Human Rights Violation Hearing

Starting Date 26 March 1997
Day 3
Original File

CHAIRMAN: We will now call Mr Barnabas Mbulelo Kekeni Ndleleni.

REVD XUNDU: Will you please stand up Barnabas. Please stand up Barnabas.


CHAIRMAN: Mr Barnabas Mbulelo Kekeni Ndleleni, we welcome you to this Commission today. Fortunately you were here when the mothers who were here, told us their story and I do understand that this was a court case and we would like you briefly to tell us about your side.

Reverend Xundu will lead you with questions on behalf of the Commission.

MR NDLELENI: Thank you Mr Chairperson. My view is that all this conflict between myself and Mrs Tabalaza, when I got my taxi certificate - when my taxi, on my first day to use my taxi, a police came and they took out people from my taxi and they wanted to see my certificates and I showed them my taxi certificates.

I said to them I have been transporting people for a long time without a certificate, why are you coming to ask me today. They said that Mrs Tabalaza has sent her brother who was a police man that I was not supposed to transport people in that area, but we continued to transport people in that area.

I saw, after a while people were not taking my taxi,

they were not using my taxi and I asked them why are you not using my taxi. They told me that Mrs Tabalaza said that you are disturbing her in the business and even people go to your shop to buy.

I said to them the Government gave us facilities to work together, I don't know why you are being disturbed by what Mrs Tabalaza has told you. My taxi was transporting people and after a while, in 1990 on the 17th if I am not mistaken, the Headmen's house was burnt down.

The Headmen went to report because he did not understand all this. The police promised to investigate. When time goes on, up until the date when these houses were burnt down, the youth came and told us that there would be an organisation to be launched from Mount Fletcher.

I said to them they are going to inform me about the date and the venue, I don't remember the date, but they came and reported this to me and we went there.

Before we can even go inside the church, we heard some mothers like Mrs Nomachule saying that don't go in because you are going to be killed. We went to Maluti together with the Headmen because the youth came to tell us that they were launching the organisation and we saw them leaving the church because it was said that they were going to be beaten.

The police decided to come to see what was happening in the village. They said that they may be late, the police came and they called us. They told us to stay in the police station and we stayed there, we spent the night in the police station.

In the morning we got a report that we went to burn Mrs Tabalaza's house and broke her windows. The case went to

court, there was no evidence in court because the police confirmed that we stayed with them the whole night, nothing happened.

I was in court with her husband, she was accusing me of breaking her windows and the police confirmed that we spent the night together, nobody went out of that yard and the case was dismissed.

We tried to find out from the youth why they were on Mrs Tabalaza's side because they came to us and told us that they were going to launch the organisation. They said that Mrs Tabalaza said that her ANC is in Johannesburg and I was supposed to be burnt because I was a member of Inkatha.

We took these reports to the police. As time went on, some youths came to us to tell us that Mrs Tabalaza is talking about you all over because even your children are not allowed to come to the meetings because they are said to tell you the reports, Nozukobangeni and Tamsanqa Ntandazo.

They gave evidence to court that - it was argued that they must go to my house to burn down my house because I was against Mrs Tabalaza. One day I was sitting in my house, I saw these children going into Mr Sipika Zwelonke's shop and I saw Mr Sipika taking his car out to the village where I was born and my van, my bakkie was there to take my brother.

Mr Sipika Zwelonke said to my brother in Bathurst, take your brother's car to the police because these children are going to burn it because my shop was also going to be burnt.

And my van, my bakkie went to Mount Fletcher and to Maluti. Mr Zwelonke Sipika's shop burnt down. After that my shop also burnt down and my house, but people tried to stop fire in my house.

The police arrived, there was chaos all over and their

houses were also burning down.

REVD XUNDU: Let me ask you a few questions to clarify certain matters? What is your clan name, sir? What is your clan name?

MR NDLELENI: I am Ndleleni.

