MR LAX: (Inaudible) ... background issues about the community and about the context that gave rise to the violence that happened in Trust Feeds. Trust Feeds was a freehold area, and still is a freehold area, which was under the threat of removal, is that correct? --- That is correct.
It was one of the many so-called black spots that the previous Government wished to take off the face of the map and consolidate so that there would be wholly white owned areas and wholly black owned areas. --- It's true.
Now, you were a member of a community organisation, and one of the founders of that community organisation in Trust Feeds, one of whose duties, as I understand it, was to show the sustainability of your community by developing it in the face of the failure of the powers that be to provide essential services. --- It's true.
Who was the - or which body was responsible for providing services to Trust Feeds? --- Before the Trust Feeds Crisis Committee was formed there was no body that was legally responsible for development, and then the Trust Feeds Crisis Committee was formed to take that duty.
Trust Feeds was actually administered though by the Development and Services Board, which is a Government body of the Provincial Administration which acts as a local authority in small areas like Trust Feeds. --- It is true.
Now, one of the strategies which the previous Government used to try and force people in a community like yours to move was to withdraw all the essential services - health services, road services and so on, and is that what gave rise to the formation of your Crisis Committee? --- That is true.
Now, when did your community, and how did your community, come to, in essence, win the struggle against removal? --- I say it was in - it started in 1986,but for us to succeed in not being evicted from these areas it was in 1987, whereby the Government in Pretoria promulgated a law that we were not going to be evicted, we were going to be permanent residents in that particular area and we were going to be developed.
Is it correct that in 1987 your Crisis Committee, together with some other NGOs that were assisting you, went and had a meeting with the then Minister of Plural Relations, Piet Koornhof, in Pretoria, where you were able to persuade him that your community should be allowed to remain where it was? --- That is correct.
Mr Mbongwe, in order for the vast majority of the audience present to hear you could you please speak Zulu. Those that don't understand Zulu have the benefit of the interpretation service. Thank you. Now, just by way of context, once your community had won the - or re-established the right to remain where they were, that's when your troubles really started. Is that right? --- That is correct.
Please tell us briefly about what happened after 1987. --- As from 1987, when we had got an assurance that we were not going to be evicted from those areas, our Committee, that is the Crisis Committee, was working hand in hand with those who were known as "poinant"(?) in Loop Street, 'Maritzburg. There are many things that our Committee did. Maybe amongst other things I would point out that its main function was to fight for the rights to obtain land, then when we got these rights we tried to develop the place. Our Committee was comprised of the owners of the land, as well as tenants or people who leased the land. Everybody in the community was involved. Everybody was accepted, was welcomed, but there were some hitches that took place in other places whereby other people did not like that our Committee should be involved in developing Trust Feeds. Then they tried to form an opposing group which was led by Mr Jerome Gabela, who was a chairman of the Inkatha in Trust Feeds. This is the new committee that was formed which caused the harassment as well as the cracks in the community. They were calling themselves as the Committee of the Owners of the Land. May I just point out that it was on two occasions now that Gabela had tried to form a group, so that he would form this group which would oppose our group, but our community rejected all his efforts. But on the third occasion he was able to form, and he didn't form it within Trust Feeds, he went outside and went to Emshuwathi Court. That is where he started forming this group.
Briefly tell us a little bit about your family and the piece of land that you own in Trust Feeds. --- At home we were five, then it was my mother and my father. Both my parents have passed away. My father was working at the Magistrate's Court. He was an interpreter. My mother owned a shop. I am the last-born at home. My sisters got married. The other one is staying at KwaNdengezi and one is staying at Inchanga. I am presently staying at Eden. I also have my family, kids as well as my wife - two.
Now this opposing group, predominantly Inkatha and led by these two Inkatha people, was formed in May 1988, and you say that there started being problems thereafter. Please will you tell us a little bit about those problems. --- All this started, as I have pointed out, it started when Gabela, who was a chairman of Inkatha - he was not working all by himself, he was working hand in hand with the Flying Squad in Greytown. Their wishes were that whatever development we tried to create must come to an end, and it mustn't be given to the Crisis Committee, because it was believed that the Crisis Committee is a committee of communists, therefore whatever development there is mustn't be given to them. Now, as Gabela was working with the police, but the main problem that he had was that the community just could not accept or follow him. They did not believe in his ideologies. There were so many questions coming from the people that ever since the Inkatha has been there in Trust Feeds what has he done for the community? There were problems, floods in 1987, and many houses were destroyed, but he did absolutely nothing. It was our Committee that worked with Poinant in 'Maritzburg, as well as Red Cross, as well as another organisation, Islamic organisation, as well as the superintendent in Hanover. At that time he was still Warrant-Officer Nicholas. They helped people to try and rebuild their houses, get food as well as whatever they needed. He wished that this could have been done by his committee, which was not accepted by the community.
You've told us in your statement that there started being threats and small incidents of violence and so on. Will you tell us a little bit about that please. --- Even before I go to the start of the threats, as well as occurrences of violence, Gabela didn't only work with the police, but he also worked with certain people who were members of Inkatha. Some of them were members of the Government of KwaZulu who used to come, as well as with chiefs. But they were not staying at Trust Feeds, they were coming from outside places. Some were coming from Dalton, people we didn't know. Maybe I can point a few who were members of the Government. It was Ben Jele, who was from Imbali, Psychology Ndlovu from Zwaiman(?), as well as VV Mvelase. These were the people who came into our meeting and they said the Crisis Committee were just people who deserved to be killed. Those words came from Ben Jele's mouth. As from that time there started to be altercations, as well as threats, as well as attacks.
Underlying all of this tension was one important issue, and that was that these people who were involved in the KwaZulu Government, and who were part of Inkatha, wanted Trust Feeds to be consolidated into KwaZulu, and not to remain part of South Africa outside of KwaZulu. --- That is correct. As you have already pointed, when the Government had already given up on taking us out of the area they found that the Trust Feeds should be put under KwaZulu-Natal, but because we had ownership titles we didn't want that to happen, we flatly refused, so that is what actually cause the rift. That is why they used Gabela as the Inkatha induna, so that they could be able to put us under the KwaZulu Government, which we did not want from the start.
Let us now move ahead. Having established some of the underlying factors that led to this violence let us now move ahead to the actual violence itself. And please, in the interests of time, if you could try and restrict yourself to the specific issues. You've told us that during September threats began, and there were a number of altercations. Trust Feeds began to become divided between a top and a bottom section, is that correct? --- That is true.
We still can't hear you, sorry. --- There was a meeting at a school hall, and the purpose of the hall was that we should get a solution to our problems. Then there came a group of Inkatha youths. They disrupted the meeting. I can point out that in that meeting there were police, but they were not inside the hall, they were just outside the hall. When this meeting got disrupted people dispersed, they went to different directions, and this Inkatha Youth group was following some other people who were going towards my shop. When they got there they were already in a warpath. They started shooting people, as well as attacking the shop. We tried to protect ourselves.
(Inaudible) ... Philip Shange was shot. --- It was the second time. This was the first incident. On the following day when they came at 7 o'clock in the shop they pretended as if they were customers. They took out a gun, they shot him on the chest. We went to report to the police. We went to the station commander, Brian Mitchell. When he got there he asked us whether we knew the people who shot him. We didn't know these people because there were quite a number of people who came in there. There was no case. Instead of that the station commander said to us why did Philip Shange not join Inkatha.
(Inaudible) ... after your discussions with Brian Mitchell, who in your statement you've indicated was very aggressive towards you, he was not happy, he considered you basically, as you've quoted in your statement, "a terrorist," and you say that he used those words, he called you a terrorist. Is that correct? --- Yes, that is true.
It's common knowledge that he was involved generally in a conspiracy to break your organisation and ensure that Inkatha was able to dominate Trust Feeds. --- That's correct. Who was Brian Mitchell working with as far as you're aware? --- According to my knowledge Brian Mitchell was working with Inkatha within Trust Feeds, but I know that even further than that there were certain other organisations - Joint Management Services. There were many people from diverse communities where they were taking resolutions and decisions. I was not part of those organisations, but I know that people who used to comprise these organisations were working hand in hand with him. He was also working with this organisation, especially the people I just counted who were from the KwaZulu Government. They used to meet him also. People of Inkatha that he was working with were Jerome Gabela, Johan Nxumalo, Bongani Pungula.
(Inaudible) ... a lot about Jerome Mncwabe, and his name has come up many, many times, especially around Imbali area. Is it correct that during the period of November 1988 numerous attacks took place within Trust Feeds? Your shop was attacked many times, and the divisions within that community became increasingly more severe. So much so that, as I said, there was an upper and a lower section, the one dominated by Inkatha, the other one dominated by the UDF. --- That's correct.
Now, tell us what happened on the 23rd of November 1988. --- On the 23rd of November 1988, it was on a Wednesday, there was another attack. I think throughout November there were attacks on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th. Up til the 23rd there were continuous attacks almost every day. But now we realised that we had had enough, because we could not fight during the day because the police used to be there to accompany the attackers, so that when we fought they would be able to take our ammunition so that they might attack us even more. On the 23rd I was from work. I am working at Sobantu at the school, I am a teacher. I was accosted by police. The police arrested me. I was with some other gentlemen. We were seven in all. I was arrested and put in custody. I was kept for three months. When ... (intervention)
Let us move on to the events that led up to the massacre in Trust Feeds, the well publicised massacre for which Brian Mitchell and others are presently in gaol. What happened at that time? --- As I have already said the Inkatha used to attack almost every day, but they were not successful. Then at times they were the ones who were being attacked. At the end of the day there were four corpses from the Inkatha side. It became apparent that Jerome didn't have a following. He also didn't have the power to defeat us. Then he formed certain organisations. One of the organisations was in Morawa House, Eden. That is where Jerome Gabela, as well as Jerome Nxumalo from Trust Feeds, with Brian Mitchell, together with Major Deon Terblanche from Oribi, as well as David Ntombela - that is where they planned that as to how we were going to be attacked. According to my knowledge in that meeting they came to a resolution. There were police, special police who were brought in, and they were put at Trust Feeds to do that job. They were placed at certain houses. That was Gabela's place as well as Ndlovu's place, but they were not placed at Johan Nxumalo's place because his house is next to my house. Nxumalo was afraid that we would see those people, then we would be suspicious.
Now, you yourself have had several difficulties over the years. You believe you've been harassed substantially by the police. Tell us one or two of those incidents very, very briefly, because time is running out. --- May I please go back just a little bit. On the night that the people died all the people that died were supposed to be my family, but because they had already run away due to having heard rumours that they were going to be attacked, then those houses were burnt, as well as the school, as well as my house, as well as the Malinga place. Then the other people died. Maybe when I come to myself, what I went through personally, I went through a lot during different times on different occasions. I can say that the police harassed me. On particular day in Durban they shot me, but they couldn't. I was arrested. I came out. I was furthermore harassed here in town, Pietermaritzburg. I was from the airport and it was at night. I had taken Chief Maphumulo to a meeting in Contralesa, Johannesburg. They assaulted me. I opened up a case. I went to the doctor. There was absolutely nothing that came out of the case. I was also harassed several times at Trust Feeds. I was harassed by Jerome, as well as Johan. There was a meeting whereby the people reached a truce, but I was the only one who was not supposed to be there. I went there because I believed there was peace, but I had to run away because I was chased away by the station commander in his car. That is the new station commander, Reynders.
(Inaudible) ... any of the families in Trust Feeds have brought civil actions, civic cases against the Minister of Law and Order, and that some of those cases have already been settled. Yours is presently pending, but these are claims for damages - for all the damages that were suffered arising from these attacks. --- That is correct. Many families that were harassed, and those who died, and those who were bereaved, and the survivors and the victims. There are some who can't walk, who are crippled, as well as children. They had civil actions. Then in January this year the Government paid out some money to those who got injured, and the survivors, as well as the children and orphans. But up til now my case has not been sorted out.
(Inaudible) ... back to your land at Trust Feeds. At this moment in time if you were to go back there, say later today, would it be safe for you to do that? --- I once went there, but I only went there because I felt I was going there at my own risk. But I do not feel safe, I have got no surety that I am safe.
Would you like, you and your family, to go back and live on your piece of land in Trust Feeds? --- I would appreciate that, because I think there's so much land in Trust Feeds. My land is five acres, and I would like to develop it and go back to it and stay there.
Just very finally, you have indicated that certainly the harassment that you've received and all these various attacks have left some psychological scars that have been quite difficult for you to deal with. --- That is correct.
How has it affected your family? --- My family has been harassed, tortured, traumatised, because my family split. We don't stay together, we can't see each other. We stay at different places. We only come together when there are certain meetings in the family, funerals, weddings, and whatever cultural practices are there. But besides that I have been severely tortured. Even at work I was disturbed. I can't do my work properly. I can't render my services in the manner that I would like to. Maybe in my family it has traumatised me, because there's a lot of expenses that I got into which I cannot meet. Just shortly I will say even the office of revenue is also demanding tax money for the shop, as well as whatever was inside the shop, as well as in the house. Even the rates for the place. I have to pay all these because they say if I don't pay the rates for that place it should be expropriated. These things traumatise me psychologically, and financially I have got problems, but most of all is that up til today, as I am sitting here in front of you, I never got any apology or anything financially. But the Government was able to pop out thousands in Brian Mitchell's case, who had also harassed me and tortured me, but even today I haven't got a cent from the very same Government who paid the torturer. Myself as a torturer I am holding the shorter end of the stick. I have got certain needs that I must meet, but I cannot.
MR LYSTER: Mr Mbongwe, you have given us a detailed background to the terrible massacre that took place in the Trust Feeds area in December 1988. It is clear from what is now common knowledge about the Trust Feeds Massacre that the primary reasons for this tragic incident were, (1) to attempt to enforce the policies of the previous government of homeland consolidation, and, (2) to ensure the dominance in that area by leading figures in the Inkatha Freedom Party. It is interesting that this pattern took place in many other areas of this province. Evidence was given at the Durban hearings of the Truth Commission of the attempts made by the former Deputy Minister of the Interior of the KwaZulu Government, Mr Jamile Mlotshwa, to have Clermont township incorporated into the KwaZulu homeland. This lead to the death of many prominent citizens of Clermont, and the subsequent imprisonment for life of the Deputy Minister, Mr Jamile, who was subsequently released by the previous government after serving less than two years in prison. On the other hand Captain Brian Mitchell is still in prison.
The Trust Feeds Massacre shocked the community and shocked the country as well, because it was one of the first occasions when it was shown that senior members of the South African Police were actively involved in destabilisation of communities and murder.
You have played an important part today in exposing and publicising this tragedy, and we thank you for coming and telling us what you have told us. Your a lucky person, because it is clear that it was you and your family who were targeted for assassination on that night of 3rd December. Instead of you and your family 11 people, many of them women and children, were shot down in cold blood whilst praying at a funeral vigil.
DR MGOJO: I think your name is Mfanufikile. I just want to ask you about the torture. You have a brother, Vanga, who has passed away. --- He was also tortured severely. He was also part of the leaders of the community.
Where did he die? --- I pointed out that my family split. That's one of the ways in which we were harassed, because when we grew up we grew up with our own home, with our own place. We were not used to being tenants. When my brother came out of prison, because he was also arrested, he went to rent a place in Eden. He went to Hammarsdale, and then from Hammarsdale he ended staying at Ehlanzeni. That is a very terrible situation, because my brother died it Ehlanzeni, though he didn't die violently, he died from lung cancer. He was also harassed and tortured because he ended up not having a job, not being able to work. He ended up dying far from us in Ehlanzeni, No 9.
He had a family also? --- Yes, he had a wife, as well as one child from his wife. But he also does have other children outside his marriage. These are the children that I think have been even more traumatised, because even when he was working he had a way of earning his living, but now we are faced with a problem because he had already parted with their mothers. Do you count these children? --- Yes, they are
part of the family, because they need to be educated, and the mother of the other kids is not working and the mother of the other is working. But he is grown up now because he has passed standard 10. He matriculated in 1992. We buried him in Trust Feeds.
Were you allowed? --- No, we were not allowed to bury him in Trust Feeds, but I felt there was no need for me to go and request permission from Nxumalo and Gabela to bury my brother. I went there to bury my brother.
Thank you very much. I didn't want your brother's children to be left out. --- There is another request that I would like to put to the Commission. I don't know whether I can go on. It's a short request. I request this Commission to try and see as to what happened to my civil claims. Secondly, I want to know that where Trust Feed - what can the Commission do as far as the 11 people who died in Trust Feeds are concerned? Maybe we can have a national monument that can be built for the people who died there, especially because that case of Trust Feeds was the very first case where it was proven that police are directly involved in harassing people, as well as harassing the community in KwaZulu-Natal.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... come to us from Imbali township, but you, like the previous witness, were originally from the Trust Feeds area. Before you tell us your story please would you stand up and take the oath.
MR DLAMINI: Good morning, Dumisani. We would like to thank you to come before us and explain before the community, not only the Pietermaritzburg community, but the whole South Africa, to the TV and the radios, about the events that took place in the Trust Feeds. At the present moment you are residing at Imbali. The home in which you are staying in Imbali, to whom does it belong? --- It is my brother's house.
We'll write that down as one of the things that you wish the Commission to do for you. As we have been saying throughout the week that when we take your wishes, your harassments, we are not saying that there is anything that we're going to do for you, we are just doing it to make sure that when we take back the report the President and his Cabinet will be able to get all your wishes. Do you understand that? --- Yes, I do understand. On your statement you are a member of the African National Congress. Despite that you are a member to the ANC do you belong to any other organisation? --- Before I was a member of the Crisis Committee.
Yes, 1988. --- On the 2nd December 1988 I wake up in the morning at Emobeni, where I was sleeping. I went back to feed my dogs and chickens. Went I went through to see one of my chickens have laid some eggs. I took it out. When I get out of the place I went to my mum, and then she said I must wait so that she can prepare breakfast for me. After she gave me breakfast, and while I was still eating, she told me that I must come out, there was a police car coming on a hill, coming down the hill. While we were still watching that, not knowing what was happening, when I started eating too, one white policeman came. When they arrived they greeted us, they asked me how old I were. I told them, "I am 35," and then the other white man said, "No, let's leave him behind."
