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

Human Rights Violation Hearings


Starting Date 07 May 1997


Day 2


Case Number JB0853

CHAIRPERSON: We also welcome the students from Rustenburg College. Could they stand up. Welcome, we are very pleased to have our students in our following, that interest the TRC. We also want to welcome the students from Bergsig High School. They had just gone out for tea, but in absentia we welcome them. We have already welcomed Rev Diana Gilbert from the Anglican Church and we also want to welcome the members of Sasco from the University of the North West. Could they stand up too, so that we recognise them. You will tell them that we have welcomed them.

Now we also want to welcome Father O'Leary, an old friend of the TRC from Justice and Peace. Thank you very much.

We are going to rearrange the programme again for very special reasons. We are now going to call upon Solomon Bokaba to come forward. I heard that Sasco students have come to support Mr Bokaba and if they have left to go for tea, why should we rearrange our programme? Please ask them to make it snappy to come in.

Welcome Solomon Bokaba, I will ask you to introduce the person who has accompanied you.

MR BOKABA: They are briefers.

CHAIRPERSON: I will ask Dr Ally to swear you in.

DR ALLY: Solomon, will you please stand and raise your right hand.

SOLOMON BOKABA: (Duly sworn in, states).

DR ALLY: Thank you, sworn in.


DR RANDERA: Solomon, good morning.

MR BOKABA: Morning doctor.

DR RANDERA: Solomon, you are going to take us back to almost the last days if you like of the then President Lucas Mangope's government in Boputhatswana and we have heard some stories when we were in Mmabatho last year, Mafeking today from one student about what had happened, but you are going to give us much more information. Before you do that, can you just tell us what you are doing now, are you married, do you have any children?

MR BOKABA: I am presently contracted as a candidate attorney with Legal Resources Centre, an organisation which offers free legal service to the needy and most indigent people in the country, and I am in my first year of contract of service for them. I hope to be admitted as an attorney by next year, 1998.

DR RANDERA: Good. Will you tell us what happened in 1993 to you.

MR BOKABA: Thank you Doctor. It is with a deep sense of both poignancy and gratitude that the TRC offered me an opportunity to appear publicly to relive and share with the fellow South Africans on what happened to me during the dark days of our history. I say it is with a sense of poignancy, because today, the 7th of May 1997, is exactly the day when I suffered humiliation in the hands of the former Boputhatswana police, 7th May 1993.

I am saying also it is gratifying because I am given an opportunity to enter into a process of calling bygones to be bygones and start on a new programme of establishing human relationships which are based on human rights.

I will try to give a broad conceptual context in which my suffering and the most gross violation human rights I have never experienced, politically.

During 1993, I was the President of the Student Representative Council of UNIBO. Now it is called the University of the North West. I was also a member of the South African Student Congress. Towards the end of January 1993, after we realised together with the student leadership in South African Student Congress, we decided that we should organise students in the whole of the Boputhatswana region, from Thabanchu to Maratsane, Madikwe and including even Mabats area and Legurutsi.

The idea of organising students in tertiary institutions was to start to carry the cudgel of taking along our people in the process of re-establishing South Africa to become a recognised nation amongst nations internationally and to ensure that the free political activity which was experienced by other South Africans in other parts of South Africa, should also prevail in Boputhatswana, and also that that should therefore culminate into reincorporation of Boputhatswana, peacefully for that matter.

Because, Chairperson, I believe, and that has been the position of most of South Africans in and outside Boputhatswana, that Boputhatswana was a creation of apartheid policy, it was a dumping zone of our people, those who were removed from the so-called Black Spots by the Nationalist Party Government, some were removed in the former Western Transvaal region, some were even removed as far as Johannesburg and dumped in the most depressing living conditions. I am talking about communities like Hanalagte(?), I am talking about communities like Lerda, I am talking about communities like Ramatlhabane.

So UNIBO was not an accident to be engaged in that particular struggle, because most of the students who were there, were the decendents or the children of these victims of apartheid, the dispossessed, the most tortured, the most needy people of this country. So it was not by accident that we organised, it was within that political context in which we were ensuring that we need to uplift the need which was there.

