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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 23 July 1996

Location QUEENSTOWN

Day 2

Names VAYEKA PONNIE XABA

Case Number QUEENSTOWN

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VAYEKA PONNIE XABA: (sworn states)

REVD FINCA: Ntsiki Sandi is going to lead you into the testimony.

MR SANDI: Let me greet you Mr Xaba. If I understand this matter very well, your presence here today before this Commission is about your son Mthandazo who was shot on the 1st January 1992.

VP XABA: Yes, that's true.

MR SANDI: Now, Mr Xaba, I would like to question you about this matter and make you talk freely and tell us the story we are about here today. Before that, I would like to ask you to explain because as I was reading this statement, I noticed that the cause was a conflict where you stay on the use of camps where they were keeping stock.

Now could you explain to me how were they doing it, how were they doing these camps there in the locality?

VP XABA: Thank you sir. Yes, this is the truth. We met as residents, because there there are organisations and one of them is the ADM, so our Headmen is a member of the ADM and we were members of the ANC.

I was a ranger ... (intervention)

MR SANDI: Excuse me for the interruption, I want to understand, you said you came together as residents or did you come together as ANC members to discuss about the use of these camps, and at the time you were a ranger? If you were QUEENSTOWN HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE

2 VP XABA

to be asked therefor to explain what the role of a ranger is, would you do it?

VP XABA: A ranger is, when people are going to make use of a camp, they come together and we agree and discuss about this.

So there was this camp, a small one, that was going to be used for keeping our cattle. This is a camp that is nearby, so we all agreed on that.

MR SANDI: And then, by the way you said when you met a Station Commander came?

VP XABA: Yes, that was when we had met as ANC members.

MR SANDI: Did the Station Commander come, by whose invitation did he come?

VP XABA: He was actually invited by the Headmen to go to the camp and the camp was already in use at the time.

MR SANDI: What did you say the name of the Headman was?

VP XABA: He was, his name ...

MR SANDI: In your statement you have said his name was Kehle.

VP XABA: Yes, he was and he was supposed to be at the meeting.

MR SANDI: Now, go on and tell us further what happened when the Station Commander came to this meeting by the instruction f the Headmen.

VP XABA: When the cattle were there in the camp - can I continue? When the cattle were there in the camp, more cattle were brought into the camp by children because this was according to the agreement.

Then the ranger did not like this, the ranger of the ADM he decided to go to the police.

MR SANDI: During that conflict the youth came to join all

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this, to support you? Was you son one of the people who came there? Could you just tell us how it happened that your son was shot, Mthandazo?

VP XABA: Mthandazo was a sheppard like most of the children, they were keeping the cattle within the camp.

Then a policeman came. The Station Commander was only driving a private car. When this police heard what this people were saying, he decided to withdraw and then he decided that he should go and talk about this, and so that is when the Station Commander came and he said, no, he disarmed the police and started shooting at the boys who were beyond the camp.

MR SANDI: At that time, is it the time when Mthandazo was shot at?

VP XABA: Yes, it was.

MR SANDI: Now, did you say that Mthandazo died in hospital? Which hospital was that?

VP XABA: It was a hospital in East London.

MR SANDI: Where were you when Mthandazo died?

VP XABA: I was in East London already, they had called me and I thought that he was seriously ill.

MR SANDI: Were you arrested once in connection with the use of these camps?

VP XABA: Yes, the previous night I had been arrested, but that was before I was called to East London. We were kept there but discharged the following day.

When I got home, I got the message that they wanted me in East London.

MR SANDI: What did they want you for?

VP XABA: Then they said it was my son who wanted me.

MR SANDI: Do you mean they wanted you in the hospital?

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VP XABA: Yes.

MR SANDI: Now, when you got there to the hospital, what did you find there?

VP XABA: When I got there, the Matron told me that my son had been calling and talking about me and unfortunately he had passed away.

MR SANDI: Is there anyone who was arrested or appear in court in connection with the death of Mthandazo, your son?

VP XABA: ; No, there never was any person.

MR SANDI: Who exactly shot at mthandazo?

VP XABA: It was the Station Commander.

MR SANDI: Who is t by the way? What is his name?

VP XABA: Siqombozo Jodo was, Siqombozo Jodo was his name.

MR SANDI: Was there any post mortem conducted by the Doctors on Mthandazo's body?

VP XABA: Yes, when I was in East London I saw his body open where they had shot him.

MR SANDI: Is that all you have to say to us?

VP XABA: Yes, but on the other hand, I am not through, because I buried him in the absence of the Headmen and the policemen. I was then asked to go to court.

MR SANDI: What happened there in court?

VP XABA: Siqombozo was there in court, because he was the one responsible for the death of my son.

