CHAIRPERSON: Mr van der Heever, I've been requested to take a short adjournment, but I see that it is nearly ten to eleven so perhaps we could, instead of taking a short adjournment and coming back for a couple of minutes, we'll take the short tea adjournment now. We'll have a twenty minute tea adjournment thank you and we'll resume.
MR VAN DER HEEVER: Mr Masil, you made a very lengthy statement from page 71 to page 78, if I remember correctly, of the minutes and I want just to refer you to certain paragraphs. On page 72, paragraph 6, the last two lines
"I did not think that the other two were also members of APLA, because I did not know them very well."
MR MASIL: That is correct, Chairperson, that is the statement I gave the police. That is the statement I gave to the Court, but the truth is when we left Alexandra we were coming to Northern Province to do APLA operations.
"On the 5th of February 1994, I was the last one to get up. Everybody was already awake. Moss then came to me, he informed me that we were not there for the engagement party, we were there to look for the Kruger millions."
MR MASIL: All those area we went to, the members of Murder and Robbery Unit gave me an advice to formulate my statement in such a way that we were supposed to rob all these areas, because the police were aware that I was not military trained, so they promised me much, that even in Court my sentence is not going to be the same as my co-applicant, because they were trained and I was not.
MR MASIL: I did not tell my legal counsel the truth, because I did not have opportunity to consult with him and then again I was using that advantage that I'm going to have a lighter sentence, as I was promised.
MR MASIL: All things we did, we did because we were instructed by Morapapa, so for us not to enter at Magoebaskloof Hotel and shoot people, it's because Morapapa instructed us to go and rob the area and leave.
"I then said that I knew the area. At approximately 11 o'clock in the morning we went to the Magoebaskloof Hotel to see if we cannot rob this place."
MR VAN DER HEEVER: Yes, that's true. The members of Murder and Robbery Unit in Pietersburg told me that in many instances I should say that to all these places we went with the intention to rob, not with the intention to kill white people, because they wanted me to be against, or to contradict my co-accused so that in Court I'll be acquitted, or my sentence would be lighter.
MR MASIL: Not in Lebowakgomo, but he said that on the way. There is a shop where we entered, where Moss and Zweli bought newspapers there, that is where Moss said when we return in the evening, we would pass there.
MR MASIL: The truth is, we did not know when do they close that shop and then again we would not enter the shop if there were no people. We were supposed to enter there whilst people were still inside, as it happened at Roedtan at Sunshine Cafe.
MR MASIL: No, that was not my suggestion, it was the suggestion of Moss Motapo. He informed me as to whether is there a town between Zebediela and Marble Hall which I know, then I explained to him that I know Roedtan.
MR MASIL: I said so to my legal counsel and in Court and to the police because the police promised me that if I say so, then again if I tell the Magistrate to whom I made my confession to, my sentence would not be the same as my co-accused.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, now you said that you went to a shop 15 kilometres from Pietersburg to rob, but that shop was closed and then you went to Roedtan. Now isn't Roedtan, you must help me because I don't know this part of the world too well, but isn't Roedtan far out of the way to Alexandra and you're now running short of petrol? Why take a long detour like that towards Marble Hall?
MR MASIL: The route we used, initially we used N1 because it's the national freeway from Johannesburg to Messina, it passes Pietersburg, but when we returned, Moss told me that we should use another route which I know, then I chose Pietersburg/Marble Hall road, where it - and it goes to Johannesburg from Pietersburg.
MR VAN DER HEEVER: Mr Masil, according to your statement page 77 paragraph 22, Mr Pypers' vehicle was stripped and some of the parts were sold, is that correct? Were taken by Silo's father, is that correct?
MR MASIL: Like the first applicant said, I don't know what happened to that car, but the following morning when we arrived in Johannesburg, I woke up and I went to visit my girlfriend in Soweto overnight, but when we were arrested we said that the car was stripped because we didn't want them to know where we have taken the car to or where we have sold the car to?
MR MASIL: I was the driver and I have a mechanical knowledge, but like I said I went to Soweto to visit my girlfriend. When I came back I was just told that the car has been sold and they said if we are arrested we should say to the police that the car has been stripped, but from my side, I don't have any knowledge about the car.
MR MASIL: After we had arrived at Sunshine Cafe and shot people, Zweli and Morapapa went back. I tried to drive the car for half a kilometre, it can be 500 metres or so and the car stopped, we could not proceed, so we left the car there and took everything that was in the car and we went into the bush. We stayed in the bush until the following morning.
MR MASIL: Like I have said, my job was to drive the car. The people who entered the shop were Zweli and Morapapa. Those are the people who can explain why they did not take money, because they knew that we did not have money for petrol.
