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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION HEARINGS

Location QUEENSTOWN

MS MAYA: We shall now call upon Maria Mkayi.

REVD FINCA: We would like you to be quiet please, quiet please. Thank you.

MS MAYA: Ma'am in this statement before us we find that you too lost your husband at the shooting incident at this church. We would now like you to please tell us who Mnyandeki was and how your life changed after this incident and also tell us how you felt after the death of your husband when he was shot at this church.

M MKAYI: I've never been right since then up till now. I am receiving treatment at present.

MS MAYA: How did you feel when your husband was shot in that church?

M MKAYI: I was very hurt because there is no one that helps me.

MS MAY: Who told you what happened?

M MKAYI: My neighbour came to tell me. When I was going out following my husband to church, my neighbour appeared and sent a child to call me and please come, because my husband has been injured.

MS MAYA: ; When you got there, what happened Ma'am?

M MKAYI: Before I even got there, I was told to go back, that there was a car going to the yard and I went back and

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found the car at the yard. I said that this man must go with him and the children and take him to the hospital.

This man then went and when he got to the corner house, there were hippo's standing there and they stopped it, the car and told the children to get out and searched it and wanted to know who was this person going with, then this man said he is with me.

And they wanted to know who are you, he said I am Mboqana, I'm taking him to the hospital and they put Mboqana in the hippo and said this is a bloody communist.

MS MAYA: And this vehicle which was stopped by the police, you say that they took him out of the car and put him into the hippo? Much as your husband was hurt, he was taken out and put into the hippo and why did they say they were taking him out?

M MKAYI: Because they didn't want him to go to the hospital because he was a communist or a comrade.

MS MAYA: What happened after they had put him into the hippo?

M MKAYI: The children came back and told me and we slept because it was late already and the next morning my neighbour and I woke up and went to the hospital to check and we were told that he wasn't there.

We were referred to court and when we got to court, we got there when they were busy opening and there were several people there.

Other were laying on the floor, others on top of the tables and when we found him, we were told to go into an office there at the mortuary.

We went there and we were asked who does he belong to and I said, he is mine and we were told to take him to a

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place where we could have him, to a mortuary.

I then went to Russel. I went and took him to Russel and Russel signed that he would accept him and I went home.

The following morning when we were preparing ourselves, Russel came and said he had come to fetch us because we were needed. When we got there, Russel said that we should go and it was now that he was being released to take him.

And we then went back home, they had already taken him.

MS MAYA: What explanation did you get for his death because I mean, you had last seen him on his way to the hospital for treatment and next thing he was dead?

M MKAYI: There at the police station, where he was taken at court, he, when I hear people talking I understand that he died when he got there and I wanted to know what was found and I was told that he had died of bullet wounds.

MS MAYA: You got the corpse and you prepared for the funeral. Were you harassed or what happened, what bad treatment did you received?

M MKAYI: I haven't been healthy ever since then, even during the preparations for the funeral, after the funeral the police didn't stop harassing us. They would come to the house and ask what damage there was and I would just say that there was nothing wrong, and they would take the children.

The children weren't getting any rest. The children were not getting any rest. Since then, my health was not being right and I have had to stay at home because of health reasons.

MS MAYA: Was anyone arrested, was there any investigation?

M MKAYI: No, there was no investigation or inquest.

After the funeral we were told that we were wanted at

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court and we went and when we got there, there were seven of us, I was the first one.

And when I looked, I saw that there was no Magistrate, there was only the Prosecutor and other people. I was called and I went in and I was told that Cooperwitz had said that he had TB.

I said, no Cooperwitz was laying, he never had TB, he was working at Rex Security and there was nothing wrong with his health.

MS MAYA: Did they say that this was the Doctor's report that he had TB?

M MKAYI: Yes, they said that Cooperwitz had said that he had had TB.

After that no further steps were taken up until now.

MS MAYA: Didn't you approach an attorney?

M MKAYI: No, I did not go. I never had any means to go to an attorney.

MS MAYA: ; What is your wish, what would you like the Commission to do for you?

M MKAYI: I do have a wish. I do not work. I do not even have a place, I live in a shack.

And I would like the Commission to help me in such regards. I've got a child that stopped attending school because of the lack of finance.

MS MAYA: Is there anything else Ma'am?

