Human Rights Violation Hearing

Starting Date 19 November 1996
Location BISHO
Day 2
Original File

MR POTGIETER: We welcome the victims and next of kin of those who lost their lives in the incident that we are looking at. Today is the second and the last day of the resumed hearing on the Bisho massacre that happened on the 7th of September 1992. I would also say a warm word of welcome to the dignitaries and other leadership figures who are with us this morning. It's important in order to assist this process and to help with the reckoning of the past that this process is engaged with to have our leaders supporting, physically and otherwise the process. Thank you for coming.

I just need to make one or two preliminary remarks before we start listening to the testimonies. Again just to place on record that this panel hearing the evidence will not be making any findings today. We won't be making a final decision on any of the many issues which have arisen in this particular matter relating to this particular incident. Findings will be made in due course once all of the investigations are done and all of the relevant material has been collected and that will be done by the Commission itself. That's the first point.

Secondly, I need hardly make this point, but for the record I do, and that is to remind people that although we are not in a court of law we do require a measure of



discipline at the proceedings and that the decorum be maintained throughout the proceedings although sometimes

there are issues which arise that we don't always agree with, or we find hard to hear, but it is the very nature of this process that we are called upon to listen to all the perspectives and all the sides, popular or unpopular or otherwise in order to come to an objective decision.

Finally in this regard just to place on record that it is an offence, like it is in a court of law to wilfully mislead the Commission. A person who does that is liable to prosecution.

Just briefly again to introduce the panel which hasn't really changed much since yesterday. On the far right, on my far right is Advocate Ntsiki Sandi, who is a member of our Human Rights Violations Committee. He is from this region. He is based at our office in East London. Next to him is Ms Tiny Maya, member at the same committee also based in East London and in this region, Eastern Cape region. Next to me is June Crichton who is also a member of the same Human Rights Violations Committee, she works in the region but she is based in Port Elizabeth. Next to me on my left is the coordinator of our region in the Eastern Cape and of our office in East London, the Reverend Bongani Finca who is a Commissioner. Next to him, from the Western Cape, based at our Cape Town office, is Dr Mapule Ramashala. She is a Commissioner and a member of our Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee. Next to her from Gauteng, based in our Johannesburg office is Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize. She is the Chairperson of the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee. Next to her is Reverend Mcebisi Xundu who is a member of the same committee, Reparation and Rehabilitation, EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


and he is based in our offices in Port Elizabeth.

I am going to ask Ms Maya to read the list of witnesses that will be heard today.


MR POTGIETER: Just to announce the rest of the programme. After the tea adjournment we would be getting a submission from Brigadier O J Gqozo who was the Chairman of the Ciskei Council of State at the time in September of 1992 when the massacre happened. That should take us up to the luncheon adjournment and after that we will receive submissions from Dr Antonie Gildenhuys who was at the time Chairman of the Peace Accord Secretariat, as well as testimony from Colonel Chris Nel who was then the head of the Ciskei Military Intelligence. So we will receive those submissions in addition to the testimony of the persons who have been named in the list read by Ms Maya. As you can well understand it is a busy programme and I am going to proceed immediately to start taking the first of the testimonies and I am going to ask Reverend Xundu to call up the first witnesses and let them take the oath.

REVEREND XUNDU: Mr Chairman I call upon Kevilin Nokhumzi Khundulu, Mr Lawrence Mangona and Dilala Mtshamba.


LORANCE MANGONA: (sworn states)

DILALA MTSHAMBA: (sworn states)

MR POTGIETER: Advocate Sandi will facilitate the testimony of Mrs Khundulu. The testimony of the Mangona family will be facilitated by Ms Tiny Maya, and the testimony of Mrs Mtshamba will be facilitated by Ms Crichton.

MR SANDI: Thank you Chairperson. Mrs Khundulu you have made an application to appear before the Truth Commission to EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


tell us about what happened to your son when the people were shot at Bisho on the 7th of September 1992, is that so?

