SABC News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us

Human Rights Violation Hearings


Starting Date 22 July 1996


Day 1




REVD FINCA: Elliot Nyani, we welcome you and we thank you for coming before this Commission. I think that your story is going to refer to the time of the unrests which will be related to Boniswa Oliphant's story, but you shall be telling us about how you were harassed as a member of the African Democratic Movement.

You shall be giving full evidence as to how you were harassed, therefor we want you to know that you are accepted and welcomed here, because that is what you are here for.

We are looking at how people were harassed and interrogated in whatever way so relax and just simply tell us everything in a relaxed mood as to what happened.

Mr Xundu is going to lead you by asking you some questions in this regard. Thank you. By the way, what is your clan name?

KE NYANI: My clan name is Qwati.

REVD FINCA: That's good.

REVD XUNDU: Thank you. Thank you (indistinct), thank you Noni. Where is your home and where did you ...?

KE NYANI: I am from Sterkspruit in Philanda.

REVD XUNDU: Is that the wife sitting next to you?

KE NYANI: Yes, it is.

REVD XUNDU: Is that the only wife?

KE NYANI: Yes, it is.



REVD XUNDU: Thank you. In your statement you have mentioned the ADM, what was this and was its aims?

KE NYANI: The ADM was led by Brigadier Gqozo and people used to say it was actually the ruling organisation which was of help to the people.

How it used to operate was in this way, one other day early in the morning as I was waking up in my house, I discovered that someone said in fact to me, that Mr Dywashu was found by the policemen, dead, in one road and he had been shot.

So we were confused.

REVD XUNDU: What was Dywashu?

KE NYANI: He was just an ordinary man.

REVD XUNDU: ; In what organisation was he?

KE NYANI: He was a member of the ANC. Now when I arrived where I was getting to, I found people busy there.

They had their kieries with them and the believed that the ADM was responsible for the death of Dywashu.

So they were intending to kill everyone who was a member of the ADM.

REVD XUNDU: What was actually the cause of the conflict between the ADM and the ANC?

KE NYANI: In fact I can say the manner in which Mr Dywashu was killed was causing discontent because he was killed on the road. So they used to have their own meetings and we also used to have separate meetings from them.

So we feel he was killed for no reason, he was not even a person who used to complain, he was just one of them. I don't even know how his input was.


KE NYANI: And then it became evident that the majority of us QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


ADM members were in a great problem, then in the evening that day, I went to the Headmen to ask what had actually happened.

Then he said he also didn't know he just heard that Dywashu had been shot dead. We were all unhappy and uncomfortable, thereafter on the same evening whilst sitting there, I was feeling, I was dozing off, then I was disturbed by a woman coming into the house.

Then I asked her what was wrong and then she said to me, so and so's house had been, a certain house had been burnt down. But she could not tell who had done that.

They even said the wife too had been beaten up and she didn't know whether the wife was still alive or not. The owner of this house was Mr Shosho and Mr Shosho was a member of the ADM.

We immediately when there, on our way we met three men and we asked them what had happened and they said somebody had survived, but the wife had been hit by a certain stick whilst she was in the house.

We then went for (indistinct) and brought him to the Headmen and went to sleep. In the morning we all woke up and went different ways.

We did call for the police from Rocklands, but only one policeman came. Then he said the other policemen were all over the place because there was problems in the country so they could not come, but he promised that other policemen would come.

And then he went away, then we kept the women company. then a hippo came, they took the Headmen to go and look for the people who had burnt the house down.

REVD XUNDU: Wait a minute, could you just tell us more



about what happened on the 12th of September.

KE NYANI: What actually happened on that day - this month September, in fact I did not stay in my location for this whole month of September. When there was this problem I decided to leave, because I could see that my life was at stake. Some other incidents occurred in my absence.

Even my house when it was burnt down, I was no longer living in there. After I had left, I just heard that one of the members, Qoniswa had been axed too.

When I heard that I decided to move out of the house, leaving my blanket behind, I just took an old jacket, crossed the road and that was how I left my house.

REVD XUNDU: Did you leave your wife behind?

KE NYANI: No, my wife was already with her people. She had left prior to all this.

