SABC News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us
 

Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 25 July 1996

Location SOWETO

Day 4

Names OLEFILE SAMUEL MNQIBISA

CHAIRPERSON: We are going to ask the last witness for today, Mr Olefile Samuel Mnqibisa to take the stand, please.

Sir, I would like to thank you. You are one of those people who have been with us since this morning. It has been a long wait. We thank you for your patience. I will ask you to stand so as to take an oath before the Commission.

OLEFILE SAMUEL MNQIBISA: (Duly sworn, states).

CHAIRPERSON: Take a seat, please. Thank you. I will then ask Commissioner Wildschut to assist you in talking about your statement.

MS WILDSCHUT: Let me add to the Chairperson's welcome. We know that it has been a long wait for you, but we hope that you will feel that your statement is as important as everybody else's statement today and that you will feel that you are being given the attention and the listening of the Commission that you deserve.

I would like you to tell us just a little bit about yourself, what you are presently doing right now and then to proceed to tell us, to give us your statement in yourr own words.

MR MNQIBISA: I am a soldier with the South African National Defence Force, I am a sergeant, and I reside in Dobsonville.

My testimony is in written form. I left South Africa

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

2 O S MNQIBISA

on June 25 1976, after and during the bloody June 16th in Soweto school uprisings, to join Umkhonto weSizwe MK in Botswana.

I was trained by the Cubans in 1977 in Novo Catenga, a camp in the south of Angola as an MK freedom fighter. After this training I left for Zambia to undergo survival course training in Zipras training centre, outside Lusaka. Zimpra was the military wing of Josiah Nkomo's Zimbabwe African Peoples Party.

In Decembr 1978, after undergoing Zipra training, I was picked up at MK House which we termed Yellow House, because it was painted yellow. This was the MK underground house in Lusaka, Nychonga compound.

So I was picked up by Solise Melani, that is his freedom name for Azapo prison. I was first detained in Zimbabwe house, which housed Zapo officers in Lusaka. This followed a meeting we MK cadres requested and held with Joe Modise's right-hand men to sort out problems we faced then. The men were Solly Smilani, Keith Mokwepe, who is younger brother to Dr Audrey Mokwepe of Azapo, Snoekie Sigilala, who is working for SABC TV and Fundisi, who died in a plane crash in Angola.

Zipra's training was tough and rough and we were so lean because we went for days without food or food was so little. We survived with wild fruits fetched from a faraway distance. The training was preparing us for future military operations in South Africa. Keith Mokwepe and Snoekie Sigilala were responsible for buying us food supplies and cigarettes. Food was inadequate and sometimes none. This led to complaints from soldiers. This was not at Yellow House, after my training.

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

3 O S MNQIBISA

One other problem was lack of medical care for our comrades, who earlier survived a Rhodesian Airforce bombardment in FC, which was former (indistinct) outside Lusaka. Some of the guys were seriously injured.

As usual, there were guys amongst us, who were planted to listen or to take names of talkative elements. To be talkative or to question issues in the ANC, represented enemy agent.

When we underwent political training in Angola we were repeatedly told by our political instructors to air our views or criticise any wrongs we saw in the ANC. This became tradition in the ANC and we held monthly meetings, termed criticism and self-criticism, where rank and file were allowed to speak about everything they felt was wrong.

However, these meetings were later banned as rank and file criticisms were interpreted as work of the enemy.

In the meeting at Yellow House I was one of the speakers and I spoke very loud, like a soldier. This in turn, Solise Melani, opportunistically interpreted as arrogancy. Other speakers were Uys and the two late comrades Barney Molekane and Kruschev. Two of our young brave and fierce MK commanders, who fell in battle with the apartheid forces inside the country. May their souls rest in peace forever.

The three were sent to Angola where they served their punishment. This was a very bad period when Rhodesian Airforce jets were harassing Zambia and Mozambique, to root out so-called terrorists.

In Zimbabwe House I was locked up in a cell, smaller than our township kitchen rooms with over 20 Zipra guerillas inside. We were packed like sardine fishes, with the light

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

4 O S MNQIBISA

on 24 hours and we were already used to the sweat.

Two days later I was put in a disused toilet cell in solitary confinement for three days. This was my first time to taste prison life. When I left I was 25 years old, in 1976, a very young boy.

Later I was transferred to Nampula Farmhouse Prison, 30 kilometres west of Lusaka. It was an old disused dilapidated Swapo house. We were 79 prisoners in there.

