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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 642
Paragraph Numbers 424 to 430
424 The year 1988 also saw a high degree of inter-clan rivalry in response to the perceived nepotism of Mangope’s government and the economic and political domination of his clan over other Tswana people. In 1988 there was a serious dispute in Taung when a chief affiliated to the Mangope regime, Mr Steven Molale, was imposed by governmental authorities over Chief Sam Mankuroane [JB04296/03NW], whom many of the Batlhaping tribe felt to be their rightful leader.
425 Several reports were received of the police beating people and using tear gas during this period. In October 1988 Chief Mankuroane went into exile. According to the statement given by Mr Piet Basimane Kgabileng [JB04325/03NW], a roadblock was set up to prevent the chief from leaving. He was eventually smuggled out of the town in an ambulance. On 9 October 1988 a community meeting was held to inform the chief’s supporters of his whereabouts in exile. Following the meeting, many people were beaten and intimidated by the Bophuthatswana Police. Ms Nananyane Susan Monye [JB04314/03NW] told the Commission that although she did not attend the meeting, she was attacked at about 14h00 by two Bophuthatswana Police members who demanded to know where Chief Mankuroane was, and started beating her before she was able to reply.
They then took me to the Chief’s Court. There was a group of both young and elder people. The police then started sjambokking and hitting us with batons. I manage to escape at about 6pm from these beatings. I ran towards a nearby house behind the shop. I hid myself behind the toilet till about 9pm. Then I walked home.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE BOPHUTHATSWANA GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO CONTROL THE APPOINTMENT OF CHIEFS IN AN ATTEMPT TO STIFLE POLITICAL OPPOSITION. THE BOPHUTHATSWANA GOVERNMENT IGNORED TRIBAL CUSTOM AND THE HEREDITARY SYSTEM OF CHIEFTAINCY AND DEPOSED THOSE WHO WERE SUPPORTIVE OF THE LIBERATION MOVEMENTS, REPLACING THEM WITH CHIEFS OF THEIR OWN CHOICE CONTRARY TO THE WISHES OF THE COMMUNITY.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THIS POLICY OF THE BOPHUTHATSWANA GOVERNMENT CREATED A CLIMATE CONDUCIVE TO CONFLICT AND GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OCCURRED.
426 In Lebowa, tension between the homeland government of Lebowa and UDF-affiliated organisations escalated dramatically in the wake of the formation of a UDF branch in the Northern Transvaal. Widespread attacks on the homes of chiefs, police, alleged witches and anyone else suspected of any connection with the homeland government ensued. The Lebowa government responded with increasingly indiscriminate violence. Marches and gatherings were dispersed with live ammunition. Dozens of people, including the very young and old, were rounded up and viscously assaulted. Among those detained were the chairperson of the UDF in the Northern Transvaal, Mr Peter Nchabaleng, who died two days after his arrest.
427 The Commission’s data reflects the rapid escalation of torture in this period, with approximately sixty violations recorded between 1983 and 1989 in Sekhukhuneland, the heart of the conflict. Violence reached a peak in March 1986, when a battle broke out between Lebowa police and ‘comrades’. As the conflict escalated, a sense of impunity appears to have developed among the Lebowa Police, who are described by a number of witnesses to the Commission as boasting about the death of Mr Nchabaleng, and their power to exact the same price from them.
428 Mr Peter Nchabaleng [JB00498/02NPPTB] died in police custody on 11 April 1986. Mr Nchabaleng was a central figure in the establishment of the UDF in the Northern Transvaal. He was an experienced political activist and as such was a considerable political threat to the homeland and South African government authorities. Nchabaleng spent eight years on Robben Island for MK activities. On his release in 1971 he was banished to his birthplace, Apel in the Northern Transvaal, where he became involved in local politics. In 1977 he was again charged for involvement in MK activities in Sekhukhuneland. His wife, Ms Matsatsi Nchabaleng, testified that he was threatened with death and beaten by policemen when he was arrested. Nchabaleng’s son Morris was also detained. During the course of Mr Morris Nchabaleng’s detention and torture, different police boasted that they had killed his father, and would kill him as well.
… in a police station, it was full of blood, water and one policeman by the name of Mapetho told me that the blood that I see is my father’s blood … He undressed me. He called other people who were also in the cells to come and grab me and they stretched my legs and my hands and then they were all supposed to hit me, and then they put me into water and they removed me and said to me that they will take me to show me where my father died. They showed me a big trunk and they said to me, “This is where your father died and you are also going to die here.”
429 Mr Stephen Moganedi [JB05134/02NPPTB] was detained with a minibus-load of people when they stopped at a shop on the way back from a funeral. Police from Motatema police station shot at them and detained them, believing that the group of youths had intended to plant a bomb in the shop. Mr Moganedi was severely assaulted and tortured at Motatema police station. Unlike most reports of torture in Lebowa, Moganedi’s assault appeared to have been carried out by white policemen whom he names as De Kock and Geld.
I told them that I didn’t understand why they were torturing and assaulting me. They asked me if I knew Mandela and I said even if I do not know him personally I want him to be released so that we could be freed. I was then kicked and De Kock said I should lie down and he kicked at me. They started kicking me on my thighs and they twisted my testicles and they hit me with a fist and they used their boots to assault me and I started crying and they demanded that I should tell them the truth. I asked them what truth they want …
430 The police told him that they had arrested and killed Mr Peter Nchabaleng and that Moganedi would die too because he was Nchabaleng’s friend.