docket, a police investigation. Do you know whether any case came from such an investigation? --- No, I don't know. The last time they told me that they were going to investigate this issue, but I don't think they ever did.
DR MGOJO: I just want to check on a small thing here. In your statement that's before me it says Nonhlanhla was killed on the 29th January 1992. The third paragraph it reads her death certificate of the Magistrate's office in Port Shepstone she died on the 21 October 1992. Which one is correct here? --- We have to rectify the statement. Something is wrong here.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Hlongwane, thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today. We understand and recognise that it has been very painful for you to remember about the death of your daughter, particularly as you had to spend so much time searching and trying to find out where she was, if she was alive, and then discovering that she was not alive, and then having to find her grave in such miserable circumstances. So we do extend our deep sympathies to you. It's a sad story. It's also a confusing story. We don't have any clear idea as to why she was killed. We will try and follow up from the pieces of information that we have got. As my colleague Mr Lacks says, the death certificate does refer to a police investigation, and we will try and follow that up, whether it's here in Port Shepstone or whether it's in Durban, where she was finally buried, and we will communicate that information to you. But in the meantime we again extend our sympathies to you, and thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today, and we wish you well as you leave us.
COMMISSIONER: Nomusa, can you hear me? Can you understand me as I am talking to you? Okay, thank you. You are from KwaSithole in the Port Shepstone area, and you have come to tell us a very tragic story about the death of your mother, Siziwe Ngcobo, and your brother, Henry Mthunzi Ngcobo, who were killed in 1992.
With your mother as well? --- Yes. Okay, can you then tell us what happened to your mother and your brother in July 1992. You said it was the 7th of July 1992. Perhaps you can just tell us what age was your brother then? You said here he was born in 1967, is that correct? --- 1967, that's correct.
All right. Would you like to tell us then what happened on the 7th of July as you recall it? --- It was around 25 to seven. We were sitting at home and we just heard the gunshot. We did not see what happened, and my mum went out, went to the dining-room to check, and to see what's happening. But she never survived, and also my brother was the next one, because he tried to go out to see what was happening. We did not get to see who the perpetrators were.
And your brother, what did he do? --- My brother died in his house. At the same time? How soon after your mother was shot was your brother shot? Was it immediately afterwards? --- My brother got shot first, and my mum, after hearing the gunshot she tried to go out from the bedroom to the dining-room. We also heard another gunshot and we started hiding. We could not get to see the people who did this.
Did they come and ask you questions or take a statement from you? --- No, they just came and they asked what happened. We told them. We related the whole story that my mum and my father got shot by the people who are unknown, and they simply left after that.
You also said in your statement that the police told you that the bullets that were used in the attack were from Ulundi. Is that what the police told you? --- Can you please go through ... (incomplete)
Do you remember the names of any of the policemen who took statements from you? --- No, I don't remember. And do you remember which police station they came from? --- They were coming from ... (incomplete)
DR MAGWAZA: Nomusa, there is one question I would like to ask directed to you. It is clear that you were so harassed and you went through difficult stages. Especially after losing your mum and your brother, faced with the siblings and you have to bring them up, this is terrible and this is hard to bear. As I am looking at you I feel troubled and it looks to me that you are not so healthy, your health condition is not so good. Is there anything that is wrong, or what's happening, Nomusa? Can you please tell me about your health condition spiritually as well. (Pause) I could see that you are not well, but I will like to say that it looks as though you need some help. I understand since you lost your mum and your brother you don't even have time to think much about yourself because you are helping your other brothers and sisters and your child. Since you are still young we believe that if you can get people who can help you psychologically you can still cope well with life. You have brothers and sisters whom you do support. As you have already stated everything before the Commission the Commission will take over your wishes and requests to the higher authority, and the authority will decide as to how they can help you and your brothers and sisters. When you get out of this place you must know that we are with you and we'll always support you. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Nomusa, we can only imagine how terrible it must have been for you to see your mother shot in front of you in her own house, and also to find out, probably only minutes later, that your brother had also been shot. As my colleague, Dr Magwaza says, we do extend our deep sympathies to you. We are with you. It seems from the manner in which they were shot and killed that it must have been a very professional job. It sounds as though it was somebody who knew exactly how to handle a gun, which leads us to believe that it was a deliberate political assassination by somebody who was well trained in the use of firearms. And it is quite clear that this sort of terrible violence, this political intolerance was taking place very, very frequently in those areas in those days. As I have said earlier on Murchison certainly had its fair share of tragedy and violence in those years, 1990, 1991 and 1992, and your family was certainly a victim of that violence. We will do everything we can to try and find out who committed this terrible act, and, as Dr Magwaza has said, we will take steps to ensure that you get the sort of treatment that you need so that you can recover properly from this tragedy. Thank you very much for coming in to see us today.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you for being so patient and waiting the whole day to give your evidence. You have also come from Mbhayimbhayi in the Murchison area, and you have come to tell us about the death of your father. Like the witness before you, who told us a very sad story about the death of her mother, you will tell us about the death of your father, who was an ANC member in the Murchison area. Before you tell us that story I'd ask you to stand please and to take the oath.