The other one said, "No, let's take him." My mother asked where are they taking me to. They told her that, "Don't worry, he's coming back," and then we went off. And then they put us into these big cars and they took us into the field. They didn't tell us why they took us in the field. When we tell them, "We want to pee," they told us, "You can pee wherever you're standing." They put some machines. One of them was a camera and the other one was just a writer. When you talk you tell them who you were. The machine was writing, and also they were shooting us some photos. There was a kombi, and we couldn't see who was inside. They were just telling you whether he got the right side positive or negative, and then we were divided, positive and negative. Then during the day they told us the Inkatha people must stand on one side and the ANC members must stand on the other side. When they put us the other side we, the ANC members, Brian Mitchell came and hold me on my back and throw me to the other side, and he went to pick Mfana Mbongo and put him on the other side too. There were some young boys, about 10 of them. As we separated they told the Inkatha people that they should go, and they leave the ANC members there. And then they started hitting us with sjamboks. They hit all the young boys and they started running away. And they said to us -they took us and loaded us into the big trucks. They told us to sleep on our stomachs, and we don't have to turn our heads, and they were trampling on their feets.
Can you give us their names? --- One I can mention is my brother Mfana Mbongo, who died. He was there. Newbridge Khanyile. I can remember well this young man. Mbo Malinga. I can't remember well the names. The other one it's from the Mthembe family. I can't remember them well. Newbridge Khanyile.
We know it's a long time and you might not remember them well. And then you started then. From there you were lying on the truck. Where did they take you to? --- They took us to a police station in New Hanover. They locked inside and made us to sit down. They told us not to look at them in their faces. They took statements, and they started to search us and took out our watches. From there they had to lock us. They took us into a separate cell. Before we could get into the cells there were two plates of porridge, and it looked as if they had been put there since from the morning. Then there were some lot of things and dirty, and they told us to eat the food. And then we refused to eat the foot, and then they hit me on top of my head with a donkey phiri, and they said, "He is going to eat." When I tried to taste it it was bitter and it looked like it was rotten. And then they hold me and throw me into the cell. And then they just lock us and they leave the food outside the cell. When we were still inside the cells they used to come to count us, and also ask us why are we there. And we told them we don't know that. "We don't know anything. It's up to you." And then we just continued like that and we were not happy. When it comes to sleeping arrangements the clothes that we used to sleep on they were full of lice. We tried to tell the station commander. We told him we couldn't sleep because the lice are biting us, and they said no, we came with the lice. And one day they tried just to give us some milk, and we took all the lice and put them into a carton, and give it to one man and tell him to put it in his office. And he took it and put it in the office.
Whose office is that? Is that the station commander's office, Brian Mitchell? --- Yes. When he came Brian Mitchell into his office and see these lice in his office this might have angered him, and from that day he have changed and then he treated us well.
Can you continue. --- We stayed there. We wished to go out and sort of like go out for sunshine. We were always complaining that we're sick in order so that we can go out even to get a cigarette. When you get out of doors it's like as if you were flying, like you couldn't remember even the sunshine. It continued like that. The situation continued as it were, and then we have to tell them that we're hungry in the cells, they have to give two slices cheese - with cheese and tomato, and there was nothing to sort of drink. We decided if we don't try and make a plan we'll die, let's cook some phuthu in order to eat. They tried to sort of like - tried to bring some food, bread and some milk, and we became better. The problem started because I was arrested while wearing an overall. It was teared like it was becoming old at the bottom, and also on my knees. Because if you ever have to wash it you have to take it off, wash it, and wait for it to dry, so I couldn't wear anything, I was just staying naked. Since there was no one who was allowed to come to visit me at home they were very afraid. Even while others were able to come. These Indians from Patricia they took me. It was on the 6th. They said I must go and point the homes of those other guys we were arrested with so that we can get one person from those families who can sign to be able to visit.
You can go on. --- These Indian police took me. We arrived firstly at home. There was nobody at home because all the people had deserted the place. I found all the dogs they were dead. It looked as if they had been beaten up and killed. There was nothing. My livestock had been looted and everything. There was nothing and we had to move on. We went on. We went to Mbongwe's store. When we arrived at Mbongwe's store the whole shop had been burned, and we could even see the smoke coming out from the building, and we passed the shop. When we passed we saw about five gas cylinders. It looked as if these were the cylinders that were used to burn the building, but we couldn't - we were not clear as to whether the shop was just burned with everything inside, but it looked as if they looted the shop before they burnt it. In the house there was a trunk which was burning. I couldn't see better because they were pushing me around, and they took me and went all over the place. When we arrived there was a group of people holding some spears. They were coming towards us. Johan and Jerome also were coming from the shops, and the Indians they sort of run out, all of them were armed. They get out of the car. They asked Johan and Jerome, "What's happening? Are these people coming to fight, or what?" They said, "No, don't worry, they're just coming to see," because since they were working together the police told them that they shouldn't allow anybody to come in who is not known here. And then they started to move back, and me and the Indians came back. They took me back to the cells and time went on. We didn't know for what we were arrested.
Just wait a minute, Dumisani. You were not ever charged for anything, and you were not told about what's happening? --- Yes, they didn't tell us anything. On the 10th February in the morning we were not charged or told anything. We were called. The SB from Greytown - these might be the police. We thought maybe they're going to release us, only to find that no, that's not the case. The doctor told us that they have to take us back to the police station. Some other young guys were released so that they can go home. And then they leave me and Mfana, Newbridge Khanyile. They told us that they are charging us, and we were so surprised because we sort of like spent such a long time, "Why didn't you charge us?" What we know is that when someone is arrested within 48 hours the person much be charged and appear before a Court of law, but we stayed for so long and we've never been charged. What is - and then we asked them what was the case for. They told us that they find us with unlicensed firearms and home-made guns, and hand grenades and some petrol bombs. And then we just listened to what they were telling us. They took us to the court on Monday and we appeared before the Magistrate. They asked us and asked for bail for R250,00 per person. I didn't have the R250,00. The other person tried to get the money and they were released on bail. And then they have to take me back to prison. I stayed there not - I didn't finish a week and my elder brother came. By luck I managed to sort of give them a message to tell them that they must bring me a trouser, and sort of like my brother brought me the trouser so that I can be able to change. We appeared in court on the 13th, and from the 13th they postponed the case up to the last week of the month. We used to appear before the Court just continuously, and we were not working.
Can you tell us about exactly on the court date what did the Court say? --- On the court date they withdraw the charges. I mean when it comes to me. And then the other two and then they postpone it. On the same day when we arrived the whole court was surrounded by police, and the Inkatha supporters were all over the ground. We were not surprised, because sometimes it happens that it happens at the same time. When they tell me that my case is withdrawn, when I get out of the witness stand they told me that I mustn't move around, and then they tell me - they took me to the other side and they opened a file. And then they told me that do I remember what happened 30th of June? I told them I don't remember anything. They told us that we killed Tom Khonya.
I am trying to find out why they sort of like suspected that you might have killed him. --- It happened like that that the cases happened to be on the same day. He also happened to come on the same day when one man by the name of Madondo was killed to appear.
When you were charged for murdering Mr Tom Khonya what happened about this case? Did they take you to court, and what was the sentence? --- Yes, we ended up in court and we were tried. On the first day the prosecutor we mustn't be given bail because we are dangerous to society, and Advocate Moola tried to ask for bail for us. They said they wanted R1 200,00 per person. One of the lawyers firm tried to pay for our bail. The case continued until it was transferred to the Supreme Court. In the Supreme Court they said they will take nine days. It didn't take nine days, it took one and a half days. The sentence which came out said found us not guilty. Even if there is something that we did he said the police failed to investigate the case properly, and that's how the case ended.
Do you still like the place, you would like to go back if things come to order? --- I would like to, but that is not so easy because the place is now deserted and you can't see - and there are some new people who just came in to build their houses over the places.
We would like to thank you very much, Dumisani, and we also heard your concern. We will also try, like as you asked the Commission, to ask for compensation from the Government, and also to try to help you, assist you in finding you a job, although we know that it's difficult to find a job. But we will try, as we told you in the beginning that we will take all these requests to the Government. I wish to take you back to the Chairperson.
DR MGOJO: I would just like to understand some few things. When you came out of court you were told that you killed Mr Khonya, and also there's the case of killing Mr Madondo. Is there anything that can link you to Mr Madondo? --- No.
There were two organisations. There's the other organisation which you belonged to which they didn't like, and there was the other one too. To which organisation did he belong? --- I didn't know much about him, but his family was on our side, they belonged to our organisation. He himself was not staying with us. He used just to come once in a month.
You're saying that his family belonged to your organisation. This Jerome Gabela was involved in the harassment in that place. Where is he at the moment? Do you know where he stays? --- The last time I know him staying there.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... very much for coming to tell us your story today. You have, like the previous witness, Mr Mbongwe, again focused on the tragic events which took place on the 2nd and 3rd of December in Trust Feeds. What is very significant about your evidence is that it is clear that you and the other able-bodied men of the Trust Feeds area were arrested by the South African Police about 12 hours before the massacre of 11 women and children by those same police.
As a result of this you were forced to leave your house and, as you put it in your statement, your family disintegrated completely and you were forced to live in rented lodgings in various townships around Pietermaritzburg.
As I said to the previous witness, what happened to you was not a random event, it was a deliberately planned strategy orchestrated by the police and other people to enforce the policies of the Government of the day, to enforce homeland consolidation and to ensure the political dominance of the Inkatha Freedom Party in the Trust Feeds area.
We have taken note of everything that you have said, and, as my colleague Mr Dlamini has said, we shall be making recommendations to the Government as to how people like you, and others who have suffered in the same way, should be assisted. So again we thank you very much for coming in and telling us your story, and we wish you well. Thank you very much.
Good morning, Mrs Thaboniwe Ngcobo. We would like to thank you for having been able to appear before this Commission to talk about the way in which you were harassed, so that even those who didn't know that there was a time of harassment, when they hear they will be able to know that there has been a difficult time where people were harassed. We pity you. You were very still young at the time you were harassed. From your statement it seems as if you were born in 1972, which means during that time when you were harassed you were about 13 years old. I would like to ask, before we get into your evidence, to tell us more about your family. Do you have parents? --- Yes, I do have parents.
Can you tell us what happened to you. Maybe you should start from the 11th of September 1985, where you were staying at Mpophomeni. Can you tell us about the situation in Mpophomeni at that time? --- At that time - I would like to start from the April. On the April 30th there was a strike at Sarmcol at Howick. At the time where I was staying the community was united. It was COSATU working with UDF. UDF was mostly organising the youth activities. At that time anything which was happening in the community, whether it was harassment by police, the community used to stand together. The person or the family which has been harassed the community will come to sort of assist. There was no opposition party. We were united as one community.
Thank you very much. Can you tell us more about what happened on the 11th of September? Can you tell us more about that date? --- On the 11th of September on Wednesday it was at night. Before that night we heard some rumours. There was a place on the other side where the chief used to reside, and this was the Inkatha area.
What was the name of the chief? --- It was just called - this is the chief's place. That's the name of the place. There were people there who were also involved in the strike at Sarmcol. These people didn't agree in views with the community of Mpophomeni, and they decided that - we heard that they were going to attack the Mpophomeni place. And it happened that when we looked at them we could see that they are coming to attack at that time. As I said we were united, like if there's something wrong we used to come together to try to sort it out. At that night we started to toyi-toyi so that the people on the other side from the chief's place, "We're not asleep yet," they can't do anything. It happened that at night at home I just finished washing. When I get out I heard a song. It was something like as if it was so interesting or so jubilant. It was the community doing something together. I wanted to listen and I listened. I saw the people toyi-toying. and then I ran into the house and tell the others who were inside.
What's the other name of Phi? --- His name is just Phi. While they were sort of arguing with me and saying, "There's no such a thing," and then these people were so near. And people were saying, "Okay, wake up, the chief is attacking us." When we get out to see what's happening outside that is the time when the police arrived. Some of the police were on foot, some were driving in vans. We sort of like joined the toyi-toyi, and others shot while like - the fired tear gas, and all the people started to disperse.
Were you also involved in the toyi-toyi? --- Yes, I were. While I tried to run back home the police started shooting, and they shot me. In my mind when I was hit the bullet entered from this side to the other side and penetrated through my hand. When they shot me all the people had already dispersed. I was so confused and I didn't know exactly whether I were at home, or whether I have to continue further or I must go back. And I had to go out and run out of my place. I have to sort of pass three families and then I entered the family of Mnigathi. I knocked at the door at Mnigathi family. The police were still shooting and they were hitting people. I could hear people screaming and everything was happening. At the Mnigathi family they couldn't open for me, because the way the police were harassing the people if you opened for a person to come into the house they would come into your house and even beat you, the owner of the house, and they sort of like - it happened that one whisper that they opened for me, and they also agreed to take me back home. When he opened I just hold him and push on my back, and I jump over him and get into the house. When I get into the house and then I fall inside there, and then I was weak by that time. And then I realised where I were. I could speak, but I didn't have the energy to.
Can I ask you just a bit here? This police you said they shot you. Which police? Were they the SAP or the KwaZulu Police? --- These were the SAP. After I have fallen on the ground the father of the house tried to close the door. He couldn't close the door because he was also afraid the way he saw me in blood. He started to call me and ask me exactly what happened, and I couldn't answer him. He got out of the house, he saw the police. When they see the door opening they were coming to hit me. When they arrived he told them what happened. When they arrived at me I was asleep, and one of them like took off his jacket and teared my cloth, and he pushed his finger through the hole bullet. I tried to jump and tried to move, to show that I feel the pain. On my other hand, my left hand, the bullet couldn't get out, it was still inside my hand, and I was sleeping on my hand. The other one pulled me out of the house and he leave me. And they asked this man, "Do you know this girl?" and they said, "Where does she stay?" And then they took this man, they sort of like took him to my place and then explained everything. There was one of my sisters who was also shot. I didn't where she was shot at that time. They took her also and they took my mum - my dad was at work - to show me. I was already in the car by that time, and they took my mum to show her how that I was injured.
Did they also took Lindiwe into the van? --- Yes, they did. They said my mum she'll talk to me. When my mum saw me as the blood was coming out she started crying. And then they were trying to find who was going to go with us, and my mum was sick and was old so she couldn't come with us. They have to ask one neighbour, a lady, another lady of the Zako family, and the police started changing and said, "No, we are not going to take them, they must stay behind."
Can you tell us what was the name of this lady you talk about? --- And they said they must remain behind. They didn't want to, and then they said, "Okay, get into the car. Let's go." As I was lying there, staying there, there was this Indian man, and then we saw another young boy coming, Nhlanhla Zondi. He was also injured on his leg. And we sit in the van. The police were talking to each other outside. While we were sitting there the one Doris Khumalo came. She was arrested and - she was arrested by the police and she was mishandled.
Were all these people shot? --- Yes, they were shot. They took us. They didn't tell us whether they were taking us to hospital or somewhere else. When they arrived at the place called Orient Park they sort of like kicked us out of the van.
Can you tell us more about the Orient Park? What kind of place was it? --- This was just a place. It's a road and there is a dam on the other side, and then there's sort of - out of the car on the left side. This was sort of like a bush place or a desert place. We couldn't get help because they just left us there and we were injured. Another car which was behind us there was a young girl who was injured. They took her out, and then they took some knives and they started sort of like operate on her, and she was shot on her head and on the body.
How did they operate on her? --- They were trying to sort of operate on her to take out the blood. She was so injured and full of soil, and she was not married(?). It means they have been trying to sort of like extract the bullet, but they couldn't do it. We see that it was so cold. And then an ambulance came, they put us into an ambulance, and we left. They didn't want to put the girl with us. They refused.
Is this the ambulance people? --- No, the police. The other woman, they didn't want to put the woman with us. We didn't know - the ambulance took us to the hospital. When we arrived and then we got some medical help. The next morning ... (intervention)
How long did you stay in hospital? --- I don't remember how long. It's like just a month and some weeks, a few weeks. I was still young. I can't remember well. While we were there in the morning the police arrived with some other women. They told us, "As you are here you have committed a crime, and when you come out of here you will be arrested," and I asked them, "What have I done myself?" because we were not staying in the same ward. I asked them, "What have I done?" They said, "We will tell you as soon as you arrive in court." Before on that point in your statement they said you committed a crime because you were toyi-toying while the state of emergency was imposed. --- No, they were talking about toyi-toying, not about the state of emergency.
How did they call them? --- They just used to sort of like use body language, and they used to sort of like change shifts at 6 o'clock, someone coming at two, the other one would come at 6 o'clock in the evening. And they were all brought by police. I stayed in hospital until I was better. When I was better they told me I will be discharged and I had to go home. While I was waiting for my medication, medicine and tablets ... (intervention)
You were still in hospital? --- Yes, I was in hospital. After I got my tablets she called me and said, "Come this way." Who was calling you? --- This woman who was guarding me. And they took me and put me into a van and they took - this police from Hlani, and they took me to Hlani, and they told me, "As you are here we're going to take you and lock at your police station at Howick." I asked them, "Since you are arresting me what have I done?" They said, "We don't know anything. As police we work together. You'll hear as soon as you arrive from the police in your place." I stayed there. We arrived at about half past three and they took me to Howick. The one that I remember well was Nene. There was another white policeman. It was very cold. In the car in which there was the rain could even come inside, and I have to sit there burning and I couldn't walk, and the rain could get into the rain(?), and the way they were driving they were driving so carelessly, like I was banging around the car. When I arrived at Howick ... (inaudible) ... tablets and some medication ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 1) ... and everything that I had. I told them that the doctor said I must come back on Wednesdays, and I must also use the tablets. They said they are not concerned with that. Why did the doctors tell them how they were going to go back(?). I was so afraid, and there were so many police there. The way they were looking at me, and then I just became so tense and afraid. Then they took me on Friday and locked me. I stayed there, and then the following Friday I was released. For three days I couldn't eat. They told me that there is no food. The day on which they brought me some food they put me some food which has epsom salt, and I didn't eat. When they come and they ask, "Why aren't you eating?" and I was so
afraod to answer them. I was staying alone in solitary confinement. This porridge that I ate like disorganised my stomach, I have to run now and then to the toilet. And then they came the next day and say like I am causing trouble because I always run to the toilet, the others can't sleep. I live that life until some other people were arrested together. They came to stay with me. They just stayed for about two days. I stayed for a week myself, because I was released on the other Friday. I stayed there on Thursday. On Friday they took me to court to the Magistrate. When I arrived there they didn't charge me with anything. They told me that my case is postponed and they gave me a date, and they said they need bail money. By that time we have got lawyers from the UDF and they paid the bail.
