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Human Rights Violation Hearings


Starting Date 23 July 1996


Day 2



REVD XUNDU: We shall now call upon Lydia Jack to come to the front.


REVD FINCA: We welcome you Lydia. We also thank you for coming here before this Commission today, to come and share your painful experiences when you were tortured until today, you are what we see here in front of us.

Thank you for, because we can see that it is not easy for you to move, but you have made it a point that you have come to appear here. It is good that you have come here in person and not sent anyone to come and represent you, so that we don't get a report of your condition, we should see it.

Even people here can see how people have caused damage to you. We shall now hand over to Dr Mapula Ramashala who is going to help you and ask questions based on your statement.

DR RAMASHALA: Ms Nomathemba Lydia Jack, good morning. Chairperson, as you've said before us is Ms Nomathemba Lydia Jack, she walks with difficulty, her life has been changed, and changed forever.

She had wonderful dreams like all of us. And as a very young woman she lost a baby. She will tell us this morning what happened to her.

And I think in her story will be revealed the unique



way that the police tortured women. Ms Jack, take your time and when you are ready, would you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

What happened before that eventful day of September 1985? What you were doing and what your dreams were and how they were interrupted by the conditions in South Africa. Please proceed.

NL JACK: (No interpretation) ... then they used - the policemen used to come at two in the morning to our houses and then on this particular morning, Xongwani and Charles who were policemen were in the company of others, came to my grandmother's place and then they threw away the beer that was there.

I ultimately went to the police station and I found Zola Olivier and Awa, then I asked them what they wanted from me.

Then they said I was a comrade from Cape Town who had come to Indwe to instigate, then I said no, all I received was just a paper that was telling me that there was a meeting to be held.

So they took me and put me into a cell and they squeezed by breasts. They kept me in the cell. Whilst I was there, a policeman named Awa called me aside only to find that he wanted to rape me.

DR RAMASHALA: Ms Jack I know this might be very uncomfortable for you, but it is important for us to have as clear a picture as possible. I'd like you to explain a little more by what you meant by they also pulled my breasts.

Exactly how did they do that?

NL JACK: The pulling of my breasts was in, they did it



aside, they asked me to come to them because they were calling us one by one. What they did, they opened up my breasts and then they squeezed until my breasts, until they turned red.

Then I told them I wanted to go to the Doctor, but they refused. They kicked me and only allowed me to go to the hospital just once.

DR RAMASHALA: How many of the policemen tugged at your breasts?

NL JACK: There were three of them, Oliphant, Awa and Zola. Then in 1986, whilst I was there in the cell, the policeman came at about ten and asked me said someone was calling us.

Then I went out, only to find that there was no one actually calling me, but there was Awa standing waiting for me. Then I screamed. I then went back to the cell and wrote a note which I threw over.

Then Awa asked me to keep silent and not to tell Steve, then I asked but why, then he said he would shoot me, then I wrote a note and threw it outside.

But I kept in the cell in Dodrecht in 1986. Christa told me that we were going to be there for 14 days and that did not happen. We were again called one by one, there was Charles and another policeman from Queenstown.

This policeman said, asked me what member of an organisation was I. Then he called me a "skelm", then he said I was also an illiterate and he said I came from Cape Town and they even said "voetsek" to me and kicked me.

Then I ignored that, they asked me who was our leader. Then they asked me whether I knew Ringo, then I said yes.

They pushed me outside, kicking me. Then outside I saw Xicka, we were moving in one by one. We then went back to



the cell.

Mchlongwane came whilst we were in the cell and then said we should pack our clothes, because we were going home.

Then we left with the Black policemen, we were put into the van and taken to Dodrecht. They beat us up there in Dodrecht.

I was pregnant then someone asked why they brought me there. I fell down, I had problems with breathing, then Finki took me and the policemen also came and called me Mandela's dog.

Then another policeman came to keep guard on me in hospital and handcuffed me. Both my legs were handcuffed and could not even move, I couldn't even get to the toilet.