MR MASIL: Yes, the money that we had, it's not the money that could buy two litres of petrol, because I remember I did not buy a full pack of cigarettes, I bought loose cigarettes and this young man we found in the shop, because I did not have money to buy a box of matches, he gave me some few cents to buy a box of matches in the shop and then I left, so the money that I had could not even buy two litres of petrol.
MR VAN DER HEEVER: Mr Masil, are you saying to the Honourable Commission that certain parts of your statement, your statement from page 71 to 78 are true and certain parts are false, certain sections of this statement, is that correct?
MR VAN DER HEEVER: And you said on a question - your counsel put it to the Court on that particular day that you had no political motive because you were promised a more lenient sentence if it wasn't politically motivated, is that correct?
MR MASIL: Yes. The Murder and Robbery Unit in Pietersburg realised that amongst ourselves I was the only person who was not trained, because these other people also confessed that they were trained, so they wanted me to blame my friends so that it could appear in Court that I was actually forced to participate in all these activities.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mhlongo said well it was just the unit that was going to do that and it was going to be a long process, bit by bit, slowly, one step after the other gradually recruiting people, doing operations one after the other, did you hear that?
MR MASIL: Yes, I do agree with that and I would also play a very important part in those activities because I schooled in Northern Province and I understand the language there, so most of the people I know in that Province, so I would be very helpful to them.
CHAIRPERSON: You also said that you knew that the date for the new elections were the 27th of April 1994. Now were the four of you intent on conquering the Northern Province between February and the 27th of April 1994? Did you intend following the objective as laid out by Mr Mhlongo, to carry on after the elections with your endeavour to take over the Northern Province?
MR MASIL: Like the first applicant has said, even Morapapa was not doing things that he himself thought about, he was in contact with the leadership. I did not know some of our leaders, so we would get information from him and instructions from Morapapa.
MR MASIL: He was able to meet with the leadership because I remember one day I took him to Turfloop because he said to me he was going to phone the leadership. Those are some of the people that I've never met.
MR PONI: ; He was an instructor in the camps when I was still a Political Commissar and when I became a military attaché in Harare in 1993, he was already inside the country, so he was - time and again he would come to us in Zimbabwe and we'd consult.
MR PONI: In his specific case, mostly he was deployed within the Transvaal machinery, operating in the Johannesburg, Gauteng, Alexandra area. In this area we had a guy who passed away in an operation by the name of Moss, I have just forgotten his surname but he was Moss. He passed away in one of the operations here and then there was a gap here, there was no Commander in the specific area in the Northern Province per se. Then he was identified through also with interaction with the Transkei internal APLA Command that he be removed wherever he was, so that he should come this side in the Northern Province to establish APLA structures in terms of training, resources, that was in 1993.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Now you have heard the applicants, they told the Committee that part of their mission was to rob, if I may use your word - you were not using that word, you were using the word repossession, yes - was to repossess and what you have heard the applicant telling the Committee and what was done by, under the command of Morapapa or Moses Motapo, was it in line with your instructions, or in line with APLA and PAC at the time?
MR PONI: Well we can go into ...(indistinct) in terms of robbing and repossession, what I believed in and I still believe what we have done was correct, was the repossession in terms of the political understanding I have. He was not out of line in terms of what he was doing because his specific instructions were to establish the command, APLA's Command Structure in this part of the world and also it is a fact we believed in terms of being self-sufficient, so where he could also organise resources, which we normally refer to as repossession, so he was not out of line.
MR PONI: In this specific area, particularly in the Northern Province, we honestly speaking, we never had a very strong structure here APLA-wise, that is why he had sort-of a double type of an agenda, not having to be specific, so he had to establish a unit and also to make the machinery to be self-sufficient, hence he was also in a way sort-of autonomous in terms of fund-raising, if I may say so.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Okay. Now let's go now to the specific. At the time these two incidents happened, I understand that there was an announcement on the 16th of January that the arms struggle is suspended and this operation happened in February. Can you explain that, whether that what they did was still in line with APLA and PAC?
MR PONI: There were numerous problems to be very specific here, so in that sense that when, in the January the 16th when the PAC leadership announced the moratorium on arms struggle, that in the honest true sense, it was not done in a manner of consultation with the Commanders also on the ground, so also we had to battle and try to pass the message through so it would have been very difficult within a week of that specific period, it needed time to consult all forces and also to make them to agree, because even the party itself took a very hasty decision in agreeing into participation into negotiation at the time.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Can you be able to just tell the Committee your Command structure, where the members of APLA, that is the Commanders or members on the ground, if there is an announcement, they hear on the radio, or TV or in the paper they read that the arms struggle is suspended, so they have to stop everything?
