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Human Rights Violation Hearings


Starting Date 30 April 1996


Day 2



DR BORAINE: Chairperson the following witness is Mrs Mabel Matlakala Makope, and I would be grateful if she would come to the witness stand please. Could you please make sure you've got the earphones on your head. Mrs Makope can you hear me on the earphones?

MS MAKOPE: Yes I can hear you.

DR BORAINE: Can I ask you, you have brought somebody with you, is this somebody to support you, who is that please?

MS MAKOPE: This is my sister.

DR BORAINE: Thank you very much, and we would like to welcome your sister as well and we are so grateful that you've got somebody to come along with you and go home with you as well. Mrs Makope you will tell the story of a third person who disappeared and in some strange way these three names have become linked and you will tell us what happened in July 1987 and then what happened subsequently when you first discovered what really happened to your husband. I am going to ask my colleague Tom Manthata to help you to tell that story, but before I call on him I would be grateful if you will please stand to take the oath.


DR BORAINE: Please be seated and Mr Manthata, I will hand it over to you now.

MR MANTHATA: Sister Matlakala I want to first ask you a



question about this surname, is it Makope or Makupe?

MS MAKOPE: It's Makope.

MR MANTHATA: Oh yes it's Makope. Please relax. I am going to ask two or three questions and then just give me answers. Where do you live?

MS MAKOPE: We live at Mamelodi in Pretoria.

MR MANTHATA: Thank you. Do you have children?

MS MAKOPE: Yes we have three children.

MR MANTHATA: Are they at school?

MS MAKOPE: Yes they are at school.

MR MANTHATA: Before Andrew's disappearance what was he working?

MS MAKOPE: He was running an undertaker, it was his brother's undertaker. His brother was out and he left it with him.

MR MANTHATA: Can you explain to us how Andrew disappeared?

MS MAKOPE: On the 17th we only saw that he was not yet back home. I had a three-week old baby. When the baby was supposed to be a month old, the following day and the father just disappeared. I didn't see Andrew that day. I saw him only during the day when he went to town to buy clothes for the child and he said he has a pain in the leg and he wants to go to the doctor. I was only surprised to see it was four o'clock and he wasn't coming back. And then I realised it's now six o'clock, I have to call and find out his whereabouts. They said to me no he picked up his belongings and he went home. I said maybe he's gone somewhere else. He will come back. That was the situation till the next morning.

At eight o'clock I called his place of work and then I discovered that it wasn't open. I called his granny, that's JOHANNESBURG HEARING TRC/GAUTENG


Andrew's granny. I called her and she said I went to work to find out what was happening, Andrew left with the keys and everything. And she called me and she said we broke the key, we will buy another one, let's just go and search for him. We went to the police station and I gave them the statement. That was the first day.

I was welcomed by Mr Phuta. In the middle of the statement he said no, I am not going to write this statement. Are you telling me this is Freddy's brother? No, maybe Andrew went along with his brother and he left the statement in the middle. But tomorrow morning make it a point that you are here.

Well the following day I went early. I remained there until it was one. I even requested them to fetch my child because I didn't feed the child at all. Many White policemen came in. They took me into Sergeant Ghanyani's office and they said to me your husband has run away from you, he's in Botswana. If I really agree with what they say they will go to Botswana and go and search for him. They will only do that if I give them certain information. I didn't know anything. And they told me they will build me a house. They even indicated that he left me with a very small baby. I said to them there is nothing I can tell you. Well I left the police station. They said they will call me back. They called me, they asked me questions relating to Freddy as well as Andrew. I told them never to ask me any question about Freddy, what I want is only Andrew. And they said Andrew has been picked up by his brother because he wants to go and be with him. They never contacted me anymore.

We started our own investigations. We went to the



hospitals. I started losing my mind. I was sick. Andrew's mother and Andrew's father supported me throughout until today, because since his disappearance I have never been employed.

MR MANTHATA: The policeman you said it's Phuta, Kuputa? Who is this Phuta, were you used to him?

MS MAKOPE: He was the policeman at the charge office at Mamelodi police station. The next day when I came they had already phoned the Compol policemen but I never saw him again. Whenever I got to the police station he is no longer there until today.

MR MANTHATA: Who is this Laghanyan(?)?

MS MAKOPE: He is a big man, he is a senior policeman in Mamelodi.

MR MANTHATA: According to your knowledge was Andrew involved in any political organisations, ANC or PAC?