And of course, Boputhatswana on its own, headed by Mr Lucas Mangope, was a corruption. It was a corruption between the illegitimate self-imposed leaders on our people, proclaiming to be legitimate Tswana leaders, with the Nationalist Party Government. They were proclaiming that they were speaking on behalf of the people of the South Africa, but in particular Tswanas, and that was a sham. And that is why we as the students, because of the fear of the threat of the injustices which were experienced by our parents, that could not carry on and ensuring that Boputhatswana is removed completely politically from the political centre. So it was upon those grounds that we as the students and I in particular, I took even the leadership on that particular understanding. So it was not by accident.

Immediately, because of my history, I joined the ANC immediately when it was unbanned in 1990. I was the chairperson of the ANC in Nitsoteng(?) in the Ditsebotla(?) district and when I went to UNIBO, it was very clear that the security police knew about me, and immediately when I assumed or I was elected as a President of the SRC, there was a clear campaign to demonise and create me as a perverse by both the politician and the media in Boputhatswana. Here I am talking about the pronouncements which were done by politicians.

Mr Mangope was leading that particular campaign. He once called our parents in 1992, towards the end of 1992, and told them that what the students are doing in that University, which he proclaimed to be his, was something which he cannot tolerate. He was taking our struggle, our just cause, and creating UNIBO as an area where we were promoting prostitution, or we were promoting immoral activities, he was in fact generally misinforming and lying to our parents to create that sense of confusion to our parents. And of course most of our parents fell into that trap.

And in that particular meeting, he told them and at that time, I was, amongst other leaders, I was enroled for LLB at UNIBO, he told them that he is not afraid of an LLB student. So I took it contextually that he was referring to me.

Then after that, Mr Masilo, who was a Telecommunication Minister, addressed High School students in early 1993, misinformed them that I am organising students in UNIBO and I am presently in the good books of the ANC. The ANC is organising a scholarship after I have caused havoc in Boputhatswana, leaving and going abroad to go and study.

Mr Nsimade(?) once addressed students in Tlokane village, where he told them that - he mentioned my name and said that when they hear that name they must know that is the name of the enemy. So all those things by politicians were creating an impression that here we are living with a perverse person, who must be taken out of our community, because Boputhatswana was created as if it is the best amongst the Bantustans which were created in South Africa.

So now what was very clear is that our people fell into that kind of a trap, because when you go to Mmabatho, you saw the glamour, the beauty, the glittering about Boputhatswana. But when you go to the village where I orginate, Deloke(?), Hammanskraal region, you can see the real results of apartheid. You can see the poor people, people who are hopeless, begging, dying, procreating children without any prospect of a very good living future. So it was very clear that Mangope was just creating an environment that Mmabatho, it is that symbol of progress, whereas our people in the village areas, the areas that I have already mentioned, that was what was the problem. And we were coming from those villages and those townships which he neglected.

The print media started throw in letters about my name. People were writing, I cannot vouch who were those, but they were just having anonymous pen names to say that Solomon Bokaba has been sent by the ANC to come cause confusion in the most beloved country, Boputhatswana and so forth and so forth. Newspapers like the Mail, of course even the Sowetan, the Star, they always carried out those kinds of letters. In a way they were performing their task. But the Mail, which was the Boputhatswana weekly newspaper, I think because of their editorial comments, you could see that they were agreeing in one or other way perpetuation that kind of perception about myself as an individual amongst other leaders, amongst other student leaders.

When you listen to the radio news, when I appeared in court, because I appeared in several, I was charged with several offences, so-called political offences, the media was always creating me, the radio was always creating me as a perverse, somebody who must be eliminated. And I think that that culminated into the Boputhatswana Security Forces' picking me up as an individual who must be dealt with.

And I still remember after the graduations of 1993, we had a demonstration. Our demonstration was a peaceful demonstration to mobilise our community and the fellow graduates that we still have to do a lot of things. After they graduate, they must show that they become part and parcel of our communities. They are going to develop them, because we believed the UNIBO was created for a particular purpose to serve Boputhatswana with a civil service - the graduates from UNIBO. But anyway some managed to go out and so forth, but that was a specific political mission about UNIBO. So that demonstration was there to ensure that this democracy within UNIBO itself and so forth and so forth. The police on that day, they manhandled me, they shoved me, I was pushed from pillar to post and so forth and so forth and when they were manhandling me, one captain which I know very well, Ben Tlakane, he was a commander of the Security Forces, he told me that, you know you Bokaba, your names are numbered. They were pushing me, taking me out of the people, but otherwise that day, we managed to wrap it, our demonstration went peaceful.

