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Human Rights Violation Hearings
Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Starting Date 22 July 1996
Names NOMAKAYA MATHILDA MATSHOBA
Case Number QUEENSTOWN
MR SANDI: I would like to firstly greet you Ms Matshoba and your daughter, Balakazi. If I remember when we spoke on Saturday in the room near the door, you Ms Matshoba said that because you did not have full particulars about the shooting incident of you son, Andile Matshoba, your daughter who is seated next to you, Balakazi, is the one who is going to give evidence today. Is that right Ms Matshoba?
MR SANDI: If I remember correctly very briefly, the story that you are coming to tell before the Commission today, is about the shooting and killing of your son, Andile Matshoba and I gather that he was still very young when this happened on the 7th of September 1985.
NK MATSHOBA: The reason I sent Andile to stay with his sister in Mdantsane was that I found that he was very active in the struggle and I realised that he was going to give us problems in his struggle for our rights, for Human Rights.
And I remember him saying at some stage that we want each yard to have a toilet. I didn't mention this in my statement, but I remember him having said that we want each yard to have a toilet, we do not want to use the public
What I'm saying now, I did not write in my statement as far as him saying that he wants each yard to have a toilet, he also said that we want our rights, we are fighting for freedom and we want our President to be freed.
Once again I did not include all this in my statement, I'm just mentioning it because I realised that as an old woman he was going to make me very nervous so I sent him to his sister in Mdantsane so that he could stay there and that's where he was shot.
So the police were looking all over for him, the Ciskei police, looking for him at his sister's place. And sometimes if they turned up and Andile wasn't there, they would say to my daughter that we are going to shoot him, and thereafter they followed him and they shot him on the 7th of September.
MR SANDI: Thank you very much Ms Matshoba. We would now like to come to you. When we were talking you said that the story that you are going to tell here today you are going to tell in the following manner
Thereafter you will speak about what happened on the 7th of September 1985, the way in which he was killed, where he was killed, whereabout in Mdantsane, who was he with and you said you would also speak about what happened while you people were preparing for the funeral, the way in which you were treated after having a child killed, is that right Balakazi?
The students in the whole of the Ciskei then had an uprising and the police would refer to Andile as a troublemaker from Queenstown who should know that the manner in which he conducted himself here in Queenstown, was not tolerated in Ciskei.
He was a very poetic person, a very diligent student and someone that wrote a lot, so we found that the description that we received was not the same as the one that we were getting from the people at school and the police and at home.
And it became obvious that they were showing that this is what we do to people like yourselves, we are not going to detain you, we are going to shoot you. We are not going to keep you alive, we are going to kill you because you are a threat to the stability of the schools in Ciskei.
On the 7th of September according to a report we received from his school mates, we last saw him on the 7th, on the afternoon of the 7th they, according to his school mates, they were sitting at a house in NU 10 where a fellow female comrades of theirs stayed.
Their first reaction was to run away, because they realised that it must be the police. From the people that alighted from the vehicle, one of them shouted Andile and he had to react in a way that made them sure that this was Andile, because the shots that followed after that, made it clear that he fell and two of his mates fell at a nearby house and the others scattered.
B MDINGI: Yes, they were his friends. It became obvious that the person that they could not find was Andile and they decided to go back in the direction of the house where they were the previous night and when they got to this place, they found that Andile was laying there, he had already passed away and they could see three bullet wounds.
And it was established that apart from the bullet wounds he was stabbed, because they came up to him and they handled him and it was obvious that he was dead, but there was nothing that could be done, because this vehicle was waiting and they decided that they would come back at a later stage and establish.
MR SANDI: You can take your time Ms Balakazi if there is something upsetting you at this point in time. We will give you time to regain your composure and once you are ready to proceed, you may do so.
B MDINGI: When these children came to the house, I opened the door because my husband was still sleeping and the children were still small. I was familiar with them because they came there often and I realised that they hadn't come
B MDINGI: Cecilia Maqiwane in Mdantsane. I must have taken approximately an hour making calls. The first call was to my mother, because we must have received about three calls a day from my mother, because she was so worried because of Andile and what was happening in Mdantsane.
After about an hour I must have, I thought of ways in which we could Andile's body, because it would now be in the hands of the police and I tried getting hold of Mr Siwisa, but nothing happened and I then myself, went to the hospital and found that they had gone to the State mortuary.
My intention was to stop a post mortem being done by a police Doctor. I was there and then reassured that if I was there by 8 o'clock while he was at the mortuary, I could stop that post mortem being done, and I couldn't do that.
On the morning on the 8th of September while people were gathering, police had started their harassment of the people because they did not want too many people gathering at a time and most of the people that they were looking for, were these students.
And at that stage it was obvious that prayer services weren't allowed in Ciskei. That morning I went to the police station and even though I got there at quarter to eight, I was told that if you have the nerve to go inside there, you can go in, but they have already started the post mortem on Andile, but just be warned that you may not like what you see.
In that week I was very busy with preparations for the funeral and the Ciskei had made it clear that we will not bury Andile in Mdantsane, because our family felt that even though home was here in Queenstown, and also another region in Queenstown, a lot of people wanted him buried in Queenstown.
