TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
DATE: 1 FEBRUARY 1999
NAME: VLISI THOKOZANI MANQELE
APPLICATION NO: AM4037/96
CHAIRPERSON: Are you ready to begin?
MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, yes we are. The first matter on the roll is that of Vlisi Manqele, application number 4037/96.
CHAIRPERSON: The application will be heard by the Committee comprising of myself as Chairman and on my left Mr Chris de Jager, Senior Counsel and Ms Sigodi on my right. Yes, counsel appearing for the applicant?
MR SAMUEL: I appear for the applicant.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you ready to begin?
MR SAMUEL: Yes I am.
CHAIRPERSON: Will you call your client?
MR SAMUEL: For the record my name is Siven Samuel and I appear for the applicant.
VLISI THOKOZANI MANQELE: (sworn states)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Samuel?
EXAMINATION BY MR SAMUEL: Thank you. Mr Manqele, you were convicted of the murder of Mr Emmanuel Bengu which took place on the 20th July 1991, is that correct?
MR MANQELE: That is correct.
MR SAMUEL: Did you kill Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: Yes I did.
MR SAMUEL: Prior to the murder where were you living?
MR MANQELE: I resided at KwaMakuta.
MR SAMUEL: For how long did you live there?
MR MANQELE: I had been living there for 8 years.
MR SAMUEL: Did you live in a house there?
MR MANQELE: Yes.
MR SAMUEL: What happened to this house?
MR MANQELE: It was my mother's sister's house and there was fighting in the area. Because of the violence that was prevailing in the area at the time the house was bombed. On the first occasion the house was not damaged. On the second attack two persons died and the house was burnt down. As time went on ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Before you proceed, when was the first incident?
MR MANQELE: I do not remember correctly but around 1987.
CHAIRPERSON: Did both incidents take place in 1987?
MR MANQELE: The people who died were killed in 1987.
CHAIRPERSON: And who were they?
MR MANQELE: My sister Zathomi and her son who was very young at the time. The others were injured in that attack.
CHAIRPERSON: I'd like the names of those who were killed. It was my elder sister Zathomi.
CHAIRPERSON: How do you spell that?
MR MANQELE: Z-a-t-h-o-m-i.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes and her son what is his name?
MR MANQELE: I have forgotten his name because my sisters had many children.
CHAIRPERSON: How old was he?
MR MANQELE: I think he was around two.
CHAIRPERSON: How did they die?
MR MANQELE: They died in hospital, they had burn wounds.
CHAIRPERSON: Were you at home at that time?
MR MANQELE: I was actually at my other sister's house in Adams.
CHAIRPERSON: So you wouldn't know who was responsible for the attack on your home when your sister and her child was killed?
MR MANQELE: No I would not have any knowledge regarding that, I only heard that those people were ANC members.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Samuel, carry on?
MR SAMUEL: Thank you. Besides Zathomi and the child was there anyone else who was killed in this attack?
MR MANQELE: My other brother died but this happened later but he was gunned down.
MR SAMUEL: What was his name?
MR MANQELE: His name was Montoza.
MR SAMUEL: And when was he killed?
MR MANQELE: In 1988.
MR SAMUEL: And who killed him?
MR MANQELE: He was killed by ANC members even though I do not know their specific identities but one person was suspected of having been involved.
ADV DE JAGER: Did your brother or your sister belong to any political party or did they support any political party?
MR MANQELE: My family belonged to the IFP.
MR SAMUEL: Now when you say brother and sister, for the record can you tell us do you mean that they were your blood brother and sister, were all of you born of the same parents, can you explain a little further about what you mean when you say brother and sister?
MR MANQELE: They were actually - I could call them cousins because they were my mother's sister's children.
MR SAMUEL: Now you - where were you living at the time Mr Bengu was killed?
MR MANQELE: At the time I was living with my sister, I was living with my older sister.
MR SAMUEL: Where.
MR MANQELE: At KwaMakuta.
MR SAMUEL: Why did you kill Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: I killed him because I knew that he was an ANC chairperson and I had also heard that he was involved in the attack on my family and this effected me badly and therefore I took this decision although it was a decision that I had not foreseen. I requested a friend to accompany to Mr Bengu's house. He agreed to go with me but he enquired about what we were going to do there and I told him that he would actually get his cue from me as to what we were going to do and he wanted to know how would we get at Mr Bengu's house, was going to open the door for us because we were IFP members.
MR SAMUEL: Can you tell us the name of this person?
MR MANQELE: Khethukuthula.
MR SAMUEL: Did he accompany you?
MR MANQELE: Yes he did.
MR SAMUEL: How do you spell that name?
MR MANQELE: K-h-e-t-h-u-k-u-t-h-u-l-a.
MR SAMUEL: What is this person's surname?
MR MANQELE: Ncobo.
MR SAMUEL: Was he charged with you in this offence?
MR MANQELE: Yes.
MR SAMUEL: And did he appear in your case as accused number one?
MR MANQELE: Yes that is true.
MR SAMUEL: Before you went to Mr Bengu's house did you arm yourself?
MR MANQELE: We had just been looking around and I had a firearm with me and my friend had a knobkierrie. We did not know beforehand that we were going to actually carry out this mission.
CHAIRPERSON: Will you clear that up, I thought he'd made up his mind?
MR SAMUEL: Thank you Mr Chairman.
MR MANQELE: Our intention to leave the house had been to go buy beer because Khethukuthula used to serve beer, he had a tavern so we had gone out to buy more beer for the tavern and Mr Bengu's house was along the road and on our return I realised that the lights were on at Mr Bengu's house and at that point I then told my friend that we should go to Mr Bengu's house.
MR SAMUEL: When you went to Mr Bengu's house did you go there with the intention of killing him?
MR MANQELE: I had that intention but my friend did not know this.
MR SAMUEL: I see. Can you tell us briefly what happened when you went into Mr Bengu's house?
MR MANQELE: When we arrived at Mr Bengu's house I knocked on the door and I actually announced myself as My Baby, the My Baby that I knew that he used to frequent the house. I knew that if I said I was My Baby they would open the door. They did indeed open the door. Mrs Bengu was shocked when she realised that it was not that My Baby and she tried to close the door but I managed to into the house together with my friend. After we'd gotten into the house I locked the door and because the lights were off I switched them on. I then asked Mrs Bengu if I could see Mr Bengu and she said he was in his bedroom.
My friend and I then proceeded to the bedroom, I was in front. When we got there I opened - the door was slightly open so I opened it wide and when I got there Mr Bengu was in his gown. I asked him where was the gun that he used to attack us at Unit 10. At that point Mr Bengu realised that my intentions were not good and he tried to grab an assegai and he also had a hot water bottle with him. My friend Khethukuthula fled because he thought the bottle contained acid. I told him that no it was not acid but hot water. As I was saying that, Mr Bengu ...(indistinct) threw the hot water at me and I fell backwards and as I fell Mr Bengu took this assegai and I then shot at it, Khethukuthula that he should shoot, he tried but missed. Because ...(intervention)
INTERPRETER: The Chairperson's mike is not on.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. Did the deceased actually stab you with the assegai or did he try to stab you with it?
