Human Rights Violation Hearing

Starting Date 06 August 1996
Day 2
Original File

CASE NO: CT/02201




COMMISSIONER: Would you please stand.

WILHELMINA MOSES Duly sworn states

COMMISSIONER: Thank you, you may sit. Glenda Wildschut will facilitate your evidence, over to her.

MS WILDSCHUT: Good afternoon Ms Moses. --- Good afternoon.

Are you comfortable and can you hear me clearly? --- Ja ek kan nou.

Thanks, before I ask you to tell us a little bit about yourself - Ek hoor nie.

Are you okay now, can you hear us know. --- Nou kan ek hoor ja.

Good before I ask you to tell us a little bit about yourself and then also to tell us about your daughter, I would like to just read some of the context statement that has been prepared by your research team so that we understand what the context was and - at the time of your daughter's shooting. On June the 17th 1980 violence broke out in the Coloured Townships of Elsies River and Lavender Hill during the commemorations of the June 16, 1976. Events reached their peak on the night of the 17th of June and the morning of the 18th of June 1980. A two day stayaway was held to commemorate the uprisings of 1976. Apparently the police detained Coloured leaders prior to the 16th and 17th of June in an effort to avoid violence as a result of the memorial activities. In addition the Government banned meetings and gatherings during this time. These actions by the Government may have contributed to the climate of disorganization and spontaneous gathering which led to the uprisings. At the time there were ongoing boycotts of Coloured schools protesting conditions of the schools as well as bus boycotts that was brought on by fare increase, busier increase. Incidents of arson, looting, plundering and general uprising market the events. There were some speculation about the involvement of gang members. Police action involved the use of tear gas, baton charge and live ammunition. Police declined to issue a casualty list, the total number of deaths recorded at 5 Peninsula hospitals was more that of - more than 42. Of those who died, 26 were identified by relatives, over 200 people were injured. A large number of woman, young and pregnant mothers and children were amongst the victims. According to newspaper reports, Johanna Moses, your daughter, was in Halt Road, Elsies River at about 8:00 pm on the 17th of June 1980. The witness might have made a mistake with the date, I wasn't meant to read that one, I am sorry. Shooting took place on the evening of the 17th and the morning of the 18th. Johanna was 18 years old and had a 2 year old son called Mark at the time of the incident. --- Mervin - Mervin verkeerde naam.

Okay, maybe you should tell your story now in your own words and perhaps we can have a look at the evidence that we have here and see whether it should be corrected. Go ahead please and tell us your story. --- My daughter and a friend of hers left home, violence was taking place in Halt Road, the police were firing tear gas, there was stone throwing and there was a whole commotion. But they came around the other side of the flats and they were knitting doily’s and they were on their way to another girl's house. Around about six o'clock or maybe quarter to six this other friend came to her and I asked Hester where is Johanna, and she said no I am also looking for her, I don't know. She and Hilda left here together, but there was such a violence and noise outside that one couldn't actually leave one's home, I was just standing on the stoep and look through the windows. The police were shooting, and then I went back into my house. Later on I was once again standing on my stoep and I saw them dragging my daughter from the corner up to Halt Road. And I then ran into the house and said to my husband they dragging Lucky to the corner, it seems to me as if she's been shot. The ambulance came and took her away to the hospital, I didn't have a phone at that stage, so I couldn't even phone the hospital it was too dangerous outside to actually go out. The next morning I went to my work, I worked at Tygerberg, and I spoke to my Matron and I told her that my daughter had been shot. We first had a look at the - in the trauma unit to see whether she was there, but she wasn't. My Matron took me into her office and said to me please sit down Ms Moses, and she asked for a cup of coffee for me and I said no I don't want any coffee. Afterwards she came back to me and gave me an injection, the doctor came and gave me an injection and they told me my daughter was in the Conradie Hospital and she died there, seven o'clock that morning. And I went home, she had a little boy of two years old. I can't remember how much later but there was an inquest and the Magistrate called me to the Court in Goodwood. And I wanted to talk and I wanted to say that she - she just left the house, then they silenced me and they gave me papers but I don't know much more. I then went home and we arranged a funeral and we buried her. She had a two year old boy and I had to care for him, and I got no support for his care.

Ms Moses we know that you've gone through a very painful time, having lost your daughter in such a tragic way. You mentioned that you --- May I add something.

Yes certainly. --- In December two gangsters came into my house, they stormed into my house, I was sitting watching television with my daughter's little boy. And he told me he was hungry and I said I am not going to cook any meat right now, I'll just make some eggs for you. I'll cook some eggs for you and we were watching television in the lounge and two gangsters entered the house, we were sitting opposite each other and the one gangster shot the little boy in the head and one in the chest. That's all thank you.

We know that you are grieving very deeply Ms Moses and we share your grief. Could we - could we ask you one or two questions just for clarification. Can you tell us how old Johanna was when she was shot? --- She was 18 years old.

And at that time she was not involved in any political organization or any activities. --- No - no not at all.

She was merely doing some handwork, knitting with her friend and so on, they were busy doing the handwork together and she was on her way home. --- Yes that's correct.

Was there ever an inquest held? --- The Magistrate notified me, he said I should come to Court but when I still wanted to talk, and tell what happened, he didn't want me to speak. He just read from some papers but I - I can't even remember what he said.

Did - and they didn't invite you to the inquest? --- No.

At the time of your - at the time of your daughter's death, the two year old child, how did it affect his life at the time of your daughter's death. How did he react to his mother's death. --- At that stage he - he was still very small, so he didn't take that much notice of his mother, he was closer to us his grandparents. And he was actually too young really to take much notice of his mother, he was very close to his grandfather in particular.

So you were really like a mother to your grandson, he was very close to you. --- Yes.

This death of your grandson, happened in December last year? --- Yes.

So you are still feeling very sore inside and very grieved still about the loss of your daughter and the loss of your grandson. --- And - my man also died - my husband died in February last year.

Ms Moses you've had many-many losses in a very short period of time. I wonder how that has affected you as a person, how has that affected your life? --- I am coping as a result of my children's support and the sisters and the nursing sisters at the Trauma Centre gave me a lot of support because they were very fond of me. And they were very close to me and they helped me a lot, they gave me a lot of support.

We are very grateful that you have come to tell us your story, a very painful story today. But I am wondering how it is that we as the Truth Commission can help you, what are the kinds of things that you would like from us? --- What you can do for me is to punish the policeman responsible for my daughter's death or the State must give me some form of compensation for the fact that I raised her child, I paid for my daughter's funeral, it cost me nearly R3,000-00 and I had to care for her child for 16 years, I received not a cent for that. And I didn't look for help because I had other children working for me and my husband was also working, I was working.

Thank you very much Ms Moses, we have noted what you have requested from us and we certainly will take very seriously the request that you have made to us. I would like to hand over to the Chair as I do not have any more questions, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Sometimes when you look at -if you look at a person, you wonder - you wonder how it is possible to still stay upright, because the weight of all your burdens is such that it is really - it is quite incredible. But here you are and you can still talk and I think you can still laugh and I am sure you can still cry. We want to thank God for having created people like yourself. And we want to offer our condolences to you and we pray that God will bless you and that God will sustain you and strengthen you. And we will try - we will try and do what we can do for you. But thank you very-very much.