Subsequent to that, I was arrested on my way from Medunsa to UNIBO with other student leaders. And on that specific night, it was Sunday, I do not exactly remember the date, I was told that by Ben Tlakane with another sergeant called Malobi, they told me that you are going to be eliminated. And I do not want to define elimination, but to categorically state Chairperson that elimination as a political activist and as a student activist I knew that it was not detention, it was that you must be killed.

Then thereafter we went to a multi-party negotiations forum at Kempton Park, as Sasco, to go and demonstrate and show that we impact on other negotiators that in Boputhatswana whilst they are coming here to negotiate, there is no free political activity. Elections are around the corner. As students we feel that our communities must be able to participate in those kind of elections, education and so forth and so forth. They must be empowered so that they must be able to exercise one of the most important rights which we fight for, for people just to make their own cross to vote.

So we went there and after we marched I was then, I received from another student that I must just be careful of my movements because he has just overheard people that my days are numbered. And there at the World Trade Centre, Mr Cronje, who was the chief negotiator of Boputhatswana refused to receive our memorandum and he then said to us that when we want to hand a memorandum to him or the Boputhatswana Government, we must do that in Mmabatho. And then we agreed with him that we will come and present this memorandum as we are doing now in Kempton Park, we will march to our Government Buildings and hand this memorandum peacefully. We then agreed. He then said that, pick out a date and make a correspondence to me.

Because at that stage, we had established the joined SRC's, the joint SRC's was a structure which was coordinating activities of SRC's in the tertiary institutions in Boputhatswana. UNIBO and colleges of education and various technikons which they are called manpowers. So I was the chief spokesperson. So thereafter we then organised with various students' SRC's that on that day, the 7th May, they all should descend into Mmabatho and we must march to Government Buildings and present the memorandum.

And before the 7th, we had communication, we wrote letters to Mr Rowan Cronje's office to say to him that on the 7th we will be there to present the memorandum. They must ensure that somebody must come and receive that memorandum. That memorandum was just to highlight the students and generally the people's views that there should be free political activity, that Tswanas should be reincorporated, there should be freedom of academic activity and so forth and so forth.

Now Mr Cronje never responded to our letters. On the morning of the 7th I requested the Secretary General of our SRC, Mr Obeke Mamongoale, to communicate with Rowan Cronje's office that we will be marching. We have organised, we are coming. We have not heard anything from them. Then we could not get an answer. You know, what was very worrying about Bop it was that even if you pick up the phone and phone Boputhatswana Television, Radio and inform them that look we are going to march, can you come and cover? Heh Bokaba is on the line, yeh, yeh, yeh!!!! I don't want to talk to Solly. So this was a fear, because on that day I even tried to phone these people. And even the office of Rowan Cronje it was very clear that the secretaries who were there, I do not know them, they even told Mamangoale that there is nothing they can do. They have been instructed that they must not communicate with us. So we then took a decision that we are proceeding with the march.

Now what happened is that during the night of the 6th they had blockaded the - the Security Forces blockaded Mmabatho, all entrances into Mmabatho. Many students from other colleges were stopped, they could not come in, there were roadblocks. But some managed to come. So it was UNIBO only left to march on that day. So because I was in the leadership, students wanted to march. We then resolved that we are going to march. We converged in front of the Great Hall, the University Great Hall, by ten o'clock. Then immediately when we converged, I saw a troupe of about plus/ minus twenty police. They were marching as if, you know how police usually, they converge in the morning their police stations they are parading, and they trooped towards us. They gained entrance through the main entrance and as I was, at that time I was having a loud hailer, I was addressing the students that weare still awaiting other students will be coming, who are proceeding with our march.

And then as these policemen who were marching towards us, they then stopped about plus/minus twenty metres away from us. They were commanded by a, I do not know his label, but he is one Belane, but I think he was one of the most influential people in the Boputhatswana Security Police Force. I know him, because one of my arrests as a student leader, he told me at Mmabatho police station that he is not part of the Intelligence or Security Police, he is just commanding the Riot Squad, but if he can get an opportunity of eliminating me he will gladly do that and run to the office of Mangope and tell him that I have done my work. So I knew him very well.

And because he was having a problem of stammering as a person he was not clad in the police uniform, he was in mufti, and then this troop which he was leading, he then stood in front of them, he was just in front of me, about twenty metres away. So we could see each other. I was having a loud hailer, he was also having a loud hailer.

