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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 44
Paragraph Numbers 48 to 60
48 Many of those who had served their sentences were, on their release, banished to remote parts of the Eastern Cape, including Dimbaza in the Ciskei and Ilinge near Queenstown.
49 Mr Eric Lulamile Vara [EC1568/97NWC] was arrested in February 1963 together with Mr Aaron Mzwandile Sizila [EC1287/96NWC], secretary of the Cradock ANC branch, and jailed for furthering the aims of the ANC. Vara’s son, Mr Nondwe Vara, told the Commission that, when his father was released three years later, “he was mentally disturbed due to beating with a hammer whilst serving on Robben Island”. Both the Vara and Sizila families were banished to Ilinge. Nondwe Vara reported:
Whilst in Ilinge, his health became worse such that he had to be taken to Komani mental hospital for treatment. He died after three months of being admitted to Komani hospital. I believe that if my father was not arrested and imprisoned in Robben Island he would still be alive.
50 Mr Sizila’s wife, Ms Nozithandiso Olga Sizila, told the Commission that prison warders assaulted Sizila and his teeth were broken. After his release, the family were banished from Cradock and sent to Ilinge, where they were kept under house arrest. Ms Sizila was pregnant at the time and her husband was ill. When her baby died at the age of three months, the family could not afford to buy a coffin:
We then put the baby, the baby’s corpse, in a cardboard [box], we took the baby to the graveyard. We dug a hole and we put the box inside. Our neighbours could not do anything to help us. We had no food. It is my mother who travelled from Cradock to Queenstown and gave us food.
51 Ms Sizila’s brother, who was also tortured, was a member of MK and was shot dead by police in Port Elizabeth in 1987.
Ill treatment of families
52 Some deponents reported that families were ill treated when police attempted to find suspects. Mr Ndoyisile Mari [EC2145/97PLZ] was arrested in 1964 and jailed for seven years on Robben Island for underground activities. His wife, Ms Vuniwe Angelina Mari, told the Commission that the family had been harassed repeatedly by police while they searched for him before his arrest. She told the Commission:
Inside the house if they [the police] don’t find him they used to kick me, chasing my children in and out the house, forcing me to tell of his whereabouts. As a result, my second child from there on suffered from a mental sickness because he was hit against the wall also. He could not manage even to go to school … [My husband was eventually arrested.] … That was the worst day of my life seeing my husband naked, leaving my house to a car, kicked, and I still have that picture. His clothes were like washing hung on a line from his arms.
53 On his release, Mr Ndoyisile Mari was restricted and the family was banished from Port Elizabeth to King William’s Town, over 200 km away.
54 Ms Zakheleni Nkanyezi [EC2169/97ETK] was seventeen at the time of the Ngquza shootings (see below). Her father, Mr Mdayimani Nkanyezi, fled when the security forces arrived to arrest him, but the soldiers severely assaulted her mother and five-year-old brother. Her brother, Mr Dalindyebo Nkanyezi, died three months later and her mother, Ms Mafoxini Nkanyezi, four months later. She attributed both deaths to the assaults. Her father then handed himself over to the police in Durban and was taken back to Bizana with his daughter.
The police or soldiers who were in the police station told me they are taking me home and I was to look at my father for the last time because they are going to kill him.
55 Her father was subsequently convicted and executed.
56 Ms Irene Nontobeko Nakwa [EC1432/97ETK] told the Commission that her baby son Vuyisile was injured when police arrived at her home to detain her husband, Mr Kholisile Nakwa:
As the Boers were taking my husband away, I tried to give him his coat. The Boers shoved me away and in the process hit my baby boy with a knobkierrie [club]. When I took my baby to the doctor later, I was told that my baby had a drop of blood in his brains. That boy who has grown to be a man … is still troubling me to date. He is epileptic. He couldn’t go to school.
57 Kholisile Nakwa was held for six months and afterwards complained continually of pain behind his ear. “When he died in 1980”, his wife said, “he just fell down, had a bout of fits and died on the spot”.
58 The Commission heard that detainees were frequently moved from one police station or prison to another as part of a strategy to break contact between the prisoners themselves and between the prisoners and their families outside.
59 Mr Motshwa Sigwinta [EC1782/97ETK] and his brother, Mr Qawukeni Sigwinta [EC1782/97ETK], were arrested in April 1960, convicted and sent to work as farm labourers. Qawukeni died in the 1970s, apparently while still working as a prisoner on a farm. The surviving brother told the Commission:
I together with my brother Qawukeni Sigwinta was taken by helicopter to somewhere in the Northern Transvaal which I think was Bethal. We were taken to farms where we were distributed to various farmers where I was subjected to hard labour and corporal punishment. That was the last I saw of my brother until I heard of his death in 1976 because we were not on the same farm … We were planting and harvesting potatoes under very harsh conditions. All this we were doing physically under very strict supervision from as early as about 4am until about after 7pm. I escaped in January 1974 and had to find my way, avoiding contact with police and farmers. I came back home in 1977.
60 Those who were jailed often had their homes destroyed by the chiefs. Mr Mranqwa Bhalala [EC1827/97ETK] was detained for a year and assaulted. A week after his release the local chief, together with police, arrived at the Bhalala home and torched it.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT DETAINEES, PARTICULARLY THOSE REGARDED AS MEMBERS OF THE ANC AND PAC AND THEIR ARMED WINGS, WERE SUBJECTED TO VARIOUS FORMS OF SEVERE ILL TREATMENT AND TORTURE BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE (SAP). THE COMMISSION BELIEVES THAT SUCH ILL TREATMENT AND TORTURE RESULTED IN DEATHS IN DETENTION – FOR EXAMPLE, THAT OF MR CALEB MAYEKISO IN PORT ELIZABETH IN 1969. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SUCH SEVERE ILL TREATMENT, TORTURE AND RESULTANT DEATHS IN DETENTION AMOUNT TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FOR WHICH THE SAP IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE STATE, IN THE FORM OF THE SAP, DETAINED AND TORTURED SEVERAL HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE IN PONDOLAND DURING AND AFTER THE PERIOD OF PONDOLAND REVOLT. THIS RESULTED IN SOME DEATHS IN POLICE CUSTODY– AS A RESULT OF TORTURE DURING CUSTODY AND AS A RESULT OF CONDITIONS OF CUSTODY.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT DETAINEES WERE SUBJECTED TO VARIOUS FORMS OF SEVERE ILL TREATMENT INCLUDING SEVERE ASSAULT, ELECTRIC SHOCK, AND OTHER FORMS OF TORTURE THAT RESULTED IN MANY DEATHS AFTER DETENTION.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT COLONEL CJ DRYER, A POLICEMAN LAMPRECHT, AND COLONEL THEUNIS SWANEPOEL, WHO WERE BASED AT MKAMBATI FOREST POLICE STATION, PLAYED A LEADING ROLE IN THE TORTURE OF DETAINEES.
THE COMMISSION RECEIVED VARIOUS ALLEGATIONS OF POISONING OF DETAINEES BUT DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO MAKE A FINDING IN THIS REGARD.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ACTIONS OF THE POLICE WERE PART OF A SYSTEMATIC CAMPAIGN TO SUPPRESS POLITICAL OPPOSITION TO THE POLICIES OF THE STATE AND THAT THESE ACTIONS BY THE SAP AMOUNT TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FOR WHICH THE SAP IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE.