TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

DAY 2: 27 NOVEMBER 1996

 

SUBMISSION

PAT SMITH

 

ADV POTGIETER:

Thank you chairperson. In conclusion of this part of the Guguletu 7 event hearing, I would like to read into the record a statement that was taken from Ms Pat Smith - who has been referred to in the testimony of Mr Benting - by our investigating unit.

As had been indicating in the testimony of Mr Benting, Ms Smith has been traumatized so many times, through going through the various court proceedings and having testified and so forth, that she is just not in a state - to evident, under the circumstances that the testimony is taken in front of this Commission - to appear personally and testify.

But she has given us her statement. Which I read with your permission. It reads as follows:

In any case, the introduction says that - the following statement was made by me to the investigators of the TRC when they visited me at the Astra School in Montana on 16th April 1996.

I am Ms Pat L Smith, a resident of Cape Town. I am employed as a housemother at the Astra School in Montana.

On 3rd March 1986, I was traveling in a bus with 13 children from the Astra School. The bus was driven by Mr Ronald Benting.

On this day I witnessed the shooting as it was described by Mr Benting. The one who did the shooting was a white policeman. There were many policemen on the scene. Some were wearing blue jerseys, while some were wearing riot uniform.

Everyone was in shock, especially 15 year old Cliffie who was

sitting next to the driver. I was very concerned for the children.

When I went to court at some point later to testify about what I

had seen, I felt victimized and extremely traumatized by the entire

incident. One of the mothers of one of the victims even came over

to comfort us.

I hereby declare that the above statement made by me is both true

and correct.

And it is signed by PL Smith. On the 12th of November 1996 at Astra school, Montana and it is witnessed by one of our regional investigators - Zenzile Khoisan.

That is the statement and that concludes the testimony that we wish to hear in this section of the hearing, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON

Thank you very much. Perhaps before we close, some beautiful things - Zabonke Konile, who was one of those who killed - left a young daughter and you know she is here - Khanyisa - I wanted to say to you - I believe you are writing an exam tomorrow. It is not perhaps the best kind or preparation for an exam - to come and sit and listen to harrowing stories about how your father was killed.

But in another way - it could be, because you hear, that all though he was killed in this gruesome way, for the people of the community - he died as a hero. And so as his daughter, you can gain encouragement from the knowledge that you have a father who paid this very heavy price, but gave his life as a sacrifice so that today - you and other children, can be able to play.

You and other children can now go to any school. You and other children can live anywhere in this country. You and other children need not have passes to determine where you can go and where you canít go.

And we want - as those here, to strengthen you, by saying - we salute your father and all those others who were killed on that day in March. And we are sure you are going to pass. And you will - but for your - as a present - your father, maybe get a first class. And then your father will be smiling where he is.

I wondered whether we could stand and keep a moment silence as we think of what has happened in this country. And to pray for Godís comfort and strength for all - black and white who have born so much suffering as a result of the deaths of their loved ones.

God we pray that you will bless this land. Bless itís leaders. Bless itís children. Heal itís wounds and make us one. Amen.

Thank you very much all of you. Thank you wonderful translators and thank you technicians. And thank you media people and thank you all of you. So I will ask you to join me - in clapping all of these nice people that I have mentioned including yourselves, thank you.