Then I was given only a bed pan to use. Then I was under Dr Pillay's care.

DR RAMASHALA: Ms Jack, I want you to go back when the two policewomen interrogated you. Did you know before you were arrested, that you were expecting a baby?

NL JACK: Yes, I knew that I was pregnant.

DR RAMASHALA: ; And how did this two policewomen find out that you were pregnant? Did they examine you or were you showing already?

NL JACK: I was obvious, I was pregnant. It happened that when I got to Queenstown, Pillay examined me and I was in a private ward, then the policemen came, one was a White, short policeman.

They called me Mandela's dog, I even answered back and said you are also dogs. Then they took me to the cell and beat me up.

I couldn't walk, then they transferred me to East London and I found policemen once more. They were White



policemen, they were beating me, sending me to the cells now and again.

Whenever there was no Doctor, they would beat me and they would handcuff my legs. I got confused, then I asked where is my child.

DR RAMASHALA: Before we get to the point where you loose the baby. In your statement you say that there were several policeman who were interrogating them. Among them was Andiwe Awa and that Mr Awa was forcing you to have sexual relations with him, am I correct? And that when you refused, he pulled you by your hair and dragged you back to your cell, am I correct? What happened in the cell?

NL JACK: In the cell I told the other girls who were sharing the cell with me, I then wrote a note and threw it over to the cell that was occupied by the males.

I wanted Steve to read it, one of the comrades. Then the male comrades decided to go on a hunger strike for this and it happened.

Then even in hospital I will continue do this.

DR RAMASHALA: is it true that Mr Awa stopped or was prevented from sexually assaulting you because you screamed very hard?

NL JACK: Yes, I cried. When Awa was trying to have sexual relations with me, I screamed and cried.

DR RAMASHALA: You can go on with your story.

NL JACK: When I came to East London, there were many Doctors who attended to me. Then they gave an instruction that the policemen should not touch me again.

And I was there for about a month. When my grandmother came to visit me with a policeman called Lukas, they took the handcuffs off, they gave me meat to eat and I was




Policemen from Indwe came too and my grandmother, Mambele found me in a bad condition in hospital.

Then there is a Doctor from Queenstown, Pillay, phoned East London and asked that when I get discharged from hospital, I should go back to Queenstown.

Then a letter was sent to the police station and also to the hospital and this happened. I went home in November.

But the policemen continued to visit me. They even asked me to go to the Clinic, they took me actually to the Clinic. They said they wanted to talk to me, then I said i didn't have anything to say to them.

Then they put me into a bedroom and said I had to go to the Clinic because I had to go on contraception.

DR RAMASHALA: How old were you then?

NL JACK: I can't remember how old I was at that time. Then it happened, the policeman took me to the Clinic. My complaint, I felt better any way but I had crutches I was using.

Then I asked my uncle what should I do because now people were taking care of me and doing everything for me.

We then went to the Magistrate's office and my uncle told the Magistrate everything. Then the interpreter said to me I should give them a photo-copy of my ID.

Then I went to some White people who were standing aside. Then after that, I would go to the Magistrate's place to go and get the outcome. I would hire cars, because I couldn't walk properly.

I also went to a Social Worker to lodge a complaint.

That Mrs Pienaar said she was going to attend to me, but I've been waiting until now. Nothing has happened up to QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE



DR RAMASHALA: Are you presently under treatment Ms Jack?

NL JACK: Yes, I get medical treatment from East London.

DR RAMASHALA: And how often do you see the Doctor?

NL JACK: I go to the Doctor almost every day, but I go to the East London, to see the East London Doctors on Wednesdays.

DR RAMASHALA: ; I see when you walk, you have to drag your leg. Was that part of the punishment when they chained you to a bed?

NL JACK: Yes, it is. There was some water leaking in the toilet and I had to sleep there on the water because the mattress had to be put there. I was instructed to sleep there on a wet mattress.

And I was kept on handcuffs just that they even left marks on my hands and feet.

DR RAMASHALA: You were 17 years old. What standard were you in?

NL JACK: I was doing standard 7 at the time.

