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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 2 of Episode 52

02:40The first wave of horror came in May 1986. Over three days the ‘fathers,’ or witdoeke systematically burned three satellite squatter camps around Crossroads to the ground. The security forces then stepped in. They encircled the area with barbed wire to prevent the 30 000 left homeless by the attack from reoccupying the land. Lukhanyiso Finye and Vuyani Dyaboza were two of the 38 people left dead in the wake of the destruction. The young men and four friends were on their way to a Saturday night party when they were stopped by a witdoek barricade, abducted and killed. Their parents found them in a mortuary.Full Transcript and References
03:30I looked as if we were in a butchery. It was full of blood, the bodies were lying on the blood. The shelves were full of bodies. When we went to another corner in the room in the shelving, we looked on the floor and we saw my son lying in one corner. I want to say, listeners that is one thing that has troubled me for the rest of my life, to find my son in that condition, having done nothing, killed innocently.Full Transcript
04:53Their friend, Ruth Gibizela survived, but it is here in the ruins of what was once a witdoek prison that she and others lived a night of terror. // These men asked if we could see the red sea, this here is the red sea. We looked at it, and when we looked we saw the heads of people, the necks were severed from the body; the heads were on the one side and the bodies on the other side. They were floating in the water. They said the best thing was to take us to Ngxobongwana. Ngxobongwana is the one who is going to explain what to do about them, let us take them to Ngxobongwana. We went up with them and took off the tyres. They took the tyres and said let us go, let us go to Ngxobongwana. Some said let’s go to Pollsmoor. They must be taken to Pollsmoor.Full Transcript
05:45Former detective Leonard Knipe investigated this double murder. It led him straight to this man, Johnson Ngxobongwana who was found to be in charge of these secret township prisons where Ruth and others were held. Knipe arrested him.Full Transcript
06:05During the early afternoon of the same day that Ngxobongwana appeared in court I received a telephone call from an agitated Brigadier van der Westhuysen. I obviously no longer can remember the exact conversation between the Brigadier and myself but the impression was that he’d been severely rebuked because of our actions against mister Ngxobongwana and that he’d been instructed by either the State President or Minister to see to it that Ngxobongwana was released on bail. I was informed that the authorities were fully conversant with Ngxobongwana’s court, that it was not a people’s court, but a tribal court. I was instructed to immediately see to it that Ngxobongwana was released on bail.Full Transcript and References
06:41Ngxobongwana, a former UDF supporter had been arrested a year earlier and many believe he was turned to work for the state during his imprisonment. By 1986 Ngxobongwana was the main witdoek leader in Crossroads, now working against his former Comrades. Their conflict came to a head when the state decided to upgrade Crossroads. This meant that the squatter camps had to be cleared and their people moved to Khayelitsha. But the people would not be moved. Does this explain the sudden and systematic attack in May and again in June which left another 30 000 homeless? Full Transcript
07:26Approximately three weeks into May 1986 the Legal Resources Centre was approached by leaders of the community that had been burned out and also by those who lived at KTC who had witnessed this mass evacuation and had learned via the grapevine that they were next in line.Full Transcript and References
07:43The squatter leaders managed to have an urgent interim interdict granted against the police and witdoeke, preventing them from unlawfully entering KTC and destroying this remaining camp. Despite the interdict, KTC started burning on 9 June 1986.Full Transcript
08:05It is 9:44 am. We are in Crossroads next to the Administration Board. In front of us there is a huge gathering of blacks. They are from the ‘old guard.’ They can be identified by their white head-cloths and arm-bands. Major Odendaal is now busy talking to the blacks. // It is still Monday 9 June. The time is 03:14 in the afternoon. We are at KTC which is still burning with shacks that have been set alight by the ‘old guard.’ It can now be seen how they are moving deeper into KTC. As far as they can they are torching shacks. It is impossible for the police to do anything to stop them because they have infiltrated the whole area. Full Transcript
10:04Mr. Chairman I would have restrained them if I were prepared to shoot them all then I would have killed masses of them then I would have restrained them, but that I was not prepared to do. Full Transcript and References
10:19I quite clearly saw a burst of about ten shots giving what the army called covering fire to witdoeke who went in underneath that fire so that the residents of KTC would take refuge and then the witdoeke would go in under cover of that fire and torch shacks.Full Transcript and References
10:43I don’t know what they’re charging me with, but I have witnessed totally ineffective police action. Full Transcript
10:55During the marathon three year court case which more than 3000 people brought against the police they denied complicity with the witdoeke and eventually no one was found guilty for the deaths and destruction. But this week the Truth Commission heard this man, Ulrich Schellhase admit the links. During 1986 Schellhase was charged with upgrading Crossroads.Full Transcript
11:23May I say that your interests, the interests of the security forces, and the interests of the witdoeke converged in a sense? // Yes mam. // …. And that all three groups would have done anything to make sure that the strategies you engage in facilitated the process. For you, the process would be development… // One could say that. // For the security forces the goal would be to clear the area of comrades and for the witdoeke to get rid of UDF related allies etc. // Yes mam.Full Transcript and References
12:15Crossroads eleven years later has survived the social engineering that scorched its people and its land. Today, people live and people die, but that’s normal.Full Transcript
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