REVD XUNDU: Your clan name?

MR NDLELENI: I am Xhela.

REVD XUNDU: Xhela, sir, you said that in the village you have a taxi and a shop and Mrs Tabalaza has a taxi and a shop?


REVD XUNDU: Both of you owned a taxi and shops and they are legal?


REVD XUNDU: In your village what was the situation before all this chaos? Were there any organisations before, political organisations in your village?

MR NDLELENI: No, there were no organisations.

REVD XUNDU: You say there were no organisations?


REVD XUNDU: The first organisation to be launched was the ANC Youth League?


REVD XUNDU: It was brought by the youth?


REVD XUNDU: It was the first time that such an organisation recruited people?


REVD XUNDU: The Headmen, why did people burn his house?

MR NDLELENI: I don't know, but according to him he said that his house was burnt down because he asked these

children, the youth, to come to him and the youth were on Mrs Tabalaza's side. My wife and I tried to call Mr Naghan and Mr Pope and people of Chamber of Commerce, we called them to Mr Maqosonge's house because they said that they are not going to go to the Headmen because the Headmen was a member of Inkatha.

We tried to call members of the ANC and members of the Chamber of Commerce. Mrs Tabalaza also received a letter inviting her. She said that she is not going to attend that meeting because she joined ANC in Johannesburg and Kekeni was an Inkatha.

REVD XUNDU: In your village, was there any members of Inkatha?

MR NDLELENI: No, but they were just calling us Inkatha.

REVD XUNDU: You said that your house and the Headmen's house burnt down?


REVD XUNDU: Did you lay charges against anyone concerning this?

MR NDLELENI: Yes. The Headmen just reported this and I opened a case.

REVD XUNDU: Who were accused of this?

MR NDLELENI: There were people who were accused, but they were not sentenced.

REVD XUNDU: Was Mrs Tabalaza one of them? Was Mrs Tabalaza one of the people who were accused?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, but when the case continued, it was asked that why is it that she was not reported to be the one who burnt down the houses, in other words, she was not charged.

She was not charged in the court of law. ... (tape

ends) ... the houses were charged. The Magistrate said that when one of the youth said that we were sent by Mrs Tabalaza, Mrs Tabalaza was there, but she left, she went to Johannesburg.

REVD XUNDU: Were these youths sentenced?

MR NDLELENI: No, they were not sentenced.

REVD XUNDU: This shows that there was no evidence to the Magistrate?

MR NDLELENI: It was said that there was not enough evidence that these children were the ones who burnt down the houses.

REVD XUNDU: You said that there were men who came to you saying that they heard that Tamsanqa, Nombuyiselo and Nombulelo said that in the meeting, your shop must be boycotted?


REVD XUNDU: Were these children members of the ANC?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, they were members of the ANC.

REVD XUNDU: Did you try to find out the truth about this matter?

MR NDLELENI: About what matter sir?

REVD XUNDU: The one that it was discussed in the meeting by Mrs Tabalaza that the youth have to boycott your shop?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, I did find that it was true because all they said, happened.

REVD XUNDU: Your shop was burnt down?


REVD XUNDU: But the children that burnt down your house, were not charged?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, they were not charged.

REVD XUNDU: They were not sentenced?

MR NDLELENI: No, they were not sentenced.

REVD XUNDU: They appeared in front of the Magistrate and it was found that there was not enough evidence?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, their lawyer represented them and it was found that there was not enough evidence.

REVD XUNDU: Again, you mentioned Zihle Twala in your statement. You said that Zihle confirmed that it was discussed that your house and your shop and Sipika's house must be burnt.

MR NDLELENI: Can you please repeat?

REVD XUNDU: You said that Zihle Twala confirmed that it was discussed that your shop must be burnt?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, he came to tell me that.

REVD XUNDU: Did he testify in court?

MR NDLELENI: He was not there - at that time he was in Durban.