M MKAYI: No, that is all because I am still receiving treatment. I don't even know what else to say.

MS MAYA: One more question. One last question, when your husband died, how old were your children?

M MKAYI: They were a bit old, my two. The one limps and the other one is the one that stopped schooling.

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29 NA DASTILE

MS MAYA: Thank you very much Ma'am.

MR SANDI: Let us now go to Ms Dastile. Mrs Dastile, in your statement you said that your child Fikile Dastile was also at the church at the time of the shooting incident.

NA DASTILE: Yes, he had ... (tape ends) (tape starts) ... up at home and at about five o'clock, half past four, five o'clock, a car came with three men inside.

One of the men had recognised him as somebody that stayed there. I don't know who the other two men were.

The men came and stopped the car at the gate.

MR SANDI: Is this the car that had Fikile inside when he was injured, was this before he died?

NA DASTILE: Yes. He, when he came, he couldn't even talk any more. When they brought him out of the car, they were carrying him, but he couldn't talk because he had a hole in his chest and when they blew there, he would look and when they stopped, he would close his eyes.

And when we looked at his back, there was a hole there too and a big hole on either side of his back and another one in the region of his stomach and they said to me Mama sit, we are taking him to the hospital.

They never came back and told me what happened at the hospital. We woke up the next morning and we were told to go and look for him at the hospital.

MR SANDI: When you got to the hospital, what was happening there? Did you find Fikile?

NA DASTILE: At the hospital I found a nurse who told me that all the people who were shot at the meeting, were sent to the mortuary at the court.

MR SANDI: Did you then go to the mortuary at court?

NA DASTILE: I went to the mortuary and when I got there,

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three of us arrived at the same time, but we did not really know each other and when we got there, there was a Doctor coming out and there were five policemen who were carrying firearms.

And we wanted help because we wanted to go inside and identify our people. When the policemen looked at us, they said to us, they're dead, we don't know what killed them. We didn't answer.

The Doctor passed us and they also went past and when we went into the mortuary, what we saw there was, we just heard because when we got there it was cleaned up already, apparently the Doctor must have done the post-mortem.

They were laying on their backs and they had been cleaned already. You could see that the men, you could differentiate the men from the boys because they were naked and they were laying next to each other.

We came and identified them and I saw Fikile.

MR SANDI: The Doctor that was with those five policemen, do you know him?

NA DASTILE: No, I don't know him.

MR SANDI: While you people were preparing for the funeral, were there any incidents that disturbed you people?

NA DASTILE: When we were preparing for the funeral, there were disturbances because while we were there waiting for the date of the funeral, the police came and told us to go out and sweep the streets.

While we were going out, before we got there, some women came and made it possible for me to go along the wall and go into the house and they proceeded to go and sweep the streets.

MR SANDI: Was there any conditions in connection with

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the burial of your son?

NA DASTILE: No. The people had requested the funeral for that day.

MR SANDI: How did the funeral go that day?

NA DASTILE: ; The day of the funeral we went by Kombi the morning to the mortuary and we were taken to AVBOB to go and see them for the last time.

When we got to AVBOB they were put outside and we could see them and we were brought back and they were then transported to the Israel, by the Israel by the stadium where the service was going to be held.

They then blocked the way for us not to pass on the way from there and they would stop the vehicles that we were travelling in and look for whatever it was they were looking for.

And when we finished the service at the stadium, there were two hippo's which were standing near Zwelixa and two Priests, I don't know who they were, came out.

I don't know if, I know there was a White Priest, but they went to the hippo's and said to these police, we asked to have this funeral, why are you people holding us inside here.

And they said no the hippo is stuck, we didn't come to you. The funeral proceeded to the graveyard and the hippo's moved from there and when we got to the graveyard, there was a helicopter flying above.

We proceeded and we were told by the Marshals that we should leave first and get straight into the vehicles, we shouldn't wait until everything had been finished.

When we finished, we left and got into a Kombi. The Kombi in which we were, is the same one in which the Kamati

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family was.

MR SANDI: Sorry Ms Dastile, are you going to repeat what was said by Ms Kamati?

NA DASTILE: The part that I am going to say is that since we were the mourners, we were supposed to go to the yard. When they were being stopped by the police, I jumped out and I went into the yard.