MR SANDI: Was Siqombozo the accused? Was Siqombozo accused there in court?

VP XABA: He had gone there, he was present on the day of the trial. I just saw him coming and he just admitted that he was responsible for killing my son.

MR SANDI: Did he say this in court?

VP XABA: Yes, he said this to the Magistrate.

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MR SANDI: When you were burying him, how was the funeral?

VP XABA: It was very good. It was full of ANC members.

MR SANDI: Were there no disturbances on the day from the police?

VP XABA: No, they were just present in guard of the Headmen of the ADM. In fact they were at the Headmen's home.

MR SANDI: At this point now, what is your request or your instruction to the Commission?

VP XABA: I am in great pain because I valued this child and he was still at school and he was still going on.

Now I would like the Commission to give me something substantial, even the mother fell ill and died, she is no longer there, I am now the man and wife in that home.

MR SANDI: Before Mthandazo's mother died, you say she died of heart attack?

VP XABA: Yes.

MR SANDI: Is there anything that she once said to you about what happened to Mthandazo?

VP XABA: In fact when we came back from court, that's when the mother felt ill, because she felt her son had died like a dog and from that time she was sick and she ultimately died because she had that complaint that the son had died like a dog.

MR SANDI: We thank you Mr Xaba. I'll now give you over to the Chairperson.

REVD FINCA: Thank you Mr Sandi. Are there any other questions?

Mr Xaba, I would like to ask you a question which may be difficult because here as the Commission we have been instructed to look into matters of conflict that are a result of politics.

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In other words we are not just looking into ordinary conflicts amongst residents.

Because if we were to do that, it would mean that we would sit and be investigating for a very long time on these matters, now we want to know the conflicts amongst the residents, how is it connected with politics?

VP XABA: Why do you make this connection?

REVD FINCA: Because it looks as if it was sort of a conflict over the camps and the grazing land amongst the people in the location.

VP XABA: Now why do you connect it to politics? I don't know whether I am saying this clearly? Now could you explain this further to me?

REVD XUNDU: What he is actually saying is there is a difference between the conflicts between residents over things like camps.

VP XABA: Now, how is this matter connected with politics?

REVD FINCA: Were there clambering of some kind between these two political organisations or it was just ordinary conflict of the residents of a place over the use of camps?

VP XABA: We were also confused, but because of the organisations we were split ... (tape ends) (tape starts) ... organisations were introduced, then we were split.

REVD FINCA: Were you clambering over power?

VP XABA: Yes, because ADM did not want to be under the ANC and we used to say we were not actually in power, in stead we were dissatisfied about certain things.

REVD FINCA: Who had elected this Headman, was it the people in the location?

VP XABA: Yes, but he was taking sides.

REVD FINCA: Did Mthandazo have any contributions towards

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the political organisations? Did he occupy any position in the ANC?

VP XABA: Yes, he was a member in the Youth League.

REVD FINCA: Was he killed because he was a member?

VP XABA: ; Yes, because he was an organiser.

REVD FINCA: Thank you, unless there is another question. Ntsikelelo Sandi, do you have perhaps another question?

MR SANDI: Mr Xaba, I would like to ask you this question. You say the organiser or the leader of the ADM was also a Headman named Kehle? Was that in Ciskei in a place previously known as Ciskei or was it common that Headmen were members of the ADM?

VP XABA: In fact I should say the Headmen in any Government was the leading person who would handle matters first and bring them to the people.

So the most important person was the Headmen. But you would find that he was discriminatory, you would find that he had some people he liked and some people he disliked.

MR SANDI: Now I am referring to the time when Brigadier Gqozo used to rule in Ciskei, was there a change in such a way that the Headmen became organisers of the ADM?

VP XABA: Yes, there was.

MR SANDI: Now, do you mean that this led to the conflict between the Headmen and the residents?

VP XABA: Yes.

MR SANDI: Thank you.

REVD FINCA: Mr Xaba, we thank you.

We are going to make a follow up according to the story you have given to this Commission, so that those parts that are not very clear to us, should be made clear to us.

So people from this Commission will be visiting you as

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means to investigate and get more information, so we do not question you because we don't understand your story, but we want to make a distinction between the conflicts of the residents and those things that used to happen long ago when we were enjoying life, before foreigners came into our country.

And even then there used to be some problems and we want to see whether the conflict has been caused by the Apartheid that was supported by the Governments of the TVBC States.

So this is what we want to investigate, so that when we make a proposal to the President, we should be very clear because we want to be in a position to answer all the questions that are going to be posed to us.

I will understand that this was a very difficult time here in this area, we therefore thank you Mr Xaba.

 
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