MR PONI: No, it does not go like that and it never go like that. We were a military - I'm not going to lecture, we all know what the military command structure was. It's a fact yes, the politicians did take a decision, but it needed also us as Commanders at various levels of command also to communicate that and unfortunately at that specific time there was not a single military Commander that talked, other than what was read in the newspapers, because we had to make that into reality.
MR VAN DER HEEVER: ; And what were the instructions, or what were - what happened if an APLA member for example was arrested and tried? Was he supposed to reveal his membership as an APLA member or was he supposed to refrain from informing his counsel that he was an APLA member?
MR PONI: In the specific case, I would not know the actual ...(indistinct) of it, but what I know is that once you are arrested, it's a fact that there is no way you could hide per se your identity per se. You might withhold certain information yes, which you know will compromise those that were in existence in your specific units, but to say: "I am an APLA member" then, I don't see any problem in it, but the holding of information thereof, yes.
MR PONI: What I would say, I would maybe consider also his level of academic qualification, but - in terms of understanding certain - but what I can say, it is a fact that when the then leadership of Makwetu took a decision that they are suspending the arms struggle, even my personal self, I was not agreeing at that specific time that the arms struggle should stop but of course, knowing that I'm a political cadres we immediately tried to rally, but not all of us could do that because we still thought that the road to - the arms struggle is still on, but I will also understand that they were not in the picture of what was - I also understand the political pressure. Fortunately I had an opportunity of being an attaché, I knew what was the position of Africa vis a vis the present dispensation, there were numerous meetings forcing us to an extent that even in Harare, I know it for a fact because I was a military attaché, arms were taken away which were under my command in the stores at the time, were taken away, so I would understand the feelings of underground people not wanting to agree with that. I clearly do understand.
ADV BOSMAN: If a person did not agree and there was publication which had come to their notice that the arms struggle had been suspended, then in the absence of any order to the contrary, would that not be stepping out of line?
MR PONI: He, or the units on the ground, they should have waited for a military Commander to tell them that. We were not just a political part of it, we were not just members of the PAC, we belonged to an armed wing of which each had its own rigid structures and at that time when these things happened, we were still also battling amongst ourselves so as to say, we agree, we don't agree, do we continue, we don't continue, those were some of the things, so hence we had to go into a crisis management, trying to battle, force some of these things, so I accept that this type of thing did happen.
MR SIBANYONI: Yes, Mr Chairperson. Colonel, what was the APLA'S policy in terms of, or in so far as the expansion of the cadreship? In other words, what was it expected for Moses to do in establishing structures in the Northern Province?
MR PONI: Okay. He had - there were two programmes. First as I've said that there was someone who was operating here, earmarked to be the Commander here, Moss, but unfortunately he died within the process and in that he did have some units that were not in control of anybody, that was another problem, so his task was also to re-establish the links with the units that were already in existence that were established by Moss and also to establish new units in terms of having more people, in terms of expansion, in that regard.
MR PONI: Okay, fine. What he would do, there were different programmes. There were those he could, let's say train them on a short-term, there were those he could identify and then take them to Transkei where we had established military bases, so it would depend also on his discretion because he was the Commander of the area and he was given quite, if I may say, a bigger mandate to operate on, so he could identify those, either if he had people for short-term or for long-term, then those he identified - I'm not in his shoes now- - or the criteria he has, I will be unable to say, but he could train people here in any part of the Northern Province, or some, he may take them to Transkei for further training and further utilisation in some other part of the country.
MR PONI: As I have seen his role, he was just a driver. As I have listened here, he was just a driver, he never got into any combat type of a situation, so sometimes - which means we had a very vast programme, maybe it might not, at his level Morapapa might have know, because he was more or less a Senior Commander to them, we had the actual combatants themselves, we had the sympathisers and we also had quite a number of people, not necessarily - those who were in the underground structure, but okay, as I hear him now, he was a driver, so he was - if I would utilise him in that manner, then he was one of those sympathisers who could risk their lives for the cause of the party and they were utilised as such and if I've seen, he never participated in the actually shooting of anything, as I hear now here, so he was one of the people, if I may use the correct terms, a sympathiser but under the banner of APLA per se.
MR PONI: It depends also on the volume of what you had repossessed really because also you have to be able to sustain yourself, you should be able to sustain your structure, so there's no way, if you took let's say R700 then you would phone Letlapa or ...(indistinct), and tell him: "I've got R700", that would have been - I would regard that specific Commander as having no initiative, but I would agree, if it would have been quite a volume of whatever he has repossessed, definitely mechanisms were in place that he should declare. unfortunately I was not in that part of that specialised unit, I don't know what mechanisms they had in place, but I would just out of the general knowledge, I would definitely - they would have declared that if it was quite a big amount of money in a channel that they knew how they would.