MRS GCABASHE: Good afternoon, Peter. We would like to thank you for having been able to come before the Commission to tell us more about what you suffered in your family. Before we get deep more into what happened can you tell us more about your family? --- Before I start explaining can I ask that I am protected? Is there any security?
I just want you to tell more exactly - tell us more exactly where you were born, do you have brothers or sisters? At the present moment that's what I ask you to tell us. --- Yes, I do have a mother, and we are six children at home including myself.
When you explained about your children at home you said there's one who's psychologically ill. Can you tell us more about this child? --- This is my elder brother, the one before me. He had some psychological problem during that time when my father was still alive.
How was he born? Was he well? --- Yes, he was perfectly well when he was born. After some time he fell sick. I didn't know how it happened. I just saw him behaving like that, showing that he was sick.
Peter, can you explain to us. As you've come before the Commission can you tell us exactly what happened up to the time your father was killed? --- As I've already asked that am I protected if I have to give witness before the Commission?
Maybe if you are afraid about your safety I will try to lead you through and question. Is it true that your father got injured? Are you free to talk about this? --- We were at home, myself and my mother and the young children. My dad went to see his big wife, his elder wife. It was on Sunday.
In your statement you said you said you went to your elder mother to see your father. As you said when you had to come back your father will follow you. --- Yes, I visited him and I left back, I went back home. It was still early. He left to go to a neighbour to watch TV news.
He sat there and watched TV, and what happened? --- They said that he left the place at about half past seven. We heard that while he was sitting at home people knocked at his place. He opened the door.
Where was this happening? At the place where you were residing or where your father was? --- No, at my father's place. Then my father talked to the people who knocked at the door. They said that he must dress. They took his torch.
What was this torch for? --- During that time it was winter, so the torches were normally used like walking around at night. They talked to my dad. They went outside, and after some few minutes they came back in and shot him.
No, if you don't want to mention his name it's okay, you don't have to. After the police have taken the pictures did you open any case? --- Yes, they took statements, but they did nothing. No, the police just took a statement and we were not called to court and we just buried. Did you get your father's death certificate? --- Yes, we did. We got it from the police station.
Was there any inquest conducted to find out as to what happened to your father? --- I don't know. At that time like I wasn't concentrating much thinking about what could be done, but I was thinking as to what happened.
You said you would like if you can get bursaries to continue with your eduction, is that true? --- Yes, that is true. Yes, we hear all your evidence, but we still have to ask you more about your other brother or sister who you said is psychologically affected. Does he or she get any benefits? --- No, he doesn't stay at home.
We have heard you, Peter, and all the difficult times you have gone through, and we can see now that you are the one who is bearing the responsibility at home. This is a difficult situation for you and we feel for you, and we believe that there could be a solution in such a situation. All we're trying is that all the information that we have before us we will place before the President of the country, who is going to decide as to what could be done. However, with regard to the child you said who is psychologically affected, we would like to ask you to try and contact some psychologist or psychiatrist to get some medical help. Please don't leave him or her like that and saying that he has been bewitched. Just try to take him to doctors. They might help you. We would like to thank you, and I am taking you over back to the MC.
Because we heard evidence earlier on today from another man, an elderly man by the name of Mr Mthethwa, who was called - forced to go on these night camps again and again, and eventually he refused, he said that he didn't want to go on these camps, and he was shot because of that. Do you feel that this is also what happened to your father, that he was shot by people who were trying to force him to go on camps? --- I will say he was the person who never wanted to attend those camps, and like I have said earlier on that they were saying, "There's one who does not want to join us in the camp."
