Amnesty Hearing

Starting Date 07 December 1998
Day 10
Case Number AM 7732/97
Original File

CHAIRPERSON: We will start the proceedings. Just for the record, today is Monday the 7th of December 1998. This is a continuation of the amnesty hearings of members of the Thokoza Self Defence Units.

The panel is constituted as previously indicated on the record and the appearances are basically the same, except that this morning Mr Mopedi would be representing the first and I believe all of the remaining applicants who are scheduled for today.

We would just like to apologise for not having been able to start earlier. We have had some logistical problems related to the fact that some of the members of the panel, travels back when we reach the end of the week, and has to travel back on a Monday morning, and that often leads to logistical and other problems like this morning.

We apologise for the delay in starting the proceedings.

The first application this morning is that of Mr Alpheus Vusimuzi Twala. It is application number AM7732/97 and the application itself appears at page 132 of the Lusaka B bundle.

Mr Twala, good morning, and welcome. Will you please just put your full names on the record for us please.

MR TWALA: My name is Alpheus Vusimuzi Twala.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Please sit down. Mr Mopedi.

EXAMINATION BY MR MOPEDI: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Twala, you are the applicant in this matter, and you were a member of SDU for Lusaka B, Thokoza, is that correct?


MR MOPEDI: When did you become a member of the SDU?

MR TWALA: In 1993.

MR MOPEDI: Who was your Commander?

MR TWALA: It was Makosonki Mhlope.

MR MOPEDI: As a member of the SDU, what were your activities?

MR TWALA: It was to defend, to protect the community.

MR MOPEDI: You were defending the community, against whom were you defending the community?

MR TWALA: We were defending the community against the Inkatha Freedom Party members.

MR MOPEDI: Could you tell this forum your activities as a member of the SDU, in which incidents were you involved?

MR TWALA: The incident that I was involved in was the Buthelezi Street incident.

MR MOPEDI: Proceed to explain.

MR TWALA: Towards the end of 1993, I can't remember the month or date, there was an attack that took place at Slovo, the Inkatha Freedom Party members launched an attack to the community there.

At Slovo in 1993, we saw people coming, running towards our section at Lusaka B. The Commander told me as a member of SDU and he gave me an AK47 and he instructed me to go and defend and protect the community there, so as to prevent the attackers from proceeding to our own section, after attacking Slovo. I did so.

MR MOPEDI: So what happened there?

MR TWALA: I went there to Buthelezi Street, where the situation was tense, and there was the people fighting and I also used my AK47 and I started shooting also.

MR MOPEDI: Were you alone?

MR TWALA: I was not alone, there were other people from Slovo and Qaza Mhlope came and Gushi came, but Gushi has since passed away.

MR MOPEDI: Was your Commander there?

MR TWALA: Yes, he also come, he was with us too and the Commander from Slovo section.

ADV SANDI: Sorry, can you slowly repeat the names you have just given of those who were involved with you?

MR TWALA: It was Qaza Mhlope and Gushi, I don't know his surname. It was Commander Makosonki Mhlope.

ADV SANDI: Which one was your section, you say the idea was to prevent these people from coming over to your section. Which one was your section?

MR TWALA: My section was Lusaka B.

ADV GCABASHE: And just finally, Commander of Slovo, was that Bonga?

MR TWALA: No, it was not Bonga.

ADV GCABASHE: Who was it?

MR TWALA: I think it was Blah. There was exchange of fire, and one would take cover so as to run away from the bullets. That went on and on until such time the Stability Unit came and when they came, we just decided to run away because we knew very well that these people would shoot to kill.

When we were trying to run away, Qaza fell and he is the one who got injured. He was cut by something on his neck and we went back, we took the guns back to the Commander and we took Qaza to the hospital.

MR MOPEDI: Did you shoot in the direction of Inkatha members?

MR TWALA: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOPEDI: Do you know whether you killed or injured anyone?

MR TWALA: I cannot say yes or no, because we were also shooting to kill, because we had no choice, but I did not see anyone who was injured, because the Stability Unit came and we ran away, we did not have a chance to go back to the scene and check who was injured.

MR MOPEDI: Do you exclude the possibility that you might have shot, killed or even injured someone?

MR TWALA: It is true, because one can be killed by a gun. I can say that is possible.

MR MOPEDI: You had an AK47 in your possession, is that correct?

MR TWALA: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOPEDI: Was it licensed?

MR TWALA: No, it was unlicensed. That is why I decided to come here and testify and ask for amnesty because I was in possession of an unlawful arm.

MR MOPEDI: Prior to 1993, were you a member of an SDU, prior to 1993, or were you ever involved in any activities in which you were defending the community?

MR TWALA: I can say I was never involved in any organisation, but I was just supporting the ANC. I was still a scholar at the time, but I was an ANC supporter.