Continue. --- And then the case continued until the others were got out, and they would keep on postponing the case - about four times. By that time the police were not harassing us, the time we were just attending the court. I didn't have any problems. After the case was over and we were found not guilty they told us if we want to lay a charge against the police who shot us we can do so, because we were found not guilty. There, that's where the harassment started, especially me, because I was by that time studying at high school. They could find me any time they want to. In the first place they came in the morning, just after the morning service, and they told me that they need me on the other side, and when I arrived there I found that there was no one waiting for me, the people looking for me. I saw a kombi and they said - some people saw me and they said, "Come here. Are you so-and-so?" And then these were men, and I haven't seen them before. They asked me, "Are you feeling well? Are you studying well?" I said, "Yes," and they asked me, "How are you healing?" I said them, "No, it's coming on, but I still have some problems because I have been stitched, and some of them were inside. Sometimes it's not so easy for the wound to heal."
They looked at me after asking me about that and I left. They said, "Go," and I left. When I arrived in my class I will find my teacher, Mr Mlangeni, ask me, "Where are you coming from?" and I told him. And even him, the way he perceived me it seemed as if he thought I know the people, and he sort of like tried to pass some strong words and I started to cry. I stayed and I didn't finish a week before the police came back, and they were dressed in uniform and they called me again. And they took me and put me into the van. I asked them, "Do my teachers know as you are taking me away?" And they said, "Yes, we had already talked to them," and then we went off. They took me to another farm. When I arrived at the farm ... (intervention)
Do you know the owner of the farm? --- No, I don't know. When I arrived at the place they took me off. It's so far, because it's far away from the farm itself and also from the location. And they asked me, "Who were those people you were toyi-toying together with at that night?" and I said to them, "I don't know them." They said, "No, you know. Do you know Boy Ndlela?" I said, "Yes, I know him, but I didn't see him at that day." They asked me about so many people, and I said, "I didn't see them." They said, "You didn't see them, but do you know them?" I said, "Yes, I know them." And one of them pulled me by my ear and he sort of like pulled me and hit me on the van. I hit the van with my head and he said, "I want you to tell us the name of the people with whom you were toyi-toying." I said, "Maybe during the day. It was during the night. I couldn't see them. I don't know them." And the other one asked me, "Are you old or still young?" Another one said, "We're going to beat you until you tell us the truth, to tell exactly who were those people you were toyi-toying together at night?" I said, "No, I don't know the people I was toyi-toying with at night." And they took me back to school. They didn't leave me exactly at school, they just left me - there is a road which branches to school, and they just leave me outside there. I went to report to the principal.
After leaving school did anything happen? --- Yes. After that they continued to harass me after leaving school. It was - they were able to sort of come and pick me up from my parents like just as they used to do at school.
I would like to go back. You were about 13 years old at that time and now you are 24 years old. Are you working or have you been able to continue with your studies? --- No, I couldn't continue with my studies because my parents were then old, and even the place where they stitched they used to sort of like - I have to be stitched now and then because - and I couldn't go to school well and my life started going worse.
Bhawinile, we have heard all these terrific incidences that you went through. These were very difficult times, and this harassment is something that even an older person couldn't stand, and we will try to sort of like take your evidence and put it before the whole Commission, and the Commission will decide exactly as to what could be done to help people like you. We don't have the power, but we will try. Thank you very much.
Bhawinile, what I am going to say to you is not a question, but I am just commenting that the case that you have brought before us is very unusual. As Mrs Gcabashe has already said that you were a very young person at the time this took place, especially that you were a female. We have spoken to quite a few females who told us about their torture and harassment. One more important thing that we are going to take as the Rehabilitation Committee and pass forward is that you lost your youth. If you say you were 13 years at that time that this took place, you were tortured, shot, harassed, taken to a prison for old people, even appeared in court for old people. All this took away your youth. Maybe certain other things that we should point out is to see as to how people who have been harassed like you can be compensated. There's so much that has changed in your life. What can be done in the community in order for us to curb this, to have rehabilitation services in order to try and bring you back to the state in which you were before?
Mrs Hadebe, we will start with you. Briefly just a little background. You are the widow of the late Reginald Bhekumuzi Hadebe. Can you just tell us briefly what your present situation is, domestic situation. Do you have children, and where are you residing? --- I have six children, and there's one, Reg's son, outside marriage. At the moment I am staying at Besley(?) in one of the suburbs in Pietermaritzburg.
(Inaudible) ... schooling. --- Yes, they are at school. One is in standard seven, Nonkululeko. Nonthombeko is in standard three at Pelham Primary School. Then there's Khawe, who's at Grange. Then there's Busiso and Njabulo. They are in Pietermaritzburg. They are at pre-school. There's also Nduduzo, the last one. He is not at school.
(Inaudible) ... Mrs Hadebe to that sad day on 27 October 1992, and if you can just relate to the Commission what happened insofar as it affected you. --- Reggie came in at night. It was on a Monday. He was from fetching the children at my place, Hlokozi, because we were not staying with some of the children. I was busy
with my exams. So I felt that he should go and fetch the children from my place because I was just about to finish my exams. He fetched the children and brought them back at 12. Then he said to me I was happy because he had brought my kids. I said yes, I was happy. Then in the morning he asked me about my exams. We were just joking. I said it was tough, maybe I might not be able to make it, but he encouraged me. He told me that he was going to Ixopo, he had a meeting with certain policemen and Inkatha. He also told me that on the previous day Magubane had been attacked. Magubane is one of the ANC members in Ixopo. Then I asked him why was he going there, wasn't he scared. He said no, he was not scared. He left me at the hospital. We were going to see each other in the afternoon. He went away to Ixopo. Midday I felt very tired. I was supposed to go to town, then I just slept. They asked me what was wrong with me. I said I was just feeling down and tired. And I was supposed to knock off at four on that particular day, and I left work. After about 30 minutes after I had arrived at my place I was just sitting on my bed, and I had my baby who was 10 months old at that time. Mr Nsimbe came to my place with Peter, the security, as well as Sho, one of the drivers. Even before they got into my house I stood up. When they came to me I could see something was wrong. Then I asked them where Reggie was. I couldn't hear them talking. I couldn't hear what they were saying. Then they said he went to Ixopo, and I asked them, "And what then?" They told me that he had been attacked after crossing Umkomaas. I asked them where he was at that moment. They said he was left there. I was very shocked at that moment. It
was like my world was turning upside-down. I just didn't believe what they were telling me. They told me to get into the car because we were heading for Alexander to identify him. We got into the car. We went past another shop. I don't remember who accompanied me. We went to Medicity Hospital, but I didn't get out of the car. They went to look for the other one who was injured with him. We went to Alexander Police Station. I got there and I identified him, and I saw that he was really dead. When I looked at him I felt he was still hot. I even closed his mouth. I realised that he was dead, but I just couldn't believe it. When I heard thereafter they told me that they were supposed to meet police, as well as Inkatha members, but that did not happen because the Inkatha were with the Security Police. Then when Reggie realised that there were Security Police then the Inkatha group as well as the Security disappeared. The meeting went on, as well as the police. Thereafter, according to rumour, there was a lunch just before they left from Ixopo for Pietermaritzburg. That's when they were ambushed in Umkomaas. I don't know whether I should go on.
(Inaudible) ... tell us how the death of your husband affected you, how it affected your children. If you can please tell us something about that. You obviously were not present at the time your husband died, and you know that he was attending a peace meeting and that he was ambushed after the meeting. So if there are other details you would like to tell us about how your husband's death affected your family please tell us. --- When Reggie was killed in this manner it affected us all as a family. We are still traumatised. My children are
very angry. They are very traumatised psychologically as well as physically. We don't know what the reason was for his killing because he was a very peaceful man. Even that meeting was a meeting for peace, but now the gruesome manner in which he was killed is quite surprising. Nobody was arrested for his death. In October 27 it will be four years after his death, but nobody has ever come to us to tell us what was happening. We are very angry.
(Inaudible) ... spoken with the investigating officers in this matter, with the police, and what has been their response? --- There's nobody who ever came to me besides me reading stories from the newspapers and the radios as to what happened to Reggie. Because if I remember very well I read in a newspaper on the 19th of February 1995 where Daluxolo said he was one of the people who were involved in the planning of this assassination. Then on the 27th October, on the day that he died, I saw a newspaper article that Sibusiso Mbele was also present when this plan was being made, as well as how he was going to be killed. Up til now nobody has been arrested.
(Inaudible) ... the police are no closer to finding or discovering who the assassins of your husband were. --- To tell the honest truth nobody has ever come to me to update me and tell me as to how far their investigation has gone except for yesterday, because yesterday before I came here I wanted to investigate as to what was happening. Then the information I got was that
Mr Scotsman, who is the detective - one thing I want to had is that Khawula Ngwenya, as well as Langalethu - before Khawula Ngwenya - before the meeting started Reggie shook my husband's hand (sic), and I think he was indicating that this is the one who should be killed.
Mrs Hadebe, I think what I'd like to do now is to ask Mr John Jefrey, who's on the stage with you, to relate his account of what occurred, and thereafter I will - once you have both given your evidence I will let my fellow Commissioners and Committee Members ask questions from both you and Mr Jefrey.
Could you please, by way of background, tell us what meeting was taking place and what your intention was in going to that meeting with Mr Hadebe, just to give some background, and thereafter take up the story from the meeting and the incident that happened on the way back. --- The meeting was a peace meeting which was convened by the Regional Peace Committee. It had been set up, as far as I understand, some weeks before. I was attending as a representative of the ANC on the Regional Peace Committee, and Reggie was attending as a senior ANC person and also somebody who was from the Ixopo area and had an interest in the resolution of the conflict in that area. The meeting was meant to be attended by local ANC people, people from the IFP and the police.
Sorry, could I just interrupt you there. If there are people in the audience who are not able to follow English please can you swap earphones with an English-speaking person next to you so that you can understand the evidence that is being given by Mr Jefrey. Sorry, could you just wait a minute while that takes place, and then I'll indicate that you can go on with your evidence. (Pause) So, sorry, you were saying it was a meeting organised by the Regional Peace Committee, and was meant to have been attended by ANC representatives, representatives from Inkatha, and the police, is that correct? --- That's correct. Reggie and I had made arrangements to travel together. On the morning of the 27th of October I picked Reggie up at the ANC regional offices in town. Shaiks Cele, who was also a member of the Regional Executive Committee accompanied us to the meeting. From what I recall he hadn't been that keen on attending, but Reggie had basically pushed him to attend.
Sorry to interrupt you, Mr Jefrey, I neglected at the beginning to ask you just to tell us what your position was then and what your present position is. --- My position then was I was the deputy secretary of the Natal Midlands region. My position now is I'm a member of the Provincial Legislature in KwaZulu-Natal.
Thank you. I apologise for the interruption. --- We travelled then, the three of us, to Ixopo in my car, which was a blue Golf. I was driving, Reggie was sitting next to me in the passenger seat, and Shaiks was sitting in the back. We arrived at Ixopo and then went to the Anglican Church, where the meeting was meant to be taking place. We met local members of the ANC at the meeting, in particular Mr Magubane, who was chair of the ANC in Ixopo. There were also members of the IFP, in particular a Chief Dlamini who, as far as I recall, was a member of the KwaZulu Cabinet. I think he was Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and Chief Khawula Ngwenya Mkhize. There were also members of the police. Eventually the meeting started at about 11 o'clock. There was some delay because Dennis Nkosi from the Regional Peace Committee was late in arriving. When the meeting started there were some problems in that Chief Dlamini arrived in the meeting with three men, young men in their 20s. They introduced themselves as Luthingo, Luthuli or Ntuli, I can't remember which, and Mabaso, and they said they were his security. The altercation was over whether they should be in the meeting or not, and eventually Chief Dlamini agreed that they should go out. The altercation was really over that it wasn't usual for people to bring security guards or bodyguards into peace meetings. The first item on the agenda was freedom of political association in the areas around Ixopo under local chiefs. Chief Dlamini opposed discussion on the issue on the basis that not all local chiefs were present, and after discussion on the point it became apparent that the meeting could not proceed, and the meeting was then adjourned to a date in the future. That was at approximately 12 o'clock. The ANC had indicated that it wished to have a meeting with the police to discuss a memorandum that had been given in to the police some time before, and that meeting then, after a short break, commenced. The issues that I remember discussing were, in particular, the question of the G3 firearms that were present in the Ixopo area, that a number of the associates of the chiefs had been given G3 weapons, and these were being used in the commission of crimes. As far as I recall the police response was that they couldn't really do much about it. And the police we were meeting with - from what I remember it at least one of the people was the district commissioner of Kokstad at that stage. Ixopo fell under the Kokstad police district. The meeting then adjourned, that meeting, second meeting, then adjourned shortly before lunch, and Reggie, Shaiks, myself, Mehmout Peer, who was from the ANC locally, and Mr Magubane, and there may have been a few other people, then went to lunch at the local hotel. Over lunch Reggie told me that Chief Mkhize had spoken to him during the break and had told him that he didn't like peace meetings, that he was still filled with hatred, and that he now knew Reggie, or words to that effect. Reggie interpreted those words as a threat. Just after two we then proceeded from Ixopo back to 'Maritzburg along the main road. We were seated as we had arrived at the meeting. That was myself driving, Reggie in the front passenger seat, and Shaiks sitting in the back. In the car we were talking and joking and sort of having quite a lively conversation. We crossed over the Umkomaas River. There's a big valley with the Umkomaas River at the bottom on the way between Ixopo and Richmond. There's a steep drive down to the river and a steep drive up on the other side. So we went through this valley, we crossed over the river, and were proceeding up the hill on the other side. At one point there's a hairpin bend and a low concrete wall on the left-hand side of the road. As we were driving past this area there was a very loud bang. It sounded as though it was very close. My first reaction was not knowing what was going on, but immediately after that there were a number of shots, or the sound of a number of shots that were being fired, and were obviously being fired at the car, and I then realised that we were being fired at. While the shots were being fired, or throughout the whole period, I continued driving. Because it was a steep part and a bending part in the road it was difficult to accelerate or move much faster. Whilst the shots were being fired I noticed that Reggie was lying with his head on my leg. At that point I assumed he was ducking for cover. Shaiks also remarked that he had been hit, and that I must try and drive faster. Eventually we got out from the shooting - it seemed to carry on for a long time - and at that point I noticed that Reggie had been shot in the top of his neck and appeared to be badly injured. I was not aware at that stage that he was dead. I then drove as fast as possible to Richmond, where I thought there was a hospital. At some point on the road to Richmond the back windscreen of the car fell out because it had been hit by bullets. When I got to Richmond I went to the Richmond Chest Hospital - I thought that was an ordinary hospital, but it was only a TB hospital - and tried to get assistance. There were some difficulties in that there were only nurses there. They didn't seem to be that willing to give assistance. Eventually we got them to examine Reggie, but that took some time - they wanted to put on gloves and things - and they then said that he was dead. They didn't want to move Shaiks. Shaiks had received a wound in the back. They didn't want to move him as they were worried about whether moving him might cause further problems. I asked them to call a doctor and to call an ambulance. No doctor arrived, but eventually an ambulance arrived, and the ambulance drivers just took Shaiks out of the car and put him in the ambulance. There was then a further argument in that the ambulance was wanting to take Shaiks to Edendale Hospital, and Shaiks and I didn't feel that that was safe, we wanted him to go to Greys Hospital. The ambulance drivers, however, refused to take Shaiks to Greys, and said if they took him there Greys would just refer him to Edendale. So I got Shaiks to come back into my car. Reggie was still in the car at that stage. There was a local Comrade who I knew who was at the hospital, and he came with us and I then drove to 'Maritzburg, intending to go to Greys. Driving into 'Maritzburg there were too many traffic lights on Alexander Road that I was going through, so I went to Medicity, which is the nearest hospital. And at that point Shaiks got treatment, and I contacted the police and the local ANC office. I believe that Reggie was killed with the first shot, the loud bang that had been fired, and I believe that he was killed instantly in that he didn't make any noise or any movement.
Please continue. --- Ja, that's sort of basically it. The car was hit a number of times. Shaiks was hit with pellets, apparently from a shotgun, that had gone through the back of the car. There was a baby seat which was in the boot of the car which absorbed some of those pellets, and that may have resulted in him having fewer injuries. The pellets then went through the back of the - the back passenger seat.
What was the response of the police in this matter? --- When I arrived at the hospital I phoned - at that stage he was Colonel Schoeman, he's now Brigadier Schoeman, who's the - he's the deputy regional commissioner of the Port Shepstone area - and informed him. Senior ranking police - a Colonel du Preez, who's now General du Preez, and is the area commissioner for 'Maritzburg - arrived at the hospital, together with a Colonel van Aswegen from the Riot Investigation Unit. So high level police came to the hospital. I did accompany the police later that evening back to the scene to go and point out the scene and - ja.
And since that day, the nature of the investigation? --- The Goldstone Commission did investigate the investigation at one of its Natal hearings. From what I recall there were problems with the way the investigation had been conducted in terms of delays in getting evidence, problems about getting firearms from the area in to take ballistics tests. From that point I'm - I mean that was some time ago, and from that point I haven't had any direct report from the police as to the state of the investigation.
Are you aware whether all the people who attended that meeting have been questioned in connection with the murder? --- I believe that they have, but I am going basically on a report I think given by the police at the time. We had been specifically interested in Chief Dlamini's security guards, because we felt their presence at the meeting was fairly suspicious. The other pointers to make on the whole thing is that I do think it was a very carefully planned ambush, that they chose a spot in the road where vehicles have to proceed more slowly. The spot was also one in which they were able to see all oncoming traffic and all - from both directions. I think they must have had us under surveillance in Ixopo, because we didn't leave the meeting immediately, we had the meeting with the police and then we had lunch, and I am sure they wouldn't have wanted to have hung around on the road for a long time. And then also that the shot that killed Reggie I think must have come from an expert marksman to have been able to hit him like that. The other point I didn't mention was I was not able to see anybody, so when we neared the spot I didn't see any vehicles or any people before the ambush took place. Afterwards I wasn't able to see anybody.