At any stage if you feel that you do not feel secure because of your presence here you should contact one of us. We will give you telephone numbers and cellular phone numbers so that you can contact us. If you feel that anything that you have said here has placed you at risk then you should just contact the Truth Commission. Do you hear? --- Yes, I will do.
So just in conclusion we thank you very, very much for coming in, for having the courage to come and tell us that story. It's a very sad story to have lost your father. At that stage you must have been 14 or 15 years old - 13 or 14 years old, and it must have been a terrible shock for you to have lost the person who was providing for you, who was the breadwinner of your family. As my colleague has said that we will make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you, families like you should be assisted, families who have lost their breadwinners. We'll make recommendations to the Government as to what should happen. And we extend our sympathies to you and to the - please extend our sympathies to the rest of your family, and we thank you again very much for coming in and telling us your story. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome you today, Mr Govender. You have come to tell us your story, which relates to assaults and torture at the hands of the South African Police way back in 1980 according to your statement. Before you tell that story I'd like to ask you to stand to take the oath please.
Mr Govender, you have such a lot to tell this gathering, but I would appeal you because of the time we have you'll have just to summarise some of your stories. By the way, can you tell us about your family? You have a wife, you have children, etcetera? --- Mr Commissioner, first of all I would like to place on record my sincere thanks and appreciation for allowing me to come before this Truth Commission to expound what has transpired to us over the many years. My beloved wife is on the extreme left. Her name is Cynthia Govender. We are married for over 36 years. We have no children, but other people's children are our children.
What organisation did you belong to? --- Mr Commissioner, with respect, I was the public relations officer of the Marburg and Port Shepstone Ratepayers and Civic Association for many years. I was the chairman, and thereafter I became the executive member of the Natal Indian Congress, which is a completely non-racial organisation. I was executive member for over nine years. I took active part in the Release Mandela Committee. Over many years I was an affiliate to the United Democratic Front and all its affiliates, and as such I fought in the political and civic arena for many years.
How did this affect your relationships with the regime of the time? --- I was an ardent opponent of racial discrimination, and I was a sure recipient to the South African Police, and also in conjunction with the members of the Security Branch, and all those people that supported autonomous areas for this area. I was a sure target, and I was continuously harassed, which I will expound as we go along.
Okay, then can you just tell us - you had so many experiences in 1980, can you just tell us what happened to you on Wednesday, the 7th of May 1980, and you go with your story? --- Mr Commissioner, I will try. It's quite a comprehensive affidavit which I have given to the Supreme Court in 1980, when I took the members of the Security Branch, and Mr Richard Lester said that I should condense it, so can I - because of affliction of time can I kindly read the pertinent points from the affidavit? Okay, so long as you are going to choose those most important things, because you have heard that we don't have enough time. --- Thank you. Thank you. I made this application in the Supreme Court of South Africa in May 1980, and the respondents were - I was the applicant, Peter Govender. The respondent was Sergeant Breedt, Sergeant Kerry, Lieutenant Paul Bunyan and the Commissioner of Police. The application was heard on or about Friday, 30th of May 1980. I asked the Supreme Court that the respondents be and hereby interdicted and restrained from assaulting, threatening or interfering, questioning in any manner other than that prescribed by law, subjected to any form of unlawful duress, employing any undue unlawful pressure on me. I made the affidavit. It was a launching affidavit.
"I, the undersigned, Ramakrishna Govender, also known as Peter Govender, do hereby make oath and say
"... builder, and reside at 3669 Oscar Borchards Road, Marburg, Port Shepstone, an area with the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court."
Just give us your story. I think we are interested on your story of torture. --- Okay. On Wednesday the 7th May 1980 at approximately 2.30 am my wife and I were rudely awakened by continuous banging on our front door. I peered through the window and saw the first, second and third respondent outside. I recognised them as members of the Security Branch at Port Shepstone because I had been previously interrogated by them on approximately five to eight times. None of them were dressed in uniform. The first and second respondent has holsters, in fact they were armed, and the first respondent also carried a knobkerrie. They continued banging persistently on the door until I opened it. The second respondent then demanded that I should come up with them. In fact he used vulgar words. He says, "Come on, come on, move it up. Don't waste time." I insisted, however, that I be given an opportunity to dress and wash my face, which they grudgingly permitted, urging me to hurry up all the time.