He started talking to me, to students through me in anyway. And he said to ask, but because he was not clear, because he was stammering, I could not gather what he was saying. I then told him, I then told the students that we need not worry about them. They are peace officers, they are coming to watch how we are going to march. Because that is what we had expected, particularly that they were right in the campus.

Then they then stepped, they then moved towards us. So they closed the gap. They were about ten metres now from us. (Tape ends.....) ... UNIBO, and there were many, so we mandated others student leaders to go and negotiate with the police at the main gate and hear what their story is. Because these other ones who were in front of us, it was not clear, because their leader was not very clear to us. He was just ambigious. I could not even hear what he was saying. But the students were just carrying their own placards. I mean placards, peaceful placards to say we want re-incorporation of Bophuthatswana, free political activities, can the students be left alone, all those kind of things. Peaceful, nothing.

And at that time when they moved towards us, I then asked the students to sit down. And the students listened to my instructions. They sat down. And Mr Stepe Surampele came who was the President UNIBO staff association and we then asked him to deliver a message of support. And he delivered that message to the students and thereafter I took over and I said to the students that we are not going to waste any time. We will be marching. At that time, students could be plus minus two hundred.

At that time when they came towards us - after I asked the students to sit down. Then one of the - becuase Belane was talking to this troop which he was leading, he then looked at them and then one of them, because they were wearing helmets and they were having teargas canisters and sjamboks, batons, and then one of them released a teargas canister towards us. And that teargas canister fell in the midst of the students. And the students then immediately stood up and they ran towards the Great Hall.

Because one of things as a leader, you cannot run away when you do not know why you are running away, I then stood, and then I looked at was happening and then I asked him, Belane what are you doing? And then at that time there was smoke, so I was suffocating. I then decided to slowly move towards the main gate to ask those who are negotiating with our leaders to know exactly what is happening.

And as I was moving I heard somebody saying "fire". At that time students had run towards the University buildings and even they were taking shelter through the Great Hall. So at that time when they were moving towards - as I was moving when I heard somebody say "fire", I lay down, I took cover. And now because there was smoke, I then decided to stand up. But, because there was now a commotion, I heard two loud - I could not figure out whether as a gunshot, or what, but immediately, because I felt that I was visible, I then stood up. As I was now moving towards the main gate, when I turned and see what was happening behind me, I saw these policemen running towards me and as they were running towards me, I was still having my loud hailer. And as they were approaching me, the first one who managed to arrive at me, shouted an expletive, he said something like, you are going to see shit today. He then took out his baton, and these other ones who were following me, he started lashing me on my head. And as they were assaulting me, because he did not have the helmet at that time, I could see him it's Plaatjie, I know him by surname, it is Plaatjie. As he was hitting, there were, because I was not concentrating on my body to ensure that I do not get seriously hurt, they then, all of them, they started hitting me with a baton on my shoulders, on my head and I could then at that time recognise the other one. The name is Moratiwa. I do not know whether it is a pen name, I mean a nick name or what, but I know Moratiwa well, because he was part of the Security Police. In 1991 when I was detained in Lefurutsa Police Station, he was there as my interrogators and then he even moved me from Lefurutsa to Mmabatho. So I know him very well. And when he started hitting, he told me that I have been looking for you, Bokaba, for a long time. As they were hitting me and these other ones they were angry, they were just slashing on me and Plaatjie, because I know him as football player, he was playing for Tsitlakole United Brothers. So I know him from that because I played football at some point in time. So as they were hitting me then one security officer from University Security Department came, Mr Babote, he then wanted to take me out of them,they refused and they started even lashing him and as a consequence the two of us were injured.

So as they were hitting me, it was public, I mean it was very clear that here are police who are attacking somebody who was not posing as a threat firstly, I was moving away from them. They could if, because they were having powers to arrest me and to detain me for any offence which they were thinking in their own senses that I am committing an offence. And as they were assaulting, that assault could have taken about more or less seven minutes, as they were assaulting me, then I found myself in the hands Mr Tsepeso Rampele. Then he then took me and he was fighting with Belane. At that time Belane was coming, I was busy, but he was shouting at Tsepiso and saying, leave this man he is under arrest and Tsepiso was saying that no, this man is bleeding, you have injured him. I want take him to hospital. He is hurt. No leave him, he is under arrest, don't tell me bullshit, he is under arrest.