MR MANQELE: He tried to stab me but was unsuccessful because I also tried to get away until I managed to rise up from the floor and ...(intervention)
INTERPRETER: Sorry, could you ask the applicant to speak a little bit slowly because some of the interpretation is not -the interpreter is not able to interpret everything that he is saying, he is missing out on certain things.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you ma'am. Mr Manqele, what is happening here is, you are speaking and the lady across you is interpreting. Now because you're speaking too fast or too quickly she's missing out part of the interpretation so take it easy, speak a sentence at a time and give her a chance to interpret. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Right, now you were at a stage where you tried to avoid or Mr - the deceased rather, tried to stab you with an assegai - Bengu - and you were able to avoid being stabbed by the assegai. Carry on from there, what happened then?
MR SAMUEL: I managed to avoid the assegai and because I was lying facing upwards and Mrs Bengu tried to put some covers on top of my face because I couldn't see and I removed these covers and we threw my gun and I then shot Mr Bengu and although I could not see where I shot him I grabbed his assegai and I realised that he was now powerless. I then dragged him from the house and he was still holding onto this assegai at the same time and I dragged him out of the front door. When we arrived outside ...(intervention)
MR SAMUEL: Sorry may I intervene Mr Manqele? Mr Manqele? If you look up you'll notice that you are talking while she is interpreting so some of the evidence that you are giving is being lost to the Members of the Committee so if you look up at her you will see when she is speaking please do not speak.
Mr Manqele there are two requests I have for you. Firstly it's important for the Committee to get the full picture of what happened and for them not to miss out on anything that you are saying. If you can come closer to the mike and look up at the lady across in the booth so you can see when she is speaking you remain silent. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Please proceed, you dragged the deceased out of the front door whilst he held on to his assegai. What happened next?
MR MANQELE: We then went out of the front door and Mrs Bengu was close by trying to assist her husband and she was also screaming, making a lot of noise. I then told my friend Khethukuthula that he should attack her. He did this and Mrs Bengu fell on the floor. At that time I then killed Mr Bengu. After we had finished we removed Mr Bengu's assegai.
INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.
CHAIRPERSON: How did you kill Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: I stabbed him with the same assegai that we had been struggling over and I had shot him as well.
CHAIRPERSON: Was he injured as a result of your shooting him?
MR MANQELE: Yes he was injured.
CHAIRPERSON: Which part of his body?
MR MANQELE: I could not see because even when I stabbed him with the assegai I did not remember exactly where did I stab him.
CHAIRPERSON: Carry on?
MR SAMUEL: Did anything happen to Mrs Bengu during all of this?
CHAIRPERSON: After she had been attacked we left and we took the assegai with us. I do not know what happened thereafter.
MR SAMUEL: Who attacked Mrs Bengu?
MR MANQELE: I told my friend Khethukuthula to attack her.
CHAIRPERSON: How did he attack her?
MR MANQELE: He said he actually hit her with a knobkierrie on the head.
MR SAMUEL: What happened to the assegai?
MR MANQELE: We left with that assegai.
MR SAMUEL: There was a television set and radio missing from Mr Bengu's house. Do you know what happened to that?
MR MANQELE: I would not have knowledge thereof but I heard about it afterwards. I was puzzled because I did not take anything. I would not be certain if my friend does have knowledge thereof because even the assegai remained with him eventually.
CHAIRPERSON: But if a big article such as a T.V. were taken away by your friend surely you would have known that?
MR MANQELE: I would have known about it but I did not see him carrying anything when we returned.
MR SAMUEL: The firearm that you had, the one you shot Mr Bengu with, what happened to that?
MR MANQELE: It was confiscated by the police, they removed it from the house and they removed all the weapons that were in the house at that time.
MR SAMUEL: Do you see Mrs Bengu in court today?
MR MANQELE: Yes I see her.
MR SAMUEL: Where is she seated?
MR MANQELE: She's sitting at the back.
MR SAMUEL: Do you want to tell her anything Mr Manqele?
MR MANQELE: Yes there is something I would like to say to her.
MR SAMUEL: What would you like to say?
MR MANQELE: I would request her to forgive me for what I did, I cannot explain it. I request you Mrs Bengu, I know that this is painful for you, I do not have the words to express myself but I am sorry for what I did. Please forgive me.
MR SAMUEL: When does your sentence end Mr Manqele?
MR MANQELE: Actually that sentence is now completed I am now serving for something else.
MR SAMUEL: I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR SAMUEL
CHAIRPERSON: Yes please tell us what it is he is serving a sentence for? What are you serving a sentence for Mr Manqele?
MR MANQELE: The sentence or the crime that I'm serving sentence, for a robbery that I committed with Umbongeni Seleko. I was sentenced to three years for that crime therefore my sentence in total was 11 years and 3 months. The crime for which I was sentenced first was the robbery later and the second matter that I was sentenced for was the case that I'm applying for amnesty.
MR SAMUEL: So at the time you were sentenced for this matter you were already sentenced on the robbery matter, is that correct? You were already serving a sentence on the robbery matter?
MR MANQELE: Yes I'd already been sentenced by that time.
MR SAMUEL: So effectively then you haven't served full time of this sentence?
MR MANQELE: Yes I haven't served the entire sentence.
MR SAMUEL: So you're still serving time for this offence, for these offences?
MR MANQELE: Yes I think that's why I'm still in prison.
MR SAMUEL: No further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR SAMUEL
CHAIRPERSON: When was this robbery committed?
MR MANQELE: In 1991.
CHAIRPERSON: Was it before or after the attack on the deceased?
MR MANQELE: It was after the attack on Mr Bengu.
CHAIRPERSON: What was it that you were involved in, what kind of robbery was it?
MR MANQELE: It was something that happened spontaneously, I was with Umseli. Umseli said that we should drop some person and we did this but I did not know that person. It was Umsileko who had actually go with him to that area to fetch a certain car and he suggested that we rob this person when we met him and we did this.
CHAIRPERSON: What did you steal from him?
MR MANQELE: Umgungeni removed a watch from him and that was the only thing that he had on him.
CHAIRPERSON: Did you assault that person?
MR MANQELE: No he was not assaulted.
CHAIRPERSON: And what happened to Umgungeni?
MR MANQELE: He was arrested, four of us were arrested.
CHAIRPERSON: So the arrest took place after you had killed Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: Yes we were arrested after the death of Mr Bengu.
ADV SANDI: You said that you had no intention to kill Mr Bengu, you only formulated the intention to kill him when you went to his house, did I hear your evidence correctly?
MR MANQELE: Yes that's how I could put it because I do not know what actually happened to me for me to decide something like that.
ADV SANDI: But you also said that before you went to Mr Bengu's house you had a firearm and your friend had a knobkierrie?
MR MANQELE: That is correct.
ADV SANDI: And you had gone out to go and buy some beer?
MR MANQELE: That is correct.
ADV SANDI: Then why did you decide to kill Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: I cannot explain it I do not know.
CHAIRPERSON: Why did you go on?