MR SANDI: Let us just go beyond that. Did you go to an attorney for advice? Did you go to an attorney? Is there an attorney that you approached for advice?

NA DASTILE: No, we did not go to an attorney.

MR SANDI: Did you hear about policemen that had been arrested in connection with this matter?

NA DASTILE: No, I did not hear anything.

MR SANDI: Now that you are here in front of the Commission Ms Dastile, do you have any request from the Commission? What can the Commission do for you?

NA DASTILE: I do have a request. Since my child died I live a life where I get odd jobs here and there, but my life has never been right again.

MR SANDI: Do you mean that this terrible incident that you have all spoken about, has affected your life?

NA DASTILE: It affected my health because I am a diabetic and my eyes also are a problem.

MR SANDI: Are you under any treatment currently?

NA DASTILE: Yes, I do go to a Doctor for treatment.

MR SANDI: Who is this Doctor? Who is this Doctor?

NA DASTILE: My Doctor is Doctor Beukes, but he passed away recently and I haven't been to another Doctor yet.

MR SANDI: Is that all you want to say?

NA DASTILE: I would like to know if the Commission cannot QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

33 NA DASTILE

help me because I would have liked these people who killed my child to be prosecuted.

MR SANDI: Thank you Ma'am.

REVD FINCA: Are there any questions? Revd Xundu?

REVD XUNDU: (No interpretation)

NA DASTILE: ... there was another one with white hair, called Van Vuuren, he was called Van Vuuren. One was called Van Vuuren.

REVD XUNDU: Are there, don't you know any other names of these policemen?

NA DASTILE: No.

REVD XUNDU: The nurse that was assisting there, do you know her name?

NA DASTILE: Yes, I do.

REVD XUNDU: What is her name?

NA DASTILE: She was Sister Batwali. She was Sister Batwali. The one who was saying that the police should be phoned.

REVD XUNDU: The White one that was also there, what was her name?

NA DASTILE: I don't know her name.

REVD XUNDU: Thank you.

REVD FINCA: Dr Ramashala.

DR RAMASHALA: Chairperson, this question is directed to all the witnesses. Since this was a mass massacre, have you thought about how you would like all of them to be remembered. Now I am not talking about individual remembrances, I am talking about a community remembrance. Have you thought about it? Dr Ramashala would like to know if you people have thought of any way in which you, you the families of the 11 would like them to be remembered? the 11 QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

34

people who died in that Methodist Church on that day, have you thought of a way in which they can be remembered? If you haven't thought about it yet, say so. If you have, you can say what ideas you have.

WITNESSES: We do have a wish that even if there can be a memorial stone to remember them, by which we can remember them, in their memory, just a plaque or a memorial stone.

REVD FINCA: Mothers and comrades, we thank you for coming to share this with us. This event which I am sure will never be forgotten.

And which is very painful and very emotional where you lost loved ones. South Africa would have made a mistake, an unforgivable mistake if because of being preoccupied with other things, it would forget about people such as yourselves.

And forget to say thank you. And overlook the high price that you paid for the freedom of this land.

You have made various requests here as families and you have made a request as a group. If it was up to us, we would say here is an answer right now, but this Commission does not have the authority to respond to the request immediately.

Our work ends after we have made recommendations to the President of the Country and it is the President of the Country in conjunction with the Cabinet who will decide what the people of Queenstown, who have lost loved ones in that Methodist Church, will be - what will be done about them.

We will make sure that we forward your requests to the President and the answer will be obtained from him in due course and it will be forwarded back to you.

Finally, I would like to make one last appeal. My

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appeal is directed to the policemen who were involved on that day.

You said in your testimony that there were White policemen and Black policemen. I'd like to specifically ask the Black policemen who were there that day, I hope it will not be necessary for us to investigate this matter.

The Black policemen should be able to, especially as children of Mlungisi, be able to come to the Commission. Even if they came to me or any of the panellists here and came to tell us who were the people who were responsible for this.

We are not supposed to conduct an investigation and waste time where there are those who have information that can help us in finding out who was responsible for this.

I would just like to make that appeal that those that were involved, must please come forward so that there can be peace and reconciliation among the people and among the families of the 11 people who died at Mlungisi.

I would now like to ask you to go back to your seats, we are going to take our last witness before we conclude today's proceedings. Thank you very much.

 
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