MR SIBANYONI: You have listened to the evidence here, it would appear, you may differ with me, it would appear that the focus was on reconnoitring places for possible attack and one will say it would appear Moses was not concentrating on establishing structures and doing other activities of APLA, but he was just focusing on identifying places or possible targets, what is your comment on that?
MR PONI: What I can say, this is a narrow, it might be just a narrow version of whatever, because I don't think in the throughout of Moses' period here he has been with them throughout, but in the narrow perspective and also I don't know in what role Moses utilised them. He might have identified them or earmarked them since he had the other mandate of trying to make the system to work, maybe these were his nucleus in the repossession wing, it might be possible, but I don't know. I'm definitely sure that this is a narrow version of the wider mandate that he had so I cannot really dwell on that specific ...
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Colonel, we've heard evidence from Mr Mhlongo that Motapo, Moses, communicated with the Director of Operations, Mr Mphahlele and one would have expected him, as you say that he was now the Commander of the whole of the Northern Province, that he would be in regular contact with the leadership.
CHAIRPERSON: Been in regular contact with his superiors. You said yourself that there wasn't much of a structure here, he was coming in, he was trying to build it up, so one would expect regular communication.
CHAIRPERSON: So, one would have expected that he would have communicated with leadership people, people his superiors, after January the 16th and before February the 11th. Well that's what Mhlongo said, that he in fact - now if let's say somebody like Mr Mphahlele, I don't know whether he did, but let's communicate with him personally, but let's say somebody like that, he probably would have said to him: "Look, there's been a cessation, a moratorium in the armed conflict." One would expect if he's got discipline, to obey that. Would you agree with that?
CHAIRPERSON: I mean he's a Commander, he's a senior person. Now, if he didn't obey it, what did he hope to achieve? What could he achieve? You've heard Mr Mhlongo saying that they were out to conquer the Northern Province, four people, seems - I'm not a military man, never have been, but it seems absurd to me, that intention that at that time, in those circumstances.
MR PONI: Sir, I share your sentiment, but if you were in the, particularly in the APLA and in the PAC in general when the announcement, in fact even before the announcement if I may just draw you back because this is quite a political issue, Mr Johnson Mlambo flew from Dar Es Salaam to a Cape Town congress to convince only the membership so as to accept the change that was there. He was nearly beaten in that only the membership, not APLA itself that time, I was in Dar Es Salaam at that time, just to tell the membership internally that no, the situation - Africa thinks we must participate in the negotiations and we must participate in the negotiations in Cape Town, I think it was well read in the newspapers then, those who were in South Africa at the time. He was booed in that meeting, he could not finish what he was saying and at that time he was the most respected person because he was the Chairperson of the PAC and also the Commander in Chief of APLA at the time but his credibility was lost because of the militancy within the PAC at that time and this was a very short space of time for anybody really. I agree with the sentiments of also of the gentleman here when they continued because also ourselves at that time, we could not take a very serious decision. We had senior internal members of the High Command who could not see things, also the other people do see things. We had to iron out those differences and they continued, despite the fact that that was done, but they continued and they are still continuing. When we are meeting we are still labelling each other, sell-outs and the rest, amongst our own selves, so this is the depth of the problem.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that was before the negotiations yes, but at this stage there had bee negotiations which were concluded. The Interim Constitution was in place, it had been agreed upon. PAC played an active role in the negotiations.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, just may I chip in, just to put some of these things in perspective, the congress. I agree with him there was a year before the negotiations, Johnson Mlambo flew in, there was that problem. Now in December before the suspension, there was a conference, where a decision was taken Chairperson by the PAC that the leadership is given mandate to suspend the arms struggle when it's opportune to do so and Chairperson, I think I've done in many of these hearings, that it was specific that before the announcement is made, the leadership had to consult all the Commanders and come to an agreement.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson I want to, when you are putting, so that you may cover, just for the sake of time. Chairperson, I want also to put into perspective that definitely as he put it, there were members of the High Command inside and they were outside and they have to do damage control and in terms of their system, they have to contact the inter High Command which was responsible to tell the cadres to stop.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. No but what I was getting at, I was just saying that negotiations had been concluded, Interim Constitution was in place, elections were around the corner, everybody knew that those elections would result in a new dispensation, it was quite obvious to everyone, there was no question about that, so January the 16th, the announcement that APLA was to cease operations really you know, that far advanced in the political developments of the day, didn't I'm sure to most people, come as a surprise because things were in place now waiting for the election. What's the big surprise? Did they expect to carry on war after the elections, or what?