MR MANQELE: It was at night and we were also aware that there was fighting, you could hear gunshots, there would be gunshots at night in the area because of the fighting.
ADV SANDI: And as you were coming back before going into Mr Bengu's house did you hear any gunshots?
MR MANQELE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: What had Mr Bengu done to you personally?
MR MANQELE: I cannot say that he had done anything specific to me, I just knew him to be an ANC member.
ADV SANDI: Do you know what position he held in the ANC?
MR MANQELE: I heard that he was the ANC chairperson.
ADV SANDI: You only heard it but did you know it personally, had you seen him active in ANC?
MR MANQELE: It was something that I heard from people around me but not that I had seen it for myself.
ADV SANDI: And what political objective did you think you were going to attain by killing Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: From the situation that I observed I concluded that he must be involved in the killing of our people, even with regards to his shop we no longer used to buy from there because at one point we were attacked, shot at when we went to his shop.
ADV SANDI: When did this happen?
MR MANQELE: This happened during the political violence during KwaMakuta, a lot of people had left the area and ANC members used to block that road leading to Mr Bengu's house.
ADV SANDI: You say at the time you were staying at your sister's place, did I hear you correctly?
MR MANQELE: Yes when I committed this murder I was staying with my sister.
ADV SANDI: And how far was your sister's place from Mr Bengu's place?
MR MANQELE: It was quite far.
ADV SANDI: Can you give an indication how long would it take you to - could you walk from your sister's place to Mr Bengu's place or did you have to take a taxi or did you - how would you get there?
MR MANQELE: You could walk because it is also in Unit 10 and Mr Bengu's house was not very far, we lived on one road, one street.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: I just want you to listen very carefully. You told us Mr Bengu did nothing to you personally and yet you decided to kill him, why?
MR MANQELE: Because of the knowledge I had that he was an ANC member.
CHAIRPERSON: You heard that he was a member of the ANC?
MR MANQELE: I knew that he was an ANC member.
CHAIRPERSON: And just because he was an ANC member you decided to kill him?
MR MANQELE: This occurred to me.
CHAIRPERSON: I understand that that night we went to purchase liquor with your companion for his tavern. Now on your way back you happened to pass Mr Bengu's house and it suddenly occurred to you that because he was a member of the ANC you should go there and attack him, is that how it happened?
MR MANQELE: I will say yes because I cannot explain it.
CHAIRPERSON: It makes no sense, doesn't it?
MR MANQELE: This just occurred to me at that time.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes it makes no sense.
MR MANQELE: Yes I cannot explain it because we did not have a predetermined intention that we were going to kill.
CHAIRPERSON: So this was a senseless killing.
MR MANQELE: I would put it that way, it was senseless for me.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes it was just like the robbery that you committed, a senseless not predetermined robbery?
MR MANQELE: Yes we did not plan that robbery.
CHAIRPERSON: So you were just engaged in ordinary criminal conduct?
MR MANQELE: Yes when I committed the robbery it was just a criminal act but with regards to Mr Bengu it just occurred to me that I should kill him because he is an ANC member.
ADV SANDI: Sorry Chair. Did Mr Bengu run a Spaza shop in his home?
MR MANQELE: Yes he did have a Spaza shop.
ADV SANDI: Was this shop right in his home?
MR MANQELE: Yes it was on the premises.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel are there any questions you wish to put to him?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: There are a few Honourable Chairperson.
Mr Manqele you stated on page 14 of your application that people were shot when you murdered Mr Bengu. Why were people shot?
MR MANQELE: They did not know me to be capable of something like that because I had never killed anyone before, I was just involved in Karate training.
MS PATEL: Did you know exactly what Mr Bengu doing as a member of the ANC?
MR MANQELE: I did not have knowledge of what his specific duties were in the ANC.
MS PATEL: Well then let me tell you, Mr Manqele. According to my instructions from his wife, Mrs Bengu, he was in fact involved in peace talks between the IFP and the ANC. So he was trying to appease the violence, he wasn't the cause of the violence in that area and accordingly had nothing to do with the death of your family members?
MR MANQELE: Yes she is telling the truth that Mr Bengu was involved in peace initiatives but I do not know what actually that situation because eventually people started killing one another. There was that peace initiative and things quietened down for a bit, for a while but I do not know what happened because later on the violence erupted again.
CHAIRPERSON: At any rate the point is this that others may have been involved in violence but to your knowledge Mr Bengu was involved in peace initiatives?
MR MANQELE: I would not deny that. I know that he was involved in those peace initiatives.
MS PATEL: Mr Manqele, it's also not correct that Mrs Bengu denied you entry into the home and that you had to force your way into the house, she in fact asked you to come in, not so?
MR MANQELE: When we arrived at her home when I knocked on the door she said I should come in and she opened the door and then I got into the house. When she tried to close the door I actually stopped her from closing the door because my companion at that time had not entered the house so we both entered the house and I locked the door from the inside.
MS PATEL: Who is the third person that was with you?
MR MANQELE: I heard that it is alleged that there were three of us but I only remember the two of us. I heard Mrs Bengu saying that there were three people, she said this in court but I did not see anybody else it was just the two of us. I thought that maybe she had seen somebody else who had no connection to us, I do not know anything about that third person.
MS PATEL: Okay, and you've mentioned somebody by the name of My Baby, you said that's the name you used to gain entry?
MR MANQELE: That is correct, that is the name I used because I am called Mabisa but at that time I called myself My Baby because I did not think they would hear properly even if I had said Mabisa they could have opened the door for me.
MS PATEL: Mrs Bengu says she opened the door because she knew you and she also knew Mr Ncobo your co-accused in the matter, that you had frequented their Spaza shop?
MR MANQELE: Yes we would sometimes buy from the Spaza shop but I was not sure whether she would recognise me because I was dressed in such a member that I was not easily recognisable and another thing is that I would never come to her house at night, that's why I was not sure whether she would recognise me.
MS PATEL: How much did you have to drink that night?
CHAIRPERSON: He hasn't said anything about drinking.
MR MANQELE: I did have something to drink but I wouldn't say that we had exceeded, over drank in excess because I was still aware of my surroundings, I was aware of what I was doing.
MS PATEL: Whilst you were in the room and you say you had fallen backwards and Mr Bengu had had the assegai and tried to assault you with the assegai, is that correct?
MR MANQELE: That is correct.
MS PATEL: He could have killed you then if he wanted to, not so?
MR MANQELE: Yes he could have killed me because he was trying to attack me but I grabbed the assegai.
MS PATEL: Mrs Bengu says that's not correct, in fact she will state that at that time Mr Bengu had in fact refused to kill you despite her telling him that he should kill you before you were in a position to cause any harm to her and the rest of the family.
CHAIRPERSON: Let me understand that Mrs Bengu urged her husband to kill him?
MS PATEL: That is correct Honourable Chairperson at the time that he had fallen down because there was a daughter in the house at the time as well.