Now, you said Mr Shaiks Cele was also hit. Do you believe that all three of you were targets for assassination? --- Look, I believe they definitely wanted to kill Reggie, and that he was the prime target, and that hence they shot him with the first bullet. As far as the rest of us, I am not sure what they wanted. We could have I think been killed, or we definitely could have been killed. How much they wanted to do that I don't know. Do you have any idea of how many bullets were fired into the car? --- No. I mean just as far as - I mean a record of damage to the car, the left rear window was broken, appeared to have been shattered on impact, or appeared to have been shattered on impact by a bullet. The rear window was broken. Bullets went through that. A bullet hole in the front dash board above the steering wheel, and then a number of bullet holes in the car, so it was a large number. As far as I know it was - shotguns were used. There were pellets. As far as I understand Reggie was killed with an R4, I think, a bullet, and there were then other bullets on the car.
What impact did his death have on the region and on the working of the Peace Committee? --- Well, it obviously made that work quite difficult, in that there was a peace meeting designed to talk about peace and try and resolve conflicts in the local area, and you had people being shot and killed on the way to that meeting, so it obviously made that a lot more difficult.
Are there any other comments of a specific or a general nature which you would like to make in connection with the incident or, as I say, of a more general nature? --- Ja, I mean there's one comment I wanted to make of a more general nature, just having been in 'Maritzburg during the late 80s/90s, or involved during the violence in terms of monitoring and trying to find legal strategies of dealing with the violence, that in evidence before the Commission at this hearing names of policemen involved in violence have been named. One of the problems is that many of those people are still in the police. Barber, who was mentioned quite a lot with regard to Imbali, is still in the Security Police. I think it's the Prime Intelligence Service now. He currently holds the rank of inspector. And that I don't think people's relations with the police can ever improve unless the people being named are properly investigated. I don't see how people can be expected to have faith in the police when - or in the Security Police for example, of the new police, South African Police Service, when people like Barber are still there and there don't appear to have been any proper investigations into what he allegedly did. But I think it goes beyond the foot soldiers, as it were. The more senior police, the head of security, the heads of security at that time need also to come and say what they did, what they knew of what was going on, were they aware of abuses, what steps did they take. Similarly the heads of CID, because one of the problems with number of the violence cases was that they were not properly investigated. Those heads need to come and tell people their understanding of what happened and why these case were not properly investigated, why there were so few people arrested and charged, and so few people found guilty of the crimes. And I think that unless that's done I don't think anyone can really expect relations between the police and the community in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas to normalise, and for the community to have faith in the police.
MR LYSTER: And is it correct that G3 rifles were those rifles which were issued by the then KwaZulu Government to chiefs without going through the proper - the normal process of weapon licensing? --- That's correct, and then the chiefs basically gave those guns out - in theory to people who were meant to protect them, but they seem to have been given out quite widely, and in the province as a whole those guns were used in the commission of a number of crimes. So really there was no control over those guns at all. The other point is that at the meeting with the police before the ambush the police had even told us that they were unable to - they didn't know how many guns were in the area, they were unable to tell us, because it was a concern before the ambush. I think Mr Magubane's car had been ambushed with a G3, or a G3 had been used, and subsequent in the investigation, as far as I understand, they were not able to properly get records of all the firearms in the area.
I just want to ask one question which is directed to JJ. As the meeting was adjourned at 12 noon because of certain problems can you give me the picture of the movements of the people? Were you the first people to
leave? --- The second meeting also took place at the same venue, so the IFP members left and the ANC members and the police stayed behind. And then at the ... (inaudible) ... had finished I think we all more or less left at the same time.
DR MAGWAZA: Again this is not a question, but it's just a comment which I would like to address to Mrs Hadebe. I address it as a comment in that, Mrs Hadebe, you represent a large number of women who have lost their husbands, who were the heroes to us, and you have an overwhelming responsibility of taking care of a big family of six single-handedly. In big families like yours some of the children are deeply affected, and it will be a big mistake if the Commission we forget the children of Reggie Hadebe. I will therefore like you to - just to make a brief comment about the state of Reggie's children. I heard you mention that you felt the children were not loving and caring as they should. Could you tell us how have their lives changed. --- One of them is not performing well at school. We've even sent her to schools for special education. The other ones they are not affectionate, they are not even caring. They are so violent, they are showing some violent tendencies. They are just not caring. Their lives are not as well as before.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Hadebe and Mr Jefrey, we as a Commission express our deep sympathy to you, to you both. Mrs Hadebe, you have lost your partner of many, many years, your breadwinner and the father of your children, and, Mr Jefrey, you have lost a friend and a colleague, and on top of that had to suffer the shock of watching him being killed in front of you, and driving with his body many kilometres from Ixopo to 'Maritzburg.
Mrs Hadebe, your husband was a famous person and a dynamic person, and this city and this province is a poorer place as a result of his death. He was a natural leader, he was a well educated man. We understand that at the time of his death he was studying for his masters degree in education, and there is no doubt that had he still been alive he would have taken his place amongst the leaders of this province. If one looks back at the last 30 years and considers the number of dynamic young people who were cut down in their youth, before they had a proper opportunity to fulfil their potential for their communities and their country, it only adds to the tragedy of this country.
We sympathise with you and your family, and we thank you both very much for coming here today to relive those memories, and to once again bring the death of Reggie Hadebe into the public light. Thank you very much for coming in, and we wish you well as you go.
Nkhanyisi, can you explain what happened during September 1992 at night? What happened during that night? --- During that night people came to attack my family. At the end it was discovered that they were police, the Internal Stability Unit. They were coming from Group 9 from Durban. That was not the first time for the police to come to my place or our place. It was the third time. They came the first time to harass one of the members of
at home during the day. By that time I was at school in the University of Zululand. It was 1991. I was doing my second year in a B Comm degree. When they arrived at home i wasn't there. There was a note which I left at the door so that whoever was looking for me could find out where I were. They get inside and ransack the house. They said they were looking for arms which were stored at my home. And then they took the note, they never contacted me and then they went away, and they left some message that ... (intervention)
You may continue. --- At that time the school closed. They came back to Mr Maseko and again - oh, I have to explain there. After I discovered that one of my sisters - they do came looking for her. I talked to Mary de Haas at the University of Natal, who was going to have a meeting with the district commissioner of that place to ask from the district commissioner why were the police looking for me. Mrs de Haas tried to do that, got the explanation from the lieutenant was that they were just conducting a normal raid in that area. They were searching all the homes at that place.
Thank you. You can go on. --- They went away. During that time in 1991 during December 16 my dad died because he was sick. I was writing my exams. I couldn't write my exams because I have to come home to see my father. I found that he was very sick. I was so afraid that if I go back to school I might have to come back again if he dies. I took him to hospital in Applesford. They took him to Edendale Hospital, where he died on the 16th of December. On the date he died I wasn't there. We were at a meeting of the regional conference in the ANC Midlands. On that same day we have to stay at ... (inaudible) ... to a rally of the MK.
Before you continue, the other children, your brothers and sisters, were you in the same organisation? --- Yes, they were together in the organisation, but I was the one who was very involved. There was a young little girl who was about five. My mum was at work.
You can continue. --- I came back home in 1992. I couldn't go back to school, I had to stay with my mother at home for about a year. I stayed until September. In the community there was sort of a conflict between the ANC and the IFP. The other place is called - there was an ANC place and the Inkatha people were trying to infiltrate our place. During September at night some people came to attack my home. I get out and ran away. I didn't think these were police because I just heard of guns and I started to run away. When I passed my neighbours they couldn't open for me. I just ran. I heard some gunshots. I ran to my uncle, who is about eight kilometres.
When these people arrived at your place, you were asleep, what did they do? --- We were asleep. It was about half past one in the morning. It was very dark. I just heard the noises of guns. I thought maybe these were attackers from the Inkatha people.
Was the door closed? --- Yes, the door was closed. I just opened the door and ran away. I just saw something, some dark shades, and then I started to run away. I couldn't see the people because it was dark.
While you were running you said they shot at you. --- Yes, they shoot me from the back. I ran to my uncle. I fall into a hole, where like I broke my arm, but I was able to crawl and sort of get into my uncle. Fortunately there was a car, and then they took me to a place called Newspaper, where they found a kombi which took me to Durban. When we arrived in Durban ... (intervention)
When you arrived in Durban then you were shot in the back and your hand was broken. --- Yes. When I arrived in Durban it was about dawn. I started to search for people whom I know. I went to a place called Dikonia. I looked for Jenny Irish. I knew her. She took me to a doctor at St George's Street. The doctor called Zothini.
Since you left your mum at home what did he tell you what killed your mum? --- They told me that the attackers had killed my mum, and then he wrote me a letter that I can be transferred to Addington Hospital.
In your statement you say between 28 and 29 February there was a meeting of the IFP people where your mum was called in to attend. Can you tell us more about that? --- About the meeting, my mother was called by the leader to attend the meeting so that she can tell me to stop to organise the ANC in that area.
Is it true that she was told that there's some people which you bring into the community? Which people are these? --- They said I am bringing the white people with guns into my home. There used to be Mary de Haas coming to my place, and Lady Jenny Irish.
You may continue. You heard that your mum was killed, and then what happened? --- While I was at Addington they took me to an x-ray just to find out if my bone wasn't broken. After that the late Nduli had to contact the branch at Mbumbudlovu, and he contacted Mr Harry Gwala. He tried also to contact the people to tell them that they must go and pick me up and took me to Pietermaritzburg.
harassed, or there were some other families were harassed? --- My family was the second one to be harassed. In 1991 the Kothos family they killed the parents. We didn't know who killed them. Yes, we didn't know.
Were they prosecuted? --- What I can say is that I was not impressed by the way the matter was handled during the inquest. I used to come, and the police used to come too. They used to sit with the Magistrate and the police who was investigating the case. One case they had they started with a braai, and then the case have to start at about 3 o'clock, and then they have to postpone it because it was late. I appeared many times and they were always postponing the inquest. And later we had to resume and we started. What I can say about that is I don't believe that the course of law was followed.
Your children, your father is not there and your mother is not there, are they still - those who are still young who were there who need some help? --- My younger sister before me she is staying with me, she is not working, and the other one it's at school, and there are other three children who were not at home the day we were attacked, they were also staying with my mum, I am also taking care of them at the moment.
You said that like you were studying B Comm and you had to drop out? When do you wish to finish your degree? --- At the present moment it's very difficult for me because I have to take care of myself and the whole family, but if any moment I can get a chance to go back to school I would like to finish it.
The last - I want to find the whole picture about your family. After you were so harassed did you ever get some counselling services? --- No, we never got such services, but myself while I was working for the ANC the work that I was doing at that time used to keep me busy, and I stopped working for the organisation in 1994, and I worked for the national Government. At the present moment I have time to sit and think about things of the past, and in my mind this has affected me very much because I had at once to go to be admitted in hospital. I can't explain it. I was under a post ... (incomplete)
Thank you very much for your explanation. Our duty is to listen to the harassment of people, their wishes and requests. What we do is we take over your requests and wishes to the national Government. These are the people who will decide what they can do. We just make some recommendations. And I should make that clear. I wish God can help you so that you can get some counselling. That's easy because we are in the process at the present moment where we'll be able to sort of like make you have some contact with some counselling services, and we will have to sort of like hand you over to Dr Mkhize and get some psychiatrists and psychologists so that they can meet you and help you. Thank you very much.
MR LAX: Mr Dlomo, just for the record it's important to put to you what the police said at the inquest just to see whether you agree with that or disagree with that. But the police version of what happened that night was that they came to your house, they knocked on the door, you fired shots at them and your mother tried to attack them with a panga. What do you say about that? --- That is not true. At the time when they came it shows that they did not come peacefully because they came at dawn whilst we were sleeping. Nobody saw them. Even the cars, according to eye witnesses, people who were working at the College of Education, the cars did not have their lights on and they didn't park in front of my yard. It was not the first time that they were doing that as they had already said that they were afraid, they did not know the place. They had got prior information from one of their trusted informers that we had kept arms for the ANC. I totally deny what was said by the police in the inquest. When my mother died she was 57 years old. The policemen who shot her was Constable Booysens, who was 21 years old. /According
According to him he shot the first time in the air. That was a warning shot, but he says my mother had a bush knife with her. Even when my mother heard the R1 rifle she continued to attack Constable Booysens, and Constable Booysens realised that he had to shoot my mother. I don't believe a 57-year-old woman hearing gunshots with a knife could go on and shoot a person who had possession of a firearm. I flatly don't believe that, because thereafter they continued to search. They raided my place, they never found anything.
(Inaudible) --- That is totally not true. At that time I was not armed, I had absolutely nothing. There's not even a piece of ammunition that was in my place. That is just their way of trying to absolve themselves. I never shot them. We were the ones who were shot. I woke up to gunshots and I ran away.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... was shot in her own house in her nightdress, totally unarmed, shot dead by an armed policeman. It is difficult to imagine a more callous act committed by someone whose job it was to protect the community, but so often did the opposite, and persecuted, intimidated and harassed communities. In fact your mother's case is quite a famous case, and there have been many attempts to persuade the authorities in this province to prosecute the person responsible for your mother's death, without success.
In so many cases that we have heard over the past few days, and indeed over the past few months, it is the women of this country, innocent women, who have often suffered most in the sad history of our country, and your mother was one of those women. It is a sad burden for you to have to carry, the death of your mother, and we hope that by telling your story today in public has assisted you in some way in coming to terms with the death of your mother.
MR LYSTER: We don't have a statement from anyone else other than yourself, so if one of your brothers - if your brother or one of your sisters does say something please could they just make it brief and to confirm what you have already said. Thank you. (Inaudible) ... up and take the oath.
We thank you very much for having been able to come here to come and tell us about what happened to your parents whilst you were still very young. We know that this is going to be a very painful moment for you, but you must know that we are here to support you. Nomzamo, I can see that you are being emotionally carried away. Are you prepared to speak? Just tell us about your family. Tell us how many you are at home. --- We are four at home. The first one is Ntombenhle. She is the first-born. She is followed by Lindiwe, then it's me, then the last born is Philani.
Yours is quite a different story, because you lost your parents when you were outside the country, you were not even in South Africa. I will ask you to just give us a brief explanation as to how your family landed up in Swaziland. Just tell us what happened, how come you left this country. --- What I will say according to rumours, because I was still very young, I was born in September 18, 1976 here in South Africa, in Durban. That's where my mother was working. I don't know when I got to Swaziland, but I was staying in Swaziland from the age of one up to five years. According to my sisters my mother went to Swaziland after having given birth to me. My sisters were left when my mother went away. My father was already in Swaziland. I don't know when he left. I landed up in Swaziland. All I knew was that all of us were in Swaziland because I was still very young at that time. Philani was born in Swaziland. He was born in 1979. We stayed in Manzini. Let me say we were residents in Swaziland, but that's not where this incident took place. It took place in Matsapa. We were moving from Manzini - between Manzini and Matsapa. Matsapa is comprised - it has apartments and flats, so we stayed in KwaManzini, but at night they used to wake us up, put us in the car, and we would proceed to Matsapa. We never used to know what was wrong or what was right that made us to be ferried during the night to and fro, but we were told that the boers were very dangerous.
Your father was working for an organisation. --- He was a representative of a certain organisation, the ANC. This went on for quite some time as I was growing up, and I used to see this being woken up by my father, saying, "We should go now." When we get to Matsapa we would be told, "Let's go back to Manzini." At times we would sleep at relatives' places. There was another lady who was staying in Mbabane in Swaziland. We used to go to her place. I think it was on the 3rd, but I am not sure, but I think it was the 3rd, I was taken to No 8, a flat, where there was a granny who was staying there. Her name was Alzina Zondi. I was very close to Alzina Zondi. I almost thought she was my mother. I had visited there. There was her granddaughter. Her name was Nokuthula. We were attending school at Malcolmville. I was going to sleep there, and wake up the following morning and go to school together with her. In the morning my mother was supposed to come and fetch me together with Nokuthula so that they put us in a school bus which would leave us at school. I waited on that particular day, myself and Nokuthula, waiting for my mother. That was on the 4th. I was in grade one. I waited and waited with Nokuthula. And Alzina said to us, "It looks like your parents are not coming to fetch you." I told Alzina that they should be here because they knew I had problems with my school bus. We waited endlessly until such time that they sent us to the shop. When we were sent to the shop we were still in uniform. When we came back from the shop I saw my sisters as well as other children with whom we board the school bus. I asked what had happened, whether the bus had broken down. Nobody answered me. I asked who had died, "Because all of you just look downhearted." I asked, "Who did the boers kill?" because this boer things was now a joke, because they used to say, "Boers are dogs, when ever they get you they kill you." I sensed that there was something bad that had happened. Ntombenhle and Lindiwe was there, but Philani was at the creche. I think my sisters will go further from then, because they never told me what was happening, they just kept quiet. They were supposed to have come with my mother and we were supposed to be taken to the school bus all of us.
They haven't been sworn in, so may you please go on. --- Thereafter I was called by Granny Alzina. It was myself and Nokuthula. She said to me, "Nomzamo, your mother has passed away. The boers had killed her." That's where I saw that what my mother and father was saying about the boers had now materialised. I felt so bad. We were taken to where the incident had taken place. When I got there my mother's car had burnt down. I could not see what had happened. My mother was not there. We were very confused. I asked myself as to why my mother wasn't left at home. I heard that as the car was standing when my father tried to start the car, because my mother sent Ntombenhle to change Philani, the baby, her napkin, so my mother said she must start the car. Then when my father started the car the car just exploded. The flat at which we were staying was even having a big hole at the ceiling. Lindiwe, my sister, ran out and she called Ntombenhle's name, and they realised that the parents had died. When she came close my father's lower part was no longer there. He was bleeding profusely. My mother had her foot inside and the other one was outside. She was trying to get into the car. Now she was burnt and her skull had started to crack. When I thought of this incident I felt very confused, I didn't know what to do. Thereafter all our relatives from 'Maritzburg started pouring in, because my family is here in 'Maritzburg. My uncle came, and he is the one who went to the mortuary to identify my parents. Now when we talk to him and tell him as to the scene that - at the funeral when we were sitting we were sitting just like the audience, and our parents' coffins were further down there. We never saw them. We were told then that they were put in big plastic refuse bags.