MR PONI: Fortunately in front of me here I have a picture of - he was in the camp on that specific day and that was 1993 and here he said and he told our soldiers specifically here that PAC can only consider abandoning the bullet in overthrowing the regime when the ballot is secured. Those are politics now. When do you consider the ballot is secured or when not do you consider the ballot is secured? So then to - maybe myself I would understand the political terms and all, but a soldier, a foot soldier down there, he took this very literally without the necessary political space to accommodate.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. Before you proceed, sorry. We did, as a Committee, receive a letter from Mr and Mrs Pypers who are the parents of the victim who was shot or captured at Ebenezer and shot near Moria. In this letter they basically express the view that they believe that it was robbery etc, but they do conclude by saying that they will leave the decision as to whether amnesty be granted or not in our hands. Mr Mbandazayo.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, there is no dispute that the applicants were members of the PAC and the first applicant, that he was a member of the Azanian People's Liberation Army, APLA. There is no dispute there, Chairperson. It's common cause.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, what I'm saying is that he was a member of PAC and that, Chairperson, because he was a member of PAC, definitely Chairperson he falls under that ...(indistinct) before he can be a member of APLA, he has to be a member of PAC, so definitely he would not have been involved in the activities of APLA without being a member of PAC.
Now, Chairperson, as you have heard from Col Poni, that because he was used as part of APLA operatives of that unit, so definitely in that technically he was a member of APLA though he was not trained because he was used as a driver in that, so he participated in the structures of APLA but he was not a fully trained member of APLA, but of course as a member of PAC, he was involved.
The second point, Chairperson, is the full disclosure, whether they have disclosed their involvement. Chairperson, from what I've gathered even under cross-examination, there's no dispute as to how they did what - how they did the act they did, that is how they killed the Bouwer family and the Pypers family. It seems as if there's no dispute about that as to how they did it. It seems as if there's an agreement that the way they put it before the Committee as to how they did it, now it seems to me that, Chairperson, that they have made a full disclosure with regard to their participation with regard to this incident.
Now, the other aspect is whether what they did was politically motivated. Chairperson, it's my submission that there is no dispute that Moses Motapo, Chairperson, Morapapa as he is commonly known, was a member of APLA and he was a Senior Commander of APLA.
Chairperson, I don't want to go much about Moses Motapo Chairperson, I know that this name has come in many of the hearings, the operation in which it was ...(indistinct), where he was given orders. Even Chairperson last week, his name cropped up in the hearing in Johannesburg where he was mentioned as Morapapa, they did not know and I informed the Committee that it is Moses Motapo. Chairperson there is no dispute that he was a Senior Commander of APLA and as Col Poni put it, he was tasked to perform certain duties. Chairperson and those duties he was tasked to perform, he had to perform them in the Northern Province. He is saying that he was given a very much bigger mandate Chairperson, as everybody knows in this Committee and that's the reason ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, sorry to interrupt you Mr Mbandazayo, but about that, just on that point, the first applicant, Mr Mhlongo said that they were told to operate in East Rand. He said they were very upset and they didn't want to do it and they didn't agree and then they basically like took it upon themselves to go to Northern Province to get out of the people in the East Rand, that's what he said.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson I think that came out when there was this question that they were not happy, but initially he said that he was at home when Morapapa came. It may well be, Chairperson that he did not want to operate at the East Rand when Morapapa came, because that was his testimony that he was at home when Morapapa, Moses Motapo came, but I think he was trying to, when he was asked by a Member of the Committee, Adv Bosman, that can you tell us about this disgruntlement and then is the time when he said look, they were supposed to operate in the East Rand and there was this problem. So I think when Morapapa came, Chairperson, not all of us, Chairperson will articulate the proceeding in the same way, put it in same way, in a proper perspective, but when Morapapa came he was disgruntled with what was happening in the East Rand and the problem that I was referring to was happening in the East Rand where there was this problem, so definitely he was not doing anything, he was sitting. When the Senior Commander came to him to come to the Northern Transvaal, then he gladly accepted to come in the Northern Transvaal because there was this problem in the East Rand where he could not operate.
MR MBANDAZAYO: True Chairperson. Chairperson we know what was happening Chairperson and we have said many a times that, you know most of the time the statements which are made to the police and to the Court are not necessarily correct too because everybody wants to get out from trial, that's what is uppermost when you are arrested, you want anything that will free you. Definitely Chairperson, everybody knows what was happening there.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson I'm just coming to that point. Chairperson definitely there was no running away that they were members of APLA. They could not run away because the police have all the data about the members of APLA, so that one they could not run away, but they can run away from the fact that what they did, they did it on behalf of APLA or PAC, that they can hide, Chairperson. As Col Poni put it, in order - it depends on the circumstances whether, if you divulge us, you won't sacrifice some of the operatives, so it depends on the circumstances.
