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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 678

Paragraph Numbers 557 to 562

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 76

557 It took the police at least four hours to arrive at the scene of the Sebokeng Massacre on 3 September 1990, although both the SAP and municipal police stations were less than 500 metres from the scene. The initial attack began at 01h00 and was carried out by Inkatha supporters armed with guns, hand grenades, home-made bombs, spears and axes. The attack continued for a number of hours. When the police did arrive, they allegedly found the group of attackers trapped inside the hostel by the Sebokeng residents, who were gathering outside. Police reported that they prevented further casualties by keeping the attackers and the residents apart.

558 The police subsequently called in the SADF, who arrived after 09h00 and, apparently without provocation, opened fire on the crowd outside the hostel. The crowd scattered. According to the police, they called in the SADF after the local ANC leaders Mr Bavumile Vilakazi and Mr Ernest Sotsu refused to allow the police to escort the Inkatha members from the scene before senior ANC members from Johannesburg arrived.

559 Mr Hamilton Piyose [JB00810/03VT] was shot dead by the SADF during this incident. According to his wife, Ms Alishia Bukiwe Galela, Piyose went to the Sebokeng hostel after he heard about the conflict at the hostel the night before. They had relatives living in the hostel. Their son, Mr Witness Galela, told the Commission what he saw at the hostel:

They (IFP members) were inside and they were surrounded by police. As we were still standing there, I saw my father, but I really doubted to go to him. Then I went to the other side of the road and I peeped through the hole to see the whole incident.
And the Zulus were right inside the hostel. As we were still watching all that was happening just behind us, there came soldiers … and we turned around to face them to see what they had come to do. They got out of their Casspirs – nobody threw any stones at them, nobody was aggressive, we were just peeping through the hole to see what was happening at the hostel. All of them got out of the Casspirs and they formed sort of a guard of honour and they were facing us.
We were a group, there were many of us, and we were facing them. We restrained ourselves. We told ourselves that we should just sit down. My father at that moment was at a distance … because there were many of us; we were all sitting down from the front up to the back. Just before the last row at the back sat down we just heard a loud explosion and we realised that we were being thrown with a tear gas canister. And out of the corner of my eye, I could see my father because he was at a distance. And I didn’t want to really face him because somehow I was scared. I saw him, it was as if he was trying to stand up and at that particular moment, I ran away.

560 Witness Galela did not know whether to go back and help his father, from whom he had so far hidden his presence:

I went back to look for my father, and when I went there I looked but I could not see any trace that he was there. I ran around trying to look for him but I could not find him anywhere. I kept on looking and I had this doubt in my mind that my father couldn’t have run away. Probably something happened to him because he’s an elderly man and he looked like he had a problem standing up and he had a very big build. And I felt in my heart of hearts that something had happened.
I went straight home and I asked my mother whether my father had come back. My mother said, no, he hadn’t yet come back. I didn’t tell my mother.

561 Ms Galela described her interaction with her son when he returned home:

My elder child asked me where the father was and I explained that the father had gone to the hostel and I knew nothing… He … asked whether the father had not come back. I said the father had not come back. Then he started shaking. Then he started telling me that it meant that whatever he saw was the truth, but I didn’t know what he was referring to. He went out the door.

562 Ms Galela eventually found her husband in the mortuary after searching for him for three days at local hospitals.

39 In his amnesty application to the Commission and at his trial, Mr Eugene de Kock alleged that Mr Themba Khoza was a paid Security Branch informer.
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