MS KHUNDULU: Yes that is correct.

MR SANDI: What is the name of your son?


MR SANDI: On that particular day of the march to Bisho your son also participated?

MS KHUNDULU: Yes he also went to the march.

MR SANDI: Can you Mrs Khundulu can you please tell us how did you get the news that your son was shot? Who told you the news?

MS KHUNDULU: On a Monday in 1992 in September I was at work. When I came back from work my brother Peter was with me and I arrived at my house. They left to my father-in-law's place. They came back to me and when they told me this I became unconscious.

MR SANDI: You said your son is one of those people who died during the shooting at Bisho?

MS KHUNDULU: Yes. They told me that he died on the spot.

MR SANDI: Where was his funeral?

MS KHUNDULU: It was in Ginsberg.

MR SANDI: Wasn't he buried in the mass funeral with the other ANC members?

MS KHUNDULU: Yes he was with the others in Ginsberg.

MR SANDI: Mrs Khundulu can you please tell us how did this whole incident affect you?

MS KHUNDULU: After that I was not well in health. I was visiting a clinic regularly because I was suffering from high blood pressure. What was more painful about this, this son of mine had a matric and he was ready to apply to further his education. On that particular year he wanted to EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


go to the Initiation School. We made all those arrangements so that he can go to the Initiation School in November on

that same year.

MR SANDI: Was everything arranged for that initiation?

MS KHUNDULU: Yes, everything was there, even the blankets that were to be used.

MR SANDI: Ms Khundulu you said among your children, among your five children, he was the first born?

MS KHUNDULU: Yes he was my first born.

MR SANDI: Did you ever go to the legal representatives to seek for help or advice as to what to do about this incident?

MS KHUNDULU: No we didn't go to the attorneys.

MR SANDI: You didn't hear about the other people who were also affected by this shooting that those people went to the attorneys Smith and Tabatha's in King Williamstown?

MS KHUNDULU: No, I didn't hear anything about that because I was told that everything is in the hands of the ANC organisation.

MR SANDI: When you heard that the people were consulting legal representatives did you go there?


MR SANDI: Is that all that you would like to tell us Mrs Khundulu, or perhaps there is something else that you would like to tell us about your wishes?

MS KHUNDULU: What I would like to say is that I request that my children should be assisted financially in education.

MR SANDI: Are all these children still at school?

MS KHUNDULU: Three of them are still at school and one of them is attending a pre-school.



MR SANDI: What standards are they doing?

MS KHUNDULU: The old one is doing standard 8 and another

one is doing standard 5 and other one standard 3.

MR SANDI: Is that all that you would like to tell us Mrs Khundulu?


MR SANDI: Thank you very much Mrs Khundulu. I am going to hand over to the Chairperson.

MR POTGIETER: Thank you Advocate Sandi. Mrs Khundulu I thank you in anticipation. I will first proceed to the testimony of the rest of the people and then I will come back to the panel to hear what questions they have got.



MR POTGIETER: We will now proceed to Mr Mangona and when he is finished Miss Mangona if she wishes to add anything can then add to his testimony. It's over then to Ms Maya.


MS MAYA: Thank you Chairperson. Mr Mangona and Nonexto(?) I just want to make sure so that it is clear that you are together and who exactly is going to give evidence, have you clarified that?

MR MANGONA: Yes we have.

MS MAYA: Who is it that is going to give evidence instead of Mrs Mangona?

MR MANGONA: I am going to give evidence.

MS MAYA: Is your name Lorance Mangona?

MR MANGONA: Yes it is.

MS MAYA: Are you going to talk about your son Mbulelo who was shot and killed in the Bisho massacre, is that so?

MR MANGONA: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: How old was Mbulelo at the time?

MR MANGONA: When Mbulelo died he was about 21 years of age.

MS MAYA: What was he doing, was he still a student or was he working at the time?