MR MANQELE: I do not know whether that is true. After I had fallen down I saw Mr Bengu approaching with this assegai and he tried to stab me twice and he managed to stab me on the third occasion but because I had already shot him he became powerless and that is how I managed to overpower him and drag him out of the house. I did not hear Mrs Bengu saying anything at the time.
MS PATEL: In terms of your having shot him, there was no evidence at the trial bar the stab wound that Mr Bengu was in fact shot? What is your comment on this?
MR MANQELE: I would not oppose what those witnesses said in court but at the police station we were informed that Mr Bengu had been shot and stabbed.
MS PATEL: Is that why you're assuming that one of the shots that had been fired in fact injured him because you were told that he was shot not because you know that you shot him?
CHAIRPERSON: So he then fired a shot but he doesn't know whether that shot ...(inaudible)
MR MANQELE: I would say yes I was convinced that he was shot because after that he just became powerless, he seem to lose power.
MS PATEL: Okay, that was in fact that basis upon which I asked the question, Honourable Chairperson.
Mrs Bengu hasn't mentioned that she in fact tried to cover your face. In fact during that time when the shots were being fired, she ran out for help and the only time she came back was when her husband was being dragged out of the house?
MR MANQELE: When I was on the floor Mrs Bengu did try to cover my face. When my friend started shooting I was already on my feet. Mr Bengu actually told her that she should try and help him and that is when she actually left the room. After she had left we actually dragged Mr Bengu out of the house and my friend tried to block Mrs Bengu so that we would be the first ones to get out of the house.
MS PATEL: You haven't applied for the assault on Mrs Bengu have you even though you gave the instructions for the co-accused in this matter to assault her?
MR MANQELE: When I told my friend to attack her I did not mean for him to kill her but I just wanted him to stop her from disturbing us but I did issue out that instruction that he should attack her.
MS PATEL: Regarding the theft of the goods there was no discussion between you and Ncobo about this?
MR MANQELE: With regards to that we have never discussed it. If we had intended to rob Mr Bengu we would maybe have taken money. I did not intend to steal from him. I cannot explain what happened to me on that night we decided to kill him.
MS PATEL: It's also not correct as you stated at some stage in your evidence in chief that you had evidence that Mr Bengu was involved in the killing of your family members, not so?
CHAIRPERSON: But I think he told us he wasn't there at the time, he merely heard that he might be involved by being a member of the ANC? Just clear that up.
MR MANQELE: I confirm that I do not have facts or knowledge that he was indeed involved or if he was present when my family was attacked because I only heard about it, it is not something that I would necessarily believe that he was involved.
MS PATEL: Can you then just clarify for me on page 15 of your application. You stated that it was only because of anger that you did all of this, can you perhaps explain that to us? If you had no knowledge of Mr Bengu's involvement with your family's deaths or you had no knowledge of exactly what it was that he was doing in the ANC. Can you please explain this to us?
MR MANQELE: When I committed this act this act was committed because I thought that Mr Bengu had knowledge or had a role in the attack on my family. I only started realising and actually repenting for what I had done when I was in prison. I did not have facts or an absolute truth that he was involved but at the time I was angry, I believed that he may have been involved in the attack from what I had heard and that is how it came about that I told my friend that I should go into Mr Bengu's house.
MS PATEL: Can you perhaps just give us more information, you said he may have been involved in the attack from what you had heard. What exactly is it that you had heard?
MR MANQELE: When my family was attacked I heard that he had been involved in the planning of the attack because it was not only in my family that was attacked but also other houses in unit 10, therefore his name was mentioned when this was discussed. That is why I came to regard Mr Bengu as an enemy.
MS PATEL: Who did you hear this from and when?
MR MANQELE: At the time I used to go to church and women normally discuss these things and they were talking amongst themselves and they happened to hear them talking.
MS PATEL: And when was this?
MR MANQELE: Around 1991.
MS PATEL: Did you try to verify this information with anybody else?
MR MANQELE: No I did not try to verify it but what also convinced me that he was involved was that his house was attacked and that is how I actually felt that he might have been involved because his house was also attacked.
MS PATEL: For the record Honourable Chairperson I may just confirm that my instructions are in fact that Mrs Bengu's, Mr Bengu's house was attacked at various stages prior to this incident.
CHAIRPERSON: It was?
MS PATEL: It was yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well then.
MR MANQELE: Yes she is telling the truth because I once also saw her house after it had been attacked.
MS PATEL: There's just one final thing Honourable Chairperson, I wish to state to this witness that my instructions are in fact that Mrs Bengu at the time of this incident was reluctant to let the applicant and whoever else was with him into the house.
CHAIRPERSON: The fact of the matter is that they entered into the house, they'd made up their mind they were going to attack him, little details about whether they forced themselves into the house or induced Mrs Bengu to let them in doesn't really matter.
MS PATEL: My instructions are Honourable - yes I know that it's not directly material to the facts at hand, I just wish to state to the applicant that in fact Mr Bengu was going to assist, he had asked his wife to let them in because they thought that they were in trouble and they could possibly assist and that is the basis upon which they were let into the house.
MR MANQELE: I heard her saying that in court.
ADV DE JAGER: Mrs Bengu in fact knew you and Mr Bengu knew you, they could recognise you?
MR MANQELE: Yes they did, they did know me.
ADV DE JAGER: So I'm going there, putting on the light, you realised that they would recognise you and they could tell the police the next day that you were there and you've done the killing? Isn't that so?
MR MANQELE: No Mrs Bengu tried to switch off the light but I switched it back on.
ADV DE JAGER: Yes but when you switched on the light you were not disguised?
MR MANQELE: No I was not disguised.
ADV DE JAGER: Did she recognise you did she speak to you?
MR MANQELE: She did recognise me and then I asked her where Mr Bengu is and she told me where he was and then I went to the bedroom.
ADV DE JAGER: Yes. Were there many people killed at that time, ANC people, were they killed by Inkatha people, were Inkatha people on the other hand killed by the ANC?
MR MANQELE: Yes there was already political killings that were going on at KwaMakuta during that time.
ADV DE JAGER: How many people would have been killed round about 1991 when you killed Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: There were many people being killed, I would not know the specific number.
ADV DE JAGER: But would you have killed anybody that you saw that's an ANC, did you regard all the ANC's as being enemies or did you want to kill particular persons?
MR MANQELE: There was no particular person that I had intended killing because I felt that I should defend myself if I'm attacked with regards to this incident I cannot explain how it happened.
MS PATEL: Sorry Chairperson, I just want to clarify one point. When you were being asked by Ms Patel it was put that she opened - that Mrs Bengu opened the house because she knew you and your answer was that "I was dressed in a manner, I was not easily recognisable". Do you know how you were addressed on that day? How were you dressed?
MR MANQELE: On that day I had on a black overall and I also had a hat on. I did not normally wear a hat and because it was at night I did not know whether she will recognise me.
CHAIRPERSON: Did he go there with a view to be disguised, he just had a hat on?
MS PATEL: That's what I want to clarify.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, he just had a hat on that day.
MS PATEL: A hat.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes clear it up.
MS PATEL: So why did you have - what kind of a hat did you have on?
CHAIRPERSON: It's a hat normally worn by old men. They called it Ipanesa.