CHAIRPERSON: I can understand and we've dealt with many of these matters. During the apartheid regime it was very politic to cover up the fact that you, that the offence that you were charged with was done with a political motive, that you were acting for APLA or for MK because that, at that time, would have been an aggravating factor, it would have made things much worse for the accused person in those Courts, but at the time of this trial, political activity, there was no reason tactical reason in a trial to hide the fact that you were acting politically. In fact at this stage it would probably have been to your benefit to say: "Well look, I did this in the fight for the struggle and on behalf of APLA and it wasn't my own." It would have been changed - because of the change in dispensation from an aggravating factor, to a mitigating factor.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, I may not agree with you, Chairperson, it depends on the individuals, even to persons who are presiding, some of them, to others it was a ...(indistinct) factor because there was the political dispensation at that time, so it depends Chairperson on who was presiding, so one may not say if you divulge it then you'll say: "Look, what you have been fighting for, it was just on the door, you were going to have election", so it's an aggravating factor to others, it depends on who is presiding Chairperson. I wouldn't agree with you that it was a mitigating factor, Chairperson, but I want to dwell more, Chairperson that, you know we had - I don't want to, because there are still going to be hearings on other matters, we know what had happened, most of the people have made confessions on something they have never done and it has come up to this TRC where people come up and say: "Look, it was me who did that", they never did it and they were convicted on the confessions. I'm not saying everybody, Chairperson, no I'm not generalising, but that should be taken into account.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes Chairperson because some - you know those people who were arrested are not sophisticated people, they would buy any story that: "If you say this look you'll be free and you'll not be sentences heavily".
MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes, no, no, I do understand but I wanted to elaborate more that it cannot be put on the applicant to say: "Look if you have said this" because definitely my understanding, even myself Chairperson, if I can put myself in the shoes of the Judge, anybody who's doing anything political at that time when the elections were at the door, it would have been an aggravating factor because the party which he belonged to was participating and they were coming for election, so definitely one would hide that because definitely it would put him into problems.
So it's my submission that, Chairperson, definitely the point that they were hiding definitely may have helped them in getting very harsher sentence then, but it is subject - it's a debatable issue Chairperson, but it's my submission that, Chairperson, definitely one understands why - I do understand why they ran away from that fact that what they did at that time, they were doing it for political purposes.
Now coming to the other aspect, Chairperson, which has been fully canvassed and what I'm trying to say is that the statement which has been made by the applicant to the police, definitely Chairperson, one would ...(intervention)
MR MBANDAZAYO: Both applicants, Chairperson, I'm talking about both applicants. Definitely Chairperson, when he's arrested, Chairperson, he will say anything which will save his skin, which he thinks and at the end of the day, if one, we are representing these people, you find sometimes that look this was stupid, if he had done this, he would not have been in this mess in which he is, but at the time he did this, he believed that this will help him because he had no other option but to pursue that particular line. So it's my submission that, Chairperson, the statements which were made with the intention of going to Court, definitely I know that though it's taken into regard in some other aspect, but it's not the thing that the Commission will decide on the amnesty because most of the people lie in Court, they lie deliberately in Court because the first thing that comes to mind is the way of getting out of this whole thing. "If I put it this way I may get out with the whole thing." So definitely Chairperson, if one admits that: "What I did, I did this and I did with the purpose of political objective", you are sunk, there's no doubt about that.
Now, therefore Chairperson, it's my submission that the applicants have met all the requirements of the Act and that they belonged to a bona fide political organisation and what they did, they did in pursuance of the struggle of the PAC at the time. Chairperson I want to emphasise that because I know in most of the hearings that some of the applicants, even if you can take that to - it counts in their favour to say because it was - some of the applicants were saying: "Look we never heard about it, we are in the rural areas, it took some time before it came in", but they were honest to the Committee and said: "Look we never - we heard about that", but definitely there was a disagreement which Col Poni has indicated and of course he put it bluntly, the first applicant, that: "I did not accept, me personally" but it was not depending on him, it was depending on the Commander as correctly put by Col Poni, they have to wait until they are told that: "Look, you suspend now, we have decided to suspend the arms struggle", from their Commanders and if they have done that after that Chairperson, definitely I would agree, I wouldn't be arguing now to you. I would say: "Look, they did that in defiance, so what they did, they did for their own benefit, it had nothing to do with the struggle at the time", but as Col Poni correctly put it and of course he put it in a very diplomatic manner, but I must say that Letlapa Mphahlele was a Director of Operations and everybody was looking at him and as he said that they have to do damage control, the first thing they have to get hold of the Director of Operations who was in the Transkei in the rural areas. I must say ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: You don't have to tell me about the telephone system in Transkei, Mr Mbandazayo, I come from there. You know it. Also myself Chairperson, I'm from that area so Chairperson you know it and everybody, as he indicated that not everybody was happy and it's clear that he would run away also himself and Chairperson, if I may put you into perspective, you know Chairperson that the Commander of APLA, Sabelo Pama was here on the New Year's Eve of January 1984, 1994 and what was his message? The struggle continues. That was his message and that the forces should hit hard and it was broadcast on television and he left the country and everybody - definitely, it's clear that by the time he left the country he knew that the arms struggle is going to be suspended but he could not face these forces because he knew what is going to happen.
