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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 54
Paragraph Numbers 83 to 96
83 It appears that both the SAP and the South African Defence Force (SADF) were involved in the Ngquza Hill incident. Most accounts (including reports on the inquest) point to the police as having carried out the shooting, while the aircraft and helicopter must have belonged to the SADF as the SAP did not have such items at that time15. Mr Gxabu told the Commission that men parachuted down from the aeroplane during the Ngquza incident: these were presumably soldiers rather than police. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) denied SADF involvement in the incident, while the South African Police Services (SAPS) had no record of it. A number of factors support the suspicion that the shootings were a planned ambush. These include the arrival of the security forces instead of the expected government representatives at the meeting, the absence of any reports of warnings by the security forces calling for the meeting to disperse before the teargassing and shootings, the fact that the white flag was ignored, the use of Sten sub-machine guns (as found by the inquest), and the fact that some of those at the meeting were shot in the back of the head.
84 The Ngquza Hill shootings were followed by mass detentions and arrests by police and further attacks on Bantu Authorities supporters by iKongo members. Mbeki reports that twenty-three people were arrested on charges of fighting after the Ngquza Hill shootings. Nineteen of these were subsequently sentenced to prison terms ranging from eighteen months with six strokes to twenty-one months. At least some of the iKongo members sentenced to death also appear to have been convicted on charges arising out of this incident. Statements to the Commission indicate that police tracked down and detained others who had been at Ngquza Hill and also people who had not been there but were known to the local authorities as iKongo activists. Deponents told the Commission that some of those taken into custody were beaten at the time of arrest; some were tortured in detention. Family members who were suspected of hiding wanted people were assaulted by police. Statements to the Commission indicate that the vast majority of those detained and arrested were men.14 Information from an undated statement to the Commission by Leonard Maqhatshu Mdingi, who said that he had been tasked with investigating the Pondoland events at the time by the ANC underground. He stated that the Attorney-General had declined to prosecute following the inquest findings. 15 Information given by the South African Police Service on 29 May 1998 in response to a query from the Commission.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE STATE USED SEVERAL CHIEFS IN THE TRANSKEI REGION TO SILENCE POLITICAL OPPOSITION TO THE POLICY OF APARTHEID, USING METHODS INCLUDING BANISHMENT, FORCED REMOVAL OF POLITICAL OPPONENTS AND DESTRUCTION OF THEIR PROPERTY.
THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT PARAMOUNT CHIEF KAISER DALIWONGA MATANZIMA ORDERED OR SANCTIONED SEVERAL VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS INCLUDING TORTURE OR PHYSICAL ASSAULTS ON PEOPLE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THESE ACTIONS AMOUNTED TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FOR WHICH SOME OF THE CHIEFS IN TRANSKEI REGION, INCLUDING PARAMOUNT CHIEF KD MATANZIMA ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT A GROUP OF PEOPLE CALLING THEMSELVES ‘IKONGO MEMBERS’ WERE INVOLVED IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS WHEN THEY CARRIED OUT REVENGE ATTACKS ON PEOPLE WHO WERE ALLEGED TO BE SUPPORTERS OF THE BANTU AUTHORITIES, KILLING SOME AND BURNING DOWN THEIR PROPERTIES. THIS CONTRIBUTED TO A CULTURE OF POLITICAL INTOLERANCE IN THE EASTERN CAPE AND AMOUNTED TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FOR WHICH IKONGO MEMBERS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE SECURITY FORCES, IN THE FORM OF THE SAP ACTING WITH SUPPORT FROM THE SADF, SHOT AND KILLED ELEVEN PEOPLE AND INJURED AN UNKNOWN NUMBER OF OTHERS NEAR NGQUZA HILL ON 6 JUNE 1960. THE COMMISSION FURTHER FINDS THAT NO WARNING WAS GIVEN BEFORE THE SHOOTING STARTED AND THAT UNJUSTIFIABLE DEADLY FORCE WAS USED. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ACTIONS OF THE SECURITY FORCES AMOUNT TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FOR WHICH THE SAP AND THE SADF ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
85 By September of 1960, authorities were restricting media access and denying that the unrest was a revolt against the Bantu Authorities. In a statement to the press, the commissioner-general for the Xhosa group, Mr JH Abraham, said:
Tribal clashes, which occur from time to time and which have occurred regularly throughout history, are presented as revolts against the system of Bantu Authorities. Even when the true facts are supplied to these newspapers, the paragraph giving the facts is carefully deleted.
