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Human Rights Violation Hearings


Starting Date 07 May 1997


Day 2


Case Number JB3615

CHAIRPERSON: Welcome Priscilla. Would you please stand up to do the oath.

PRISCILLA MOJE: (Duly sworn in, states).

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Russel Ally will lead the testimony.

DR ALLY: Good afternoon and welcome to you, Priscilla. You are coming to speak about your experiences in 1988, your detention by the then Boputhatswana Government, your interrogation, then also torture that you experienced. So please, will you give us an account of these events.

MRS MOJE: On the 31st of May in 1988, I woke up in the morning and went to Pretoria for an interview for a job. When I went away from the interview to see my family in Pretoria, I returned in the evening, I arrived home at about quarter past nine and then I washed myself up and prepared to sleep.

Before three hours passed, during my sleep, the police arrived. They were in about five vehicles. All of those cars made a U-turn and parked next to my gate. The fifth car was parked up front and I then looked through the window and I said to my husband, do you see what is happening outside? And then he came and peeped through the window also.

Thereafter four policemen came and they all had guns on them. They knocked and said they were looking for Nancy Moje. My husband said this is where Nancy lives. What do you want her for? And they said to him, they want to ask her some questions and she will come back. My husband asked, what questions do you want to ask her? They said, we have been sent to come and pick her up. We do not know what questions they are going to ask her. And they said that Nancy should come outside so that they could talk to her. Then my husband called me from our bedroom. When I showed up, my husband asked them to produce their ID card, that is policemen cards. They showed the cards to him. I do not know whether those were the real ID cards for their job. I then greeted them and they said to me. Nancy, could you please show us all the books of the Triple P organisation that you have. I told them I do not have any books. And they said, why, because we hear that you are the secretary of this organisation? I said our branch has not yet been launched and we have not yet been briefed about many aspects regarding this organisation, therefore I do not have any books that I can show to you. They then entered the bedroom where they came across a receipt book of the creche. I was a committee member of that creche that had been (...indistinct) and they also found a scribbling book which they took away. They said that I should dress up warmly because we are going to leave. I was confused by then. I had only a night dress on me and then I only put on a jersey. I also took a blanket and then we left.

When we got inside the car we found Colonel Pitso inside. Before I said anything, he wanted to feel my hands, whether they were warm so as to make sure whether I had been sleeping or whether I had been outside blowing a whistle. And then I was surprised, because he also called me by name and I did not know him. He was not even talking Tswana, he was speaking Sorolong. He asked me what I was going to do at Pretoria, because someone said I went to Pretoria. I did not answer any questions, because I did not know this person and I did not even know how he came to know that I went to Pretoria.

I then got into the car and sat inside. That is when the car drove away. Inside the car, there was another lady called Rosemary. We were asking one another questions about what is happening and then we went to Mogwase. At Mogwase we were made to sit on benches. We did not sit there for a long time. When the police came and separated us, they put us in two different rooms, that is in groups of three. They asked us questions, trying to take up statements from us. I was in one room with this other lady called Minkie. When these people started asking us questions, they did not start with this lady I was with. They were only asking me. That is the three of them on me alone. Each one asked me his own question and wanted me to answer him correctly. And then I said to them, I cannot answer all of your questions at once. Please let one man ask me questions and then I will answer them at one time. They said this is the way we have to ask you questions, because you know about many things.

They continued questioning me and I answered them without even knowing what I was answering them. Thereafter Colonel Pitso came in and he said, he asked them where Nancy was. They said, here she is. He said to them tear the statement that you have taken from her. I will deal with her, because I heard she is a dangerous terrorist. He commanded the other policemen to take Nancy to the office and then they took me to his office.

When I got to his office, I sat on the chair. Thereafter he said to me, Nancy, I heard that you are the one who is going to give me all the information that I need. That is the information regarding Rocky Malebane. And I hear that you also write each other letters therefore you know all the secrets regarding Rocky Malebane. And then I did not answer back. He showed me on the wall there was a picture of Mr Mandela before he went to jail, because he was still young by then. There was something like a blindfold into that picture. He asked me whether I know that man. Then I said, no, I do not know who he is. Then he said, this is your father. Have you not heard anything about him? I then answered him by saying, I only read about him in the papers. I do not know him personally.