MS PATEL: And what reason did you have to wear a hat at night?
MR MANQELE: I had just worn that hat because it fit my head.
MS PATEL: Did you go there with a view to disguising yourself?
MR MANQELE: No I did have an intention to disguise myself because I switched on the light. The only thing that I changed was the name.
CHAIRPERSON: They went to buy beer, it occurred to him on the way back so they didn't go with the intention of being disguised.
MS PATEL: Thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination?
RE-EXAMINATION BY MR SAMUEL: Thank you Chairperson.
Now Mr Manqele, you in your evidence seems to differentiate between a political killing and other killings, criminal killings. Do you recognise that there's a difference?
MR MANQELE: Yes I know that there's a difference between political and criminal killings.
MR SAMUEL: You were walking on your way back from buying beer, did you come across other people on the road?
MR MANQELE: No we did not meet people on the street.
MR SAMUEL: If you had met somebody else would you have killed that person?
INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike was not on.
CHAIRPERSON: They didn't kill anybody even on the way to buy the beer, that is just something that occurred on the way back and he says and he has repeated several times "I cannot explain why this incident happened."
MR SAMUEL: Thank you Honourable Chairman, I think if I may just be given an opportunity to expand on perhaps I get the impression that he's trying on a moral basis to justify the killing and that's the sense I get is that that's the explanation. He is trying to explain his moral act.
CHAIRPERSON: Carry on.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you. Mr Manqele, what is crucial to this hearing is why of all the people in KwaMakuta did you go and pick on Mr Bengu on that day, why did you decide to kill him? I'm not asking you - okay I'll withdraw that. Can you explain why you decided to kill him on that day?
CHAIRPERSON: Why not the previous day or the week before that or the month before that?
MR MANQELE: What actually made me decide to kill Mr Bengu was the thoughts that I had, the thought that he had been involved with the death of my family and then it occurred to me that I should kill him. I would not be able to be in a position to state how other people regarded Mr Bengu but I heard that people were more free after the death of Mr Bengu, this I only heard when I was in prison.
ADV DE JAGER: Sorry could you kindly repeat the answer Mrs Interpreter? I couldn't follow the last sentence. What did he hear while he was in prison?
MR MANQELE: He said that when he was in prison he heard that people in the area were more free to conduct their business.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
Now two things that you need to follow up on this, your family were killed in 1987 and 1988. Why did you choose that day to go and kill Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: As I explained before that this was unintentional, it just occurred to me this anger just happened, occurred to me at the time but I had not set out to kill Mr Bengu.
MR SAMUEL: You see this is the part of your evidence I do not understand Mr Manqele, perhaps you can clear it up. You indicated that when you went to Mr Bengu's house, you had seen the lights on and you went there with the intention of killing him.
CHAIRPERSON: That might have been putting it a bit - the general sense of it is they were going past the house, they saw lights, it was at that time these thoughts occurred to him that this is the man that may have had a hand in killing so there and there on the spot they decide to go to the house?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct, Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't think there was very much premeditation in any of this thing judging from the evidence.
MR SAMUEL: As the evidence stands this far.
MR SAMUEL: What I'd like to know is when you initially heard that Mr Bengu was the one who was responsible for the death of your family ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: No, no, no, he didn't hear that Bengu was responsible, he heard that Bengu might be responsible.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
MR SAMUEL: May I clear this up with him?
MR SAMUEL: My instructions are a little bit different.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes clear it up please.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you. Now the information you had relating to the death of your relatives, can you explain what Mr Bengu's role was in the death of your relatives?
CHAIRPERSON: May I just intervene? What precisely was it that you heard people talk about in relation to the death of members of your family, what did you hear people talking about concerning Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: People did not only refer to my relatives but to other people who had been attacked. They said Mr Bengu was involved in these acts in the bombing of people's houses. I did not take this seriously at the time because I was not really involved in politics, my life centred around my karate.
MR SAMUEL: When did you take it seriously?
MR MANQELE: Please repeat the question?
MR SAMUEL: You heard that Mr Bengu was involved in the killing of people in the KwaMakuta area, you initially did not take it seriously. When did you start taking this information seriously?
MR MANQELE: I started taking this seriously when people started fleeing the area and they were sleeping in halls. I was also witnessing for myself that on many occasions people would emerge from Mr Bengu's house direction when they came to attack and that is how it came about that I started carrying a gun and it happened on occasions that we would exchange gunfire with these people who would attack our area but I do not know if anyone was injured, if I injured anyone in those attacks. That is how it came about that I ultimately came to kill Mr Bengu although this happened spontaneously.
MR SAMUEL: Now the people that fled the area and were sleeping in halls, what political party did they belong to?
MR MANQELE: It was IFP members like myself.
MR SAMUEL: And did any ANC members flee this area?
MR MANQELE: Yes there were.
MR SAMUEL: Now the people that emerged from the direction of Mr Bengu's house, who did they attack, did they attack IFP people or ANC people?
CHAIRPERSON: Did he actually see that?
MR MANQELE: They attacked IFP people.
MR SAMUEL: He said that he exchanged fire with them Honourable Chairperson.
You say they attacked IFP people?
MR MANQELE: Yes that is correct.
MR SAMUEL: Now in your amnesty application you indicated that "I murdered this guy because he was the one who used to bring intruders to trouble us so we really had to stop this thing."?
MR MANQELE: That is correct. That was when I realised that Mr Bengu was indeed involved on attacks on our members because these people would approach from the direction of his house and I did not know them.
MR SAMUEL: Now initially you say Mr Bengu was involved in the Peace Committee?
MR MANQELE: Yes it happened.
MR SAMUEL: And during that period was the area peaceful?
MR MANQELE: Yes there was peace for a short while.
MR SAMUEL: And you say it subsequently became violent again?
MR MANQELE: Yes things changed subsequent to that and the violence started again.
MR SAMUEL: What caused things to change?
MR MANQELE: I do not know specifically what happened because IFP members were suddenly attacked without any reason.
MR SAMUEL: Mr Bengu was the chairperson of the ANC, did you know that as a fact?
MR MANQELE: In actual fact I did not know it, it is something that I heard about later.
MR SAMUEL: Your co-accused Mr Ncobo, K K Ncobo, was a former ANC person, is that correct?
MR MANQELE: That is correct.
MR SAMUEL: Did he give you any information relating to the violence or the operations of the ANC in that area?
MR MANQELE: He did not give me any information except to tell me or to relate to me what he had been involved in before he joined the IFP, what made him decide to join the IFP.
MR SAMUEL: Is that related to any violence in the area, that reason?
MR MANQELE: Yes at the time that he was an ANC member the acts that he had committed were related to violence.
MR SAMUEL: And who were these acts directed at?
MR MANQELE: I would not know exactly because he was an ANC member at that time.
MR SAMUEL: Mr Manqele, I've got a request from the engineers that you must speak loudly.
MR MANQELE: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: But you're nearly finished with him?
