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Human Rights Violation Hearings


Starting Date 22 July 1996


Day 1



REVD XUNDU: Mr Skepe I am going to swear you in now. You will please stand.

DESMOND SKEPE: (sworn states)

REVD XUNDU: Thank you very much.

REVD FINCA: Mr Skepe, we welcome you and we ask Mr Xundu to lead you and ask questions in the name of the Commission, thank you.

REVD XUNDU: I would like you to relax. What is your clan name?

D SKEPE: Mbexe.

REVD XUNDU: I would like you to relax so that you tell us everything in full, so that this Commission should hear everything and then you can ask questions thereafter.

You have come here to give witness on your friend, Vusumzi, who was killed by the police. Are you related to him?

D SKEPE: Vusumzi, I am not related to him, but he is a child who came from outside Nxala from the September family. He had a problem there at home. He then came at a very difficult time here in Quamani during the time of Sections 10.

People who are not local here, was sent out. He had come here in seek of a job. He came here, arrived here in 1981. He had been here for quite some time according to what he told me, in search of a job.



He then asked for me to assist him. Listening to his difficulty I then decided to be of help to him, I then took him and wrote his name down and have him registered as a resident of Quamani and changed his name to Skepe and regarded him as a relative.

REVD XUNDU: Thank you, because now it reconciles with the information we have now. Where did he work, Vusumzi, where did he work?

D SKEPE: He then worked at KSM where they, it is a milling company and when working there, he then got a living place at R81, here in the location and he thereafter got married.

This was, he lived in a room because there in R, it was a Coloured residential area and then the Municipality intended to remove the Coloureds to Allovale, so whenever a house was vacated and there would be someone renting there, then that house would be given to the person who had been renting.

Then that's where problems started. Then I did not know that even at work, that he was also having some problems with the Unions.

REVD XUNDU: There at work was he a member of a Union? What Union was that?

D SKEPE: I really don't know, it was F something, FAWU, I think.

REVD XUNDU: As a member of the community was he a member of any organisation?

D SKEPE: Yes, he was.

REVD XUNDU: Tell us now more about the day in September when the police came to where he lived. Who were the police?

D SKEPE: If I can remember well I can say it was between



August and September in 1983 when the police, when Mr Vukutu fetched him from work and the brought him home.

His wife had just delivered a baby at that time, they then went into the house from the back side and that is where he was shot dead, in front of the wife and the child.

REVD XUNDU: What was their aim?

D SKEPE: The police had come to evict him, so that he could get another dwelling place, because they wanted to give this house to someone else.

REVD XUNDU: Did they have any eviction order?

D SKEPE: No, they did not have any according to my knowledge.

REVD XUNDU: Now, Vukutu and Yokwe, are they still here?

D SKEPE: Mr Vukutu is still a policeman here in Queenstown.

REVD XUNDU: Now, tell us in your story you say when he refused to move, they then hit him dead.

D SKEPE: Then when he did not want to come out of the house, they actually shot him and the person who did that, is Mr Vukutu and then Mr Yokwe took an axe and pushed it into his hand pretending as if he wanted to axe Mr Yokwe. But according to what I know, there was no reason why they had to push that axe into his hand, because if he had wanted to defend himself, he could have done that at the time they had gone to fetch him from work..

REVD XUNDU: Is Mr Yokwe still alive?

D SKEPE: Yes, he is still alive, but he is a pensioner.

REVD XUNDU: Was there any charge laid against this two murderers?

D SKEPE: No, there never was. In stead I went with my neighbours together with his wife to lay a charge at the charge office. A Captain present at that time told us that



there was still an investigation. Then nothing happened.

Months thereafter we then went to East London to see a Lawyer by the name of Siwisa to lay a charge and to ask him to pursue the matter, but nothing happened.

REVD XUNDU: Was there no post mortem or inquest?

D SKEPE: No, nothing.

REVD XUNDU: Is there any reparation that you got, the wife got?

D SKEPE: No, I've been trying to find out, but I haven't got anything. All I know Vusumzi's family is in Manzimdaxa in Txala, but I don't know the home.

REVD XUNDU: So you never saw the wife - she escaped from that time?

D SKEPE: Yes, she did.