REVD XUNDU: As you were listening to the evidence here it was said that after all these incidents, you were charged by the Magistrate and you were sentenced. Were you sentenced because you organised people to burn down these houses?

MR NDLELENI: It was said in court I had no right to revenge.

REVD XUNDU: This revenge, you mean that you were leading people who were burning down these houses?

MR NDLELENI: They said in court I was the one who burnt down their houses. The Magistrate took their side.

REVD XUNDU: The Magistrate sentenced you because he was satisfied by the evidence given?

MR NDLELENI: The Magistrate was satisfied, but I was not satisfied.

REVD XUNDU: Did you make an appeal?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, I did.

REVD XUNDU: What was the result of that?

MR NDLELENI: After an appeal the sentence was reduced.

REVD XUNDU: But you were found guilty, but they just reduced the sentence?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, they just reduced my sentence.

REVD XUNDU: You were released after that?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, I was released due to the laws made by Mr Holomisa.

REVD XUNDU: What would you like the Commission to do - what would you advise the Commission to do? Due to the situation in your village, what would you like to see happening in your village so that the people can be compensated?

MR NDLELENI: What I can advise the Commission is to make an investigation of how did all this happen. Who between myself and Mrs Tabalaza is the cause of the conflict and this led to the burning down of people's houses. Because what the police found out we were not satisfied and as they were testifying here, they said that their houses burnt down first, but their houses were burnt down after my shop and Mr Sipika's shop burnt down.

REVD XUNDU: And the Headmen's house?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, the Headmen's house was the first one.

REVD XUNDU: Is there anything else you want to say?

MR NDLELENI: What I can say to the Commission is that this took a long time and we want peace in our area and I hope that - I know that some people have forgiven me because I had something in my house in December, I had a function in December and people came, but now it surprises me that people talk about my wife.

REVD XUNDU: Is she ill?

MR NDLELENI: No, she is not ill, but there is conflict between her and other people.

REVD XUNDU: Is that all you want to say to this Commission?

MR NDLELENI: What I would like to stress is that if there is a way, I would like the Commission to investigate it so that it can get evidence on what exactly happened because people's houses were burnt down because of the conflict between myself and Mrs Tabalaza.

REVD XUNDU: In other words, you want to say that you want peace in your community so that people can be united as they were before?

MR NDLELENI: We forgave each other with the youth.

REVD XUNDU: What about your transport, your taxi's?

MR NDLELENI: My taxi's are used by the people in the community, except for Mrs Tabalaza and Mrs Ndabambi, they do not use my taxi's.

REVD XUNDU: Mr Chairperson, I will hand over to you.


ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Ndleleni, we are not going to want you to explain all the charges laid against you, because there is no time, but I have a few questions for you.

The court case where it was discussed about your shop, you said that the two boys confirmed that Mrs Tabalaza sent them, Tamsanqa Ntandazo was in court. Tamsanqa, was he accused of anything?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, he was accused.

ADV SANDI: Tamsanqa said that Mrs Tabalaza sent them to burn your house?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, he said that in court and the Magistrate asked where is this Mrs Tabalaza and Mrs Tabalaza, I think that she heard all this and she went out of court and she disappeared after that because they tried to look for her.

ADV SANDI: The police who were investigating this case, were they present in court?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, Mr Gomenge and other police were there.

ADV SANDI: Didn't they say that they will take steps concerning Tamsanqa's evidence?

MR NDLELENI: No, they did not say anything.

ADV SANDI: You said that you received amnesty. For how long were you sentenced?

MR NDLELENI: I was sentenced for five years.

ADV SANDI: How long did you serve there?

MR NDLELENI: I stayed for 11 months, I was released in the 12th month, but the sentence was reduced at that time. I was sentenced for two years, if I am not mistaken.

ADV SANDI: The amnesty referred to - I would like you to explain because there are different kinds of amnesty. There were different kinds of amnesty before the Truth Commission amnesty.