Were there people with your parents in your car? --- Yes, there were two people. One was my uncle, Makhebula Mlungise, and another one by the name of Moffet. According to my thoughts I think they were their bodyguards, because Makhebula went to Mozambique to be trained as a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He used to come to my place, and whenever he was there we used to trust and believe that our parents were safe, but when he tells us now he says many people did not know. Because he got this chance to be a bodyguard and he was very happy because he had guarded his sister, but many people did not know that.
Just tell us about this whole incident. Then after your parents had died what happened to you, because you were still very young? --- After their death my mother had parents who were staying at Imbali. They were elderly at that time. They came during the funeral. I don't know what happened thereafter, because what I remember we were left with Alzina. We stayed quite a few weeks. Maybe it was one or two weeks. My sister was taken to one white lady, Mrs Forest, whose kids we were schooling with. We used to visit her very often. Then we stayed at Alzina's place until my grandfather, as well as my grandmother, came to take us. Those who were there at that time were saying that we should be left with Alzina. We were taken, Nonzamo, Lindiwe, as well as Philani, by grandmother and grandfather. Ntombenhle was left with this white family. When we got to 'Maritzburg we stayed with my grandfather. I am not sure about the time which we stayed, but Ntombenhle came back thereafter. We are staying with my mother up til today - my grandmother, as well as grandfather and my grandfather's daughter. That is my mother's sister. Nobody was working there. My uncle, I think he was getting pension at that time.
Which year was that? --- My parents died in 1982. I think it was 1983/84 thereafter when we were staying there. They tried to get us schools. That was a problem because we did not know Zulu, we were speaking Swazi and English.
Did you ever get help when you got here? --- My grandfather was getting pension money, so we had problems, financial problems. My grandmother always tried to get help. From 1982 we kept on relating this story to people. Even today we have never ever had any help from anyone. Then my grandmother died in 1989, we were left with my grandfather. My grandmother was very strong, she had a strong character, stronger than my grandfather, because my grandfather is old.
Have you ever tried to go to ANC people? Because your father was working for the organisation have you ever tried to get some help? --- Yes, we tried. We tried. My father was a member of Umkhonto. There are certain things that they say that members of Umkhonto we Sizwe are getting demobilised and they are not getting any money. There's absolutely nothing we didn't try, but up til today nobody has ever come to our assistance. We are not working. We go to school right in the middle. We have to stop because of financial problems. Nobody earned a living at home. At times we would sleep without food. We even got used to that. We are used to suffering. There's no type of suffering we haven't gone through.
Let me just ask a few questions. When your parents died how old were they? --- Let me just find out from my sister because I am not sure. My mother was 34 years old and my sister was 36 years old (sic).
And what about your uncle, Mlungise? Where is he? --- He survived the attack because he was sitting in the car. Whatever happened never actually affected him. I think there is - it was a situation where by he was somehow perturbed. He didn't move, nothing happened, but he saw all that happened but he survived the attack. Both of them survived the attack.
Do you contact each other? Where's your uncle? --- My uncle went away in 1976 to join Umkhonto we Sizwe. Then he came back in 1992. There's nothing we can expect from him, or what he can do, because he has just come back now and he's trying to pick up the pieces of his life. There's absolutely nothing we can expect from him.
I want to ask you, your parents - have you ever gone back to where your parents were buried? --- No, we've never been there. We never went there after the funeral. We do wish to go and see our parents' graves, but at times we say maybe other people had been buried on top of them now. But at times we feel if we could go there to the graves, cry in front of the graves, so that we can be satisfied, because at the time we were still very young when this happened.
In your statement you pointed out that other people say this trap - Mamasela is involved as well as Nofamela. Are there any people who were arrested? --- At that time in Swaziland I think it was on the 4th. Probably or approximately on the 6th the newspaper reported the matter, and when we got here we were destitute, we were desperate. When we went around telling people we felt as if we were just talking, making up stories, because people just looked at us as if we were mad. We went to the library to check the newspaper, and we kept on making photocopies of the paper, an each time we got to ask for help we would produce this little paper as a piece of evidence as to what actually happened to us. But after quite some time, when we went there trying to get the very same piece of paper, we were told that all the papers had been destroyed.
So which means you don't have any more knowledge as to whether Mamasela or Nofamela were involved? --- Thereafter my sister went to the library to investigate about this article. We got a man in the library who said, "If you can't get this piece of article I can help you. There is a book in the library which is called "In the Heart of the War," which is written by Jacques Po. Then I will investigate about the whole matter and update you."
He opened the book up and he saw Petros and Jabunzima, written that they had killed in Swaziland in a car bomb. Then it went on further to say that people who were watching my parents' movements were Joe Mamasela, Chica Lana and Nofamela. When we saw this it was on a Monday. The previous day was the Truth Commission. I watched this man who was making details as to what he was doing to people. That's when we started crying, because there was somebody who was admitting. I don't know whether I was excited or I was just angry. I had mixed feelings.
Now, coming to you as the siblings who were tortured at quite an early age, you look very much tortured. You look angry, like you need help because you were traumatised. We shall contact you in due course, see how we can help you get rehabilitated. It is very apparent that you are in difficulty, you are in financial troubles, you are in a problem as to furthering your education. We shall take your requests and we shall try to rehabilitate you. We thank you very much for having this courage to come and appear before us. We hope and we trust that all of us as we are sitting here we have been touched so deeply by your story. We are here to support you when you need it. --- Thank you. I'll hand over to the chairman.
I have got a question for you, Nomzamo. As you are relating your suffering, the suffering that you have experienced after your parents' death, are you at school at the present moment? --- We are not at school.
How old are you respectively? --- The two of us were at Technikon, but we didn't finish. We were about to do our third year. We just stopped before June because we had a problem. We wanted to continue with our education but at the Technikon when they need the prescribe books. When you have to buy the book you find that you don't have money to buy the book. You don't have money to even pay for your tuition. Technikon is not like high school, where you could say to your neighbour, "Let's share the book." Each and everyone has got a book, so you can't share, and the books were very expensive. And we failed the first term because we had no books. We could wait until the end of the year and have whatever money, see where we get the money, but we don't even have a single book.
(Inaudible) ... and Ntombenhle, we express our deep sympathy to you. It is very hard for us on this stage, and I am sure for members of the audience, to see four young people suffering so much, and we can only imagine how much harder it is for you to tell this story and to relive those memories of your parents' death.
Your parents were killed by agents of the previous Government in a foreign country, and there were many others like them who were murdered in this way in Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, and also in Europe, if you think of people like Dulcie September and Joe Meyer and Jackie Quinn.
We will do what we can to find out who was responsible for giving the order for the assassination of your parents, and we hope that if we do that it will enable you to come to terms, or to better come to terms with your parents' death. As my colleague, Dr Magwaza, has said we will also make recommendation to the Government as to how you should be assisted as a result of the loss of those people who should have been with you to care for you and to raise you, your parents.
Finally we thank you very much for coming here today, and for having the courage to relive those memories with us, and we wish you every strength and courage as you go. We hope that it has been of some benefit to you all to sit here, the four of you together, and to share this story with us. Thank you very much. Is there anything that any one of your sisters or your brother would like to say to add to that, or do you feel that you have said everything that you want to say? --- We don't want to say anything.
These grandchildren of yours, how old are they? --- The one, the son of Thulani, is six years old. He has started schooling. The other one by Themba is four years old. The other one of Thamsanqa is two years. The second one it's one year old ... (inaudible)
Can you tell us in details exactly what happened in 1989 on the 28th May? --- Thulani left on the 28th of May 1990 ... (inaudible) ... we were attacked at Taylors. We were at home. The attacks started during 1988 and continued until 1989, and then ... (inaudible) ... during 1990 we were attacked during the day at 12 o'clock.
Were they attacking your family or they were attacking just all the families next to you? --- They were all attacking our families, because they arrived at 12 o'clock during the day ... (inaudible) ... they surrounded the family. Which year? --- It was 1989.
In your statement you say it was on the 28th of May - on the 28th of May, the day on which Thulani died. They did attack you before? --- Yes, they did attack us before two times in 1988 and 1989. Therefore we left the place during 1989, and we were escorted by the police up to Khaluzi.
You wished that - you wanted him to go overseas to study medicine ... (inaudible) .... when he ran away during 1990 to Khaluzi ... (inaudible) ... it was on the 28th of May of 1990. Thulani went away to a place called Taylors.
Which means we have to correct your statement. --- When he arrived at Taylors we didn't know that he was at Taylors because I told him he mustn't try to go and look for ... (inaudible) ... because ... (inaudible) ... he got the kid, and the kid was about five months old. We had a problem with the kid.
So it means he just got a baby from just a girlfriend? --- Yes. He had a problem because he wanted to check his ... (inaudible) ... he thought maybe he might have got a ... (inaudible) ... somewhere else. He was also trying to find some job so that he can help to raise up his kid, who was five months old. While we were still hiding there ... (intervention)
Where were you hiding? --- We were renting a stand of Mr Dlamini, and we are still staying there. On May the 28th, early in the morning at 6 o'clock, I waked up early in the morning at Khaluzi. When I waked up Thulani was not there. I thought he had gone to his temporary job where he was working somewhere in town in the suburb. Unfortunately he had gone to Taylors. It was on Monday the 28th of 1990. We waited at home until eight, after nine. At about 10 o'clock a young boy came. He is from the Mdlungu family. He said he is coming to tell us that one of the young men came to him in town to tell him that Thulani has been arrested at Taylors.
The first one who came to see you is this young boy from the Zulus? --- Yes. The second one came at about 11. They were not able to come to my place very easily because they were sort of prohibited from coming to talk to us. They came to tell us that Thulani has been caught by Ndlovu and he has been killed by this man. We went to the police.
Before you reach there, you said he was killed at Taylors. When did he go to KwaNgube? --- It was on the 28th. He went there to look for his letter. They were coming from KwaNgube. When he arrived - before he went to KwaNgube to collect his letters - I want to correct the statement.
KwaNgube is a name of family, it's not the name of a place? --- Yes. He didn't start from the KwaNgube family. He went home. We left a dog behind when we left the place. He went there to look for the dog, and then they saw him. The Nzo family saw him from there. Before they see him there was a neighbour who sent a young boy to go and tell Lu that Thulani is here.
Where is this Lulu Mthembu? --- We are told he is at KwaNdabuza. We haven't seen him. Where is Thelu Ndlovu? --- He is at Taylors at his home, at a place called Ehashini. They said yes, Thulani is around.
After they told Ndlovu what did Ndlovu say? --- When we hear, since we were not there, Mthunzi told us that Thelu came out with cars. Some of them were on legs. They were coming to the home where Thulani was. One, this young boy, he told Mthunzi that they must tell Thulani that he must run away because the Ndlovu family is coming.
Were they running after him on foot? --- Yes, but Ndlovu was coming on the other side driving a car. When he was far away he started - they started shouting, asking for the other people to stop him. And then they blocked his way and he had to run away back to Taylors. On the other side they surrounded him. That's where they get out from their cars, they went to him. They were holding guns. They hold him with his hands. They put him into a car.
Is it true that Ndlovu's car was a blue Toyota? --- Yes, that is true. Yes, the car left. They took him to Ndlovu's place. When they arrived at Ndlovu's place he was locked in a room where there was only one door.
You can continue. --- After he was locked we were told by him after came the police. He told us that they didn't lock Thulani, Thulani broke out and ran away. The police asked him how did he get out through the window when the door was open. He said, "I didn't know." When Thulani was locked in - he was locked in Ndlovu's place, and they started to harass him inside. They followed him.
When he get out did they follow him? --- No, they shot at him. While he was trying to escape through the window they shot him. He ran for a long distance. He was running approaching a mountain, and there were some families. They were running behind him and they were holding some weapons. When he arrived at the place he fall because he was shot by that time. They shot at him before they arrived at him and attacked him with weapons. There were too many. We don't know how many there were, but we know that they were all ... (inaudible) ... Ndlovu was at home by that time, but there were these people which he uses to do all these things.
Is this the only person you know? --- This other boy ... (inaudible) ... Duhle Mahlasela. No, no, it's Shezi, the surname. These are the people who were running after him? --- Yes, and ... (inaudible) ... Ngcobo and some other older men, elderly men.
Can you tell the Commission that this Sbu Shezi - where are all these people you are naming? --- They are still staying - they are staying at Taylors, but I can't tell you where they are at the moment, because at the time we were looking for them they were running and hiding. On the 29th they ran after him, they catch him and killed him.
How did they kill him? With what did they kill him? --- I don't know. We heard that they first shot him and then they stabbed him, and they also hit him with an axe. They also stabbed him with spears and some knobkerries. And he died at that time. We knew that he died at that time, but when we heard some rumours - this Lulu who called Ndlovu told us he didn't die on the 29th. They couldn't catch him because he was running.
Did you ever get a death certificate which shows the cause of his death? --- No, we don't have it because we didn't even open a case on this matter. After three months - and after some time I was walking around, and then there were some people who came to me and said I must come and look to identify his - to look for his body. We went around looking for his body but we couldn't find anything. After three months some people called and they said we mustn't reveal their names. They said I must come to the mortuary to look for his body. I phoned the DP people. They give me some police and soldiers so that we can go around looking for Thulani's body. This Reggie Mkhize was the man who was giving us help. And then we left the police and soldiers to go and look for it and we couldn't find anything.
This happened on the 29th of May? To which police station did you first go? --- On the first - the ANC people told us to go to Plessislaer Police Station, and at that place they told us that we must ... (inaudible) ... go to Khaluzi. The police at Khaluzi said we must go to police who are at Taylors.
And from there you went to ask for help at the office of the Democratic Party in town. --- Yes, we went there, and we were taken there by Mr Msimbi, and he is from the Methodist Church. He took us to the Democratic Party, and then this Reg Mkhize helped us. He opened a case.
He didn't find your child? --- Yes, we didn't find the child. The first investigator who took the statement is Mr Vilakazi. I don't remember his name. While we were looking for the body Bala Naidoo from Durban came. Bala Naidoo used to go to Taylors and sleep there at night searching for the body, but he couldn't find anything. And then after a year and about five months I went to Durban because we were just sitting and hired the place, and the owner of the place told us we have to leave because someone had bought the place. After about one year and five months I went to the ... (inaudible) ... police to find out exactly what was happening with the case. When I arrived at Pentrich I found that Bala Naidoo had been moved and there now we have got Mr Vilakazi, the one who took the statement from us. After two years, on the third year, it was about August, I went to Pentrich again to ask about the results of the investigation, and there I found Bala Naidoo. He told me that Thulani's case is over.
Which means Bala Naidoo was gone and then he came back again? --- Yes. And I asked how did it happen that the case was over if it didn't come to court? Bala Naidoo told us he doesn't know. The prosecutor said he didn't find Mr Ndlovu guilty of any crime.
Did Bala Naidoo know the name? --- He might know, because he was the one who was investigating. They told me that the case was on, started, and I don't know what happened from there after. I asked how did they try the case without me as the mother of Thulani.
Was Ndlovu arrested? --- Yes, he was arrested, because we went to a lawyer, Kajee. He said Ndlovu must be arrested and he must not be given bail. He was locked for three months. After four months I was told that he has been released by his lawyers on bail for R500,00.
Who was his lawyer? --- No, they didn't tell us about the lawyer. I went to the Democratic Party to Reg Mkhize. He was also surprised because he's the one who opened the case. He didn't understand why it could be over since he didn't even go to court. And then they told me that I have a right to go and see the prosecutor and ask him, or even open a new case. Mrs Ndlovu, how is she involved in this matter? --- She's the stepmother. They were helping us in some other way, because it was not easy to get in and find the body of my dead son, so they used to contact us and tell us we can come and look somewhere else.
It means you haven't found your son up to now, and you don't know where he is at the moment. --- Yes, that's true. I looked for his corpse about three years. I couldn't find him. On the fourth one I just stopped. Last year on April I went to the human rights lawyers to open the case, because his child is asking, and he also knows that his father was Thulani, and he is asking where is his father. I used to lie to the son and say he is going to Durban ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 3) ... which can assist me.
Which means that your wish or request is that to find out whether Thulani is still alive or dead? --- My request is for - I would like to ask you to go and ask Mr Ndlovu as to what happened to my son, because he should have killed my son and I was going to go and collect the corpse and bury it.
We'll try and investigate that. --- And secondly, something that hurt me the most, it's because he's refusing that he did kill him. Even myself I don't want to see Ndlovu alive. I would like to ask the Commission to try that he must be taken and to be put in a place where I will never see him in my life, because my heart is painful and I don't want to take the law into my hands. He must be put in gaol, and he will come out at the day Thulani will come and see him.
Is there any other thing that you would like to say? --- We have been harassed and I am not feeling well at all. I have got a heart attack, I have got eye problems. I also have the BP, high blood pressure, because of all this harassment, because of Mr Ndlovu's deeds.
Did you ever went to see a doctor? --- I used to go to a doctor who is somewhere near the station. I used to go to him because when I go to hospital they couldn't help me. Dr Fault used to help me, because he could ask me what's my problem and I will explain to him. We have all been harassed at home.
Among your children are there some - are they all well? --- His brothers are also not well at the moment. They are also troubled by the disappearance of their brother, as I am saying even at school they are not doing well. They are trying to go and continue studying, but it's not so easy. They couldn't even pass their matric. I think they are troubled in their spirits because of this. I don't know whatever it is, whatever that they need that we can buy. If there something that we need to buy and we don't have the money we start to think and remember Thulani, because he's the one who was maybe going to help us.
We will try to sort of like take your requests and wishes to the people we are responsible to, and they will see what they can do for you. We know it's very hard and tough for you to stay not knowing what was happened to your child, and not knowing where he has been buried, not even knowing where the bones are. --- Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Mbanjwa, it is a terrible thing for a parent to have suffered the loss of their child, and it's even more terrible when that parent does not know absolutely for sure whether their child is in fact alive or not. It must make it even harder for you to bear. As I have said before, it has so often been the women of this country who have suffered most during the past 30 years of our history, and you are one of those women.
You have also told us something about what was happening in the Taylors Halt area and the Khaluzi area at the time, and that is important for us in drafting our report which we have to give to the Government. You have gone to great lengths to try and find your son. You have looked for him for three years, and we cannot promise you that we will be successful in finding your son. We will certainly investigate whether it was Mr Ndlovu who killed your son, so that if this is the case that he can be prosecuted.
And, as my colleague Dr Magwaza has said, that if you feel that you need other assistance, psychological assistance, so that you can come to terms with your son's disappearance, you must not hesitate to contact the Commission.