MR SAMUEL: Honourable Chairperson I ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: This is re-examination, not evidence in chief, you do realise?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct. I have a few questions pertaining to the evidence that he's given now.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes carry on.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you. Now you see Mr Manqele, the ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: Sorry as far as his position is concerned I think he is sitting backwards, I don't think that desk was actually designed for somebody to sit there giving evidence. He is far from the microphone and that's why they've got trouble. If it wouldn't discomfort him, couldn't he stand up perhaps and speak closer to the mike?
CHAIRPERSON: Just listen carefully, don't sit back and relax, move towards the microphone, sit in such a way that you are close to the microphone, do you understand?
MR MANQELE: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes please carry on.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you. Now when you saw these people emerging from Mr Bengu's - the direction of - these intruders emerging from the direction of Mr Bengu's house and when you heard about the attacks on Mr Bengu's house at that stage you say you seriously took into consideration the fact that Mr Bengu may have been involved in the death of the people at KwaMakuta including your relatives?
MR MANQELE: From what I observed when I first saw these people attacking us it was during the day and we exchanged fire on that occasion. When Mr Bengu's house was attacked I realised that yes he was involved with the ANC and also with attacks on our people but I did not know this for a fact but after I while I learnt that he was responsible for bringing these people into the area.
CHAIRPERSON: Let's just get that absolutely clear, you were not there and saw Mr Bengu's house being attacked? You heard about it, is that right?
MR MANQELE: I was not present when the house was attacked.
CHAIRPERSON: And do you know who are the people that attacked his house?
MR MANQELE: I didn't know but I just know that they were IFP members.
CHAIRPERSON: You heard?
MR MANQELE: I heard about that.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Samuel, that is where this large part of his evidence rests, he witnessed nothing, he heard people from time to time and he formulates some views of his own as a result of what he hears.
MR SAMUEL: Now did you decide at that stage to take any personal steps against Mr Bengu.
CHAIRPERSON: At what stage?
MR SAMUEL: The stage when he ...(intervention)
MR MANQELE: ...(inaudible)
MR SAMUEL: Sorry let me answer the Honourable Chairperson. The stage when he has taken this seriously that Mr Bengu ...(intervention)
INTERPRETER: The Chairperson's mike is not on.
CHAIRPERSON: It isn't a time that you can say on this day, it's a process that is taking place so when you say at this stage unless you're clear in your mind I have some difficulty understanding.
MR SAMUEL: Okay, I asked him when he initially heard about it, he says he didn't take it seriously but after he heard about the attacks and he saw these people emerging from Mr Bengu's direction he began to take it seriously. Now after this information, after he started taking it seriously, did he then formulate any intention to do anything to Mr Bengu?
CHAIRPERSON: No he didn't because he says he had never planned it, he never had intention to do that. The idea to attack Bengu occurred that night as they were coming after having bought beer and they were going, they passed Bengu's house and suddenly it occurs to him that he should go there. Isn't that his evidence?
MR SAMUEL: That is his evidence but one thing that leads me to believe that area needs exploration is the fact that he says he saw the light on indicating that there was an opportunity for the attack to take place. So I'm trying to explore the fact whether he was waiting for an opportunity to do this or did he just at that stage as he passed formulated the idea of killing Mr Bengu.
CHAIRPERSON: Just clear that up, that's the impression I've got from his evidence that as they're walking past they saw the light in the house, it then occurred to him to do something. You may clear it up.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
Now you say that you heard that Mr Bengu's house was attacked, you saw people coming from the direction of Mr Bengu's house and you began taking seriously the fact that Mr Bengu may have been involved in the killing? Can you just answer yes or no?
MR MANQELE: Yes I did have that in my mind that one day I would be able to revenge that attack because I had heard that he was involved.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
So you say that you had in your mind that one day you're going to take revenge on Mr Bengu?
MR MANQELE: That is correct.
MR SAMUEL: And what kind of revenge did you want to take against him?
MR MANQELE: It was to attack him personally, there was no other person I wanted to attack, just that one, that is what I had in my mind.
MR SAMUEL: When you say attack him, do you mean physically attack him?
MR MANQELE: I did not know whether I would get the opportunity to attack him because he was always in his car but I had it in my mind that maybe one day I would meet him and get that opportunity to revenge myself.
MR SAMUEL: So on that evening when you saw the lights on, what went through your mind?
MR MANQELE: It occurred to me that I should go into the house.
MR SAMUEL: And do what?
MR MANQELE: That was the time when I thought that I should kill him because I did not even know how many people were in the house with him but I just had that thought that I should kill him.
MR SAMUEL: There were other people in the house, Mrs Bengu and their daughter. Why didn't you kill them?
MR MANQELE: It did not occur to me because I had already decided in my mind that I avenge the death of my family on the person who was involved, not other people.
MR SAMUEL: I have no further questions, Honourable Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR SAMUEL
ADV SIGODI: Mr Manqele, when you entered the house did you ask Mr Bengu for his gun?
MR MANQELE: Yes I did ask him for the gun.
ADV SIGODI: Why did you ask for his gun?
MR MANQELE: I wanted to take it.
ADV SIGODI: Did he have it on his person, did you see it or did you just ask for it?
MR MANQELE: I did not see it on him I was just asking for the gun.
ADV SIGODI: Thank you Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you very much, we have no further questions. Are you calling any further witnesses?
MR SAMUEL: No, no further witnesses.
MR MANQELE: I have nothing further to say.
CHAIRPERSON: From the affidavits and documents before us we hear that Mrs Bengu is not objecting to the application for amnesty is that correct?
MS PATEL: That is correct, Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: You are not calling any witnesses?
MS PATEL: No I do not intend to. No I'm not Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible) to say in argument?
MR SAMUEL IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Honourable Chairperson and Members of the Committee. This Committee must have heard hundreds of applications about the offences which occurred during the period that the applicant is facing. There was a war zone situation of war and it was quite clear that amongst other political players, members of the ANC and IFP were to an extent at war with each other. The applicant lost members of his family who are IFP people, his house was burned down and he indicated that people from the IFP were frequently attacked by members of the ANC and vice versa he was honest to that extent he said ANC were also attacked by IFP people including Mr Bengu.
After the death of his family and at some stage when he realised that Mr Bengu was involved in these deaths and I do not believe that if we look at a situation of war he needed to have hard evidence for him to come to a conclusion to make a political decision to kill Mr Bengu. I think it was sufficient that the evidence before him and the objective facts led him to believe that Mr Bengu was involved in the attack on IFP people. Having come to the conclusion that Mr Bengu was involved, he then waits for an opportunity, goes to Mr Bengu's house and kills Mr Bengu but what is significant is that, for these proceedings, is that he has an opportunity to kill other members of Mr Bengu's family, the wife and the daughter and thank God that was not done.
CHAIRPERSON: The attack on his family took place in 1987/1988. He does nothing about it, he kills no ANC people, in 1990/1991 he kills no ANC people and so on. You know it is just one of these things that happened on that night really, isn't it?
MR SAMUEL: Well I have a problem with saying that someone could take a decision to kill purely on the spur of the moment.
CHAIRPERSON: Well now ...(inaudible) why he didn't kill them in the previous year or the year before that?