And he said to me do you know whether the Triple P is an ally to the ANC? Then I said, no, I do not know. Then he said you are going to tell me the truth otherwise you will go to Rooigrond. You will stay there for about 90 days, or should I torture you so that you can tell me the truth. I did not answer him. I just looked at him. At the end he asked me for what were we giving the twenty rands out. What was that money for that you gave to Malebane? And then I told him, I did not give anyone twenty rands. Then he asked me what were you holding the meetings for, that is the meetings you are holding at night? And then I said, I have never been to such a meeting, or to such meetings. He said, if you intend to lie to me, I am going to beat you until you tell me the truth. Then I kept quiet. He asked me many questions and he was speaking very fast, not giving me even an opportunity to think of answering him back. I tried to answer some questions, others I did not. He started questioning me from two o'clock in the morning until at about 11 o'clock. I was very tired and I could not even speak by then. When I asked him for some water, he brought two glasses of water in. I then drank that water and the other glass was for me. And I also asked him for that glass that was his. He also gave that glass to me. After drinking the second glass, he told me to go and fetch the water that I have drank. I was very angry by then, because he was asking me questions regarding things I did not know about. And then I told him, if I could try and stand here to fetch you some water I am going to hit you with this glass on your face. All the time when he was speaking to me, he had a gun next to him, but I could not see it all along. I only saw that gun when I told him that I am going to hit him with the glass in his face, because of the questions he was asking me. He put that gun on his waist and he said that we were telling him lies. When asking me questions, he had a paper that he would from time to time refer to before he asked me a question. I only realised that he had this paper on him, very late, and I asked him to give me the paper he had on him. He asked me what I was going to do with that paper. And then I said, I want to see what is written on that paper. He did not want to give me that paper. He said that paper was his. And I said, if that paper is yours do not ask me questions from it then. Then he said, I am going to ask you a question and this time you are going to answer me. Then I said to him, I am only going to answer those questions of the whereabouts I have, other questions, I won't answer.

He said to me that I had learnt that you were holding a meeting during the day when I passed at school. You were going to a certain house next to the mountain. I asked him when was that? He said it was during the week. It is alleged that you went past this school and both you were surrounding the school. I said to him, who told you that? He did not answer me. I did understand who told him. I said to him that teacher who is a liar, who said to you we are going to the meeting surrounding the school. Was he not teaching? He was surprised. Then I said to him, which means that he is not teaching our children because he is only looking and listening to lies. And then he laughed and gave me a hand and said, you are very clever. You understood and you and you made it out from where my questions came.

And then I said to him, I do not want any questions. I have a headache now. My heart is beating faster and I am not able to speak, I do not want speak anymore. I asked him for a sachet of Eno. I asked him to send some of his policemen to go and buy Eno for me. Then when the sachet of Eno came, I drank it. Thereafter he asked me some questions again. And then he asked me whether I am intending, will I be able to go to Rooigrond if I do not answer his questions or whether I want to be taken to the job I had been interviewed for and that would only happen if I tell him the truth. Then I told him, I will not tell you lies so that I can be able to go to work. And then he said he would take me to my workplace, but I must know that he would visit me regularly to come and chat me up. I asked him why would he be visiting me? He said he wanted to know how we live. These people, and then I asked him, are these ladies also going to be freed or are they going to go to the different places where they stay. He said, no, they have not answered their questions. And then I said to him all of us are not guilty here. If I am told that they are not going to be released I had better remain with them here, I am not going to leave them behind in jail and then go home. And then he said to me, it seems as if you do not care for a job. And then I said to him if at all that job was mine you would not have come to arrest when I was supposed to go and work. And then he left me to go.

It was about at twelve o'clock when we left the cell. We were locked up in cell number 11 which was very cold at Mogwase. There were no, not enough blankets. One was only given two blankets with ants in it. Those blankets were dirty and we were given unhealthy food with cold water. We also had to wash with cold water and drink it. Thereafter our husbands started bringing us food. I think after five days our husbands were not allowed in to bring us food and come and see us. When we asked them why they were doing that they said that is one of the commands from the Government, that we should not be seeing or receive anything from outside. We only have to eat the prison food. There were some policemen who had sympathy with us and they would sometimes buy food for us with their own money.

After a while we were called by Mr Tlakane. He use to come to us very early in the mornings to ask us questions. We also gave him the same answer, that we did not have any knowledge of what they were asking us about. Some of the policemen who were young boys, used to use vulgar language when talking to us. They used to call us prostitutes, they used to give us all bad labels, but we did not give in. We had some plans for them. That is we had our own answers to them.

After fourteen days Sergeant Kotsedi, who was a woman, came round. She came to count us in the morning as they usually did and then I saw her name tag written Kotsedi. And then I asked her. Who is Kotsedi? Where do you come from? And she says she was from Lesgekeng. She asked me whether I know the Kotsedi clan and I said yes and then I said my aunt was married at Letsegeng, but she has passed away and also her husband passed away. She asked me what their names were and then I told her. She said I grew up in your aunt's family. Then she said that means you you are one of us then I cannot leave you like this. Then she said she was going to meet Tlakane. Then she went to Tlakane's office.