Lexicon Street in Port Shepstone, a place which I had become familiar with in view of the number of occasions I had been taken there by the security police. I was taken into the office of the second respondent, who began the interrogation by seeking information about my links with the Natal Indian Congress and other organisations to which I am linked, as well as my role in the recent school boycotts in Port Shepstone. I pointed out that I am the public relations officer of the Marburg and Port Shepstone Ratepayers and Civic Association. And while I spoke the first respondent walked around the room brandishing his knobkerrie, and in a threatening fashion he came up to me and jabbed me several time with his elbow and said, "So you are the South Coast politician." Mr Commissioner, they used vulgar words. Must I repeat those words, the vulgar words?
Okay, if you want. --- Okay. "We are going to deal with you properly. So you are the character that writes letters to the local press and newspapers. You mustn't think we are sleeping. We are fucking wide awake. We have a thick file about you. We know you better than you know yourself." The second respondent then went into another room, came back a few seconds later with a newspaper cutting which contained my photograph, and in which I called upon the voters to boycott the Marburg Town Board elections. The second respondent launched into a scathing criticism of my role in local political affairs. I attempted to explain myself to the first respondent, but he lashed out against me in a violent verbal diatribe, attacking the principles which I stood for. At this stage the second respondent grabbed me angrily by the collar, punched me in my stomach, and pushed me against a wall, saying, "We whites give you the opportunity to run your own affairs and you fucking coolies don't want it." Sergeant Breedt then came behind me and pushed me in the back. I was stunned by the blow and remained panting and breathless, unable to speak. The third respondent thereafter warned me to keep out of politics, saying, "Because of your politics you are being deprived ... (inaudible) ... person. You are a good builder and you
should stick to building." They then took me to another room and shut the door behind them. Mr Commissioner, I must say at this time they were fully armed and there were several others there also, and I couldn't make a move so I had to succumb to their way of torture. Sergeant Kerry grabbed me by the chest and shook me, saying, "You are the spider and you are getting webbed because of your politics. You know Steve Biko, you know what we did to Steve Biko. We put him on 4X4 bakkie. We made him sleep on his own urine. We tortured him. You know Timol. Timol was the one that jumped over the balcony. He would never jump. We threw him down. The same treatment you'll get if you don't stop your bloody nonsense. You see that balcony there. You will go over that balcony like Timol did and then we will say that you tried to escape. You are alone here, and nobody can prove a thing." I then pleaded for them to allow me one telephone call to contact my attorneys. He retorted saying, "You coolie, you don't have a snowball's chance in hell to contact anybody. We Security Branch don't allow this. You must bear in mind our powers are great." The second and third respondents then left the room, leaving me alone with the first respondent, who said, "So you think you are clever, huh?" He then punched me on my right side and I fell down. He then said, "You bastard, stand on your one foot and don't move from that square," referring to a floor tile which was approximately nine by nine. "You know what happened to Rick Turner? My God they say they put Rick Turner out of the face of the earth. We will pull a job on you too." He then began questioning me about my report that I made to the South Coast South African Police commander at Port Shepstone, wherein I had complained about police treatment. They did nothing about it. In fact one unjust system supported another unjust system. And also about certain charges which I laid against the police. He warned me not to make any further complaints to the prosecutor relating to the South African Police, telling me that in any case nothing would come of it. So the South African Police, with the security, Mr Commissioner, and the prosecutors, and even those Magistrates and Judges, were all in this same style. The second and third respondents came into the room and the first respondent left, closing the door. The second respondent threatened me to make a statement, saying, "We have the power to question you and detain you for 180 days." At that time there was detention without trial, and they say, "You've got another 179 days to go. You can avoid all this if you make a voluntary statement and be a good guy." He then asked me to make a statement in terms of which I would indicate that I had resigned from the various bodies to which I belonged to on the basis that I had been misled by the Natal Indian Congress. He then requested me to become a police informer. This, Mr Commissioner, I detested. As a committed Born Again Christian I detested to be a police informer. I bluntly refused and said that I would under no circumstances betray myself, my people and my country. When I refused to become - when I refused he became angry and punched me on the chest, saying, "You petty politician, you are mad." I fell to the ground as I had been swept off my feet by the violent blow inflicted upon me. At this stage the