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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 402

Paragraph Numbers 54 to 55

Volume 1

Chapter 12

Subsection 7

54 Hearings were scheduled to fit into the national schedule that allocated one week per month to each region to avoid competition for the media, commissioners’ time and other resources. Some hearings (in the south-west Cape, West Coast and central Karoo) were cancelled because there were not sufficient statements to justify a hearing. Research had already indicated that these geographical areas would not yield a significant number of statements on gross human rights violations. In addition, the statements collected reflected a number of violations falling outside the Commission’s mandate.

55 Area hearings dealt with a variety of human rights violations cases. Some of the hearings focused on specific events or themes.

a Peninsula (Cape Flats) (24 - 26 April 1996). This was the second hearing to take place nationally and the first to be held in the Western Cape. The cases heard were drawn from events spanning the three decades under scrutiny by the Commission and were examples of the widespread resistance which took place. Some of the better known events referred to in the hearing included the ambush and killing of the ‘Guguletu Seven’, the shoot-out and killing of Anton Fransch in Athlone and the shooting of Yvette Otto in Valhalla Park. The hearing also drew attention to the death of Looksmart Ngudle, the first detainee to die in detention, and also to human rights violations committed by the liberation movement, such as the St James Church massacre.1

b Northern Cape (Kimberley) (10 - 11 June 1996). This hearing focused on events that happened in the towns surrounding Kimberley, drawing particular attention to the indiscriminate shooting of civilians in this region. Other cases heard included the shooting and torture of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) cadres, and the confession by Walter Smiles that he was responsible for a hand grenade attack for which two men were then serving a jail sentence (the Smiles case became the subject of an amnesty hearing).

c South East Cape (George) (17 - 19 June 1996). This hearing focused on the human rights violations committed by kitskonstabels and the torture of young teenage activists who had their testicles, penises or breasts slammed in drawers. The hearing also heard about human rights violations committed by perpetrators from political organisations fighting apartheid, such as the killing of a community councillor and the attack on a Plettenberg Bay teacher.

d Boland (Breëriviervallei, Worcester) (24 - 26 June 1996). This hearing focused on the actions of the Amasolomzi (vigilantes supported by municipal police), the recurrent shooting and killing of youths by the police and torture in police cells.

e Peninsula (Helderberg/Tygerberg) (5 - 7 August 1996). This hearing focused on women, of whom two were activists and another had been caught in the crossfire. The hearing also highlighted violations committed against the Bonteheuwel Military Wing, the killing of the MK cadre Ashley Kriel and the Pollsmoor march.

1 This was verified in an amnesty application.
 
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