Second week passed without us knowing how we were going to go about the funeral, because it was impossible to get a prayer meeting or anything like that, because the children were very traumatised by the police harassment.
impossible for me to entertain the fact that there was a death, was that these children who had survived, I had to make sure that they were looked after, because they couldn't sleep with their families.
And not all houses supported them as far as transporting them and giving them a place to sleep, was concerned. And you found that even where they slept, they couldn't sleep there for more than one night because after having slept at a place for one night, you would have to take them to another place.
And even here in Queenstown when we heard that there was a possibility that if we could not bury him in Mdantsane, we would bury him here in Queenstown, harassment had increased, because since my father had passed away, my mother was the only one at home.
B MDINGI: Yes, the police would come to our house day and night. There is something that I particularly cannot forget. My second child was about 6 years old at the time and when the police would arrive, he would run next door. You know I still get the picture of a mouse running away, you know even if the door was closed, a mouse would use the smallest bit of space to run out.
I still have a picture of how my child ran out under the fence to the neighbours, because he did not feel protected, he did not feel safe at home, even though he was with his parents, because of the situation at home at the time.
I remember even the way they handled my father-in-law, Rex Mdingi. When they asked who was running the service and he was saying that his colleagues who are all Priests were in charge of the service, but the handling which we received there was received by everyone, school children, church people, old people, everyone.
One particular article that was published, made it clear that an animal was shot. And it just showed that they weren't sensitive and even when we objected, it was obvious that these articles had already found these people guilty, because you couldn't even go to the police with these articles objecting to it. Because it was obvious you couldn't even complain to the police, because these articles were so defamatory.
MR SANDI: You mentioned that the newspaper, media in particular the Daily Despatch handled this matter in a very defamatory manner. You said it was like they had already found people guilty. What do you mean?
B MDINGI: I mean that it was put as a confrontation between student activists and the police and to me this showed that it was different from other children, other issues in that Andile was 18 and they were waiting for them when they were coming out of this house, they weren't armed, they hadn't
B MDINGI: When we took the body from the State mortuary, we took it to Siyo. The police went to the Undertakers as well, because there was this fear that if they did not confirm when the funeral arrangements were going to take place, because they weren't prepared to give us the permission to bury in Mdantsane, there were instructions to the Undertakers that you do not dare release this body, because it is possible that this body could be taken and be buried and the manner in which the funeral will be conducted, would be in a manner which would start political uprisings.
B MDINGI: Yes, the funeral ended up taking place here in Queenstown, because when we found that we could not bury him in Mdantsane, and the situation in Mdantsane was the same as Romaanslaagte in Whittlesea, we considered coming to bury
B MDINGI: We couldn't bury him for three weeks after that. The day that was finally set for his funeral was the 21st of September and on the Friday already, the body was here at Stone Funerals in Queenstown.
And even Stone said that they may not sympathise, but advised us not to proceed making arrangements for the 21st because even though we proceeded with the church service on the 21st, the police had instructed them not to release the body on the 21st.
And it was supposed to be taken back and on the 21st it could not be released. In the week that we were preparing a time was set for the memorial service and when people were going home, you would always hear reports that people have been assaulted and harassed and everything had to be finalised before the sun set.
Food that had been prepared for instance, I am not sure if it was the Moravian Church or the Apostolic Church or the Methodist Church, what happened was where people left, the police would be left looting the food.
MR SANDI: This was food that was supposed to be used for the funeral? Let's speak about the day of the funeral. Were there any conditions set by the police in connection with how the funeral was to be run - for example the amount of people that were allowed to attend the funeral?
on the 20th, we were told that they - they were told to leave, that the funeral would take place on Monday and because we were always between the Undertakers, police, home and the Church, you would find that every time you got to the police station, there were busses from somewhere else and there was confusion outside and you would find that people were asking, do you know Andile Matshoba and if you did, what did you do? How did you know him, what were your connections with him?
So on that day after the people had left the Church, we went to the police station and we found that we were going to be given a time, an hour or two in which the funeral had to be finalised on Monday afternoon. And not more than 50 people were allowed to attend.
I cannot forget the day of the 23rd of September because in our culture, in the way in which we operated, I had never come across a funeral that took place during the course of the week. It was on a Monday afternoon, on the 23rd of September. The 23rd happens to be my birthday, so that left a totally different meaning to the 23rd of September in my life, because of the treatment we received.
MR SANDI: Ms Balakazi, without delaying you too much, I find that according to your mother's written statement, one of the things that you want from the Commission is to investigate whose gun the bullet that killed Andile, was from. Is there anything else, any other request that you would like to ask from the Commission?
B MDINGI: I would like to express once again that I would like to find out because after the police, we weren't able to establish anything from the police after Andile was killed. There wasn't even a inquest.
Instead, after that the police would come to us and ask if we had any information about who had killed Andile, where were his friends who could help the police in their investigation, because these were students that had been with him then.