So then he then took me. Then other policemen took me to Mazda 626. When they were taking me to Mazda 626, I then recognised another police officer. His name is Modisa. I do not know if it is the surname, or the name. In the car, Modisa, I knew him and I think he was spying on my activities in Itsoseng(?), when I was still based in Itsoseng, becuase the other day when I was watching a video of Mandela, secretly, he came there with a friend and he was there and he appeared to be a very nice guy to me. So when I got into the car, he told me you bastard, ons het jou vandag. En jy gaan vrek. You are going to die, the people who assaulted you didn't do anything. I was bleeding. So I told them that no man, I am feeling dizzy, I can't see what is happening.

Then Modisa then instructed another officer who was in the car, the 626 Mazda car phone, he then told him that phone the media officer, Colonel George and inform that the students were pelting, attacking the police with stones so we were defending ourselves. So this Bokaba was injured because he was part of the group which were attacking the police. And at that time I wanted to respond to say that no, you are misinforming a media officer.

And then at that time, I think the minute they even spoke to him, it was black out. And I saw myself at the Telesedi Clinic in Soweto and I was then informed by the doctors that I was brought there from Victoria Hospital and it was after three or four days when I discovered it was, I am sure it was Monday or Tuesday, that the day this thing happened was on Friday.

Now, I was hospitalised for about four to five weeks and I attended medication and I got medical treatment for about almost two years. Since last year I feel bad. So the question of medical, my medical situation, I can't vouch on it, because the doctors are still looking into this matter and they must still reveal my situation.

Now the whole thing about this assault was because I was a student leader and it is very clear that on that day, this police left the students, because the way we are used to them as when they were taking student, they would rush indiscriminately and assault students. But on that day, they rushed straight to me, the whole troop. And as they were attacking me, students and other people were watching. So it was clear on that day, that they had picked on me and this was a group which was supposed to be dealt - I was supposed to be dealt with by. And unless today they can come and convince me that they were caught on the crossfire, but they must today for me to be able to relive and to ensure that I be able to reconcile with them, because, one, most of the Bop Police or the former Bop Police, all of them, they come from the situation which I come from. They might have been there for economic reasons, but they don't have any way to convince me that Boputhatswana was an legitimate institution. So those who attacked me, they were attacking me because they were preserving the ideas of the politicians.

And I am saying today that they need to come, because I have met them, one or the other, and it is surprising that the other one I met in a church, but he was expecting me as a victim, to reconcile with him. He never told me, I am talking about Plaatjie. I met Morati (...indistinct) now he has been placed as a traffic officer, when I greeted him when he was stopping me the road, he was just pretending as if he does not know me. And I said to him, but can't you feel? So Mr Chairperson, I feel that it is for me to ensure that I reconcile, but they also have to come to me and reconcile. That would be, I will be able to handle the situation, because for now I do not know, because I am still a committed member of the ANC and the ANC for sure want a Democratic Society, and they are the peace officer now, that are still there and many of them they are still there. I am not sure that they believe and they support the present dispensation. And if they can come to me, I will be able to say that these police officers, they mean it, they want to come and share with me and say that we were on the wrong side. Forgive us. They have not done that, in almost four years.

So that on its own, creates an impression to me as a patriotic in this country, that can we be able to harbour these kind of people. So they need to do that, because I believe, one, they had done that deliberately and through their pronouncements as Security Forces, they were telling me that they will eliminate me at some point in time. Unfortunately God was on my side. The strategy which they embarked on, was a very wrong one, because if they could have wanted to eliminate me, I do not think they could have done that. They were exposing and I think God was ensuring that they be exposed what they are for and what they represented.

In closing, I am saying the TRC, it is a very legitimate structure, but it must help me to impress upon those police officers to ensure that they meet me and then we relive this and we finish, we deal with it. Because it keeps on coming to me and I always worry that whilst South Africa is experiencing crime and confusion, will they not come back to me, because some are still angry of what is happening. So I am still living in that kind of psychological problems.

And the other thing is that, because this for me to be injured and to be assaulted, was based on the question of women, I mean was based on the question of students fighting for democracy. I hope the TRC when they look into what can be done, because I am not looking at the question of reparation. I just want to see South Africa having a free democratic society where people will voice their own views, but within the context of the law and they operate within the law. And I think one way or the other we are attempting to do that. I want to see an integrated human rights education with particular emphasis to the police officers, with particular emphasis to those who were in the Intelligence and Security Forces, because they were political police. They need to understand that human rights is part of what they are supposed to do.