86 A commission of enquiry was set up under the Chief Bantu Affairs Commissioner of Ciskei, Mr JAvan Heerden, and announced its findings to a mass meeting of about 15 000 Pondos in October. It reported that it had found that secret meetings had been held, that law-abiding people had been threatened that their huts would be burnt if they did not attend these meetings and that many huts had been burnt, causing £20 000 worth of damage. It also found that, although mistakes had been made in implementing the Bantu Authorities provisions, people in Pondoland had been misled into believing the government was against them. Some of the people’s complaints were justified, but a number of the grievances could not be blamed on the Bantu Authorities system. It appears that the enquiry did not look into the shootings by police. A public meeting at Imizizi Hill in Bizana later rejected the commission’s finding and decided to stop paying taxes and boycott white-owned stores in Bizana. The inquest, later that month, criticised the police shootings.
87 In November 1960, police disrupted a meeting at a hill near Flagstaff and shot and killed Mr Qhuntswana Gilbert Bewu [EC2065/97ETK]. Chief Vukayibambe Sigcau (brother to the paramount chief) was accused of helping the police in this attack and he and two of his headmen were subsequently killed. Mr Sheleni Mhlokhulu and Mr Shadrack George [both EC0656/96ETK] were convicted of murder in connection with the killing of Sigcau. George handed himself over to police after hearing that police had damaged his home while searching for him. Both were subsequently executed.
88 On 14 December, a state of emergency was declared in terms of Proclamations 400 and 413, prohibiting meetings and giving chiefs powers of banishment. Mbeki states that 4 769 people were detained during 1960, 2 067 of whom were eventually brought to trial. By the end of 1960, the uprising appears to have been over. Most of the leadership was in jail, dead or in hiding. Mbeki records that, between 24 August and 28 October 1961, thirty people were sentenced to death in trials arising out of the revolt; Southall states that nine of these were later reprieved. The Commission received statements in connection with seventeen executions.
89 Mr Simbo Hlongwe Khalakahle said his father, Mr Cenjulwa Hlongwe [EC0337/ 97ETK] was one of those sentenced to death in the Kokstad court: “He was then taken to Pretoria and my mother and brother were taken to Pretoria to watch my father die”.
90 While some of those on trial were represented by lawyers, it appears that some were not. Mr David Tshikilo Manqa [EC1821/97ETK], who was acquitted on appeal on charges of burning down a chief’s house, was represented by lawyers during the trial. Manqa told the Commission:
When the chief saw this, he took police and went to raid my house at three in the morning. They shot at my house, harassed my family, destroyed my property, stole R100 of mine and eventually shot me in the chest and left leg.
91 He was charged with attacking the police, denied access to his lawyer for this case and jailed for two years.
Other resistance to homeland rule
92 The violence and mass arrests of the Pondoland Revolt subsided within months, but isolated resistance to homeland rule continued. It appears that the ANC initially decided to work within the new homeland structures, but had grown disillusioned with them by the early 1970s.
93 Detentions in the Transkei continued in terms of the emergency regulations of Proclamation 400. Those seen as opponents of homeland rule were sometimes subjected to forced removals on the order of the local chief. The Minister of Bantu Administration and Development told the South Africa parliament that twenty-seven people in Transkei were living under such removal orders, served between 1961 and 1972.
94 At the Lusikisiki hearing, Mr Clement Gxabu and Mr Simon Silangwe told the Commission that iKongo members had asked the then ANC president, Chief Albert Luthuli, for advice on the proposed independence for Transkei. Luthuli, who was banned at the time, told them they should not oppose independence but rather get their own candidates elected in the new Umtata parliament. Silangwe reported:
He said to us, “Comrades, there is nothing I can do and you cannot fight whilst you are outside. You can fight a bit better when you are inside”. What he was advising us to do is for us to elect our own people and go to Umtata and fight from within the parliament there.
95 Gxabu said iKongo members were involved in forming the opposition Democratic Party, several of whose members were subsequently detained by police. By 1970, with growing disillusionment among Transkei ANC supporters about the possibility of working within homeland parliamentary structures, a network in Pondoland began recruiting people to leave the country for training in the ANC’s armed wing, MK.
96 Various people were detained at this time for recruiting for MK. The Commission heard allegations of torture in detention, including beatings and electric shocks. Again the Mkambati police station is mentioned as a site of torture; it appears that a more permanent structure had been set up by this time. Several of the cases of torture and death in detention described earlier relate to this period.