In February 1979 three Rhodesian Airforce jets bombarded our prison house and a number of us, including myself, were badly injured.

It is painful for me to relate how I escaped this heavy attack. One Jet carried cells, the second carried machine-guns and the other carried a napalm bomb. Guys were extremely injured and others were napalm burnt. One guy who was bigger than myself, shrunk to someone half my size, because of napalm burns.

Napalm is highly inflammable. I think, if I am correct, it is a mixture of petrol and some other chemicals. Some guys died on the spot and others died in University Teaching Hospital, UTH in Lusaka.

I asked for a discharge because Rhodesian soldiers used to enter Zambia on foot, to come and finish off survivors. Zambian forces never retaliated to these attacks, for reasons known to themselves only.

I was then sent to Zapu's medi-clinic in Lusaka for further medical treatment. Three days later I went back to Yellow House, very sick, with the hope that Keith Mokwepo and company will feel for me in that situation. Instead Keith sent me back to Zimbabwe House for further incarceration. He said to me, and I quote him: he doesn't

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

5 O S MNQIBISA

have powers to release me, the only person who can release me was Joe Modise, and that Joe Modise was away in Angola.

Back in Nimpumwe, before the air raid, Solise Melani came and threatened me in connection with a letter of protest. (PAUSE).

Back in Nimpumwe before the air raid, Solise Melani came and threatened me in connection with the letter of protest I wrote to ANC headquarters while they were still in Zimbabwe House, about my wrong detention.

Soon after he left I was pulled out of the prison house by four heavily armed Zipra commanders. I was then interrogated in a tent by them and asked me who in our group in Yellow House was a spy. Also forced me to admit that I was a spy. I told them I knew nothing about that.

After the air raid, the survivors were sent to JZ Moyo camp which catered for young Zapo pioneers. We were kept outside the borders of the camp and we were given strict orders not to jump the boundaries. Dumisani Dibwengwa, presently Zimbawe's Home Affairs Minister, and best friend of Joe Modise, who was also responsible for Swapo's prisons, visited us one afternoon and gave us orders not to enter the camp or move around the area.

Some days later we were transferred to Swapo's most notorious prison, Biroma, in the north of Zambia, near the border of Zaire, where I completed all my 14 months prison sentence. We were driven in a huge Skania truck and ordered not to look outside, so that we couldn't see where we were heading to. The guy who gave us those orders had with him an AK-47, and also said I will shoot anyone on sight who looks outside.

We stayed under horrible bush prison conditions.

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

6 O S MNQIBISA

I was kept or stayed in a swampy area. Thanks to the 1980 Lancaster House negotiations on the Zimbabwe settlement, which led to my release, because Zimbabweans were now going back to their country.

I went back to Yellow House in February 1980, in a state of shock, because I thought they will now send me to Angola. The ANC's prison, Quattro prison in Angola was hell on earth. According to friends who served prison sentences there. I was extremely afraid to go to Angola.

For my sentence I was tried and sentenced by a Judge - I don't know - in a Kangaroo Court. Two months later I, together with three guys, were posted to Livingstone town south of Lusaka. We were to run two ANC farms, one was a long the Zambesi River and the other inland. We were disguised as farmers. Our mission there was to ferry MK units across the Zambesi River into Botswana and Zimbabwe, for them to carry out military operations in South Africa.

Zambesi River was highly infested with crocodiles and hippopotamus. We used rubber dinghies to cross these units over. This was a test to prove if I was still a loyal member of the ANC. We fulfilled this task hundred per cent and this needed mainly guards to take part, because of animals in that river. Because we used to cross after midnight, when everybody, the villagers were asleep.

Late 1983, my unit was transferred back to Lusaka. Maybe because the river animals failed to destroy us. I say this because after we left, another unit replaced us and I am made to understand that a hippo overturned their dinghy and nine of them perished. God bless them also.

July 1984 Joe Modise felt I was a nuisance in front of his eyes and he flew me to Daqya, ANC settlement in

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

7 O S MNQIBISA

Tanzania. Known amongst us as ANC dumping ground for so-called agents of the RSA regime.

In 1988 MK Quattro inmates were released into Tanzania, because of the settlement of, I think, either Angola or Namibia, because it was said all foreign troops must leave Angola for the settlement of that country.