third respondent entered the room and requested that I write a letter about my involvement with the coloured community and the Natal Indian Congress. He then left the room. An African policeman dressed in plain clothes - it's shocking how they indoctrinated even the blacks to work against us - while I was writing the statement said to me, "You came to the wrong place." He's a black man. "My friend, we deal with people like you here. People who oppose us don't leave this place safe." I pointed to him that my concern was for him too, and that I was against the dom pass, I was against permits, I was against discrimination in salaries. At this stage the first and second respondents came into the room, and when they were informed by the African policeman - that's the black man - about what I had said to him they were furious. The second respondent punched me and said, "What, so you bloody politician, you're politicising my man." The first respondent then took his knobkerrie, tied an electric cord to it with some string, and pushed it against my mouth until it hurt my lips. I was in pain and agony. The first respondent then grabbed my shoulders and butted my forehead several times. The second respondent then clutched the hairs of my chest in an attempt to try to uproot them, which they did, and it was a painful process. The first respondent grabbed me by the shoulders from behind and started shaking me vigorously. I'll leave that certain part. A short while later the first and second respondents entered the room. When the first respondent read the statement - you know, in that statement I embraced that we should have a national convention, we should release Nelson Mandela, we should have all authentic leaders to have a national convention whereby we can formulate a policy for all and sundry to live peacefully and harmoniously in our beloved land, South Africa. He seemed to lose control over himself. Without warning he grabbed me by the neck, swung me out of my chair and started dragging me to the next room, all the while punching me in the back. In the next room he punched my chin against the wall and lifted up my face to pictures which he had placed on the wall of Dr Dadoo, Nelson Mandela and others. Then he said, "You bastard, you've got a nerve to say that such terrorists" - he said, "Nelson Mandela is a black kaffir. He's a terrorist. He will rot in Robben Island. And all political prisoners who are the recognised leaders of all races must participate in a national - you must be mad." He grabbed me back into the other room. The second respondent then said, "You dare not support the Release Mandela Committee. He is going to die in prison. He's a terrorist," and thank God he's free and he's the President of South Africa. "This terrorist will rot in Robben Island. You know Bram Fischer? We kept him inside until he had 12 days to live. We only sent him home to die. We have the power to fucking put you away you coolie bastard." The first respondent then ordered me to stand on my one leg. Now, this is the torture. I told him that because my leg was injured, I got a compound fracture, he became angry and kicked my legs, causing me to fall and trip over a chair. As I got up he shouted, "Stand up you blood coolie." I had no alternative but to do so as ordered. While I was standing on my one leg they kept on questioning me about Nelson Mandela. They were afraid of Nelson Mandela. They were afraid of one man, that is Nelson Mandela. They didn't want me to support Nelson. They didn't want me to even talk about him, not even to hold his photograph. I gave the answers and explanation to the best of my ability. Throughout this period I had to stand on one leg, and when I attempted to put my foot down I was punched by the first respondent until I picked it up again. The second respondent then referred to a local personality, one Dr D M Naidoo, saying, "You know Dr Dilly," referring to Dr D M Naidoo, "we silenced him. He was a prominent Natal Indian official. He is now very quiet because we tamed him." They tried to tame me, which they failed. "You know P Doolay? We also put him in his place and silenced him." He then looked at this watch and said, "After all this time, 13 hours already, we have hardly had any sleep, tell me are you still going to continue with your lousy politics?" I replied that I had to do justice to my political convictions. Whatever I did or said was motivated by Christian principles. I was then punched once again by the first respondent several times on my side. The second respondent then left the room, stating that they were going to use torture treatment on me. He returned a few minutes later with a steel box. It was a large steel box, Mr Commissioner, and in that steel box, Mr Commissioner, there was a doctor's stethoscope, and there were other security members there who were fully armed. I can't make a move. And the first respondent pulled off my coat. He took my coat out. Then they put a thick pad round my neck, Mr Commissioner. They put a thick pad round and they put a steel clamp - they put a steel clamp and they started pressing that steel clamp, and it pressed my neck in such a way that it never leave no mark, but the pad was helping, and then it hit me into my nerves and I fell giddy, and then I nearly passed out. I was in pain, and eventually he released the clamps and he removed them. The second torture, Mr Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, at this stage the second respondent put a mask, a special mask with some odious