REVD XUNDU: Then you went to the Headmen's place, according to what you said earlier on. What did the Headmen say?

KE NYANI: ; The incident of the burning of my house - I heard about it where I was, then a certain man who also was a ranger in our location, this is the man who told me about my house that had been burnt down, there was another house that was also burnt down, Nomzamele's home.

Then he asked what are you going to, then I said I really don't know. Then he again left me there and went back home.

I remained there in the location. One other day my son came, my eldest son came to visit me and he said they wanted me back home, then I asked where is my home, then he said they had relocated to Merinowalk and they had a house there.

Then I refused, I said no, no, no, I cannot go there. QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


Now, some other time I just decided let me at least go home, then I went to Indwe and then to Queenstown.

When I got to the Whittlesea rank, I met a relative of mine, then he called me and said grandfather, then I said, yes, I am going home and go and see what has actually happened at home.

Then he said no, don't take that risk, you better go back where you come from. I decided to force matters, then I got into the bus, but when I got there, I decided to go past a certain man and this man said the very same thing that was said to me earlier on my that girl.

Then I felt it was enough. Later on his wife said to me, get into this room and he locked me into this room and left me there for the whole day.

It was night time when my relative, the husband came to me, then he asked me to leave his home, because he was in fear that his house too would be burnt down, so I had to leave.

I went towards the police station at Twongeni, there was nothing to help me out of this situation, then I went towards the river and slept in between stones there.

Later on which was early in the morning, I woke up and I sat there on one wall next to an office waiting for a bus to Sterkspruit, which was to leave Queenstown. Then I boarded it to Lady Grey, I got a hike to Barkely East then I stayed there for quite a while.

REVD XUNDU: Is there no charge that was laid or any help that you got because your houses had been burnt down?

KE NYANI: All these things happened in my absence, then it is only when I went back, that I got to know about them and you must know that I stayed away for about two years there.



When I was there for quite some time, that is last year, then one of the men who was with me in the struggle, asked me to go back home because my mother was complaining and my youngest son was sick, then I asked him where do I go to, then he offered to keep me.

Then I said no, I'm too old for that, I couldn't live with other people, but he pleaded with me and they actually managed to persuade me, then I said, do you see the damage caused, then he said there has been some money that we got for our loss.

In fact what actually happened, our houses were rebuilt and we were also given some clothing. Then I asked what am I going to do then, then he said we shall see.

I wasn't happy, I wasn't comfortable at all, then at night, I escaped to (indistinct) and I found my youngest son very sick, then I took him to the Doctors.

I was then called back to my home and I went. I was told that there were elections that were taking place, then I said no, I was not standing for any elections, I wasn't going to.

They wanted to force me to stand for the election, then I said no, I won't be in a position to, for that matter I don't now have a home, I no longer have my children staying here with me, now why should I stay?

Then he said I could go, then I got into a car and went away.

REVD XUNDU: Now, you want to say you never got any compensation for your loss?

KE NYANI: No, I did not.

REVD XUNDU: What actually happened?

KE NYANI: When I met him, I asked him where do I actually



feature because we were actually together in the struggle, but I am not happy because most people are dying in a very mysterious way, then this man said, no, we shall see, we shall see.

Last year in September, I got into a car and went to Basalone, to see the Regional Magistrate in Thabatemba, then I tried to find out since I had also lost and my house was burnt down, how was I going to be compensated.

The Magistrate said we - what happened actually. I told him that I did not have a home. Then the Magistrate did not have any knowledge about this, because he said this was handled by the ADM, he as a Magistrate did not have full information. He had heard about compensation that was being done to the people, but he did not know exactly what this compensation was for.

REVD XUNDU: Now in your story that is so painful, if you were to make a request, what would you actually say you would like us to assist you with?

KE NYANI: My request, in fact let me say, when I heard of it that there was going to be this hearing by the Commission, sick as I was with an eye problem, I talked to one nurse. I said to her I've heard that there is a Commission from East London, that there is a Commission that helps people that have got problems, then this nurse said yes, if you have any problem on the 22nd and 23rd, there will be a hearing in Queenstown, so that is when I decided to come here on Saturday and gave in my statement.