We thank you very much for coming to us and telling us your sad story. We extend our sympathy to you, and we wish you courage as you leave us today. Thank you very much indeed, and to your son who is with you. We also wish him courage and strength. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... to us today from Imbali, here in 'Maritzburg, and you have come to tell us the story about the death of your husband, Fabeni Philemon Ngcobo, and the assault upon your son and the shooting of your grandson. Before you tell us that sad story please can you stand so that you can take the oath.
Before we start if you wouldn't mind telling us a little bit about your family. --- I have seven children. I am the eighth one. My husband - when my husband was still alive. Then I have five grandchildren.
Thank you. Of your children how many were girls and how many were boys? Just so we can get a picture. --- I have five girls, two boys. Then amongst the grandchildren I have four grandsons and one granddaughter. Now, there are three different incidents that you are going to tell us about. The first is the sad death of your husband, which happened on the 17th of May 1990. Now, is it correct that your husband was born on the 23rd of August 1931? --- That is correct.
(Inaudible) ... from the death certificate as well it is shown that he was born on the 23rd of August 1931. Is that incorrect? --- That is correct. Maybe I am little bit confused, but that's more probable. I am not very sure, but that's more probable.
If you could please proceed and just tell us about the events that happened on that day, the 17th of May 1990, as far as you know them. --- It was in the morning on the 17th of May in 1990. I was working at Town Hill. My husband used to take me to and from work whenever I was on duty, and he would fetch me from work and take me back home. On this particular day he left me at work. He said he would come and fetch me in the afternoon. At about half past nine, still in the morning, the sister in charge in the ward called me in. I went to her. She told me that I was needed at the office. I asked them what the matter was. She said I should go and hear what was going to be said at the office. I proceeded there. As I was approaching the door I saw the matrons also coming towards me. Then Matron Newman held my hand. She took me inside the office. As I got into the office I looked around. I saw Virginia. Virginia is my husband's sister's child. She was with Doris Shabalala. I panicked. I asked Virginia as to what she was doing there. She didn't look at me in the eye. I asked as to whether my husband had been killed because he had been getting death threats over the phone. Virginia kept quiet, she didn't answer me. The matron tried to calm me down. I told them to tell me if my husband had been killed. Virginia said, "Yes, they have killed your husband." I asked where he died. She told me that he died in his kombi at Umlahlankosi. I got very confused. The matron tried to calm me down. They took me and put me into a kombi. We went to Imbali. As I was just approaching Imbali there's a downslope as you approach. I saw the roof of my kombi, and there were many people there gathered. Then I tried to look and see, because the kombi hadn't yet stopped. As soon as the kombi stopped I got out. When I got out I slipped and fell. They lifted me up. I ran towards the kombi. He was inside the kombi. When I was still on my way there the police came and tried to restrain me. They started hitting me with the backs of their guns, trying to shove me backwards. I went backwards. They said I mustn't get any nearer. I asked them, "How could I not come closer to my husband, because I want to see that he's really dead?" The other one - there was a short one, a boer, who shoved me with the back of the gun. I fell down and sat down. As I was sitting there I looked around and I saw this kombi. I saw that where it was standing the kombi had tilted a bit. I said they must try and get some rods to balance the kombi so that it can be straight. They refused. At that time the people were very angry and they said, "We are going to get some rods." They went to look for these poles to support the kombi, because it was standing on its side. When I looked at the windows all the windows were shattered, as well as the windscreen. The only window that was left was the rear window. I just sat there dumbfounded. Then later on we saw the hearse coming. It had come to fetch my husband. I think by now it was at about 1 o'clock. I stood up because I wanted to go and see my husband. They said I mustn't get any nearer. I was told by the police. They said I mustn't get any nearer. One person came to whisper in my ear and told me that my husband was killed by Nathi. At that time I was very confused. They ran into Jerome's place and they changed their gear, whatever they were wearing. Jerome was also driving a car. I don't remember whether it was a Toyota or what. Then he collected these men who had killed my husband. Then the police were alerted and told that the people who had just killed my husband were now running away. The police never chased them, they just stood guard on the corpse. They took my husband and put him into the hearse. When I tried to come and have a look they chased me away. They said I must go back. If I want to see my husband I will go and see him at Modderbly(?). I started crying, and I was worried and concerned as to what transport we were going to use to go and see my husband. The police refused us permission to take the kombi. They said the kombi was supposed to be taken to the police station. I refused. I wanted the kombi to be taken home. We ultimately took the kombi home. There was a support group at that time comprised of Monica, as well as other women. We stayed there until it was late, until the following day. There was no policeman who came to my house to ask me about my husband or to tell me anything about my husband. I started talking to my daughter, who was at the university. I said they must go and tell my daughter that her father had died. I hired a car. They had fetched the one who was at Ndumiso and they had fetched even the other ones who were married. I stayed there. Just as it was getting dark they had brought this one from the university. When she got in she said, "What has happened? What did my father die? What did he do to deserve such death?" We sat in there, as well as the support group. Thereafter we prepared for the funeral. I heard rumour that Inkatha said I mustn't bury my husband at Mountain Rise, I must go and bury my husband at Emnambithi, because that's where he was born. I told them that my husband will not be buried in Emnambithi, he was going to be buried at Mountain Rise. Everything else that will happen thereafter I am well prepared for it, because I don't care any more. We continued to prepare for the funeral. We went to bury him at Mountain Rise. The people in Mountain Rise - Jerome died on the 16th. That is the Inkatha member. My husband died on the 17th. They told me that we, the Ngcobo family, should go and bury in the morning at about 12. We were not supposed to bury at the same time, because Inkatha and UDF were at loggerheads. It happened like that. We went to Methodist Church, because that is where we attend church at Imbali. That's where the funeral procession was. People were so many. The inspectors led us to Mountain Rise. I don't know what happened when we came back because we were driving in front. After we had buried my husband there came policemen. It was towards dawn. After we had buried on Saturday it was on a Tuesday. They knocked at round about 1 o'clock. They knocked, kicked the doors, and I asked who it was. They told me we should open, they were the police. I asked them what they were looking for. They said they were looking for guns. I asked them whether somebody had told them whether there were guns. They started getting very violent and kicking the doors. I told them I won't open the door for them because it was at night. If they wanted guns they must come in the morning or during the day when everybody else could see them. They started kicking the door, hitting it. It ultimately opened. They got inside, they started searching. They turned the house upside-down. They were asking who the owner of the house was, and the children pointed at me. They were asking where my husband was. I knew they knew that my husband had died, because one of the policemen who was there when my husband was killed was also there on that particular day. I asked him, "How come you come and ask me where my husband is, because you were present on that particular day when he died?" They went out and came back the following day. When they came in they said they wanted to see my sons. I told them that my sons were asleep, and I pointed to where my sons were sleeping. When they got to my sons they started assaulting them. As they were hitting Mandla they took him and put him into a van. They told him to go and point out some guns because we were harbouring criminals in the house. I told them that nobody was staying in the house, I was staying with my sons. They took Mandla along. It was towards dawn. I think it was about half past one. They took Mandla with. We stayed the whole day not knowing where Mandla was. At night Mandla came. I asked him where he was coming from. He said the policemen took him to Sekland(?), and I asked him what had happened. He was swollen all over the face, and he said he had been tortured with a tube and he had been told that he must point out certain guns. Ultimately they took the tube out and they told him to go home. The most painful experience that I had was that they take a child, but when he was supposed to come back they just threw him in the street. He had to come back all by himself. I don't remember whether it was on a Saturday or Sunday. Thamsanqa, as well as his peers, were playing at the neighbour's place. We heard a gunshot. I asked as to which direction was this gunshot coming from. Then there came a little boy who came to tell me that Thami had been shot. Then they said Thami didn't die. They had shot him in the stomach and the bullet came through the arm. I just couldn't go out at that time, I felt very numb. Thami was taken by a certain car. The car couldn't start and people were trying to push it. Just at that moment another gunshot went off. Thami was taken to the hospital. He was attended to. He stayed four or five days. I am not sure any more. Thami came back.
(Inaudible) --- It was towards December when Thamsanqa was shot. I don't remember how many months that is, but my husband had died in May and Thamsanqa was injured towards December. It wasn't yet 10 months, it was from May to December, because it was before Christmas, but we were preparing for Christmas. Now, Thami was taken to hospital and he spent some time there. Is he okay now? --- Thamsanqa is fine, but he was shot by the Springbok at school, Springbok Patrols. His right hand is not working any more, he is paralysed on the right hand.
(Inaudible) ... now. I am moving on with the story just so we can be clear. You said that in 1991 a Sergeant Nxumalo came to you to say he was investigating your husband's case. --- Yes, Nxumalo came to me. He is a detective. He said to me he has taken this matter which was being handled by another boer guy. He has taken this matter into his own hands now. As he was just about to start searching and investigating the matter there came an Inkatha man or Inkatha member from Gaza. This man said he had come to tell the police about how Ngcobo died. When the police listened to him according to Nxumalo this man said Mr Ngcobo got to the hostel next to Mr Jerome's place. He took the children. I have grandchildren who are staying there, so my husband went to fetch these children. That was on the 17th. This boy said to us Nhlanhla, as well as other boys, they said they should take him and kill him at Umlahlankosi. This is this Inkatha man now who was telling the police about the account. When they got there they waited for my husband. When my husband approached at Umlahlankosi they sent two girls. They said to these girls they should stop the kombi as if they were hitching a hike. They were also wearing school uniform. These girls did exactly as they were told. This was related by an Inkatha man. At that time that's when they got a chance to kill my husband. I asked them, now that they have got this information what was I supposed to do. Then Nxumalo told me that they had already arrested Nhlanhla because he had told us where we would get Nhlanhla, and he also had the gun with which they killed my husband. Nhlanhlazi was arrested. Nxumalo went away. A long time lapsed. Nxumalo came back again. He told me, "Mrs Ngcobo, I have come to tell you that your husband's case has been finalised." I think it was after about eight months. As well as Nhlanhla had been acquitted because the Inkatha men had killed the witness. They had already heard that he had made a statement to the police. They killed the Gaza man or the Gaza boy, and that the matter had been dealt with because there were no witnesses. That was the end.
(Inaudible) ... can just go back and clarify a few things. Let's start with your husband. Was he a member of any political party? Was he politically active at all? --- According to my knowledge I knew that my husband had nothing to do with politics. I knew that he was just a businessman operating taxis for the community. That's all I knew. But as time went on all of us now we decided to join the ANC, because we had now split into two, there was Inkatha and there was ANC. Now we decided we should be part of the boiling pot, belong to some political organisation of some sort. I don't know about my husband's joining because some people keep to themselves about politics.
The two people that were charged before Gaza was killed, you've told us the one's name was Nhlanhla. In your statement you've told us his surname was Luthuli. --- I said I knew of Nhlanhlazi. The detective told me about Nhlanhlazi Luthuli.
(Inaudible) ... also mentioned Nkosinathi Mncwabe. --- I heard about Nkosinathi Mncwabe when my husband had died. They told me that Nkosinathi was also here. He was the one who was involved in the killing of my husband.
(Inaudible) ... you told us that when you went to the scene where your husband's vehicle was, and where he was in his kombi after having been shot, that some policemen who were present started assaulting you, preventing you from getting anywhere near the kombi. Do you know any of these people? --- I don't know the policemen because they were white policemen.
(Inaudible) ... said that one of these policemen later came to your house and was present when they were asking you where is your husband. This was after the funeral, and you said you recognised him. --- I recognised him. I don't know what his surname is, but I saw him when he came to my place so I can identify him.
(Inaudible) ... policemen were from which police station, or which unit perhaps? --- When I looked at them and when I heard about people talking it's as if they were at Pentrich Corner. They were wearing uniform that looked like a print.
(Inaudible) ... that at the time the police came to search your house you knew one of the policemen there. --- I cannot point him now. It's a long time since this happened, but then I saw him, because I even talked to him and I asked him, "How could you ask where my husband is, because you were there when they killed him?"
(Inaudible) ... you mentioned the name of another policeman who was also present there when they were searching. --- I think it was van Tonder, who used to wear private clothes. He came with those who came at the very last time when they took Mandla, when they had come to search for guns. They said the name of that policeman was van Tonder.
Now, when Mandla came back did you make any case about his injuries and about the fact that he'd been assaulted? --- No, we never opened any case. There was no way we could because at that time the police just didn't want anything. Even if you came to open a case they absolutely didn't want to listen to anyone. Because he was not very injured, he was just swollen, I just decided that I am not going to do anything about it.
Now, you said that at the time they were looking for Mkolisi Ngcobo. Who is Mkolisi Ngcobo? --- That's my grandson. Mkolisi Ngcobo was at home, and he was from somewhere. When they were attacking my place they just grabbed Mkolisi as he was just getting in. They said, "Yes, this is the one. We saw him. He must take out those guns." And Mkolisi asked them where they saw him. They just grabbed him, pulled him. There were also black policemen on that particular day. They tried to take him outside. I also pulled him inside. Then they said, "We are going to hit you." I asked them what they wanted from my son because he had just come in. What guns were they looking for, because he had just come in not having any guns?
(Inaudible) ... Ngcobo, just to finish off here, when you were telling us about Thami and how he got shot you mentioned in your statement that another boy from the family Sibiya was killed in that incident. --- Yes, where they were standing with Thami at the neighbour's place just below. This car passed by and started shooting. Thami got shot as well as this Sibiya boy. The Sibiya boy died.
DR MGOJO: Just one question. Mrs Ngcobo, I just want to clarify something here. There are two people after your husband had been killed, Nhlanhlazi as well as Nkosinathi Mncwabe, but now when they got arrested we hear that Nhlanhlazi only was arrested. What became of Nkosinathi? --- I don't know what happened to Nkosinathi. I cannot say, because the detective, Mr Nxumalo, told me that they had got Nhlanhlazi. He only told me about Nhlanhlazi. Then after some time Nkosinathi died. Nkosinathi died after that, but it's a long time now.
I want you to try and recollect, try and think a little bit far back. You said when they killed your husband Nhlanhlazi and Nkosinathi were taken by a car, Jerome Mncwabe's car. What's Mrs Jerome Mncwabe's car? --- I don't know what the name is.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... suffered a great deal over the past six years since the death of your husband. Like many others instead of being assisted by the police at the time of your husband's death they abused you and even knocked you to the ground. You have also had other members of your family assaulted and shot, and your house rudely searched. It is also tragic to hear that the only person who would have been able to give evidence in connection with your husband's death was himself killed.
You have lost your partner and the breadwinner of your family, and we have heard how you are still suffering as a result of that. As a Commission we are not able to give you assistance at this stage, but our job is to make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted, and we will certainly make those recommendations.
DR MAGWAZA: Good afternoon, Mrs Mazibuko. We would like to thank you for being here with us this evening. I would like you to explain us more about your family. --- My family we were staying at Maqonqo at Chief Maphumulo's place. I had eight children, and there was my husband and their four and myself, and we had two grandsons, Petros Nxobile Mazibuko was one of them.
As you have already explained about your family can you tell us about Petros? How old was he at that time? Did he belong to any organisation? Tell us more about his involvements? --- It was during 1990. That is the time in which he disappeared. At that time he got a job. It was peaceful place, like it was open for anyone to join whatever political party he wanted to join, and you didn't have to be sort of like show out, you just have to - you were free to join any party. There were no sort of like harassment. As from our background we liked the ANC. After some time during that year my elder son - it happened that at some time all the male children we had to call them Comrades, and therefore that created the differences and the conflict in our society. All the men in that place had a meeting, and then it was established that two of our sons were the enemy of that place because we called ourselves Comrades.
Can you please explain exactly what was happening at that time as you've explained that there has been some sort of violence, until in 1988 you have to run away and leave behind your home. Can you explain us further from there. --- On February 1990 a war started, and it appeared that we cannot stay, and the men have combined with some other men and they said that we, as Comrades we don't have a place in that place, we have to go. If I remember well it was Friday. The warlords and the people sort of like gathered. When you look at that sight it was like it was hiding like, because it was like a white cloud, and we can only hear some gunshots. We get out and ran, and then they were coming down and there was the sounds of gun, and we went to the mountains and stand there. We heard the sounds of guns and we ran to hide. And we decided to run because it was dangerous at that time. We ran to Sobantu on February. We heard my mum, who was a grandmother to ... (inaudible) ... it was a big family so we have to separate. Some ran to the farms. Myself and my family we ran to Sobantu. Nxobile, since he was working, he was working to some other place to his friend. After some time like things passed we decided to come back. When we arrived at home at about the end of March on the following week we have to bury him, and we decided to bury him as quick as possible because the warlords were about to meet again. And we buried him - her during on Saturday. On the burial day we were all there, but one of our family couldn't come because like there was a problem. He couldn't come in, he was afraid of the people by his side. Our children went to buy things to prepare for the funeral. They saw some young people who were shot just in front of them. That was the day of my mum's funeral. Even at the burial service there were some people who were harassing us, because they were saying we are Comrades. We slept at that day, and they told us that, "We are just leaving you because you are burying." They said, "Your problem is that you are Comrades, you don't want to join the Inkatha." Since I was the eldest it's the custom that I am the one who has to first wake up and go and wash. I wake up and took a bath to wash, and outside there were some gunshots and they were saying like the Comrades should leave the place. There were so many people coming. And we all got out and started running to go and hide in the bushes. And they were shooting. While we were still hiding in the bushes we heard dogs. The dogs were barking so they could find out where we were, but the young boys we didn't know where they were. And Nxobile wasn't there at that time. We thought he had gone to hide. I thought then they better kill us because they could find out, the dogs were barking. We get out of the bushes. When we arrived at home there were a lot of bodies, dead bodies of Comrades. We realised that we don't have a place to stay, we have to leave it like that and go away. On Monday we tried to collect whatever was there. On Tuesday we tried to organise for transport to run away. My children went to another house and they were asked, "Are you still here? Haven't you run away?" They said they will stab your father and kill everybody. "All of you will be killed because you are Comrades." From that date we didn't even sleep at home on that day. We went to sleep somewhere called Amaromani(?). We slept at there. I think it's a Roman Catholic Church. We couldn't collect all our belongings. We just got whatever we were wearing because we were so very afraid at that time. We travelled a long distance. We went towards Cato Ridge, and then we took some transport and went to some relatives and we slept at our relatives. The next morning we went to Sobantu. We slept one day and we continued. This was the place where they said all the people from Maqonqo must go there so that it can be said what we can do. We sort of like missed our other relatives and the children because they took different paths when we were running, and they ended up in Gingingdlovu.