Some of these guys, I trained with them in Nova Catenga in the south of Angola in 1977. I became so close and friendly with them. They were incarcerated in quattro for taking part in MK mutineering in 1984 in Angola. They tell of shocking and hair-raising incidents, in Quattro concentration camp.

Early in 1991 Mogodo thugs - Mogodo is ANC security - once more detained me and locked me up at the ruthless prison in Dachua near Morogore town in Tanzania.

I was harshly interrogated with the Tanzanian government special forces. That is Field Force Unit S accomplices. Field Force Unit was a special presidential guard. It was a very brutal force. I was accused of propagating against the ANC, telling the truth is propaganda in the ANC. I must stress that I am lucky amongst the best politically trained detachments in the whole of MK. That is June 16 detachment. Our political education shocked ANC leaders throughout our stay in exile. Hence we were inhumanly abused.

I managed to escape, that is in Dachau, on the 16th day of my incarceration and flew to Dar-E-Salaam. I reported my case to the prime minister's office and home affairs minister's office. The treatment I received from these offices was extremely hostile.

Mogodo influenced high officials in the government

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

8 O S MNQIBISA

structures. There is extreme poverty in Tanzania and Mogodo bribed Tanzanian police, soldiers and government officials, with foodstuffs to believe their lies and opportunistic tendencies.

In Dar-E-Salaam I informed my friends, my friends in the USA and UK about what happened to me. For MKs I disappeared, which was possible and this happened to our comrades who were loyal members of the ANC in all African states where the ANC operated from.

My friend in the UK informed the British Government about my problem and also justice for Southern Africa, which then campaigned for the independent commission of inquiry into human rights violations by Swapo and the ANC. My friend in the USA who was in fact my girlfriend, and she is still there, continuously phoned my parents about this problem.

I later officially resigned from the ANC in order to place myself outside Mogodo's jurisdiction, because Mogodo was the law unto itself. For instance, if they managed to lock up Pallo Jordan. Pallo Jordan was released with the intervention of the late Oliver Thambo.

I came across obstacles at both the ANC offices and government offices in Dar-E-Salaam from resigning. After a long struggle I managed to resign. I now became a refugee under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. I faced total destitution. That was total destitution, I repeat.

The wife to the former Tanzanian Prime Minister, Mrs Warioba, refused to offer me financial assistance which I was entitled to. She insisted I go to a refugee settlement centre far away from Dar-E-Salaam. She was the official

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

9 O S MNQIBISA

responsible for refugees at the UNHCR office in Dar-E-Salaam. I flatly refused to move to a refugee centre, and I stayed with my sister-in-law, with no source of income, until I returned home in 1992.

My wife then, whom I married legally was a Tanzanian. We have a daughter. I am with her daughter, but she remained behind. I am still struggling to bring her in.

Joe Modise must tell the people of South Africa why and how many of our friends were murdered by his Mogodo. Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda must also tell why they allowed Mogodo to run Kangaroo Courts on their soil and execute our comrades in cold blood.

Mogodo once threatened my life in Walmersdal assembly area in Pretoria on the night of 28th June 1994. I have got letters which will support this. I was surveilled throughout my stay in exile, by Mogodo thugs. I was also denied education opportunities in the ANC, in Walmersdal camp I was unranked because it was said I don't have academic qualifications. I was also blacklisted by Joe Modise, hence my inferior military rank.

I love the ANC because the ANC is the people and nobody, I say nobody must misinterpret me of what I said about. Individuals within the ANC abuse their powers and they must be exposed. They hide behind the ANC and continue with their criminal activities.

I once more and lastly appeal to President Mandela to please take action against those who abused us in exile. This will help in healing our land. Perpetrators must be brought in front of the TRC in our presence, so that we question them.

Here I have got a list of the people who abused me.

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

10 O S MNQIBISA

In 1978 in Lusaka Joe Modise, Keith Mokwepe, brother to Aubrey Mokwepe, Snoekie Sigilala, Solise Melani, who I think works presently at Shell House.

1991 in Tanzania, Cliff - I just know him by the name Cliff, (indistinct), son to John (indistinct), SA Ambassador to Cuba. Jackie Morate, Sidonay.

I am heavily traumatised and sick. I had a lot haemorrhoids which we know as piles, cold feet and bronchitis during my detention. My memory is also affected hence I always write my stories on paper. My wife and daughter were also affected by these problems. In 1987 I underwent haemorrhoids surgery or operation in Tanzania. Cold feet is still troubling me, especially winter time, and doctors are unable to cure this. Bronchitis developed to sinusitis and last year I underwent surgery in the Military Hospital in Pretoria.