REVD XUNDU: Now what do you want this Commission to do about this story?

D SKEPE: I am worried and this hurts me that what happened to the baby of Vusumzi? How is he surviving as a child? I want him to get educated.

REVD XUNDU: What about Yokwe and Vukutu? Don't you think they could at least tell us what happened?

D SKEPE: I have a request that there should be an inquiry about these two people, Vukutu and Yokwe.

REVD XUNDU: I then take you back to the Commissioner.

REVD FINCA: We thank you Mr Xundu. Dr Ramashala?

DR RAMASHALA: Chairperson, all I want to do is to find out where that 13 year old son is? Mr Skepe, where is that 13 year old son?

D SKEPE: I think he is with the grandmother.

DR RAMASHALA: Grandmother? You can answer in Xhoza, okay. I just want to know a little bit about the son and to find



out his grade level. Do you have any idea?

D SKEPE: I haven't been able to find out anything, I was still looking for the wife. I don't know how the child is.

DR RAMASHALA: Thank you.

REVD FINCA: Adv Denzil Potgieter.

ADV POTGIETER: Thank you Chairperson. Mr Skepe what is the name of the wife?

D SKEPE: Her name is Zoleka.

ADV POTGIETER: And then one other thing, you have referred to Section 10. You've said that those were the difficult times of Section 10. The Section 10 that you refer to, is that the Section of the Pass Laws, the old Pass Laws?

D SKEPE: That is so. It was so that when a person was not allowed to be here in town, they would use Section 10 to get you away from here.

ADV POTGIETER: Thank you very much.

ADV FINCA: Mr Skepe, Mr Vukutu and Constable Yokwe, were they employed as policemen here in Queenstown?

D SKEPE: They were employed as Municipality police here in Queenstown.

REVD FINCA: After they did all this, the Municipality as the employer did he take any steps to show that they - these people were not sent by him or he was not responsible?

D SKEPE: ; No, it was as if a dog had been killed, because nothing actually happened.

REVD FINCA: No 7 on your statement, you have indicated that you went to the police station in Queenstown to lay a charge, but this was disregarded?

D SKEPE: Yes, it is like that.

REVD FINCA: Do you remember the month and the year on which you laid this charge or the person who attended you at



the police station, who did not accept this?

D SKEPE: When we arrived at the charge office on the very day of the death of Vusumzi, after the corps had been removed, we went in then we were referred to Captain, but I can't remember the name of the Captain.

We then went to him and he said there was still an investigation on this matter.

REVD FINCA: Was that the last you heard, last thing you heard? Nothing else was done, he did not come back to you?

D SKEPE: No, the Captain did not come back to me and then we decided to get the lawyer's assistance, Mr Siwisa.

REVD FINCA: On number 8 in your statement, you have made mention that Zolila Skepe was evicted out of the house. Who is now living in the house?

D SKEPE: It is another man called Sekole, who is a businessman owning a shop.

REVD FINCA: Would you be able now to furnish us with the surname later?

D SKEPE: Yes, if I could remember I will.

REVD FINCA: Are there any other questions. Ntsikelelo Sandi?

MR SANDI: The one living in that house, you said his name is Skole.

D SKEPE: It is Sekole, that is how I know him.

MR SANDI: Are there other people who lived in that house before or was he the one who occupied the house immediately after the eviction of the dead person?

D SKEPE: No, it was Sekole, who occupied it immediately.

MR SANDI: Now you say Constable Vukutu is still working for the South African Defence, SAP?

D SKEPE: Yes, it is like that.




REVD FINCA: We thank you Mr Skepe for your report and I think this is an indication that those who were in office abused their powers to that extend.

This leaves us with a question as to those people who abused their powers, do they need to be placed in responsible positions once more and what guarantee is there that they will not again abuse their powers.

This is a great question that we are asking as a Commission. And even those testimonies presented to us, they also have left us with this question, because this people have not been using their powers carefully.

This makes us to think deeply about the abuse of power. We shall now therefor, ask that you should give us more details about the person who is now presently occupying the house. Get us the surname so that we can make a follow up of this matter in the correct way. We therefor thank you for your bravery, we thank you for your tolerance up to this point.

We therefore ask that you should continue doing so.

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