Secondly, this might sound an ambitious one. The University of North West played a significant role. The Government must help me to establish a centre for human rights, because the University is based in a rural province, to help our people to understand human rights, including the police. And to ensure, that when we move forward, this issue of human rights, it's not a human rights for public posturing, rhetoric, but people understand what we mean by human rights, not civil liberties, development, social economic rights, so that our people understand these things. So that particular, that kind of a centre, can be of highly significant, in particular to the this kind of a province. And to ensure that advice centres, particularly in the area where I originate in, Hammanskraal, because, one, we were not affected by forced removals, but we would not be declared a Black Spot, because we were strategic for Apartheid Policies. We were far from Pretoria, far from the White Man, so-called White Man's Land, so we were just Africans secluded there in the mid of (...indistinct) so we are not problem.

But we suffered humiliation, we suffered violence, not physical violence, but constructive violence, constructive humiliation; where there was never employment, illiterate, high illiteracy, children were just dying, because there were no hospitals. We do not have water, electricity and so forth and so forth. I do recognise that the Government is attempting to do some other things.

And the Police, particularly Ben Hlakanya's and Belange's they must tell us, who instructed them to come and assault me. They must tell me who was hatching that idea because I believe that they were working under a Minister of Law and Order who was Mr Mangope himself. So can they come and tell us, who was instructing them, because they could not just take those batons without any mandate. So they were doing that with a specific mandate. To come and share with me, who was instructing them. Then I will be able to enter into process of reconciliation. I am not a bitter man, I still have a long way to go and I still have to provide services to this country, hence my profession. So I am saying that reconciliation is a quid pro quo process. They must come to me and the TRC. I am asking for your services to ensure that my request and my recommendations are taken forth. I know that your ...(intervention)

DR RANDERA: Mr Bokaba, I am going to stop you there. Thank you very much. I am sure that today you have spoken for thousands of students and student leaders who experienced the gross human rights violation that you talked about earlier on. Solly I just have, I think your words have spoken for themselves today. I just have one question. As you know the deadline for amnesty approaches, which is the 10th of May, this Saturday is the deadline. Let us assume that many of these people, and you speak for many victims in what you have echoed today, let us assume that these people do not apply for amnesty, let us assume they do not come forward. As you know the Commission is asked to make recommendations as part of our report. What would your advice be, given that you know that many of these people are still holding office today, what would your advice be in terms of these recommendations we have to make to Government about these individuals?

MR BOKABA: One, Bishop Tutu, the Chairperson of the TRC, throughout the weekend and the media again ensured that people of South Africa hear him, to say that people must come and apply for amnesty. And amnesty will ensure that you are not going to be subjected to criminal, nor civil damages. I am saying to them, I am saying to you that speak to them. Let them come and submit their amnesty. The 10th May is still an official date, it's not far. Today is the 7th. They can even make a note that I have not prepared, I am still coming to submit. I do not think that you are rule bound. I think you are here to assist people to get into a process of reconciliation. And it is never late if they had not done that.

But if they are not applying for amnesty, it means that we are now dealing with people who either, they are not committed to the process of re-establishing South Africa as a new nation. Secondly, they are not police officers who wants to bury their past and move forward. The Government must ensure in your recommendation that this kind of people must be stopped from continuing their service. Because I am not convinced that when they are given an opportunity to come and share with people what they have done, or just to apply for amnesty and say that can you forgive us, because we might have been misled, or we might have been doing it deliberately. I have seen Brian Mitchell going into the community which he killed people there. And the problem is that with Boputhatswana, they think because they were Black, in particular Africans, they are not similar to the White people who abused people. So I think that must be impressed upon them. They must ensure that they apply and if they do not apply, they must be dismissed from the service, because this service is not a militaristic service, it is a human rights based service and of course it is still being difficult, because people can't differentiate between the police and the community policing office and so forth and so forth. That will be my advice.

DR RANDERA: Thank you Solly. I have no further questions, Chairperson.


DR ALLY: Solomon, when you were speaking earlier, you said that when you were in the police van and the officers reported to their media liaison person of the events they said that they acted in self-defence, that the students had actually pelted them with stones, throwing stones at them. Were there incidents where there were those kinds of clashes between students and police, where student actually did throw stones, pelt the police with stones?