Does it mean that when you arrived at Bhunye where did they tell you you were going to stay? --- They told us we were going to go and stay at the seminary. On Wednesday they went to show us the place. I came back to collect the children and took them with me. Petros wasn't there, because like we didn't know where he were. We took all the children to seminary. I told the father that we have find a place.
If you can look back on the 30th of April, where you got the message about the disappearance of Petros, can you tell us from there what happened? --- While we were at Fetser(?) we spent some few days there. I heard rumours that they burned our houses where we were coming from and they've taken everything. On the 30th a young lady came who was in love with Petros. She came to tell us that they had arranged to meet him on the 28th in town at the NBS Bank. When they meet she said that she saw him talking to other people on the other side of the road. She was standing next to NBS where they were going to meet so that they can withdraw some money. She said she saw him talking to these people. After that he left, and then they took him and put him into a car. We asked her, "Why didn't you go closer to see the people?" She said she thought maybe they were his friends. And then he disappeared from there. Up to today we don't know where he is.
Yes, we do understand. We would like you to take us further and tell us what happened in 1994, exactly what they have told you about this case. --- I phoned Mr Sithole. From work - I mean we couldn't any benefit from work. I went to many places, to the DP, I went to ... (inaudible) ... offices. These are the people who referred me to the DP, collecting some letters. I also went to police station. Maybe this is the way God was helping us. We are waiting in the dark. Until '92 their father died because of heart attack, because he was very much worried about this case. His father died in 1992 because he had a heart attack. Probably it was from the worries about the disappearance of his son. We couldn't bury our son. He came at that time and he met my daughter and asked, and then she explained exactly what happened in that place.
I understand it's now becoming difficult for you. Can you tell us exactly what Kumbu told you about what happened thereafter? --- I wouldn't like to say anything about this child, because I am afraid like I might put him in a situation where he might be targeted for anything. I don't want to mention his name because that will sort of concentrate to him. He might be harassed if ever I mention his name.
Yes, we do understand. You have already mentioned his name. Maybe without mentioning any name you can continue to explain exactly as to what happened. Just explain exactly, but you don't have to tell us the name of the particular organisation or the name of anybody. --- After we parted with the son we sort of like lost him, we didn't know where he were. It seems as if he went to stay with his girlfriend, and then they thought maybe he belonged to the organisation which harassed them. They took him early in the morning - he was from work - and took him to a place and sort of like tried to call all the people at the camp. And then they asked each other who was he, and they were saying that he was an Inkatha. And they said they would take him to the chief to explain exactly to which organisation does he belong. And then they took him to the chief. They didn't come back with him. When they come back they were drunk. They brought his card because he had two banking arrangements. He had a bank book and a card from a bank. His card was done and they have also withdrawn his money. This is what I got when I went to the bank. All that was left was only the bank book. The clothes he was wearing they brought them back and were just holding them, and then they were boasting that they have killed a dog. Up til now we haven't yet got Nxobile. Even her father when he died he was a very troubled man. The end is that even today we don't know where Nxobile is. Those who were trying to help us, I remember that we even went to the DP. I don't remember this white person's name who tried to help us. He tried to alert the police. We had even gone to witch doctors. When we got to the witch doctor it couldn't show who did this evil. We were told the manner in which he had been tortured, but nobody appeared. And we were told that there is a certain forest at a place called KwaDick where he died, where there was some evidence of his death, but we don't know which forest they ultimately dumped him in.
I understand that you even got to a certain place where strange happenings were taking place. What are those things? --- We were with police, two Indian police, as well as my other brother. We went to fetch my sister, who was working at the offices at Time Housing. We came back to this same forest where it had been pointed out by the witch doctor, together with the police. As we were just there we talked to people who were working there, who had his workmen there. We asked him to open the gate because the police wanted to get into the forest. When the man tried to open the key got broken. Then one of the workmen came. He said, "Don't force your way in because you can see that there is danger." As we were still standing there we saw a green private car approaching. There was one person inside. This person came straight to us and he looked at us. He even took out his glasses. He had big eyes like saucers. He looked at us and he started laughing, and he went back into the van. As it was still like that we saw a boy. This boy went past us. He got in through a little hole there, because you could walk. This boy kept on looking at us until he disappeared. And this workman told us that we should no longer go into the forest because there might be danger. Then the policemen took a turn. We went to Duseni and we went towards SAB where they sell liquor. When we got there we saw a head boy. He was asked as to whether he never saw a corpse. He said he never saw a corpse there. From there we went away with the police and they took us back to the seminary, and they said they were going to ask Thoko. Before that at the mortuary we went there about five times, and they were showing us decomposed bodies which were put in plastics, but we couldn't get Nxobile. Each time we go they would tell us Nxobile is there, but when we get there he wasn't there.
Was it the last time you tried to trace his steps? --- We kept on listening to people telling us that he's this side, that side. Ultimately we just decided to leave it alone, when Reverend Mgojo was also helping us. After some time one of the people with whom we were at the seminary, who had also experienced some harassment, they told us to stop looking for Nxobile because there was danger in what we were doing. That's when now I decided to give up. Even at work they advised me to see some attorneys.
As you have just said there is a witness who saw that Petros was attacked, because he saw him bleeding and he was with a group of people. You said you didn't want to mention that witness, and that people's name were listed, people who were present when this took place. --- Yes, there are certain names which were mentioned, but some of them have already died.
Where's Thoko right now? --- I once saw her. It was in 1995. She had gone to an attorney to make a statement. When now I was looking for her to come make an oath, or make an affidavit, so that we may be able to get monies, I couldn't find Thoko any more. Now as a young person I think she's just around. I tried to look for her even at Maqonqo. They told me she's in KwaZulu and they will try to give her a message, but she never came thereafter.
Do you have the names of the detectives that you spoke to? --- I don't really remember, because when we got there we submitted a statement and they said we must give them their photo - his photo, so that they may have that listed in the crime report. But I don't know what their names are. I think the other one was a detective, but I am not sure as to what position he occupied. He made photocopies of the photo. I think it was Zindela.
I have heard your request. You wish that a monument could be built because he was never buried. All those things are taken into consideration, and they will be passed on as recommendations to the State President. We know that there are many children who lost their fathers who need to be assisted. --- I have got one request, that the Truth Commission could help me in getting a certificate, because I can see there's some difficulty because he was the eldest and he was the breadwinner. All the other children are at school. I am in debts at the present moment, because I borrow monies and I don't know how to return those monies.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... Mrs Mbanjwa, and another witness yesterday, you suffered the abduction and disappearance of your child. From what we have heard it would perhaps even be easier to know that your son was not alive, rather than to never know whether he will return or not. You have also given us a graphic description of what life was like for you in 1990. You said after the attack upon your area you returned to your house to find the area littered with dead bodies, and you had to abandon your house and its contents.
Like Mrs Mbanjwa you have conducted an exhaustive search for your son, and we cannot promise that we will be able to find him for you, or to find out what happened to him, although we will try to do that. In your statement you said that you wanted your son's name to be included in monument to the victims of violence, and this is a wish that many other witnesses around the country have expressed, and we feel sure that this is something that the Government will undertake.
MS MAZIBUKO: Yes, she is the one. She was not around when her son disappeared. It's my elder brother. He disappeared at school, so Ntombikhayise was not around, she was at work when the son disappeared.
MR LYSTER: Sorry, it's clear that this is very upsetting to you. If Mrs Ntombikhayise Mdluli can stand up and take the oath, and she can just tell us who her son, Eric Khumalo, was, and then if you want to fill in something that will tell us about how and when he disappeared you may do so.
We are so glad that you have been able to come before us to tell us this hurting story so that we can all know what happened before. Before we start with your evidence I would like you to tell us more about your family. --- I have eight children. The other one is in standard nine, the other one standard 10 - my daughter. I had only one daughter.
You are staying at Sally Drive(?). --- We are staying at Shongweni. I am just working at Sally Drive. Yes, at home - my home place is at Shongweni. I would like my daughter to tell you about the story.
We would like you to start. We know that it's painful. Because you are the one who gave a statement, and you are the one who have taken oath, we would like first to hear you whatever you can say, and if there's anything that you have forgotten we will ask her to take oath, and thereafter she will be able to give evidence. --- We were writing the statement together. My son was schooling at Wozamoya High School at Shongweni. It was on February 1987. They had to go and collect their results. There were rumours that there is something wrong, and as parents we couldn't understand what was it that was wrong.
How did you came to hear about that? --- We just heard from rumours. Were these the young boys who were talking about this? --- Yes. My young boy said to me, "Mama, I will go to fetch my report since the others too are going there to fetch their reports." They left to go and fetch their reports, and we get news that Eric Khumalo have been kidnapped.
Can you explain, did they tell you who kidnapped him? --- He was kidnapped by the Inkatha people. They met him on his way to school. He didn't know that they were going to sort of kidnap him, that's why he insisted that he should go to school.
You can continue. --- They came to tell us that they have kidnapped Eric and other children which we didn't know. We went around looking for him. We went to one of the Inkatha leaders to ask if ever he know anything about him.
When you asked him what did he say? --- He said he didn't know Eric. He said we must go to the police, and we went to the police to inquire about this. The police came to assist us to search for him, but we couldn't find him, and we were assisted by the police from 'Maritzburg.
Can you tell us about your search? How did you go about searching for him? --- We started at Mpumalanga at Hammarsdale. At Mpumalanga Police Station they couldn't help us much. And then the police from 'Maritzburg came to help us.
You can continue. --- They helped us to search and they were using a helicopter. And also the newspaper people from Ilanga they also came to find out as to whether we have found him or not. On the following day we went to the mortuary to look for him and we couldn't find him. They said we must go to Mpumalanga and wait, and they're going to sort of investigate if they can't find him.
We know that it is painful, and please take your time. (Pause) Were you staying in the Inkatha region or place? Why do you have to report to an Inkatha leader? --- We were not at the Inkatha place, we were at the UDF section.
Have you ever been called to court to find out about the result of the investigation? --- No. They didn't help us, because if you go there during that time they didn't even both themselves to help us. You were told that you mustn't go there. What was happening at that time at the place? --- It transpired that this man was harassing people. He wanted people to fight.
This looks very painful, this disappearance of young children at that time. I don't know, as you have said this daughter of yours was there at the time when you gave in your statement maybe she might be able to help us. Does she think there's anything that you have left out? --- I don't know. Maybe she can tell you something.
MRS GCABASHE: Thembalihle, I would like you not to repeat what your mother have said. Just tell us what you think has been left out. --- Yes, I will do that. I would like to say that what happened is that we were preparing to go to school. It was February 1987. My brother, Eric, was the one who used to arrange our school things. He was our leader, and that's the one we trusted. We saw each other in the morning at home. He went to school on that day. We greeted him and wished him well before he left. At home we left our grandmother.
Where were you schooling? --- I was schooling at Charts High School(?). He told us he was going to fetch his results. His were matric results. We were staying at Imbiza place, which was dominated by UDF people. While he was walking to school there was a place which separate - a boundary of which separated us, the UDF, and the IFP people.
What boundary is that? --- This was just a small way where it sort of like there was water running down. It was separating the two places, the Inkatha and the UDF places. When he were on the IFP stronghold then he happened to meet his friend on his way, and that's where they caught him.
Do you remember the name of his friend? --- No, I don't remember well, but his surname was Makhatini, something like that. When he met him he was running, and when he met him he didn't tell him the truth. And he asked him exactly, "Why are you running fast?" and he said, "No, I have forgotten something." While he was walking he happened to meet a group of people, and this young man saw him when they kidnapped him. They took him away. And he ran away to my place to tell my grandmother about this. My grandmother went to fetch us at school. They also informed my mother about this at work. We were nine children as she have just explained. This young boy came to tell us that Eric has been kidnapped.
Can you please tell us exactly the things that your mum might have left out. --- As this young boy has already tell us how they kidnapped him we tried to search. We went to fetch my mum, who is a sister to my real mother. We went to Mr Ndlovu to report this and ask him about this. He didn't even seem to be co-operating or doing something about this. The people who were concerned were the UDF people who were staying in our place. They tried to report the case to the police. These were the ZP police, so they didn't like anyone to come and report any case having something to do with the IFP. So because of that they didn't do anything. We went to report it at court and they told us that, "Just wait and be cool then come back."
When you go to court was a court case opened or were you just going to report the matter? --- No, we were just going to report the case. After reporting this painful matter they said we must bring photos. We gave them the photos and they said they will search for him. At that time at Shongweni there were police. There was violence, so they were always there to keep order.
Which policemen? --- These were the police from Pietermaritzburg, SAP Police. They started to help us to search for him. We went to the mortuary and also the places where they used to dump bodies. We couldn't find him. The ZP didn't help us in any way. We went to the mortuary to look for him - at hospitals. We couldn't find him up to now. After some time they didn't even bring back his photos. We even decided to run away from the place because like it was so violent, so we had to run away to another place called Washburn. I would also like to say that we couldn't find anything having anything to do with him. We'll be so happy to find even just a bone. We only want to find - we only want his bones.
It's very painful to lose your beloved one. As you have requested the Commission to help you to find if ever we could find him, and also to try to find out the people who kidnapped him. --- I wish the Commission could help us to find him, especially Mandla Ndlovu should be asked as to his whereabouts, exactly where he is, so that if ever he is killed we can take him and bury him.
I would like to ask you my last question, as I can see that you are hurt is there any after-effects after his disappearance? How did it impact on you? --- We had serious problems about this disappearance. My younger brother, after he heard this his brother has disappeared he started to feel ill, and he had a problem with his head - headache. He started just wandering around like doing nothing. We still have a problem because he was a breadwinner. Maybe today he was the one supposed to be taking care of us. Maybe if he was around his brothers were going to have good life. My mum is crying.
What about the younger brother that you told us about with psychological disorder, is he getting any treatment? --- Yes, he does go to Pinetown to collect some medicine. This is the tablets which keeps him alive, but he normally goes away because he doesn't know what's going on with him. I believe that the Commission might help to organise any help, try to contact the Health Department or anyone who can help us.
I only have one question to ask. Let me take you back to Makhatini. This Makhatini came to tell you that the Inkatha people have kidnapped others. What was his name, this Makhatini? --- I don't remember his name because we were not used to him.
MR LAX: (Inaudible) ... others were abducted on the same day. Do you know anything about those others, those families, who those people might have been? Did you touch any of the other families in the area to see if their children had been abducted as well? --- Those who were kidnapped on that day I don't know their names. I don't know them.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Mdluli, like the witness before you, and the witness before her, you have told us about the disappearance of your son - or the child that you - yes, your son, and we have seen through the suffering of all three of you how difficult this pain must be to bear. This happened nearly 10 years ago, and still the wounds have not healed. Your son had his life in front of him, he was on his way to fetch his matric results when he was abducted.
You are both victims of the terrible political intolerance which was so prevalent in this province at that time, and indeed we are still experiencing that political intolerance, which was fostered and nurtured by the policies of apartheid.
We will try to investigate what happened to Eric, although it happened, as I have said, nearly 10 years ago, and we cannot promise that we will have any success. We do hope that you do feel a little better having told your story, and that it is now a little easier for you to come to terms with the disappearance of Eric.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... greet you. You have come from Edendale in Pietermaritzburg, and you have come to tell us about the attack upon your house in December 1987. Before you tell us that story can you please stand up and take the oath.
MR LAX: Good afternoon, Mr Mthembu. Welcome, and thank you for coming. If you could just tell us, before we start with your evidence per se, a little bit about your family. How many children have you had, where were you living at the time, where do you live at the moment? We see that you live at Esikhodini now. --- I am staying at Imbali. I got all my children while staying at Pietermaritzburg. One was born in 1952, the other one was born in 1954, the third one was born in 1958. And these two, it's a daughter and a son, they all disappeared. It was 1987 if I remember well. We were called to a meeting at Imbali. We went to the meeting. When we arrived at the meeting they told us that we have to unite and be Inkatha so that we can get electricity in our place. I refused to be Inkatha member. I told them I've got my own power, I can instal electricity in my home.
(Inaudible) ... at which place? --- We were at a church, a Methodist church. There was Awetha and another man from Hammarsdale, Ndleli. When I told him that I will not be able to join Inkatha he said, "You "deserve to be killed if you don't want to join Inkatha. You are dogs. You are very stubborn." I asked him why did he swear at us. That is where Inkatha started causing trouble in our community. I said I don't want any electricity and I don't want to be an Inkatha member. After that until now a young boy came. He was running. My boys were taking one of their friends out. He wanted to stab them, and they came running back into the house and I asked, "What's happening?" and they said, "Someone's trying to kill us outside." And they came out and they started fighting him and they injured him. I asked, "Are you still going to go out?" They said, "Yes, we are still going out." And then the other one said, "No, no, I am not going out now. It seems as if we are going to be killed now." And they were coming with this man who was the leader, and I asked, "What's happening?" "You think you are so clever, you, Mr Mthembu. We have to destroy this family." When I looked around I saw my friend with my friend. I said, "Xaba," I called him, and he said, "No, don't talk to me." They tried to shoot, and then it just grazed my son's hand, the bullet.
(Inaudible) ... Mr Mthembu? --- It's the one has died, Simon Mthembu. This one with whom I am here, Elpheus, comes after Simon. The eldest one is not even here. He doesn't even know that this is happening. There were a group of people. There were even all the elderly people and the young ones. And he threw an object through my window and it was broken. My younger child asked, "What's going on?" and I tell him, "Look, they are killing us now. We have to rush out of here." I was only holding a panga and there was nothing else. When I was rushing after them they started running away. This Mncwabe man I wanted to cut his throat, but he was running so fast so that I couldn't catch him. We came back and told my children, "Oh, let's go back home." And we just sat at home. We thought this matter was over. When I was running after him, and it looked as though one guy - one man was standing nearby who also wanted to stab me with a spear, and I just ducked and it happened that it had to sort of like went deep down into the ground. And they come to ask me, "How did you defeat them alone? Where did you get the "nthelezizi," the muthi that's used?" I said to them, "Go and fetch all your arms and come back to me. I am so tired of you I want to show you. Don't you see where the thing started? It started from where they said we must join Inkatha." And all continued like that. And my children, the other one have come back, and they said, "We're coming to fetch you." We went out, we were going to see the police, and then one man came. There was this other one called Sikizo who used to shoot people around. He was trying to shoot at us, but the bullets just go astray. And they asked, "How are these people just - I mean we can't hurt them." I told my boys that, "Okay, let's not go this way, let's walk on foot," and then we passed an Inkatha group. They couldn't fight us because we were not armed, we were just walking. We tried to report the case. They were just laughing at us.