MR NDLELENI: I am not sure about the different amnesty that were there, but when our dockets were checked, if you were arrested before - if you were not arrested before, you would be released. Such people were released, so that is when I was released.

ADV SANDI: The amnesty you referred to was it an amnesty where you made a request that you were a political prisoner?

MR NDLELENI: I don't remember whether politics were involved.

ADV SANDI: You head Mrs Tabalaza saying that you chased

her to the bridge.

MR NDLELENI: She said that but I did not do that, I over

- I was going home to Bathurst and my car stopped because of a flat tire and she thought that I was following her.

ADV SANDI: It is clear that there were various things that were happening there. According to you were the police interested in taking steps to try and stop all the chaos?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, they were trying.

ADV SANDI: What were they doing?

MR NDLELENI: They - the soldiers guarded our village so that there can be peace after all this incidents.

ADV SANDI: The accusation that you were a member of Inkatha, was it a popular accusation in the area?


ADV SANDI: Were you the first one to be accused of being a member of Inkatha?


ADV SANDI: According to you, how did you see this?

MR NDLELENI: I think it was just an insult that we were Iynkatha members in our village.

ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRMAN: Mr Ndleleni, this incident happened in 1990 and now it is 1997, why is it that there is no peace because this happened a long time ago?

MR NDLELENI: Mr Chairperson, it is the business - because Mrs Tabalaza saw that our business was progressing. When the ANC was launched, she used the youth in order for them to be against me.

CHAIRMAN: That happened in 1990 when the houses were burnt down. My question is that why is it that after such a long time, there is no peace?

MR NDLELENI: Can you please repeat sir?

CHAIRMAN: This thing happened a long time ago, why is it that you cannot forgive each other in your village?

MR NDLELENI: I don't know sir, why there is no peace. But I forgot all about the incident, I did not know that they were still thinking about these things, luckily the Truth Commission came to our village and we made statements so that we can come in front of the Commission to say all the things that happened and if there is a way, there would be peace.

CHAIRMAN: If you look back now, are there things you feel that you did wrongly?

MR NDLELENI: I don't see anything wrong about the things I have done.

CHAIRMAN: All these things are just accusations?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, they are just accusations.

CHAIRMAN: Even the Magistrate that sentenced you?

MR NDLELENI: Yes, because I don't know why the Magistrate sentenced me because I was the one whose shop was burnt down.

CHAIRMAN: What about others?

MR NDLELENI: Their houses were burnt down, but the first house to be burnt down, was the Headmen's house and Nkobozana's house and my house and then other houses followed.

I was in my house trying to defend myself. I was defending my house.

CHAIRMAN: It is not a usual thing that if something happened to you, you have to revenge it?

MR NDLELENI: It is a usual thing, sir.

CHAIRMAN: But you are saying that these houses were not

burnt by you?

MR NDLELENI: I did not burn them, because I was in my yard. I was trying to stop fire in my home. When the police came, there were people all over the village.

CHAIRMAN: As the Commission, we handle serious situations Mr Ndleleni, it is not a nice thing to us that we handle situations where people are hiding the truth, because we want the truth out, because if people are having businesses, they tend to favour one another. I don't think you are telling us the whole truth, you are denying any knowledge of the burning down of these houses.

This is a usual thing and it happens in our areas, there won't be peace, unless we speak out the truth. If you admit that yes, I have done such and such a thing, under such situations and you ask for forgiveness, so that people in our areas can be forgiving each other so that there can be peace, we are handling serious situations here where people have been killed by the police and by the Boers. If only people can talk to each other in our villages, there will be peace.

We are wasting the Commission's time because you can talk amongst each other in the villages and forgive each other, but this case is with us now and we have to investigate it. I don't think that you were supposed to come here, you were just supposed to sit down and ask forgiveness, thank you, you may step down Mr Ndleleni.

We will now adjourn for lunch, and we will start at half past one.