Joe Modise has done harm to my health. I hate him extremely. He is a Facist and brutal. He is ANC prisons' architect. I have serious emotions and I am also short-tempered. Ex-ANC prisoners are all suffering the same, as you experienced with Jessop, we are all the same. We are highly emotional, because of what we experienced in the past.

I must also comment on one of your briefers here, unfortunately she left, Dabisan Mokhale. In 1992 I think some two, three months after I returned from exile, she counselled me repeatedly while she was still at Wits University. Her ideas are keeping me strong up to this day. The ideas also helps me to control my temper. I am very much strong psychological. This is my comment. I will come to this comment after I have read letters which support my

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

11 O S MNQIBISA

abuse.

This is part of the letter I wrote at Walmersdal after I was abused. The incident in question took place in public at Base 13, Walmersdal assembly area, Pretoria. On the night of June 28 1994. There were about 20 witnesss, including the commander of Base 13. I was staying at Base 13, that was the veterans' base. According - Mr Stephen Khobe and two colleagues were drunk on SANDF premises. While drunk Khobe verbally abused a subordinate under his command, myself, in front of other military personnel.

I won't read this one, because this is a letter which was written by my friend in Britain to President Mandela. In short I can say this Stephen Khobe threatened me in Walmersdal on that night, by thrice lifting his military jacket in a threatening manner, trying to shoot me. By virtue of his rank he was entitled to carry a gun. SANF personnel had to restrain Khobe while others moved me to a place of safety. After he left, I came out.

Let me just stop here, because I think ...

MS WILDSCHUT: Thank you very much for giving us your story in that sequence. It helps us to understand the trauma that you went through. May I just ask one or two questions before I hand over to the Chair.

MR MNQIBISA: I am sorry, please, I have got last two letters which I must also read.

MS WILDSCHUT: Will you read the extracts of the letters which you think could be relevant to your testimony?

MR MNQIBISA: I think I must read all the letters from point A to B, so that you understand what I underwent. Please bear with me.

My letter is published in a British Journal Searchlight SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

12 O S MNQIBISA

South Africa, No 7, 1991. It is entitled "The case of Samuel Mnqibisa, Lt, Malagasi", which is my nickname.

"The chief rep ANC of SA Dar-E-Salaam, 7.2.1991.

To whom it may concern.

This is to certify that I Sasmuel Mnqibisa, alias Elton Ligasi, am resigning from the ANC from the date above. This follows my detention and harassment by ANC security based in Plot 18, (indistinct). The officers are Daphta and Cliff. They accuse me of propagating against the ANC. I was detained at ANC prison in Plot 18 from 19.1.1991 without trial. I managed to escape on the night of 5.2.1991.

I am presently in hiding, afraid of the ANC security hyenas. The conditions at that prison are horrible. My cell was 2,5 by 2 metres and I was provided a two-gallon plastic bucket as my toilet. I bath and eat in that cell. The sponge and blankets to sleep on are terribly dirty and smelling very badly. I was not allowed to talk to other prisoners or anybody passing by my window side. The door is locked with a steel bar across. My Tanzanian wife was barred from visiting or talking to me. She always manoeuvred, even during the night, to come and say hello to me. I decided to

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

13 O S MNQIBISA

stop her coming there, avoiding further repercussions. Permission was also not granted for my four-year-old daughter to enter my cell so that I kiss and talk to her. I usually spoke to her through my cell window. She always insisted my step-daughter to accompany her to the prison to see her daddy. This was my chance to forward messages to my wife Prudence.

During my interrogation I was told to co-operate so that other methods are not applied to extract information from me. I co-operated in order to save my skin from these two-legged hyenas. This was a threat against my life in a democratic liberation movement.

I was forced to write things I didn't say, in what they termed, in big letters, my own confession. I must acknowledge that if I happen to disappear your security organ will be held responsible. I mention this because of my experience in the ANC.

I have served the ANC for six years in the Army, MK and eight and a half years in the civilian field. I feel this is enough and have observed stagnation for too long in the ANC.

I am also asking for my protection from the Tanzanian Government.

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

14 O S MNQIBISA

The UNCR and British Embassy."

Thank you.

The last one, this is No 8 of June 1992.

"Two letters written to Mandela, the President from former MK soldier"

Myself. Written in Dar-E-Salaam, Tanzania, 1991.