(Inaudible) ... Plessislaer Police Station? --- That is correct. It continued just like that and we just waited. One day we got a call from a woman. They told me that, "Your children are dying on the road." It was Thulani, Jerome. We don't know the person who gave us the message. We ran out. The other one who died, my younger son, Simon, came. He was driving a green car, Thulani ... (inaudible) ... and Jerome. Nothuli. His surname is Ngcobo. They didn't get out of the car. They just peeped out through the window of the car and they said to me, "Your home it's finished today." And I asked them why. They said, "You are still talking," and then they pointed a gun at me, trying to shoot at me, but nothing came out, and they left. After leaving, and then they went to Awetha side. They said, "There's nothing that we can do." I was just pointing a panga, standing at the door.
(Inaudible) ... you say these people came, they tried to shoot you, and then they went to Awetha's place. --- They proceeded to Awetha's place. They came back and stood at my door. I think I was confused. I was standing there at the door with my son. The other one said to the other one he must shoot. He said, "No, my gun just doesn't operate." Sikizo took the gun and he tried to shoot me, but he just couldn't. Thu was just sleeping on the ground. He did absolutely nothing. He just slept on the ground. From there I pretended as if I was picking something, then they started to run. I was supposed to have died a long time ago. After that Elpheus came to me. He was injured. He said Thulani had shot him on the thigh. He was full of blood and he was limping. He asked me who phoned me. I said I didn't know, it was just a female who had said my family's getting finished. I don't remember when we took him to hospital. I think it was the following day. It continued just like that
(Inaudible) ... was he taken to? --- I don't remember quite well. I think he can remind me, my son can remind me. I was very confused. I didn't know what I was doing at that time. It went on like that. After quite a while one day I heard rumours that there was Sikizo with a policeman by the name of Khumalo. When he got to me he wanted to read a letter. There's something that I skipped. I went to an attorney to give a statement because I was being harassed by Inkatha. My attorney drafted the affidavit. He gave them an interdict. Sikizo came to my place with the very same interdict that he had received. He told my relatives that he was coming that very same evening and he was going to kill us. He didn't care about any interdict. I got into the house. I was tired because I was coming back from work. I heard my daughter-in-law screaming, saying my children were dying. I saw Sikizo with Khumalo, a policeman, as well as another one. His surname is Zulu. They shot my youngest son on the shoulder. He still has a bullet in his body.
(Inaudible) --- Smolenji. Then Simon, who went out to go and help Smolenji, when he got there they shot him on the thigh. When I got there he was on the ground lying. I was coming from the house, trying to look as to what was happening, because I hear gunshots outside. When I got there it was Smolenji and this other one. Sikizo, as well as his accomplices were there. I went out with my panga and I chased them. They ran away. They said they were going to fetch Awetha. I asked them why they had injured my sons. Luckily my friend came. We took Simon to the hospital.
(Inaudible) ... if you can just help us to get a complete picture. --- It was Nxane. He's a policeman. He also saw when they shot my sons. We took them to Northdale. The police came back now. They wanted guns from me. They said I must take out the guns, white policemen.
(Inaudible) ... are you referring to Pentrich? --- Yes, I am referring to Pentrich. Time went on. There's so much that I've skipped. There was a time when policemen came to take us all. We were assaulted. They even threw tear gas inside the house. I had skipped that because it's quite a long time since this happened.
It's not clear when the case was first heard, but I think it was the 28th of January 1988. That is the first case you brought against Sikizo. --- These cases were brought together. We just didn't understand where the case was heading to. They just told me that my children deserved to die because they were against the Government.
(Inaudible) --- It was Inkatha's attorney. Ntombela was there. They said the ANC deserved to be killed. The Judge said, "You are talking politics now. We must close this case. Go and talk to Inkatha as well as the ANC." I said, "Then this means this is not a court, this is just shit."
(Inaudible) ... only just received, which we will look at later. The Court ordered an interim interdict against Jerome Mncwabe, Sikizo Zuma and Thulani Ngcobo. They were ordered by the Court to refrain from intimidating, assaulting you, attacking and destroying your property, making any sorts of threats against you. That was not a final order, but it was what is called in law an interim order. --- When that interdict came out that was the time that it seems they were given permission to come and kill me, the four of them.
(Inaudible) ... court, and Sikizo was warned by the Judge that he should not come anywhere near the hospital. --- I don't know what happened there because they just wouldn't listen to whatever they were being told. If they could listen to the Court probably they could not have shot my son.
(Inaudible) ... a little bit. What happened to Simon after he was in hospital? --- We heard that Sikizo made attempts to go and finish him off. Then that's where he died, because the bullet couldn't be extracted out of his body.
(Inaudible) ... from his injuries while he was in hospital? --- I could say that is correct, but it took quite a few days for him. He didn't die immediately. He stayed there for almost a month if I am not mistaken.
(Inaudible) ... refers to a Thokozani. If it's wrong then we must correct that. --- Thokozani and Simon are one and the same person. I think there's a mistake there. Sikizo shot Simon and Smolenji. This one survived. He was there, but he survived the attack, as well as his elder brother.
(Inaudible) ... was a fourth person - sorry, a fifth person who was cited as an applicant, and that was a person referred to as Ernest Mthembu. Who is Ernest? --- He is my eldest son, the one who died.
If you can just help us clear this up. When did he die, and where? --- I don't remember quite well because it was at night when they came. They came to his bedroom at the window. Somebody knocked. When he tried to see as to who was knocking he was shot on the stomach. Then he was taken by Mr Msimanga. He had come to visit me and he discovered that my son had been shot. He was taken to hospital and he was dead on arrival.
(Inaudible) ... court inquests, that is court inquiries into the death of any of your children as far as you've been ... (incomplete) --- I was called to D Court. They told me to look for an attorney. I told them that I did not need an attorney. I said I was going to speak for myself because I was there. Then the Magistrate told me that the case cannot go on without me having an attorney. There was nothing more to say.
(Inaudible) ... that inquest thereafter? --- The Magistrate told us lies. He said they just could not talk, they were denying that they killed my sons. He said I was the one who had killed my sons ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 4) ... the Magistrate said I will be told by the Attorney-General as to when the case was going to be heard. Up til today I haven't heard a thing.
(Inaudible) ... look up the details. You've given us a copy of the subpoena for you to come to that inquest. That was into Simon Mthembu's death, is that correct, that inquest? --- Yes, I did get a subpoena.
(Inaudible) ... either of the other sons? --- There was absolutely nothing. I am forgetting something. One day Martin came to me. He's an attorney. He told me that the Court said they wanted to see me. They said I should come in front of the Court. He said I should phone Matthew, who would come and talk to them. When my attorney that he got sick. Sorry, that was the mother. Up til today the mother is very sickly. She has sugar diabetes.
Sorry, you've told us that after you left Imbali there were other people who were now staying in your house at Imbali. --- Yes, the Inkatha group. I once went there. The ceiling was no longer there. They had torn the house apart. I went to report to the police that I was going. Even the car that was in my yard is no longer there now.
(Inaudible) ... recover your property there? --- I made several attempts, but now I am scared. It's better for me to sell the house, but now people are afraid to occupy the house. And it's already damaged now.
MR LYSTER: Mr Mthembu, thank you very much for coming in today and patiently waiting all day to share your story with us. Those people who are here today who lived in Imbali during the 1980s can understand the story that you tell, and they know the terror that was forced upon the
Many of the people who have appeared here at this Commission over the past three days have mentioned the names of Jerome Mncwabe, Abdul Awetha, Sikizo Zuma and Thulani Ngcobo, and you have helped us to get a clearer picture of who these people where and what they did during those days.
During this period you turned to the law to assist you, and your persecutors ignored the orders of the Court and continued to harass you, threaten you, attack you. They even tried to kill your son in hospital. Tragically two of your sons died of being shot by these people, and another one of your sons was shot, but was lucky enough to survive. The people who did these things were allowed to act with impunity in those days, and we hope that this sort of thing has now passed, although that can be of little comfort to you now. You have also lost your house and your possessions.
As you have probably heard me and my fellow Commissioners and Committee Members say today, one of our jobs is to make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted, and we will be making recommendations to the Government in due course.
In the meantime we thank you very much again for coming here and telling us your story, so that we have been able to get a far clearer picture of what it was like to live in Imbali in those day. Thank you again, and we wish you strength in the future. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: (Inaudible) ... so long. You have waited the whole day to give your evidence. You have come here from Imbali township, and you, like Mr Mthembu before you, have come to tell us about the killing of your son, Zenzele, Bongani and Mlungise. In your case it was three sons who died. We extend our deep sympathy to you, and we thank you very much for coming and having the courage to come and share these experiences and these memories with us. Before you tell us your story please will you stand up and take the oath.
MR DLAMINI: Good morning, Mr Mangeza. We get the report that you were at work and come late. We would like to thank you for having been able to come. As it has already been said that this is a painful case which involved three of your sons. Maybe before we get deep into the matter we would like to hear more about your family. Is your wife still alive? --- Yes, she is. I had eight children. I had four daughters and four sons.
Can you speak up loud please. --- One of my sons died of sickness, and also my daughter, and I was left with six children. Some of the six - the three boys I am going to talk about are some of the six I am talking about.
It is clear that this matter has affected you in your life. How is your wife at the present moment? --- She is not well actually. Since from the beginning of all this she has BP. She has been to hospital for several times. Even she is losing her sense of hearing, because there was once some shooting at home, and there was a loud noise. It might be because of the effects of the noise.
What about yourself? I know men are strong, but this was a painful situation. How do you feel? --- I feel the Lord have helped me because I have been able to stand up. Even if I was affected by the gun sounds at the time they shot at my place but I don't have big problems, I am still okay.
Before we get into your sons' case you might help the Commission if you can help about what happened at 21 January where some police came to your place, or special constables. Can you please start from there and tell us about what happened. --- We used to call them the "bloem." I went ... (intervention) May you please speak up. --- I left at home with a car to pick my wife. When I get out - I was coming back now with my wife - I saw a big car. We used to call it four-room. When I arrived there there was Mr Silwane. He was talking to these "bloem." These are the police. There was another man by the name of Mbuyisa. He took part during that incident, because they were now already inside our yard and they wanted to shoot the meter box. And he told them that, "You left the person we are looking for because he went away, and now when he is out you come to shoot this place. Why didn't you do it in his presence?" And they didn't give an answer. And then other people in a very big yellow car arrived. They came to ask us, these "bloem" people, the other police, with whom were they, because they were saying if they are more than two there must be another senior policeman to look - to make sure that they are doing things in terms of the law. They were not allowed to go around alone.
They came to attack you. Can you tell us exactly where does the conflicts come from? --- They didn't like my sons because they were members of the UDF, because my last-born, Mlungise, they once took him and I had to bail for him with R2 000,00. That's where I discovered there's something wrong here. And my other sons were also getting involved, and I realised that this thing is not going to end there.
This continued until the 13th November 1989, where you lost your son who was 18 years old at the time, and he was shot dead. Was he still at school or finished? --- I could say that he was still at school. He was arrested, but not for violence. He had some altercation with other boys, they fight, and there they open a case for him. However, he was released, and when they shot him he was out from prison. After he was shot some man named Silwane called us.
Who is this Silwane? --- He is the chairperson of the ANC branch. He told me that we have to do something because something bad is happening down there by Ndu's place. While I was waiting I heard a car stopping near my gate. I realised that was Silwane. He was with some white men. We get into the car, we drove off. As we were still driving down, and we have to take a right turn. When I looked on my right hand I saw a bandaged leg(?). I realised, "Oh, now he's finished." I get out, I wanted to go and see, get closer so that I can see what was happening. And they stopped me, they said, "Just leave it. Don't go near." They said, "No, you'll go and see him at the mortuary." The next morning I went to the mortuary. When I arrived there I was surprised because I couldn't even recognise him. If you didn't know him you couldn't even tell it was him. It was as if they took a very big rock and throw it on top of his head.
Mr Zondi, when this happened he had two persons in company. One of them is Sosibo, he died there, and one of them is Mkhize. Where is this Mkhize? --- Mkhize got his hand cut off. Sosibo died at the scene. Mkhize is alive, but his hand is chopped off.
How does Mkhize explain the situation? Did he tell you exactly who attacked them? --- He did something that is not usual. He didn't come back to us to tell us exactly what happened, and he moved from his place to stay somewhere called Place No 3. I thought maybe he will come back to us to tell us about this, but I realised that when I meet him he respect me so much, and I am afraid to talk to him about this because it may be - I think it may be painful for me to start to know about what happened to him.
On the 26th of August 1991 you lost your son, Zenzele. He was 29 years old. I think he was grown-up, and you also have all your hopes on him. Can you explain, tell us about him? What happened to him? --- He was my son. I think even in this case the police were still involved because this were an underground secret, because he was once shot by the police. And I only discovered that when I came from work in the evening and he was lying down. He was shot in the toilet and then he was just lying on the ground, and he was wearing a UDF T-shirt ...
Do you have the number of the house or the names of the owners of the house? --- I can only give you the names of the owners of the house, but I don't remember the number. The place is next to my house so I can be able to direct you there.
Please take us to the third instance where Mlungise was injured on the 5th of September 1992. He was 17 by that time. Was he still at school? --- No, he was not schooling any more, because they used to stop them on the way to school so he couldn't go to school.
Can you tell us what happened on that day? --- This is a straightforward story. At one day a young boy and a young lady came to my place. They were drunk. They called me and I just picked up my car key and then I went towards my car. When I opened my gate they say, "Let's go and show you where he is." I realised if I have to stop, waiting for them to get into my car I am wasting time. I have to rush. I got into my car and I rushed with my car until I arrived at the school called Mizane. When I arrived there I found him lying down there. When I tried to touch him he was still breathing. I rushed him into the car. I rushed him to Medicity. This is a hospital. They started treating him. They sent him to St Anne's. I don't know what they were going to do with him there. From there they took him to Greys Hospital. When I arrived at Greys they said his head was injured. I don't know whether the blood - there was some blood drops in his brains. And after that he died.
It's clear that from that head injury, with the blood having fallen on his brain he wasn't able to talk, so he couldn't you exactly what happened to him. --- Yes. That was the thing that I wish he could do, just to say one word. But he couldn't say anything, he just died. Are there some witnesses who might have seen what happened, who might be able to help us? --- No, nobody came with any information. People were afraid that if ever they come with any information they might be killed too.
On your statement it seems as if there is something that you also mention. It seems as if even yourself you have once been attacked. One day a Husky kombi which was red came to attack you. Can you tell us exactly what happened on that day? --- From that time I started to suspect that my children were UDF members. The people who shot at us were coming from behind my home. When they were shooting at us it sounded as if there were so many people shooting at us. I raised up my head to see and I realised this time things were bad. When I tried to wake up I realised they were shooting at me, and then I just ducked down, only to find that my wife has already realised that, and we all just lie down on the ground. I tried to crawl on my stomach to the other room, and I tried to touch my children and call them. I realised that they were also afraid. I just pulled the sheet and all the clothes so that they can fall down without making any sound. And I took them and put them under the bed. And then they continued to fire. They were firing at us. At about - it was dawning in the morning and they stopped firing at our place. In the morning I washed myself and I prepared myself to go to work. While I was at my gate I saw Reverend Africaner. He called me and said, "Mr Zondi, please, your God is with you. You did a good thing by not coming out while they were shooting, because if you did come out there was a red Husky outside there. I think these people were waiting that if you get out of the house they can shoot you." By luck I didn't get out of the house. There was a way to get out, I could have got out, because I realised I cannot allow other men to kill me in my house. I wanted to get out to make sure that - to fight before I die, so that if ever sometimes I could injure someone if ever it was possible for me to do that. But because there was nothing in my house - although they used to come and say they were looking for arms in my house there was nothing, so I couldn't get out. In all these instances have you ever reported any of them to the police? --- We didn't do anything, because I was now convinced that even if I go there they took sides. I was just only going there if ever one of my child was arrested. I was just waiting if ever it happens that they were arrested I will go to my lawyers. One of them was Kajee. One who helped me to get Zenzele released was called like I Lax.
We have heard about your requests, which we respect, in which you request that we must erect a memorial picture for the people of Imbali, and we'll take this to our President and he will decide with his Cabinet as to what can be done. And I would like to take everything back to the Chair.
MR LAX: You've told us about this red Husky, this kombi that was waiting out side your house, as was reported to you by Reverend Africaner. Do you know of any other incidents that involved a red Husky? --- It had dim lights and you could not see people inside, but it used to go around in the location or in that place pointing out places where people should be taken.
(Inaudible) ... the police used that Husky, and they would take informers in that Husky and go and collect people to be arrested, and they would not be able to see who was inside there. --- That is correct. It had tinted windows so that you could not see people inside, but they went around pointing people, their victims.
(Inaudible) ... correct that that Husky was reportedly or allegedly involved in numerous cases of shooting and killings and assaults on people. --- That is correct. It used to drive around the streets.
MR LYSTER: Mr Zondi, like the witness before you you have given us a graphic picture of what life was like in Imbali in the 1980s and 1990s. You have told us about the tragic death of three of your children, Zenzele, Bongani and Mlungise. They were all members of the UDF at the time of their deaths, and it seems clear from what you have told us that they were killed by people who were opposed to the UDF at that time. We can only imagine what a burden it must be for you and your wife to have lost three children, and we express our deepest sympathy to you both.
Part of our job is to make recommendations to the Government about how people like yourself should be assisted. You have told us that your house was very badly damaged - in fact you used the word destroyed in your statement - when it was attacked by the police in 1992, and we will be making recommendations to the Government as to people like you should be assisted.
We want to thank you very, very much for coming in, waiting all day to give this evidence, and again we extend our sincere sympathies to yourself and to your wife, and we wish you strength as you go home today. Thank you very much. --- May I please rectify just a small point? My home was shot at, it was not burnt down.