It was on 1st January, this New Year's message of January 1994. He broadcast it, he was in Transkei at that time, but it was broadcast after he had left the country and it was clear he could not force, it was clear when he left that message, he had already made up the decision with the leadership but without his forces, because he knew what was going to happen, he had to go outside before and as Col Poni put it, by the time it was announced he was in Namibia and they were in Harare, they did not know what would happen, what he's going to do, they have to do damage control. He was nowhere to be found himself. So Chairperson now they have to contact Letlapa Mphahlele in Transkei. They couldn't find him and it took some time before they got hold of him and by the ...
MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes of course Moses was communicating with him because they were in agreement that the struggle must continue. Now the High Command outside has to contact him to say: "Look, a decision has been taken, the arms struggle has to be suspended, he has to stop everything now" but they could - of course Moses has to contact him but at that time Letlapa had not been ordered by Sabelo Pama to stop everything and by the time everything was ordered, where was Letlapa? He was in Lesotho. He has run away because everybody was after him. He was hiding in Lesotho because also himself, he could not face the forces because everybody did not understand. Chairperson I know that's not the platform for that because it has a lot to involve in it and of course at the end of the day who is suffering? The ordinary foot soldiers.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes, Chairperson and the victims. The victims and the ordinary foot soldiers because of the politicians and the politicians now are nowhere to be - they are alone in jail and the victims are here, they are nowhere who are responsible for the whole thing. Must they, Chairperson, be punished because of the decisions of the politicians? Must they suffer because of the decision of the politicians because they take hasty decisions, they could not face them to tell them and explain to them that look, this is the decision and they decided that they'll hear it over the radio or on the papers and they knew that APLA has to follow certain procedures before it has come to ... Chairperson I know that I've been involved in many hearings with the Chairperson and one of the incidents happened in March, if Chairperson would remember, it was a repossession here, it was an APLA - and they came from Lesotho. At that time the arms struggle was suspended and Letlapa was there and it was under his command and Tabelo Maseko was there, who's the head of repossession and he testified in that hearing that: "I ordered them because at that time there was nothing as APLA - we have not taken that decision to suspend the arms struggle and those people were granted amnesty, if I still remember ...(indistinct) the other applicant they could not get him because he was at Lesotho, he did not receive the notice so it's still going to be heard.
So Chairperson it's my submission that the applicants should not - the responsibility of the politicians should not be put on their shoulders and therefore Chairperson they should be granted amnesty as they applied for as they have met all the requirements of the Act.
MR VAN DER HEEVER IN ARGUMENT: Mr Chair I know the rules differ before the Commission, but with the greatest respect, I have a problem with the credibility of the two applicants. Applicant number one conceded under cross-examination that it was their intention to rob the bank at Mankweng, Standard Bank, it was their intention to rob the bank at Lebowakgomo, it also was their intention to go back to two shops to rob those shops. Applicant number two under cross-examination and despite his statement said no, it was never their intention to rob the two Standard Banks and the two respective shops. That's number one. Number two, as far as applicant number two is concerned Mr Chair, he now avers that his statement to the police, which was never used in Court, is false. His evidence before the Court was false and even his instructions to his counsel were false. So Mr Chair, firstly and I know the rules therefore I have a problem with the credibility of the two applicants.
not to achieve a political gain. To get petrol money. Why did they want petrol money? To go back to Alexandra, not to go and attend the political meeting or anything like that. They conceded under cross examination that the reason why they've robbed the Bouwer family or the restaurant and killed the two Bouwer husband and wife and wounded the young Mr Bouwer was to get petrol money, it wasn't for any political gain. It was solely and they conceded that under cross-examination, to get petrol money. Why did they want petrol money? To go back to Alexandra. Therefore Mr Chair it is my submission that from the statement and from the cross-examination, it's my submission that the applicants were busy with criminal activity and not with, as far as the Bouwer family are concerned, I'm not appearing on behalf of the Pyper family Mr Chair, was there was no political aim or political gain to be obtained by killing the Bouwer family. The reason was to get petrol money to go back to Alexandra. Thank you Mr Chair.