DR RAMASHALA: And you have since stopped your education?

NL JACK: I am no longer going to school.

DR RAMASHALA: Ms Jack, it has been almost ten years now, could you give us some idea about what you would like the Commission to do.

NL JACK: I would like the Commission to assist me because I cannot walk and my parents don't have a proper living place. I also want to go back to school.

DR RAMASHALA: Have you used crutches at all during these ten years, or a wheelchair?

NL JACK: I now use crutches, but I am not good at making use of the crutches, sometimes I fall down.



DR RAMASHALA: ; Are there anything else that I may not have covered that you would like to tell us?

NL JACK: Yes, there is something else I want to say. When I was discharged from hospital in 1989, I went to the Dodrecht police station to get my clothes and I was told that I should ask Nmambi about my clothes.

Then I asked but why because I had left them there for their care, then they said they were going to look for them.

I went back and I again went to the police station, but they did not get all the clothes. I only got back a dress, a skirt and a blouse. Then I asked what had happened to my shoes, then they said they would look for them.

Then they asked me that I should phone them, then I said no I couldn't do that, because I didn't have the money.

But up to now, they are quiet and I haven't received those articles back.

DR RAMASHALA: Ms Jack, thank you very much for your testimony. It is pretty clear that you had dreams and that those dreams were interrupted, but you are indeed a very brave lady.

I don't know if you ever received any assistance at all after you lost your baby, I don't know whether you ever received any counselling at all. Could you tell us a little bit about what carried you through that period.

NL JACK: I went to Bishop Lavis in Cape Town just before I came to Indwe and then I was told that I was pregnant when I wasn't aware as such.

Then when I came home, Sister Malela she was there and I vomited blood. It was full, the bucket was full of blood, then I was sent to the, my sister did not have money.

In stead she gave me Med Lemon and some Grandpa and QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


this gave me some slight relieve and I could get to the toilet.

DR RAMASHALA: Did you loose the baby in the hospital or outside of the hospital?

NL JACK: When I lost the baby, I was still in jail. Then when I recovered I was in a hospital in East London.

DR RAMASHALA: Let me ask you to speculate. Do you think you lost the baby spontaneously or do you think the baby was taken from you?

NL JACK: I think I could call it and even from the beating by the police, I then lost my baby through that.

DR RAMASHALA: Do you remember the name of the Doctor who attended to you at the hospital?

NL JACK: I was under the attention of Dr Pillay here in Queenstown.

DR RAMASHALA: And this was in 1986?

NL JACK: And this was in 1986.

DR RAMASHALA: Ms Jack, thank you very much for particularly your bravery. Chairperson, I hand over to you.

REVD FINCA: Thank you Dr Romachela. Are there any questions? Lydia, we thank you for telling us your story which reminds us in a special way that females, when they take part in struggles, they used to suffer a lot more than any other person.

They suffered firstly because they were Black in a country where the Blacks were considered as being useless because the Whites were protected by the Law.

Secondly, they suffered because the were activists as you were one, who was trying to liberate this country, South Africa.

Thirdly, they suffered because they happen to be



females. So, the suffering that was, that Mr Xundu once had and any other person like you and other females, you suffered more than those people ... (tape ends) (tape starts) ... into the contribution made by females.

This hearing will truly focus on the violations that were done to females which has been kept as a secret, which we did not experience as males.

Therefor in that hearing you may again be called and I want to add that you come from a small village, small town and usually the media has always been biased in favour of big cities.

Those of you who struggled in small towns, nobody cared about your contribution. I've been here in the Eastern Cape for quite some time, but I've never read about this experience of yours because the media sometimes gets biased against the rural people.

We therefor thank you for giving us this story. We also thank Dr Mapule Romachela because though your body is destroyed but your spirit is not destroyed. We therefor thank you, we salute you as a hero of our struggle and if South Africa fails to acknowledge hero's like you, it will have failed in a very important task.

Especially since you come from such a small village. We shall therefor ask you to go back to where you were and we thank you.

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