MR MANGONA: The previous year he had been working and then in 1992 he wanted to carry on with his education. He was at Mxenge when he was shot.

MS MAYA: Is it true that no other member of the family was with him at the stadium on the march, you just got a report that he had been shot, is that so?

MR MANGONA: Yes it is so.

MS MAYA: Who told you that he had been shot?

MR MANGONA: We struggled because he stayed with me and



when we parted in the morning before the march and before I went to work he had said to me that dad there are a lot of people that are going to be, people that are going to die, therefore I am a bit worried because I don't think I will go to the march. That is how we parted. We bade each other goodbye. He said he would just study.

I went to work, when I came back in the afternoon I was a bit restless and worried so I went home to find out whether he had gone to the march or not and he wasn't there but his books were on the table. I think he'd been studying.

After that I was not really concerned about his whereabouts because he'd said he's not going. I looked around from his friends' places until it was very late. I could not find him. The next morning I got up early, I went to hospitals, I went to Mdantsane, I did not find him. I did not get any direction even at Cecilia Makiwane. That day I gave up. It was a Tuesday. When I found my child it was on a Wednesday, that is after we had gone to police to hospitals and not found him.

What gave us some direction is that the other guys at Mxenge, that were at school with him came to tell us that he had gone to the march. I had not even listened to the news on the Monday evening because apparently the others had seen him in the news injured.

MS MAYA: Where did you find him?

MR MANGONA: We found him at the police station in Mdantsane. We had already given up. We thought he might have died in the bushes next to Bisho.

MS MAYA: After you found him did you get some help from attorneys?



MR MANGONA: We did not get any help.

MS MAYA: Did you go to ask for help?

MR MANGONA: We took a while going to the attorneys because we thought that his organisation would take care of everything. When we went to the lawyers it was already late but our case is still with the lawyers.

MS MAYA: Which attorneys?

MR MANGONA: The mother went to Linde & Dorrington, there is Miss Black who is taking care of this case.

MS MAYA: Mrs Mangona told us that her health deteriorated after her son died, can you elaborate on that?

MR MANGONA: Yes it is so, her health did indeed deteriorate. This child was very close to all of us, but especially the mother. They had a special bond. I think that when he was going to work he was going to help his mother therefore the mother's health really, really deteriorated. She cannot even work. To this day she requested a disability grant, this has not been granted to her.

MS MAYA: What is wrong specifically?

MR MANGONA: Her blood pressure is not stable. She can't work well. Her limbs are very weak.

MS MAYA: Does she get any treatment from the doctor?

MR MANGONA: Yes she gets treatment.

MS MAYA: I am sure that you have a request to the Commission today?

MR MANGONA: I think that even though a compensation cannot return our child when we look at the way people gave up their lives for the freedom of South Africa we thank the Lord that we too contributed to the freedom, the happiness that we are at in South Africa today. It is an honour to a



family that our children were a sacrifice for the freedom of this country. That is my sole request. That because the mother and the son had a special bond if the mother could perhaps be helped. I think she stipulated in her statement her requests, especially about the disability grant. It takes too long, it takes years after you have made an application to get this disability grant, I don't know what's going on. Perhaps she could be helped maybe with her other requests that she has put on her statement.

MS MAYA: Thank you Sir. Nonxede is there something that you would like to say in addition to your father?

MISS MANGONA: No there is nothing more I would like to say.

MS MAYA: Thank you. Mr Chairperson I give over to you.

MR POTGIETER: Thank you Mr and Miss Mangona.



MR POTGIETER: I am going to hand over to June Crichton to assist Mrs Mtshamba with her testimony.


MS CRICHTON: Thank you Mr Chairman. I greet you today. I noticed that you were not feeling too good just now, are you all right to continue?

MS MTSHAMBA: Yes I will try.

MS CRICHTON: Your son Mxoleli was a member of the Ciskean Defence Force. I would like you to tell us what happened to him on the 28th of October 1992.