MR MBANDAZAYO IN REPLY: Chairperson firstly on the question that the applicants, the other applicant indicated that the intention was to rob and the other one said it was not the intention to rob this place, Chairperson it's my submission that both applicants agree that they went to this with the purpose of
reconnoitring the place for purposes of attack, so they are not denying that. It was reconnoitred for purposes of that, so it's not in dispute that the purpose was, at the end of the day, for going there to rob, though they did not do it that time because the others were saying it was for reconnaissance first, which is understandable Chairperson.
Now coming to this point, the other point is that, Chairperson, it must be borne in mind by the Committee that there was a Commander. They were always acting on the instruction of the Commander, Morapapa, who they were depending on. They did not take the decision on their own and coming to this point, the decision was that they need petrol and it's agreeable, the petrol for what? They were busy reconnoitring the places and for whose benefit were they reconnoitring these places when they ran out of petrol? Was the purpose of pursuing the struggle. And then they ran out of petrol and the petrol, they were going to use it, was in furtherance of that and according to them, but at the end of the day, who was commanding? The Commander decided at that time, as the first applicant indicated, he never said anything and he attacked.
Now Chairperson, should they be now at the end of the day - unfortunately he cannot come and answer for what as to when did he decide to change his mind. We don't know whether, Chairperson, at the end of the day he was going to take the money and also kill the people, but what they were told was that they wanted - they have to have the money for petrol because they cannot continue with their activities without the money for petrol. So definitely Chairperson, if one reads that in all in perspective as to what the activity was, but if you take incident by incident as to what was happening, definitely Chairperson we will punch all the holes, definitely, you won't get the gist of the whole thing as to what was the purpose and we'll remain with many questions, but unfortunately the person who's supposed to answer the question, is the person who was tasked with the duties to establish APLA.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, he didn't seem to have been very efficient. I mean they get a vehicle, they rob it, they sell it for R7 000, they run out of petrol money five days later. That doesn't sound like good planning, it doesn't sound like a thing a reasonable person would do.
MR MBANDAZAYO: I agree with you Chairperson. Who knows that when they were going to Alexandra he wanted to go and collect the money for which they sold the vehicle. Nobody knows about that because he cannot answer, he's the person, but Chairperson if one, in all the operations he has been involved in, unfortunately the one which he did not look like he did not plan properly is the one at the end of the day he died in because in all the operations he was involved in, he was regarded as an efficient person ...(indistinct - speaking simultaneously)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, because normally with these sort of operations you'd have reconnaissance work done, check it out. I mean what happened in Roedtan, they send in the second applicant, a chap who's had no training at all. It just seemed sloppy and unprofessional.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes, I agree with you Chairperson, 100% on that aspect and that's why he met his fate exactly in the operation in which he has been doing, in all the operations in which he was involved in, all the others where he has been mentioned, he was involved in, was everybody - they were done efficiently and everything. He was doing reconnaissance and everything, but on this one where he met his fate and it's where he was ...(indistinct) in all his preparations for this, he died.
So Chairperson it's my submission that at the end of the day, the applicants themselves they bona fide believed that what they were doing was in pursuance of the struggle. It may well be that the Commander has his own ideas but they won't know that, but themselves, they bona fide believed this is a Senior Commander of APLA and what we are doing, we are doing in pursuance of the struggle and I think that's the test, Chairperson, what they believed in when they did that.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Mbandazayo. That then brings us to the conclusion of this hearing. We'll reserve our judgment. We are obliged to hand down written judgments and in any event we would require to deliberate with each other on the submissions made and on the evidence presented and we'll endeavour to hand down the decision as soon as possible. I would like to thank the legal representatives, Mr Mbandazayo and Mr van der Heever and Ms Mtanga for their assistance in this matter. And this, Ms Mtanga, brings us to the end of our roll.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I would, before we adjourn then, just like to thank all the people concerned who made our hearings here in Messina possible. I'd also like to say that for some of us it was the first time in Messina and we found it to be a very pleasant place. I'd like to thank the owners of this magnificent hall for allowing us to use it as a venue. It's a very nice venue. I'd like to thank the interpreters for their long and hard task of keeping up with everything that is said. Thank you very much. With the media people, with the caterers who have spoiled us and with the witness protection people and the security people and the Correctional Services people who had to travel a long way to get here, although there was some mix up about that, but thank you everybody for making our hearings possible. If I've omitted a name, it's without intention, but I won't intentionally omit to mention the names of Mr Japhta our Logistics Officer and Mrs Pollock our Secretary, for assisting us as well. Thank you and also Mr Bouwer, we appreciate the fact that you have come here today and you obviously have our deepest sympathies about this tragic incident, the loss of your parents and also your own personal loss and I'm sure it must have taken a lot of courage to come here and that is appreciated. Thank you.