MR MOPEDI: If I understand you correctly, you were not a member of the ANC, but you actually wanted to be a member of the ANC, is that what you tell us?

MR TWALA: Yes, I also wanted to be an ANC member. I only had a membership card for the ANC in 1993.

MR MOPEDI: Are there any further incidents after this one?

MR TWALA: We were patrolling in our section, I was involved in that, in the barricading also.

MR MOPEDI: So patrolling, what were you actually doing when you were patrolling, could you be specific?

MR TWALA: What we would do, was to look out for arms that would just ring, that were fired, and we did not even know who were firing. Whenever we got those arms, we would confiscate them and take them to the Commander if they were unlicensed.

If they were licensed, we would take the particulars of those people and make a list of the people who were in possession of lawful arms, licensed arms.

MR MOPEDI: You personally, did you at any stage confiscate any firearm or any weapon from any person?

MR TWALA: Yes, I did get a firearm that was unlawful. We took it to the Commander and we told him that we got it somewhere else and that particular person was questioned and we told him that if we happened to find a dead person, he would be in trouble because we are the people who were supposed to be having guns.

Then that person was reprimanded and he was told that he won't get that arm again, that firearm and the firearm would be used to protect the community.

MR MOPEDI: And you also said that you were using a firearm, an AK47 at Buthelezi?

MR TWALA: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOPEDI: What happened to this firearm eventually?

MR TWALA: I said I used the firearm.

MR MOPEDI: And then what happened to it finally, did you keep it for yourself or what happened to it?

MR TWALA: Will you please repeat your question?

MR MOPEDI: The firearm, the AK47 that you were using at Buthelezi, you told us that you were given that firearm by Makosonki, your Commander that you should use it to shoot, so after the shooting, what happened to it?

MR TWALA: When I finished using the AK47 and the Stability Unit came, I ran away and it was still with me because I was not injured.

We took Qaza and Gushi took Qaza's firearm and we went back to the section and we submitted the firearms and we arranged a car to take Qaza to the hospital.

MR MOPEDI: If you say you took it back, you took it back to your Commander?

MR TWALA: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOPEDI: Did you get it back again from your Commander, the very same firearm?

MR TWALA: No, I did not get it back because they were rotating. We did not have enough ammunition and firearms in the section.

MR MOPEDI: So are you applying for amnesty?

MR TWALA: Yes, that is correct. I am asking for amnesty because I used an unlawful firearm.

MR MOPEDI: Do you have further incidents that you would like to tell us about?

MR TWALA: No, there is nothing else. I have mentioned the two incidents that I was involved in, Buthelezi with an unlicensed firearm and we were barricading and patrolling during the night, those are the only two incidents.

MR MOPEDI: Do you also ask for amnesty in case that you shot people when you were shooting at members of IFP at Buthelezi?

MR TWALA: Yes, I am applying for amnesty for that, because I will never know if my bullet did hit someone. That is why I am also applying for amnesty. I know a firearm is a dangerous weapon.

MR MOPEDI: Thank you Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Adv Steenkamp, questions?

ADV STEENKAMP: No questions, thank you Mr Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Any questions by the panel?

ADV SANDI: Thank you Chair. Mr Twala, what happened to the firearm which you say you confiscated from a certain person in the street?

MR TWALA: That firearm was taken to the Commander and we took that particular person and that person was questioned by the Commander and he explained to the Commander how did he get that firearm.

ADV SANDI: What kind of a firearm was it?

MR TWALA: It was a small firearm.

ADV SANDI: Your lawyer has asked you what happened to the AK47 and you said you did not get it back because they were rotating. Can you explain this?

Do you mean to say that you never saw this particular AK47 or you were later given a different AK47?

MR TWALA: I am trying to say at that particular time, I left for the hospital, then I did not get a chance, I did not get that firearm again and go on other missions, just like the one at Slovo section.

After that, I never had any firearm. Nothing happened that required me to go and fight.

ADV SANDI: These incidents which occurred at Buthelezi, are you sure that is the only incident during the conflict between IFP members and SDU's, is that the only incident you were involved in? There is no other incident whatsoever?

MR TWALA: Yes, that is correct.

ADV SANDI: Thank you. Thank you Chairperson.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you Chair. Just one question, can you clarify the patrolling and barricading that you were involved in, was that pre-1993 or after 1993?

MR TWALA: It was in 1993 and up to 1994, shortly before the elections.

ADV GCABASHE: As a member of the SDU at the time?

MR TWALA: Yes, I was doing that as a member of the SDU.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you very much. Thank you Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Mopedi, any re-examination?

MR MOPEDI: None, Mr Chairman, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Twala, thank you, you are excused.

MR TWALA: Thank you very much.