MR BOKABA: No, there were never those incidents. As I explained, the students were just seated, then one of the police, threw, he threw a teargas canister in the, I mean right in the middle of the group of the students who were assembled there, and they ran away. There were never any students who picked up a stone. It was just a peaceful situation from the side of the students. And there was never any incident of confrontation which came from the students and in any way the police never even approached the students. They came straight to me. And I was just having my loud-hailer and a paper in my hand.

DR ALLY: I was not only speaking about that incident, Mr Solomon, I was speaking more generally. Were there incidents were there were actually clashes where students themselves were also involved?

MR BOKABA: No, there were never any incidents during that day between the police ...

DR ALLY: No, not that day, but on other occasions. Was that the only incident like that, that you were involved in?

MR BOKABA: No, there were never any - you see, as a student leader, particularly from 1992 until 1993, there was never any incident where the students were attacking police or the students showed any, or had any intention of attacking the police. The police were always coming to the students and they were sjamboking students, they would run up after the students, kick them, assault them. Some, they were killed, I mean kicked and assaulted behind. They could not see, because the students were dispersing in most of the incidents as we were trying to march, or we were having some activity, political activities within the campus. So students at the University, during my leadership, never at any stage confronted the police. I preached a very peaceful approach to issues.

DR ALLY: And what about people who were supportive of Mangope's government, whether they were students, whether they lived in the community what was the attitude of students towards them? Because yesterday when we were in Zeerust, there were a few witnesses who came forward to say that if you were not a member of the ANC, particularly after the nineties, you also became a target and your house was set alight or you were attacked. What was the attitude of students towards those who supported Lucas Mangope's government?

MR BOKABA: You see, the students generally did not support the Boputhatswana Government. But there were who might have been supporting it. They were not clear to us. But we did not have a problem with students, particularly with Boputhatswana, I mean those who were favouring Boputhatswana. We were just living in another part of South Africa, where we were seeing SASCO, PASO, AZASCO as the legitimate students' organisations. We never had any student organisation which supported Boputhatswana or Boputhatswana Government or Boputhatswana Ruling Party at that stage, the CPD. So we never even at any stage had confrontation.

But what I can just relate to you is that one day when I was travelling from Mmabatho to (...indistinct) in a taxi, there was this old man who was in the taxi and he appeared to be favouring Boputhatswana. And he was influenced by media, by the pronouncement by the politicians that there is this student called Solomon Bokaba in UNIBO who is causing problems. And I suppose that parent had a kid at UNIBO. Now what he was saying is that he was just talking to others in the taxi, and I was there, about me, the bad things I am doing. He has been planted by the ANC, I do not even know the surname Bokaba in Boputhatswana. So you could see that there was people like Mr Mangope, they were playing on the emotions and the lack of understanding of our people and in particular dealing with the question of tribalism. I am a Motswana, but because somebody who is not Motswana does not understand that Bokaba is Motswana. He thinks that I am just a foreigner who has just come in to cause him, set up by the ANC there. And I was not, I was never on a mission of the ANC. But at that stage as student leader I was a member of the ANC, but the ANC never mandated me and said Bokaba, go and cause harm. I was there performing the task and because at that stage I was called upon to ensure that I move forward.

So it was very clear that that parent then gave me a picture that our parents, one or the other, they are being influenced, but if we can get an opportunity of talking to them. And as time goes on, they started to relive and some even started to approach me to tell me that we never understood. Immediately after I was assaulted so they could see that even if Bokaba is wrong, or he might be doing something wrong, this is no way to subject a person to an ill-treatment. So people started to voice out and definitely showed that the struggles which we waged were the precursor of what happened in the 1994 uprisings in Bop, because we had already planted seeds in terms of talking to people through SRC's and meetings, people who would sympathise with students and so forth and so forth and I am happy that, that is now part of our history which I have to deal with it and forget and move forward.

DR ALLY: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Solly, thank you very much for the clear and lucid submission that you have given us and we do admire the participation of the students and the young people in the struggle. And we are where we are today, because of their contribution.

You spoke of patriotism, reconciliation, I hope young people and students now will just be as vehemently involved in the new issues that are facing, the new problems that are facing our country now and not forget where we come from, the hardships and oppression that we suffered and will be part of a new group of people who are going to support our (...indistinct) new Government in bringing up this democracy. Thank you very much for coming to share with us.

MR BOKABA: Thanks.


Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
SABC © 2019