MR MANQELE: Well the information he says came to him after, well after the death of his relatives. He says he went to church before this incident and the women were talking about it at church. He also says we do not know exactly when he saw these people emerging from Mr Bengu's house.
CHAIRPERSON: We don't know how long before this incident that he learnt all these things ...(inaudible)
INTERPRETER: The Chairperson's mike is not on.
CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible) don't know when the attacks on Bengu's house took place? When did the people emerge from his house and attack IFP people, we don't have any details, you understand? This is just general background information.
MR SAMUEL: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I do not believe that in terms of - it's necessary for him to have come to a conclusion say three months or six months or twelve months before. Once he established that it was Mr Bengu, in his own mind, once he established that Mr Bengu was responsible for the deaths of his family by bringing in intruders, by planning it, then I do not think that the time factor is material in the sense that during that period the government of the day was not effectively policing and prosecuting the perpetrators of political violence to the extent that the community required and therefore whether it took him a year or two in his own mind and given the political situation then, he would have been justified in carrying out these acts.
CHAIRPERSON: What about the peace initiatives in which Bengu was involved, Bengu may not have been involved in peace initiatives at the time he was killed?
MR SAMUEL: It appears to me from the evidence that Mr Bengu must have been an outstanding figure in his community however, what we have to go into is into the mind of the applicant himself.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes he says he knew Bengu was involved in peace initiatives.
MR SAMUEL: That is correct, Honourable Chairperson, but he also says that there was an initial period of peace and subsequently violence erupted and he saw people emerging from the direction of Mr Bengu's house attacking IFP people presumably as the chairperson of the ANC Mr Bengu could exercise more control so he in his mind realised that despite the efforts that Mr Bengu made initially he was in fact more involved in the violence. Whether or not this was disinformation that supplied to him or not is immaterial I submit to the purposes of these proceedings because he came to establish that in his mind he realised that Mr Bengu was involved in the attacks on IFP and the murder of IFP people.
ADV SIGODI: Isn't it his case that he went to kill Mr Bengu for revenge, personal revenge because he'd killed his family?
MR SAMUEL: Well ...(intervention)
ADV SIGODI: He perceived as somebody who was responsible for killing his family?
CHAIRPERSON: And burning his house?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct as well to the extent that he carried out these attacks for personal - there is an extent to which he carried out these attacks for personal gratification if I may use that word. However, he also says that since Mr Bengu died the area was free.
CHAIRPERSON: There's all kinds of explanations may be there why the area was free, you know?
MR SAMUEL: I take the Chairperson's point very - but I think we do not need to go into the reasons but sufficient to say that he gives us evidence so in his mind ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: No you see the fact that some events happened after he killed Bengu can't be used as an explanation as to why he killed Bengu, do you understand?
MR SAMUEL: I take the Chairperson's point.
ADV DE JAGER: He didn't tell us that he killed Bengu in order to create peace and in fact it resulted, it wasn't the reason why he killed Bengu that he had thought by himself if he would kill this leader there would be peace. That's not his case, we can't argue on that basis.
MR SAMUEL: Well to the extent that he's confirmed his application, page 2 of his application, the nature of the particulars which he confirms: "I murdered this guy because he was the one who used to bring intruders to trouble us so we really have to stop this thing." He confirmed that he was trying to stop, in his application as well as by confirming that he's indicated that he has taken these steps to stop the attack on these people. So to the extent that he felt he was justified for this political purpose, just to avenge whether they be members of his family or the fact that they were IFP people and he perceived the chairperson of the ANC branch there or committee there to be responsible for this and he carried out this attack. The wife and the daughter were not murdered and the reason he gives for this is that he suspected Mr Bengu was the one who was behind this and it follows that he meant that the wife and the daughter were not involved in the planning of the attacks on IFP people.
ADV DE JAGER: I think you dealt with the opposition my learned colleague put to you. If it was for personal revenge then according to the act he can't get amnesty. Now what do you say? Was it for personal revenge?
MR SAMUEL: I think it goes beyond personal revenge. I think he indicates in his application that and by describing the incident he himself was attacked by these people coming from Mr Bengu's house, they were fired upon and he fired back so to that extent he must have been a soldier in the IFP cause.
ADV DE JAGER: So your submission is it wasn't personally, it was a political war and it was political initiated revenge or retribution or whatever?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct, Mr Chairperson, I'm saying that he's had a lot of time to reflect and things have changed now but during that period it must have been clear that IFP people were killing ANC people and vice versa and if one acted out that - if one acted in those circumstances one was in fact acting for a political purpose. If Mr Bengu was responsible, if Mr Bengu as an ANC member was responsible for the death of his relatives as an ANC member, who was an ANC member, and Mr Manqele was an ANC member then one can say this is purely a personal attack, he's doing it because Mr Bengu committed a crime against him. But here the lines have been drawn, the battle lines are drawn and how does one differentiate how one acts purely on a personal level or whether one acts as a member of an ANC, it's a difficult distinction to draw where the battle lines are drawn so clearly.
CHAIRPERSON: In other words you can't exclude one or the other ...(inaudible)
INTERPRETER: The Chairperson's mike is not on.
CHAIRPERSON: You can't exclude the possibility that there was a large element of revenge, it would have contributed towards the offence?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct, Mr Chairman, one cannot exclude that.
CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible) he killed because his house was burned down and his family was ...(inaudible)
INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike?
CHAIRPERSON: All done against a background of violence in the community between two sections of the community in which a lot of people died, a lot of people fled their homes so against that kind of background he plays out his personal drama and takes revenge for the people that killed, he believed that had a hand in killing his family and burning his house?
MR SAMUEL: I think it was a little beyond that, with respect Honourable Chairperson, I think it goes to the very root of the beliefs that we have people who are affiliated to the IFP living together and people of the ANC allegiance living together and attacking each other. Now as I indicated, he's not saying I did it purely to avenge my family, I did it purely because my brother and my sister and the child was killed. He's saying I also did it because I was shot upon, I did it because IFP people left their houses and went and lived in holes, my house itself was burned. Now the attacks that he perceived were perpetrated against him and the IFP people and in response to these attacks he carried out a particular act. Can one say that he is acting only in a personal capacity?
CHAIRPERSON: Well he wasn't acting in a representative capacity, he wasn't authorised by any organisation to do what he did?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct, there was no directive given to him individually to kill but the circumstances of the day, organisations were not as structured as they are today. Messages came through all sorts of speeches.
CHAIRPERSON: We don't have a hint of all that in his evidence, do you understand? There wasn't a hint of all that in his evidence. He doesn't pretend to have acted in the name of the IFP or anything of the kind, he didn't seek the approval of the IFP or anything of the kind. He took no instructions from anybody whatsoever. He acted purely because it occurred to him that he should act.
MR SAMUEL: That is correct. That is correct, that he acted solely as a foot soldier deciding on his own that he has to carry out a particular act on behalf of the larger organisation, he never got, there was no chain of command instruction but what is significant that he carried out this act with a person who was a former ANC person who is now an IFP person.