"Searchlight South Africa, No 7, July 1991, published a letter of resignation from the ANC by Samuel Mnqibisa, explaining the character of his imprisonment by the ANC security department in Tanzania in 1991. Further letters give a picture of the political climate in the ANC camps during their advent. The second in particular is a revelation about the prison in (indistinct) in Zambia, run by the Zapo, then in alliance with the ANC, indicates the manner in which loyal guerilla fighters such as Mnqibisa were abused. Mnqibisa's colleage, Bunny Molekwane, narrowly avoided sharing the same fate in Zambia. He is remembered as a respected guerilla commander in Umkhonto. Coming from Soweto, Molekwane was aged 18 in 1976, the year of the Soweto student uprising. He took a leading part in the sabotage strike at Sasolburg - oil from coal plant - in 1980. Participated in the bombing of the SADF headquarters at Voortrekker,

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

15 O S MNQIBISA

Pretoria, and was killed in an attack launched from Mozambique on the fuel depot and military base at Secunda in the Eastern Transvaal. His other colleague, Kruschev, also known in MK as Jeremiah Mlonse, was killed in a skirmish with South African state forces in the Western Transvaal, in an operation mounted from Botswana."

Then my letter -

"Deputy President, ANC of South Africa, 2 March 1991.

Re myself -

"I, the abovementioned wish to inform the leadership of the ANC of the problem which led to my sudden resignation from the ANC on 7.2.1991. I took this decision in order to save my life from the two thugs in our security department, namely Daphta and Cliff. I am still regarding myself as a full member of the ANC. I must point out that I didn't really resign but was side-stepping thugs who wanted to swallow me alive. I am ready and prepared to explain my problem to the ANC in the near future inside the country, where I will be free from physical and psychological harassment. I would like the two thugs in my presence to prove to the ANC about

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

16 O S MNQIBISA

the allegations and malicious propaganda against me. I must highlight to you Babba Mandela, that there has never been freedom of speech inside the ANC for all the years we spent in exile. We have been living under a state of emergency throughout, because of these thugs. For instance, during my interrogation I was told to explain what was the reaction of the Dakar community when I allegedly addressed them, telling them that the leaders were sell-outs. This was one of the five questions I was told to write on what they termed my own confession. I wrote anything because I was afraid of torture. If we were in our country, I was going to take legal steps against them. I doubt that some of their security members are really serving the ANC. The moment of listening to the rank and file is fast approaching, and one day the truth will break through. Every member of the ANC who was in exile must be ready for accountability. Our parents love us and our people in general would like us to tell them more about what is the ANC. I must also inform you Babba, that I never forwarded my resignation copy to the British Embassy as shown on paper. I devised this tactic of that these thugs must

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

17 O S MNQIBISA

never think of kidnapping me when I move around Dar-E-Salaam. Anway, if I have given that embassy a copy, that was the only way to secure my life from those barbarians. I am aware that they are going to shoot me inside the country to suppress information I will bringing forward to the people.

I will rest in peace because my parents will know who took away my life.

We all have a task to scrutinise every member of the security to prove if they are for the ANC. Some four to five years back a Tanzanian government rep who was also a soldier, in an ANC settlement near Morogoro, Mazimbo, discovered one comrade being tortured, tortured to death by three security thugs, named Stalin, Voose and Lancaster. The court of law sentenced them to four years imprisonment. Stalin used to be boastful, saying they do this to defend the ANC. This near sentence came about after intervention by former ANC security chief, Mozayo Paliso, who died recently inside the country.

Some security members crossed the floor over to the regime after victimising lots of our comrades here. I can quote one named Mickey, who was a warder in our notorious prison Quattro in Angola.

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

18 O S MNQIBISA

I was with Mickey in Lusaka in 1984, before he left for Lesotho on a mission. Later we learnt that he surrendered to the regime, after entering the country. Now can we say that such people are defending the ANC? No, the two thugs in Dachau have put me in a very bad position. I am fortunate becaase I married a Tanzanian woman. Her two sisters have offered me a room to sleep in, they feed me and help me financially."

I will now read the last letter, please. Again to:

"Babba Mandela, Republic of South Africa, April 1991.