MS MTSHAMBA: He was on his way to work early in the morning. He got injured in the bus. They were shot at with a grenade.

MS CRICHTON: Was he the only person fatally wounded on the bus?

MS MTSHAMBA: No, he was with the other soldier whose name was Tavi, and the other one whose leg was amputated.

MS CRICHTON: Was your son killed immediately, did he die straightaway?

MS MTSHAMBA: He got injured on a Monday, he passed away on a Wednesday evening. I was informed late on a Monday that the soldier's bus was shot at with a grenade. When I heard that I sent one of my children to go and tell my sisters that the people in the bus were injured. He came back and I sent him again to one of the relatives to go and tell her that there was an accident. I couldn't walk at the time because one of my legs were injured. He went there to tell my relatives. It was painful for me because if I could walk I would go there to the hospital and look for him.

I also sent the same child to one of his colleagues at work to get more information. He came back and said all the EAST LONDON HEARING TRC/EASTERN CAPE


people who were in the bus didn't turn to work.

Early on a Tuesday morning I woke up, I took my things, I took my crutches, I went to one of his colleagues. I knocked there at his house. I asked him to phone me and tell me where he was. I went back home. When I arrived home one of my sisters who was working at Bisho came and told me that she was not going to work that day, she was going to Bisho Hospital because some of the survivors were at Bisho Hospital and some of them were at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.

At about eight I received a telephone call saying that my son is at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital. One of my sisters came she said he was - he didn't look like a person who was breathing, he was at the ICU. He was not breathing. He was badly injured. They organised a car for me.

MS CRICHTON: When you are ready Mrs Mtshamba I would like to ask you about whether there was a court case of any sort, and if there was whether you received any kind of compensation? Are you ready to answer that question, did you hear it? The question was whether there was a court case.

MS MTSHAMBA: I am not sure whether there was any case. I got his pension fund, about R3 000. From Old Mutual I got R10 000.

MS CRICHTON: Mrs Mtshamba the death of your son affected you and we can see that, but please tell us what problems you have experienced as a result of his death.

MS MTSHAMBA: The doctors said I am suffering from heart attack. I have got problem with my memory. What I am asking from the Commission is that since this was very painful when I saw my child at the hospital he didn't have



hands, his head was severely injured. At least if I can see a person who is responsible for this and talk about reconciliation I feel that I don't have peace in my heart because I don't know the person who killed my son.

MS CRICHTON: Did your son...(microphone not switched on)

MS MTSHAMBA: He didn't have children.

MS CRICHTON: ...(indistinct)

MS MTSHAMBA: Yes he was supporting me. Though we are staying in Dimbaza at the moment he was supporting me and we do not have a house, we are staying in a shack and he also made a request for a house and then he was promised a site in Dimbaza. We said he can stay in Dimbaza where we can start looking for a house. One of my daughters used to stay with him.

MS CRICHTON: Is there anything else that you want to tell the Commission other than what you have said so far?


MS CRICHTON: Thank you. I will hand you back to the Chairperson then.

MR POTGIETER: Thank you Mrs Mtshamba. Thank you June.

Can I just take the opportunity to thank all of you for having come and shared your stories and your feelings with us, you have all lost loved ones and it's quite clear that the wounds are still very fresh.

The testimony that you have given also reminded us of the fact that although the focus is on what happened on the 7th of September in the tragic events of that day and the many, many people that were injured and killed there was also events that followed. We are reminded of the fact that violence leads to violence and leads to violence and it's a vicious circle.



We have noted Mr Mangona what you have said. It is precisely, in order to recognise those people who have paid so dearly for what we have and what we enjoy today that we have got this process. A lot of what we are doing is in recognition of that fact.

We have listened to the appeals that you have made to us. That has been noted. It will receive the necessary attention from the Commission, but thank you once again for having come and shared your stories with us. I wish you well.