She went away for about 30 minutes. We had already forgotten about it. We had thought that Tlakane had convinced her otherwise. After a while Tlakane came in on his own. When he came in, he said, Nancy and your people, please follow me. And we went in a queue following him. When we got to his office he revealed some forms and he asked us to fill in those forms and tell the truth on them, because if we did not tell the truth that meant you were making an application to go to Rooigrond where you will spend 90 days, or you will be discharged. That is if you have written the truth, that is the lies he called the truth you will be discharged. And then we said we are not going to bind ourselves to be discharged. And he said, if you do not tell the truth on that form you are going to Rooigrond. The vans are waiting outside.

We put those forms aside and neglected them and then we sat down. When he came to us he asked whether we are prepared to go to Rooigrond. He checked those papers and he found out that nothing was written on them. Then he told the other policemen that they couldn't do their jobs, that is the policemen who had to take care of us. And then he went away.

DR ALLY: Okay, Nancy. If I could just come in here, please, if you do not mind. Just to establish a few things. You were arrested on the 31st of May 1988 and you were kept until the 15th of June 1988, is that correct?

MRS MOJE: Yes, it is true.

DR ALLY: Now during this period where you ever visited by a lawyer, were you ever given access to a lawyer?


DR ALLY: Were you ever charged with any charges against you?

MRS MOJE: No, we were not charged. We only remained inside.

DR ALLY: And were you kept in solitary confinement all this time or were you kept with other prisoners?

MRS MOJE: There were many of us. We were about twenty something.

DR ALLY: And you were all kept together?

MRS MOJE: Yes, we were in one cell with other criminal prisoners.

DR ALLY: Now they, all this time that you were there, did they interrogate you everyday or once every second day? Can you remember how often you were interrogated?

MRS MOJE: In the beginning they used to come on consecutive days, but at a later stage they would jump something like one or two days and then come back again.

DR ALLY: And the interrogation, was it only or mainly around this question of the whereabouts of Rocky Malebane Metseng and the activities of the Progressive People's Party, was that what they were interrogating you about?

MRS MOJE: They also asked us about the attempted coup. They asked us where were we when the coup was conducted and whether we took any part in that coup.

DR ALLY: And did you have any knowledge? Did members of the Progressive People's Party have any knowledge of the coup or know anything about it?

MRS MOJE: No, not at all.

DR ALLY: Now you say in your statement that you were the secretary of the Sorotoba branch of the Progressive People's Party?

MRS MOJE: Yes, I was a secretary.

DR ALLY: How did you get involved? Can you tell us a little bit of these activities of the Progressive People's Party. What led you to want to become involved, knowing that there were risks and dangers?

MRS MOJE: When I first started joining this organisation, it was not banned. It was a legal organisation by then.

DR ALLY: And why did you join the organisation? What led you to join the organisation?

MRS MOJE: I hated the oppression from the Boputhatswana Government.

DR ALLY: During this period that you were, that you were detained without trial, what kinds of torture were you subjected to? Did they ever physically assault you? Were you ever smacked and beaten up or things used, machines or anything like that?

MRS MOJE: No, no-one beat me up, but they used to insult us.

DR ALLY: Were you denied sleep, did they try to prevent you from sleeping?

MRS MOJE: Yes, because most of the times in the mid-evening they would wake us up so that they could count us.

DR ALLY: Did they make you stand in positions for a long time while they were questioning you, those kinds of things?

MRS MOJE: Most of the time we would be sitting down when they were asking us questions.

DR ALLY: And food, did they deny you food while you were in detention?

MRS MOJE: They would give us unhealthy food, food that one could not eat.

DR ALLY: And washing facilities, toilets and so forth, did you have access to that? Could you go and wash yourself, use a toilet?

MRS MOJE: There was only a hand basin with cold water and a toilet with no door. When you were in the toilet, everyone could see you, including the prisoners.

DR ALLY: Thank you very much, Nancy for coming to speak about your experiences.

PROF MEIRING: Nancy, only one question about your present circumstances. You said that you lost your employment being imprisoned, are you being employed at the moment, are you working?

MRS MOJE: No, I am not working.

PROF MEIRING: Who looks after the children? You have a number of children.

MRS MOJE: I stay at home with them. Their father is working.

PROF MEIRING: Thank you very much.


DR RANDERA: From all the statements that we have received, Nancy, from in this, in the old Boputhatswana, most are telling us the story about the coup and support for the Progressive People's Party seem to be from this area would you agree with that?

MRS MOJE: I do not understand the question. May you repeat?

DR RANDERA: Was most of the support that Rocky Malebane Metsing and the Progressive People's Party, the support that they had, was it mainly in this area, in Phokeng?

MRS MOJE: Yes, that was the case in Phokeng. I do not know about outside Phokeng.

DR RANDERA: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Nancy, we thank you for your time that you devoted to us to come and relate to us the problems you went through and the difficulties. We thank God for giving you courage to go through those problems. We thank you for coming and you will hear from us later. Thank you.

MRS MOJE: I also thank you.


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