B MDINGI: I had come down specifically for this hearing. Even though I work, it was very important to me that I be at my mother's side, be of support to her and at the same time, know that anyone with a better explanation, if there was
B MDINGI: There are about three or four people, including Mundu, who want to help in the investigation. Mundu particularly wants to do this, because he was with Andile on the day in which he was killed, he has promised that he will submit a statement. Mxoliso Faku in East London, was in detention when Andile was killed.
When he was detained, was shown papers saying that he was going to do the same to you as we had done to Andile, so he would also like to submit a statement to the Commission outlining the threats that he also received.
Somebody else that would also like to submit a statement is Denma Mntungwane, who's from Queenstown. Who is in Cape Town at the moment. When Andile was killed, he was standing trial and he served a prison sentence in Robben Island and details of Andile's death were used to traumatise him during lunch breaks, during his trial and when he would go back to the stand, he would be told to please say what happened during lunch to change his emotional situation.
It is just that I became somebody who was very nervous, even though I never went for treatment for this condition, but when I received - when this would happen to me I would get medication from the hospital and I would be a bit better and there'd be nothing after that.
DR RAMASHALA: Please forgive me for being persistent. I'm trying to get a picture of how your life was affected. When you say nervous, were you sleepless, were you agitated and do you remember the kind of medication that you received?
And also in 1988 both my grandmothers, who had all the years seemed well and able bodies, suddenly died from pneumonia as well as my uncle, Daduxa, which has left my mother to be responsible for an extended family.
People used to come to Jo'burg to visit her and this happened even after Andile had died, asking Andile to do some specific drawings. He used to help his teachers with audio visuals to help them in their teaching.
He was poetic in his writings. I remember an essay that we discussed with one of his teachers to whom I had become very close because of him, where he was writing about QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE
He was only 18 at the time. Unlike an average teenager, his writing went something like this: Men has created laws to oppress fellow men and because of injustices that I see in society today, my ambition is to be a Human Rights Lawyer.
Those writings were given to journalists and when I tried to trace them, somebody said they could have been destined for the international defence and aid fund, but I have never been able to trace any of those writings.
The trauma that was brought about by his death, especially because I, because of all this experience in the family, I am very protective of my mother and here was somebody whom I was relying because he was the most sober, with all due respect, of all my brothers.
And there his life ended at a very early age, so in a sense, that has left an added responsibility on my shoulders, because I have my family and I still have to care for my mother's family as well as my younger brothers.
I remember my son, who was six at the time, when he heard us talking that we were getting a pathologist to come and look at Andile's body, I can recall his disappointment when he heard that no, this does not mean that Andile would be alive and well again because he thought that if a Doctor was coming to work with Andile's body, there were so many of who loved Andile who could maybe get the Doctor to extract, you know, breath from us to revive Andile.
B MDINGI: She consults a Doctor regularly. I would say at least once in three months and because I'm in Cape Town and as such we have access to Doctors, you have the Groote Schuur and specialists, every now and then I have to transport her to Cape Town to come for treatment. So I think she does need attention.
the other witnesses a chance, but I have just a few brief questions, and I would just like you to enlighten me on one or two issues. It is clear from what we hear from your evidence that the issue about toilets was quite a big issue here in Queenstown. The fact that people wanted toilets. Can you just very briefly give us some insight into what was happening. What was toilet facilities like in Queenstown at that time?
B MDINGI: There were no toilets. Our houses did not have toilets inside, we used to use public toilets and they said that they were going to fight for that, so that each yard could at least have a toilet in the yard, so that it was not necessary for us to use the public toilets.
REVD FINCA: We might get back to that question when we go through more statements. Balakazi, in your evidence you said that during very painful stage of the death of your brother, you were very traumatised by a biased report that was published in the Daily Despatch. I would like to hear from you why you think the press manipulated that story? And do you think there was an attempt to manipulate the minds of the people through that story?
B MDINGI: In my experience if you want to publish something in the press, the way in which they made it difficult to accept your story, I am going to give you an example about something that is currently affecting my work circumstances
Because Cape Town has many teachers and the student population is either White or Coloured, Cape Town at this moment is facing a situation where teachers have to be either retrenched or redeployed, and if people remember, they did see that in the papers that teachers were marching in protest against that because their schools were full, because there were more teachers than students.
Whereas this is not the case in our schools. And when he spoke about the pain of not being able to communicate and resolve the issue amongst teachers and parents and students, he said that he had spent a lot of time in interviews in radio stations and newspapers and the television and trying to get them to listen to what he has to say.
And apparently this was a story in which they did not have enough interest in it and that was the attitude then. There was no interest from the media in what you had to say, because even the bit of news that you had to say, you had to prove to them that it was interesting, because otherwise they wouldn't take it and you had to say who your source was and they would come from an angle which made it obvious that they were representing the interest of the police and the killers and not the interest of the people.
REVD FINCA: That's a very interesting statement, not only from the past but also from the present. Nomakaya and your daughter, Balakazi, we thank you for this very painful story that you have come to tell before us today about the killing of your son and the subsequent trauma which was added to you by the Daily Despatch.