Dear Father

I hope and believe that you received a letter that I wrote to you on 2.3.1991, concerning my resignation from the ANC. I also copied you my resignation letter I wrote to the ANC's chief rep in Dar-E-Salaam, plus a copy of the letter I wrote to the young devil in Dachau, named Jackie Morake, who is a co-ordinator there. I want to categorically stress that I took this extreme decision because my life was in a serious danger. I was shot passport photos a week after my detention at Dachau prison. Those security hooligans wanted to smuggle me officially to ANC's

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

19 O S MNQIBISA

second most notorious prison in Barrara, Uganda for crucifixtion. Unfortunately for them I couldn't give myself up like Jesus gave himself up to the Jews. I am a MK cadre, know my movement and have had a bitter experience in the ANC. I was first detained in the ANC in Lusaka, December 1978, after a hot debate with four ANC MK so-called commanders in our residence Yellow House in Lusaka. This took place in a meeting we cadres had requested with those civilians, but maybe educated commanders. I refer to Kit Mokwape and Snoekie. They reinforced themselves with the late Mfundisi and Solise Mulani, because they could not argue with us militarily. The meeting was held in Yellow House and the aim was to come and iron out problems we faced by then.

You will recall that we were just fresh from a tough military survival course in one of Zapo's camps outside Lusaka. Some comrades among us were survivors of Ian Smith's military raids on a Zapo camp named FC, Frelimo Camp. There were comrades with serious injuries from that raid. Yellow House was a transit for trained cadres in the last preparation for infiltration into the country, to carry out urban guerilla warfare

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

20 O S MNQIBISA

attacks. As stated, the cadres requested the meeting to solve problems, being lack of medical treatment for the injured comrades and also of foodstuffs. The course we underwent explains itself: survival course.

Zapo camps had insufficient food supplies and the course rations your meals or you sometimes don't eat at all. So the policy in MK is that after training you are well-fed to recover strength. Our complaint was for enough food and medical care for the comrades.

MS WILDSCHUT: I am very sorry, the letter that you are reading now actually is the statement that you had given before describing the events. Could you go to the part of the letter where you are making the request to Mr Mandela? Can you go to the part of the letter, the actual aim of the letter, can you read that part to us, please?

MR MNQIBISA: Okay. Yes, you know my problem is what I am heavily exhausted, because I have been here since this morning. So as I told you, I have a problem of memory. The way I wanted to put my statement, that has run out of my mind, but ...

MS WILDSCHUT: Can we help you in that because I am aware that you are very tired, that you had been here for a long time. What you are trying to demonstrate to the Commission is that you had made several appeals and you tried to explain your situation and it seems that that is coming through very clearly in the way in which you are presenting your case to us. Maybe we can lead you a little bit and ask SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

21 O S MNQIBISA

you some questions, which would help us to complete your testimony before the Commission.

MR MNQIBISA: Okay.

MS WILDSCHUT: The one question for me which is uppermost in my mind, and if you could very briefly explain this to us, we are aware that you are a sergeant in the South African National Defence Force. What is it that made you decide to actually join the SANDF and how do you feel being a member of the SANDF with Mr Joe Modise as the Minister of Defence right now. If you could just briefly give us an idea of how that happened.

MR MNQIBISA: Yes, I joined the SANDF because of that being my only profession. As I said I was denied educational opportunities in Angola, I mean in exile. I feel very badly to be headed by someone who extremely abused and ordered our friends to be slaughtered in that fashion. I totally and extremely don't have respect for Joe Modise. I am very much disappointed because I thought he will be here today, because I wanted to challenge him openly, because in the past I testified before three commissions, that is Amnesty International, (indistinct), and Motseuyane. I requested the commissions to bring him forth so that I can debate with him. But this didn't take place. Also this Commission can't bring the perpetrators in front of us.

So in general, I want to say I don't have respect for Joe Modise.

MS WILDSCHUT: How does that influence how you work, how does that impact on the way in which you conduct your everyday work at work?

MR MNQIBISA: Well, because I am strong physically, psychologically. I don't care a damn about Joe Modise.

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

22 O S MNQIBISA

I have written letters to many people around the world, in this country: Dullah Omar, Tony Leon, a lot of people, who are assisting me to expose Joe Modise further. I totally don't have respect for him. I wish he was here, because I know him as I know my palm.

I would like to hand over to the Chair now. I have no more questions to ask you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I will ask other fellow Commissioners to assist you in thinking more about the other aspects of your story which you would like to come forward with. I will start off with you, Tom Manthata. Yasmin Sooka?

MS SOOKA: I just have one question. You talked about the June 16th Detachment of which you were a member. Can you tell me a little more about that.