So that is why therefor I am here today to come and get some help and ask for, make a request to get some help from this Commission.

Now, even if I don't get anything, I want this



Commission to know that my house was burnt down and nothing could be survived, so even if I don't get anything, I don't mind.

REVD XUNDU: Now, are you enjoying ... (intervention)

KE NYANI: Sorry, I can't hear because I have a problem with my hearing.

REVD XUNDU: Now, tell us, did this - all this affect your health? All these incidents?

KE NYANI: Yes, I am enjoying ill health and I have been now and again visiting Doctors and I have been admitted to hospital three times.

Even just before I came here, the Doctor said my blood pressure was very high, even at night I sleep well.

REVD XUNDU: Commissioner, I would like you to take over from me.

REVD FINCA: We thank you Mr Xundu. Are there any other questions you may be having. Ntsikelelo Sandi, do you have any questions to ask the witness?

MR SANDI: I would like to ask you some questions because I want to have full clarity. When you joined the ADM were you a resident at Tendergate? How long had you been there?

KE NYANI: When people started occupying that land, I was there.

MR SANDI: When was that?

KE NYANI: I think it was in 1979.

MR SANDI: At the time you were a resident there, how was your life with other residents just before you joined the ADM?

KE NYANI: There were no problems whatsoever, in stead people wanted to work with me until they elected me as their Headman.



MR SANDI: When you joined the ADM was there any other member who came to you to ask you to join the ADM?

KE NYANI: Our Headmen happened to be a member of the ADM, so therefor we were also asked to join as members of the ADM.

MR SANDI: Now could you tell us briefly when you were told about the aims of the ADM what did they actually say to you?

KE NYANI: At first it was if it was an organisation that wouldn't pose any problems to us, but later on I could see that it had many problems.

Such that when there were these problems just before I left, I said to the Headmen, no, let's just leave everything and let people do things on their own, because I was in fear that the end would be bitter.

There was a certain person that people had asked him to assist them, but he decided not to help them, so I was thinking of such things.

MR SANDI: Are there any other organisations that used to ask the people to become members?

KE NYANI: No, I can't think of any. We had the ANC, the ADM and the PAC organisations.

MR SANDI: Is the ADM as an organisation still there?

KE NYANI: I don't know, but in fact I think it doesn't exist, not at all, I don't even hear a thing about this ADM.

MR SANDI: You mentioned once the name of a certain man that you said was the leader of the ADM, where is that man?

KE NYANI: Oh, you mean our leader in the location that is Gqozo. I really don't know what happened to him.

MR SANDI: Thank you.

REVD FINCA: Mr Nyani, we thank you for your story as presented before this Commission.



It is quite painful I must say, though we are laughing now but you mustn't think this is a good story, but we are just impressed by your humorous way of saying things, that is why we are laughing.

You are just like an African man. When you say things in the traditional court, you say it even if it is painful, you say it in a good way for the people to listen to.

Brushing your beard as if you were playing, that is why therefor we are laughing, otherwise this is actually a very painful story.

Certain things that were done by this Government, especially in the TBV States left people scattered all over the country.

They made divisions in families, they left conflicts in the rural areas after people had been together for quite some time. They have left our nation fighting and there is blood shed all over.

In the mean time the perpetrators are enjoying it, dressed in suits, driving in black cars and eating the best food ever, but back, way back, they have left the people in great conflict, so we thank you for being brave, coming to us to tell us your story, which is very painful.

Old as you are you don't have a home because you were misled by those unstable Government.

We shall therefor investigate as to whether that organisation you were a member of, is still existing, because we would like to question that organisation and its leader.

If there are any other things we would like to know from you, we shall come back to you Mr Nyani. We thank you for your testimony you have given before this Commission,



when you were really harassed and as a member of this organisation.

KE NYANI: Mainly I would like to know the people who burnt down my house. I've got completely nothing even the house where I live, doesn't look like a proper house.

It is actually a shack that wouldn't be used by anyone. There is no blankets, we sleep on sacks and we are then eating, it is infested by lice, so I thank you as a Commission that you have allowed us to come and tell you about our problems and you have asserted all our sufferings as presented to you. We thank you.

Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
SABC © 2019