TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
DAY 2: 27 NOVEMBER 1996
CASE NO: CT/00700
VICTIM: SIMON MANDLA MXINWA
NATURE OF VIOLENCE: SHOT AND KILLED BY POLICE
TESTIMONIES BY: IRENE N MXINWA [mother]
With your permission then, I will call the first of the families. It is Irene Nomazizi Mxinwa. Oh yes, let me just explain the use of the hearing devices that are available. The device enables you to listen in on the evidence in a language that you can follow. Let me just explain that - this box section of the unit can be utilized, firstly to tune into the language that you would like to listen in on and also to adjust the volume of the set.
Now, the channels are as follows. On channel one you will be able to listen in, in Afrikaans. On channel two you can listen in, in English and in channel three you can listen in, in Xhosa. And then the second button simply is to adjust the volume. Thank you.
And of course, we want to ask you, when you leave the hall to leave the head-sets behind on your chair and not to take it with or out with you. We need to have them re-charged, otherwise they are not worth much to us.
Ms Mxinwa, good morning to you, can you hear the voice over the headphones?
Yes, I can hear.
Good, thank you. I am going to ask you to take an oath before you start telling us your story. So for that purpose, would you please stand?
IRENE NOMAZIZI MXINWA Duly sworn states
Thank you, you may be seated. My colleague Mary Burton, will assist you in telling your story to us.
Thank you Chairperson. Good morning Ms Mxinwa, it is me talking to you here, can you see me, here.
Where are you?
How are you?
I am well.
We want you to be comfortable. So relax and you don’t need to feel there is any hurry. Simon Mandla was one of the young men we have spoken about. One of the one’s who was killed in March 1986. And you have spoken before. Where you one of the mothers who came to speak to us a few months ago?
I just wanted it to be in the record, that is why I am asking you again. But we all remember very well what you told us at our first public hearing. And we remember the story of how those seven young men were shot and killed - of the funeral that happened about 10 or 12 days later with the tremendous attendance of the people from the community of six of those men.
And since that time, when you came to tell us before, our investigating team have been working very hard to try and find out exactly what happened on that day. And we hope that today and tomorrow things will become more clear and you will have answers to some of the questions you have been asking for so long.
You told us then what you knew, about what had happened, but I wonder whether you would like to tell us anything more or tell us what is on your heart today.
On that day I was at work. I did not hear anything on that particular day. I just knew that my child had been lost - he did not come back on the Sunday evening. The incident was on the Monday. We searched at hospitals. We thought maybe he might had been in an accident. We searched in prisons. We did not find him the entire week.
What delayed the whole search was that I had lost a grandchild. The following week we found him in a mortuary. I could not go myself, I sent some people. My husband had also recently died. I had not yet healed, I was still very weak. So I sent some people to go to the mortuary and they found the corpse there. They took his ID to the mortuary, that’s how they could identify him.
Well apparently he was one of the children who had been shot in Guguletu. But I would like to know why it was that my son was shot. I do not know why he was shot. I asked myself this question. It is still not answered. Why did the police shoot our children? With no - for no apparent reason. What did our children do that they deserved death?
Thank you Ms Mxinwa - we hope - we hope that some answers will begin to come forward to your questions. I would like to ask you, you mentioned that Mandla did not come home to sleep the night before this happened, the Sunday night. What about the nights before that and the days before that - was he sleeping at home?
Yes, he would sleep at home.
And was he working or was he going to school?
He was not working, he had just stopped school.
And did you know his friends? Did you, the other people who were killed on that day, did you know those young men?
No, I did not know them, because they all from Guguletu.
I have no other questions.
Thank you, are there any further questions? Thank you very much ma’am. As Mary Burton has already said, we trust that - that your questions that - the questions that you have in your heart, will somehow be answered. The Commission will try to investigate the matter, but we would also like to re-iterate that we are with you. We will trust that the Lord will comfort you and strengthen you.
We thank you for the contribution you made, because it is for - because of such incidents that today we are a free country. Thank you ma’am.