chemical inside the mask, and they put it and they bound it up. They said, "Breathe now." I said, "I am not going to breathe because I can feel this thing is having an adverse effect upon my moral structure. And I was forced - I couldn't breathe and I had to breathe, and it hit me inside and I just passed out. And right up to this day, Mr Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I am suffering from a nervous breakdown, I am suffering from loss of memory, and also emanated epilepsy. He clamped against my - ordered me to inhale. I tried to avoid it by holding my breath, but eventually I was forced to inhale it. I screamed just as I passed out. The next thing I remember was that I was being warned by the first respondent as follows. "If you ever open your mouth, you say what happened to you, you must remember that you are fighting with fire and you can't win." I told them that when I left I was going to see my lawyers. The first respondent then got furious and shouted, "You fucking coolie, you do that you will see whether we play with you or not. You don't know what hit you. The law is made to suit us, not bastards like you." At that time, Mr Commissioner, the Magistrates, the Judges, the prosecutors were all on these people's side. They were not on our side. "Even the Judges and doctors are on our side. The next time we won't bring you here. We will take you far away, and just remember, and we - we will get even with you if we have to
frame a case against you." Mr Commissioner, before this they blindfolded me during the night and they took me to unknown prisons. They put me into prisons with long-term prisoners, and, Mr Commissioner, they allowed the long-term prisoners to assault me. I saw in my very own eyes black - my black comrades. They tied something - they clamped something on their testicles and the man was spinning like a top. Another person they tied him upside-down, another black. They put urine in his mouth, Mr Commissioner. This is the torture that we ... (incomplete) (Pause)
Okay, Mr Govender. --- I saw my black brothers suffering. They used to give us infested blankets with fleas. They used to throw us brown bread, black, cold coffee. They used to keep us in solitary confinement. They used to tell us to write statements over and over and over again. Because of this I was financially embarrassed. My dear wife went through a trauma. This is how they brutalised us. Mr Commissioner, I had not endeavoured at that time to obtain medical assistance in respect of the assaults inflicted upon me, inasmuch as the torture which I underwent was rather more - page 12 - a mental one than a physical one. The respondents did not inflict any injuries upon me of such a nature as to indicate that I had been beaten up by them. I verily believe that the nature of the assaults was designed to prevent detection by medical personnel. In all the circumstances, while I underwent tremendous pain and suffering, I verily believe that the respondents were skilful enough to inflict injuries upon me that would not be immediately imminent or apparent. I was unaware until I was advised by my legal advisors that I would obtain relief of the present nature against the security police through the courts. I humbly submit, with respect, that the present application has now become increasingly urgent, inasmuch as I am self-employed as a builder in Port Shepstone, and I am presently involved in a major building contract. Due to my fear of the police, and because of my harassment, I have not been able to attend to my daily business. I have been presently living in fear of my life, and because of my campaign of intimidation by the respondents ... (intervention)
Just say it in a short paragraph. --- Ja. At that particular time my house in Port Shepstone was standing deserted and I am living under cloak of anonymity. I can no longer tolerate this, and I made this application. And I was a nervous breakdown. I lost hundreds of thousands of rands because of what happened ... (inaudible) ... pick you up any part of the day and night, and I lost a lot of contracts, a lot of money. My wife went through a trauma, and that is - but in spite of all this, Mr Commissioner, the Judges at that moment they treated the matter in such a willy-nilly manner. I had advocates and lawyers. They came and did it on a pro amico basis, free of charge, right, but it cost me time and so on, but they had top counsels, they had top senior counsels paid by the State. But they just treated it
Where is he now? Do you know his whereabouts? --- This is it. I understand from reliable sources, Mr Commissioner, that all these people like Sergeant Breedt, Sergeant Kerry, are holding important positions in the State Department. Right up until now they never show no repentance, no remorse. This is how I understand.
So they are having important positions? --- They are holding important positions, and also at this juncture I must say the person who was in charge there was Captain Lawrence, who also played a pivotal role because of my harassment.
Thank you. Is it true that one of these people who was the third respondent, Lieutenant Paul Bunyan, was once your friend? --- Yes. As a Christian he attended to that particular church. He moved with me, but I didn't realise his modus operandi, that he had hidden agendas. He came into my home and he moved and he wanted to see my movements and everything, but I regarded him as a friend. But he played a silent role and he transmitted all the messages to his other counterparts.