MR MNQIBISA: Yes, June 16 is composed of people among them students and us workers who left the country immediately after the Soweto school uprising. So we are named June 16 detachment. We are the first detachment to open a military camp in Angola.

MS SOOKA: The other thing that comes through in your evidence is that you say that you still suffer from the trauma of what happened to you in the camps. You mention specifically that you were counselled last year. At this point in time is counselling still continuing or has that stopped?

MR MNQIBISA: No, presently it has stopped, because I am tied up at work, the type of work I am doing, keeps me all the time at the camp, but again, last year I underwent counselling in Bloemfontein Military base whilst I was undergoing training, by one White captain who was working

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

23 O S MNQIBISA

for our medical services. That was after I was admitted to Bloemfontein Military Hospital, suspected of suffering from malaria. But this came about because I was thinking too much about the past and the recent happening at Walmersdal.

MS SOOKA: Does the past in a way still obsess you, are you able to forget it through work or do you find that it constantly haunts you?

MR MNQIBISA: This is a lifetime thing. You can ask my younger brother, he is here. I am a person who is always angry, emotionally. They don't understand me at home. It is the type of life I have led. He can tell you. I am always emotional. Sometimes I feel like gripping someone, doing away with him, but fortunately I am from a Christian family, that also helps me.

MS SOOKA: Whilst you are in the SANDF, is there opportunity for you to study?

MR MNQIBISA: Yes, there is. We are told we will be sent to go for further training, because that also helps in our military ranks, I mean, in promotions. But presently I am still waiting.

MS SOOKA: Are you waiting to be accepted?

MR MNQIBISA: I mean, I am waiting to be undergoing this training.

MS SOOKA: Do you feel a great sense of frustration for the fact that in a sense your youth, the best part of your life actually went in the time you spent out of this country and that even your present position in the Defence Force is affected by the fact that you are not able to even be graded properly. So there isn't even a sense of acknowledgement of the time that you spent in exile?

MR MNQIBISA: Ja, very much so, I am very much frustrated.

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

24 O S MNQIBISA

I am just there in the Defence Force because for survival.

MS SOOKA: What will it take in a sense to make you feel that at least you have something to achieve in life?

MR MNQIBISA: Can you repeat your question?

MS SOOKA: What do you think it needs in a sense for you to feel that your life, in a sense, has been worthwhile?

MR MNQIBISA: Ja, because what I left the country for is being achieved gradually. I can see the fruits of our sweat, although lots of our friends have died, they lie in shallow graves in African countries, wherever ANC operated from. But I think we will reach the point.

MS SOOKA: Thank you.

MR MNQIBISA: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Joyce Seroke?

MS SEROKE: Mr Mnqibisa, what attempts are you making to be reunited with your wife who is still in Tanzania?

MR MNQIBISA: Ja, because of financial constraints, let me first say, my mother is a pensioner. I have become her sole breadwinner. My younger brothers, some of them are not working. One is a hairdresser, he is earning a little. I have just managed to build her two rooms and a garage and a bathroom. So I am in financial restraints to bring my wife in. Because a return ticket to Tanzania is something like R2 000,00. So I am still raising funds so that she can come and visit us, maybe for two weeks, and that we discuss whether she wants to join us or not. Because she is crying a lot about the daughter, because I am with the daughter, she is with my mother.

MS SEROKE: So your mother is looking after your daughter?

MR MNQIBISA: Yes.

MS SEROKE: How old is she?

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

25 O S MNQIBISA

MR MNQIBISA: She is now nine.

MS SEROKE: And what does she do?

MR MNQIBISA: She is in Std 2.

MS SEROKE: Thank you.

MR MNQIBISA: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Hugh?

MR LEWIN: Just one brief question. Do you feel under threat in any way, now that you are back?

MR MNQIBISA: Ja, that is something which is there, of course, you will recall that here we are dealing with professional and licensed killers. They can do anything they like any time. They are even doing it. Two months ago a friend who is ex-ANC prisoner in Quattro and working for North-West Government was nearly assassinated by six guys. He is about to give, to testify before you. He was also prevented from getting a post in the government, but he fought and ultimately got the post. Our guys, most of them ex-ANC prisoners, are afraid to come before the Commission because Mogodo, I don't know how can I describe Mogodo. They are a terrible organ.

CHAIRPERSON: Any other questions? Thank you very much. Can I also just ask you a question. You read letters that you have written to Mr Mandela, whom I suppose you are referring to the President of this country today. Have you had any responses from him?

