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Human Rights Violation Hearings





MR SANDI: We thank you then. At this point in time we are now going to call upon Ms Tyobeka.



INTERPRETER: The Speaker's microphone is not on.

MR SANDI: By the way Ms Tyobeka, this shooting that happened in church on the 17th of November 1985, did it actually affect you?

M TYOBEKA: Yes, I was affected too by the shooting.

MR SANDI: Had you gone there to that meeting?

M TYOBEKA: No, I did not go to that meeting.

MR SANDI: By the way you said that your house is nearby the church?


MR SANDI: Now, can you continue from the time you were holding a baby and then you heard some loud sounds and you were shot. But before that, tell me is that young child you referred to in your statement, the one who are sitting next to you? Now tell us what happened.

M TYOBEKA: I was coming from a funeral, my grandfather's funeral and I was moving down the street. I saw a hippo next to the Methodist Church.

Then I went round into my house. I then met my daughter who was one year and five months old then and then I lifted her up and I wasn't aware that there had been a shooting at the Methodist Church.

I then heard that there had been a shooting from other people, they told me.

I heard the loud sounds of the moving hippo. Whilst waiting there and holding this baby, I felt a loud sound on the window. I couldn't make out where it came from and then it hit me.

There was a loud sound once more, the baby fell and I also fell on the other side.

Whilst laying there, the baby was taken by the father. QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


That was the last I saw of her. Whilst laying there I was taken by whoever, they put me into a car whose owner I don't know.

Then I was taken to the Municipality to Dr Seyisi's residential place. That's where I was taken and the baby was taken in another car to the hospital.

Then we went into a garage, we were crawling in between hippo's, I didn't know who the driver of the car was, but I could make out that we were at Dr Seyisi's house.

MR SANDI: When you came to Dr Seyisi did you get any help? What kind of assistance?

M TYOBEKA: When I went there, there were many people who had been killed and there were many nurses because I know them, they come from the location.

We did get assistance there, I had three holes on my thigh, they had a blade, they would cut the wound, press very hard and the bullet would come out.

Three of them were taken out then they asked me to stand up and then they took me back home. I can't even tell whose car it was.

When I got home, I relaxed because the baby was in hospital. As I was laying down, I could feel a sharp pain in my stomach. I was dressed in a very light night dress, then I started with sweating, then I saw some blood coming out of the stomach.

One of my sons ran to go and call Mrs Tsobeka, who was a nursing sister at the hospital residing in the nearby houses. She came together with my husband's brother.

She was there at the time and then she asked what's wrong now, then I said I have this pain now.

MR SANDI: By the way, the nurses you are referring to



who were at Dr Seyisi's place, were they trying to assist since there was this incident?

M TYOBEKA: Yes, they were.

MR SANDI: On the 18th of November, were you in hospital?

M TYOBEKA: Yes, I was.

MR SANDI: Then what happened when you were in hospital?

M TYOBEKA: There in hospital I was taken to the theatre and operated. And then a day thereafter I had the plaster on my stomach, then a certain nursing White sister and a Black nursing sister, a Black policeman, a White policeman came into my house.

They stood next to my bed and the White policeman said in English that I should be handcuffed as I was laying there.

MR SANDI: Now you want to tell us, they wanted to handcuff you?

M TYOBEKA: Yes. Yes, that's what they meant. Then just before I was handcuffed, the Black policeman asked how can you do that when she is in such a condition, then the White sister said, no, we cannot stop them from work. We cannot intervene, they are policemen.

I was then handcuffed.

MR SANDI: ; Where were you handcuffed?

M TYOBEKA: My leg was handcuffed together with - to the bed whilst I was laying on there on my back.

MR SANDI: Take your time Mama. Whenever you think of this, you feel some pain. Let us then continue Ms Tyobeka. Are you ready?


MR SANDI: This pellet or bullet, what did the Doctor



say, is it still inside you? What did the Doctor say why could they not take it out?