Did you ever share this with your minister because you belonged to the same church? --- Yes, I did say this, Mr Commissioner, but he was so influential and nothing has happened, because they never see anything bad about it.
So you think that the minister was afraid of him too? --- Yes, regrettably at that moment in time the ministers never do justice to their spiritual convictions. Now, when you were tortured from here in Port Shepstone is it true that you moved to - where did you go to? To Durban? --- I had to go to Durban.
And did you have these people worrying you when you were in Durban? --- No, they didn't know where - I was living in a cloak of anonymity. I didn't tell them I was living, so when I came back they started harassing me. Unknown - thereafter unknown security members harassed me. Not the same people, unknown people came, and they usually come at night and put me into unknown - blindfold you, put you into unknown prisons.
20 times. Were you detained in different places? --- Yes. The majority of those places, Mr Commissioner, I didn't know where I was going, because once they blindfold you they take the right turn, left turn, right turn, right turn, they go fast, they go slow, and then they lose you, you lose where you are going, and they get into you, put you in the cell with long-term prisoners, sometimes in solitary confinement. You don't know where you are. They blindfold you.
You say that you were instructed to stand on one leg, and you told them that one of your legs was injured. What had injured your leg? --- They were not concerned about that. The more they torment me the more - they had an insatiable obsession to torment me.
Your injured leg. --- Oh, I fractured it. A brick wall fell on my leg many years ago ... (INCOMPLETE -CHANGE OF CASSETTES) ... Yes, I am still under medical treatment because of this mental torture and because of these chemicals. Right up til now I am taking medication.
Has your neck been examined after those steel clamps? --- At that time I didn't know, Mr Commissioner, that I must go to the medical, but the medical - they did it in such a way that there was no external injuries. It was more of an internal torture.
You must have suffered, Mr Govender. What about your wife? Did your wife suffer? --- Yes. She stood with me thick and thin. I am grateful to her. To compound this problem we suffered with autonomy. I want to elaborate on this. You know, the Port Shepstone Town Council and all the others gave us autonomy in Marburg,
and because of that it's amazing, it boggles the mind, how the security branch knows every move of mine. I fought against racial. They said, "You're bringing the kaffirs into this town. You want completely non-racial town councils." And then also I tried to report this to the local press, that is the South Coast Press. I've got cogent evidence of support that the South Coast Press is also biased in their reporting, they don't give balanced reporting. All this has compounded my problem, Mr Commissioner. Even right up to this very moment I send pertinent letters to the South Coast Herald and they don't even worry about publicising the atrocities and the injustice.
Okay, don't worry ... (intervention) --- And various others, and Professor Gearing. So how do you feel that you have said your story to the Commission? --- Mr Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely appreciate that you all - you know, much of my burden is out, but what I am rather peeved and grieved is those perpetrators are still holding high portfolios and they never repent or show remorse, so how I as a born-again can forgive them when they never ask for forgiveness? Some of these people they only have lip service, but the heart never change.
So what is your request to the Commission? --- I appeal to this Commission to seriously look into this matter of checking up on all these perpetrators. On what moral and legal basis can they hold important positions in the State Department when they did certain horrendous deeds on us, which is the height of hypocrisy, and this is some of the things. And some of the members are joined in IFP and various other organisations that - I don't want to elaborate further here, but I feel that you should look into this matter, and I prevail upon this Commission if it's possible, that this Commission will look upon that we'll have a neutral media where we can articulate our viewpoints and our problems, than going to these biased presses.
Well, Mr Govender, thank you very much for your story, and you have really suffered indeed. We can feel for you and your family, and I think you need - your family too needs some kind of psychological attention. --- My wife needs it very badly.
Ja, both of you in fact. --- Mr Commissioner, at this juncture, with your permission, I seek the indulgence if it's possible that - this medical treatment is costing me hundreds of thousands of rands, and I hope that if this Commission can make it possible for me to go for expert medical treatment and control my emotions and epilepsy and loss of memory, I will sincerely appreciate it.
Okay, thank you very much, Mr Govender. We have heard. We shall take your requests, as we shall be doing with others, to the State President to see if you cannot get any help. We don't guarantee, we just recommend the requests of the people. Thank you very much. --- Mr Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for hearing my side of the story. I appreciate it.