MR MNQIBISA: Nothing at all, because I didn't give them my address, because I don't want them to know where I am staying, although they know. Now recently I wrote a letter to Legalwise, my lawyers and copied that letter to the President, to Tony Leon, my friend in UK and also Joe Modise. So Joe Modise responded through Legalwise to me,

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

26 O S MNQIBISA

and his letter is so brief, concerning the Walmersdal incident. I don't know what is in his mind, because the letter is so short.

CHAIRPERSON: You have touched upon my next question. I just wanted to know from you whether you have, since you came back, have you ever made any effort to communicate your anger to Minister Joe Modise directly, in the form of writing or whatever method?

MR MNQIBISA: Ja, I have written a lot of letters to him, but it is only now he has responded, because mainly I am under Legalwise, I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: If you might tell the Commission, you indicated that you had wanted him to be here. I suppose you wanted to send some messages to him. I just want to know whether his responses have made you feel better or made you feel worse?

MR MNQIBISA: No, I am feeling worse, because there is nothing in that letter, because I have questions I wanted to ask him, you know. If you may allow me to read them. Just a few questions. Because I think he must get these questions, because I want to know why I was detained in the first place.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there any question that you would have liked to ask? I have noted that you wanted to know why you were detained.

MR MNQIBISA: Yes, there is a number of questions directed to Joe Modise.

The first question is that why did JM order that I be detained.

Does JM condone what Mogodo did to me?

Why the ANC never compensated me so that I pay for my

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

27 O S MNQIBISA

medical expenses. Why JM defamed my character.

Was it the ANC or Joe Modise's policy to run prisons in foreign lands, where ANC members were brutally slaughtered?

Can JM prove that those murdered by Mogodo were the agents of the State?

Why the ANC refused the international committee of the Red Cross to inspect its prisons in 1993.

Why did the MK engineers unit demoblish Quattro when they withdrew in 1989.

Why JM boys troubled me in Walmersdal.

Lastly, why did ANC never adhere to Geneva Convention rules, concerning those it detained, since the ANC was a signatory, eg those detained were to be tried lawfully.

CHAIRPERSON: Can we also have a copy of those questions. We will ask Zodwa to, if you are happy with that, to photocopy them quickly?

MR MNQIBISA: Okay.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mnqibisa, thank you very much for appearing before the Commission. We can see that this is a big issue for you, and I don't think any sane person can go through different commissions for fun. It is an indication of the pain, the anger and unresolved conflicts about what you described as violation of your rights. You are one of those people who according to your statement, have been exposed to atrocities at different levels of your growth. First of all you flee the country in search for strategies to liberate people from human suffering. According to your statement you suffered a great deal outside as well, which means you were exposed to multi-levels of trauma. In coming back much as you are beginning to see the fruits of all your efforts, but you are still under tremendous pressure and pain. It

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

28 O S MNQIBISA

has come from as many witnesses as possible, that as long as people are enslaved to suffering, there will be no democracy. So you are one of those people who are highlighting a challenge that is facing us. But I just want to encourage you to continue seeking help, even emotionally, while there is a search for what you are exposed to.

I also want to thank you for trusting the Commission. If you notice we are trying hard to maintain our independence, much as we are set-up by the government, but we look at human rights violations across the board. We look at human rights violations as orchestrated by the previous government, by all sorts of people as they come before us. So I hope that will make you to feel different, to feel better as well, to know that we are an independent commission in our search for the truth about your problem, we will try to maintain our independence as much as possible. Thank you.

MR MNQIBISA: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE: )

CHAIRPERSON: In closing I would like to remind people to leave this behind. They are of no use outside this, but before you stand really, I would like to welcome and thank the two counsellors who have just joined us towards the end. Also to thank the people who have come here, tolerated the cold, in support of the witnesses.

Previously people used to come in here and leave with many unresolved questions as to what has happened. But today, at least, you are here to listen to human rights violations as perpetrated at different corners in our society. So we really thank you very much. We hope you will spread the gospel, inform other people in Soweto and the

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

29 O S MNQIBISA

other surrounding areas, that the witnesses who appear before the Commission, they need a lot of support. You are witnesses yourselves, people are experiencing different kinds of pain from different corners. So healing will only take place ....

RECORDING SWITCHED OFF

COMMISSION ADJOURNS

SOWETO HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

 
SABC Logo
Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
DMMA Logo
SABC © 2019
>