M TYOBEKA: The following day after the operation, before the police came, the Doctor showed me my X-Ray plates. I was scared because I could see some object in my stomach.

Then he then told me that they could not take this bullet out, because it was in a very tender place and if they were to touch it, I was going to die. Then they decided to (indistinct) me without taking it out.

MR SANDI: ; By the way the handcuffs that were used, were they removed when the Doctor came?

M TYOBEKA: Yes, Dr Pillay instructed that I should not be handcuffed so as to stand up and exercise on the third day.

He then called for the police and there were some people who were guarding me. There were about three men who were taking guard - Dadima Cigela, Dadima Xaliswe and Datu Hawko were guarding me whilst I was handcuffed.

In the evening there would be a policeman taking rounds to see whether I was still there.

MR SANDI: What did they say you had done now that you were under police guard?

M TYOBEKA: I asked the Black nurse when she was asking on my behalf why they had to handcuff me when I was in such a condition and then they said what she did, how did she do it, then I asked the Black nurse, what do they say I have done.

Then the nurse said you were seen throwing stones at a hippo.

MR SANDI: When you were discharged from hospital, did you ever see any attorney to get some advice?



M TYOBEKA: Yes, there was. Even when I was still in hospital I heard about people that my son had been taken by one of the comrades to East London to go and lodge a complaint, going to the lawyer Siwisa.

MR SANDI: Now, do you know the outcome of this case?

M TYOBEKA: No, there was no result. We were then told that Mdantsane had been burnt. Even my son, who had gone to lay a charge, had gone to school.

MR SANDI: Now, when you are saying Mdantsane was burnt, do you mean the offices had been burnt?


MR SANDI: Is that Mr Siwisa's offices that had been burnt?


MR SANDI: Now, are you getting any medical treatment since there was this bullet that could not be taken out?

M TYOBEKA: Yes, firstly I would like to give this explanation. Please forgive me, before I went out of hospital, just before I was discharged, there was a Sister who came to me and told me that I was to be discharged as instructed by the Doctor, I think.

Then this Sister said but how come you are going back home? Then he said okay, let me first find out from the hospital, then she made a telephone call in my presence, phoning the Superintendent asking whether I really had to go home, instead of being sent to jail.

It was a Black person.

MR SANDI: Did it ever happen that a person who had been arrested, would be discharged from hospital and go to the police?

M TYOBEKA: No, I don't know. I heard it from her and



then she said, please don't look at me in a funny manner, because people who are discharged from here, go back to jail.

Then a White man answered and said, no we have not been employed by the policemen here, discharge this patient and if they want him, they will go and fetch him in the location.

MR SANDI: Then this White man who answered, was he the Superintendent?

M TYOBEKA: Yes. It is the one whom he had phoned.

MR SANDI: We are now going to conclude Ms Tyobeka. By your presence here, giving this explanation, we therefore would like to know what is your request or your instruction to this Commission?

M TYOBEKA: I'm asking this Commission to help me in as far as my health is concerned. Because ever since I was shot, I have this bullet within me and I have not been enjoying good health.

I have been moving from the one Doctor to the next and they say I'm suffering from arthritis. The last Doctor I visited, I have a leg that is limping. I even have some pains on the waist.

The last Doctor I consulted, I asked that he should help me to get pension, sick pension, because I can't work well, even at work people are complaining that I am overloading them, so this Doctor made a recommendation and sent me for X-Ray and wrote a letter to take to Dr Cooperwitz.

I've been going to several Doctors as a result of this ill health. Cooperwitz also signed and I also explained to him that this happened as as a result of the 1984 shooting.



Then he said that was long ago, he just wrote whatever he wrote, which I don't even know what it is.

MR SANDI: So in short Ms Tyobeka, up to now you say you are not under any relevant medical treatment?

M TYOBEKA: No, I'm not well even now.

MR SANDI: Thank you.

M TYOBEKA: Even my child, at least he recovered, he is attending school now.

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