CHAIRPERSON: Well now that is totally irrelevant, isn't it?
MR SAMUEL: It shows that ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: It just happens to be a drinking friend of his, he owned a tavern which he frequented, it might be no more than that?
MR SAMUEL: I think that if he carried out this act with the ANC member then one can say that the - it meant no more but the fact that he chose an IFP person to accompany him or a person unaffiliated, you know, he chose an IFP person to be with him and I think as a foot soldier he trusted a fellow IFP member to carry out this act.
It's obvious that a lot of time has elapsed from the time of this offence to now and the sad part of it all was that in the initial trials which the Committee must have been facing with, there were other attempts to exonerate the person's charged with the crimes, attempts made to nullify the state case by denying involvement etc, I think that was given the circumstances of the day but what is significant is that the magistrate in his judgement also refers to this as a political killing and there are a few instances where he indicated that this was in fact a political killing and not purely a criminal act.
CHAIRPERSON: Where in the judgement is it?
MR SAMUEL: Well firstly on page 2 of the judgement, the last paragraph, the magistrate says:
"It is perhaps opportune to mention that this is unfortunately one of those so called political assassinations which are so frequent"
ADV DE JAGER: Page 20 of the record?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct, Sir and it goes on to page 21 where it says:
"The evidence will show the deceased at the time of his death was an active member of the ANC and in fact had been the chairman of a certain region for the last four to five months. At that stage both accused and this is so evident from the witness's testimony were members of the Inkatha organisation."
And there are other instances in the judgement which indicate the magistrate was at pains to mention the allegiances of both the deceased and the state witnesses. Page 30 of the judgement where the magistrates says:
"He confirmed under cross-examination that he was a member of Inkatha and believed that that was the reason why he stood in the dock today. In amplification thereof he explained that he had once been an ANC member, in fact the Chairman of the ANC in the area. He left the ANC and joined Inkatha and believed that this has given rise to a grudge being born against him."
Now they're referring to the other accused in this matter, Mr Ncobo. And then on page 33 he on the second paragraph when he speaks of, deals with the evidence of the applicant, he says on the last line:
"He confirmed that the ANC was suspected of those murders and in particular a person by the name of My Baby."
Now this is the name the applicant says he used to gain access to Mr Bengu's house.
CHAIRPERSON: Page 42 of the record, the second last paragraph from about line 15 or 14 downwards, talks about the prevailing situation as a type of war and referring to counsel's argument:
"Mr Hurley may be correct to a degree and we may well be in a state of war between major factions in the country between the IFP and the ANC. The purpose of this is not clear to anybody, it appears to be nothing more than political manoeuvring and it is certainly unnecessary."
Is there any substance in that point?
MR SAMUEL: I think the magistrate is referring to the war between the ANC and the IFP and he says the purpose of the war is not clear and maybe political manoeuvring. I think it is difficult to judge that so easily. In the circumstances I submit that despite there being some weaknesses in the evidence of the applicant, if one looks at the overall picture and looks carefully into his application it is clear that he acted for a political purpose and that he should be given amnesty. He has applied for the charge of murder. Unfortunately I did not assist him when his application was drawn up but I think he has applied for the offence of murder alone.
CHAIRPERSON: For an act of robbery he wouldn't be entitled, not the kind of offence for which amnesty would be granted.
MR SAMUEL: Honourable Chairperson, he was also convicted of the assault by common purpose on Mrs Bengu as well as the possession of firearm. I'm not sure perhaps you may guide me in this regard whether this Committee can ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible) only be granting amnesty for offences for which he seeks amnesty.
MR SAMUEL: And that would be - I've nothing further to add.
CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything you wish to say Ms Patel?
MS PATEL IN ARGUMENT: I'll be very brief, thank you Honourable Chairperson.
Honourable Chairperson, it's my respectful submission that inasmuch as one accepts that the area from which the applicant came was torn by violence and that to a large extent it was political violence, it is clear that the applicant hasn't acted in his capacity as a member or as a supporter of a political organisation. He stated clearly that he wasn't involved in politics, in fact his main area of interest was karate at this stage so in fact when he committed this offence he acted purely out of revenge, that he acted as the brother and as the uncle of the deceased. He clearly wasn't a foot soldier as has been argued. He despite having had the information that the deceased may have been involved in the killing of his family there was no corroboration to this, he didn't ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: He was involved in a shoot out or not a shoot out, in a shooting between the two groups at a stage so he was in some sense involved in the ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: In an act of violence.
ADV DE JAGER: Between the two groups.
MS PATEL: Be that as it may the applicant hasn't stated specifically the circumstances under which he found himself in, the circumstances under which he became involved in that shoot out. He may very well have just been passing by at the stage, one does not know.
Also, if one looks at the manner in which the incident had occurred, he had come from having purchased liquor, he himself had drank liquor during that time, there was no clear plan inasmuch as we have been referred to his co-accused in this matter. It is my respectful submission that this co-accused motivation for having become involved in this incident is to a large extent immaterial given that the sole purpose of having gone to the home of the deceased was to murder the deceased because of his supposed involvement with the accused, I beg your pardon, with the applicant's family.
It is my respectful submission that this applicant hasn't complied with the requirements of the Act. I accordingly request that the application be denied. Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Samuel you have a right to reply if you wish to?
MR SAMUEL IN REPLY: Just one point Honourable Chairperson. The co-accused, Mr Ncobo, doesn't seem to be a person who can be easily influenced or manipulated. He was a chairperson of the ANC, he must have some level of intellect.
CHAIRPERSON: He was just a member of the ANC, was he chairperson?
MR SAMUEL: That is correct, the judgement reflects that he was chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Can you just point that out?
MR SAMUEL: Yes on page 30, Honourable Chairperson. It would have been difficult to convince someone with some level of intellect to get involved in a killing of a personal nature, a revenge attack and bearing in mind that it was not a situation where everybody in the house was killed. The violence was directed at a particular person. I argue with respect that they went there with the intention of carrying out this political killing of Mr Bengu.
ADV SIGODI: Sorry, do you know if this co-accused has applied for amnesty?
MR SAMUEL: I have been informed by the people in Cape Town that he hasn't applied.
ADV SIGODI: Do you know why he has not applied?
MR SAMUEL: From the information I've been given I think he has served his sentence or he is about to finish his sentence, I'm not too sure about that.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes well thank you very much the Committee will consider it's decision in due course and will make it known to you and the applicant.
Ms Ramula Patel, are there any dependants of the deceased who might require assistance, who might require reparation of some kind if amnesty is granted?
MS PATEL: The deceased's wife is present, I haven't taken instructions on her financial or personal possession Honourable Chairperson but she is present, I can make that information available to you shortly.
CHAIRPERSON: It is to make it available to the R and R Committee ...(inaudible) the particulars of her and if there's anybody else who is a dependant of the deceased.
MS PATEL: I will, thank you Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: That will form part of your information which you would furnish to the R & R Committee.
MS PATEL: It will be certainly filed with my report as is the normal procedure, thank you Honourable Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, we'll now adjourn.