MS MAKOPE: No Andrew wasn't involved in any organisation. But Andrew used to visit his brother outside the country. He used to take him money or other things that his brother required. On one day he told me that my brother calls me quite a lot, but one day the police are going to arrest me. So I said leave him, stop going to see your brother. You can make use of other means of sending him money, don't go to him. He said that if I don't go I will die. I don't know what he was scared of or why was he obligated to see him. All I knew is that he was not politically involved.

(Excuse me we cannot hear the speaker)

MR MANTHATA: When he said he was afraid to go to Botswana to see his brother didn't he say that what he was afraid of was the police inside the country?

MS MAKOPE: I really do not know what he was afraid of



because it had been quite a long time that he had been looking after his brother was out of the country, but it looks like he was obligated to look after his brother.

MR MANTHATA: Thank you. The mistake is that here in the statement they said he once worked for the police up until there was a time they no longer trusted him. They thought he was going to reveal him.

MS MAKOPE: No I do not know that.

MR MANTHATA: Have you now given up in finding out what - have you been trying the traditional witchdoctors?

MS MAKOPE: Many of these witchdoctors continue to tell us that he's there, he's still alive, but according to me, because he kept on going outside the country, I began to realise that he would not be alive, and where would he be you know, how could he just disappear with no trace. I realise that there was no place where they could hide him. But then I began to believe in miracles that maybe some miracles could happen, we will just see him appearing.

MR MANTHATA: You said one day you were told by a person that he could have been taken by police in a combi?

MS MAKOPE: You see at the time when he disappeared we didn't know what had happened to him, he had just gone to work as far as we were concerned. But there is a person who came, a ...(indistinct), apparently he went to the business and found Andrew's aunt and he told Andrew's aunt that at the time when they took Andrew he was with him. That was a four-way, so she was going to get off at the corner and come up, but apparently when he arrived there they stopped his car and they told this lady get inside. There were two people with guns and they grabbed him out of his car and they put him inside the combi, and they told that girl that



she must come back inside the car. She had already alighted out of the car. So somebody was driving the car with this girl and they were following this combi and they went passed home. Many people did see this combi because they knew this combi, but they were surprised that this combi was going at such a high speed. But they just drove past home. But after they had turned the corner they hooted to stop the car and then the car stopped. The asked this girl if you know the shortest way to Botswana, and this girl said I don't know anything about Botswana. And then they drove towards Cullinan. They came out through the Cullinan route. When they arrived at a depot, there was some depot somewhere before, before you arrived at Cullinan, they stopped there in Andrew's car and Andrew's car stopped and the combi also stopped behind it. Those who were in the combi came towards the window of that, Andrew's car and said get out of the car. She thought they were going to kill her. They said this Andrew, we have been sent by his brother to come and fetch him. If you can leave here and go and tell his wife what happened you are also going to disappear the same way that Andrew. But another person said no, we are not sent by his brother, we are the police. We have come to take him because he transports dangerous weapons between the country - between South Africa and outside, and then the other one said no he deals in drugs. But don't tell anybody what's happened, we are going to take you the same way. Just go home. That's why she came to us rather than going to the police. She was scared, this woman, this lady.

MR MANTHATA: It would seem like - did she say that she went to Cullinan?

MS MAKOPE: No it was before they arrived at Cullinan.



There was a street that goes towards Cullinan. They came out of Mamelodi, they just dropped her at some depot before Cullinan but she doesn't know where they went to. It was winter and it was getting dark. She walked from the place up until - she was too scared to get a taxi.

MR MANTHATA: But when you leave Mamelodi you pass through Cullinan before you go to Vlakplaas.

MS MAKOPE: Excuse me?

MR MANTHATA: According to what Mamasela said - that is you got this from Mamasela's statement in the newspaper, but what happened to this lady after she had told you all this story?

MS MAKOPE: When I went to the police station giving them the statement which they didn't take, they said I must bring this lady. I went at her home. I contacted her. She didn't refuse. She went with me. The first day I went to the police station the Mamelodi police, they took her before the Compol police came, they said they were going to arrest her because it would seem like she knew where Andrew had gone to. They didn't put her in the same room where I was, they just took her away. After the Compol police came they released her and I was the one who remained behind.

MR MANTHATA: When you went to Compol she didn't come with you to Compol?

MS MAKOPE: We didn't go to Compol. I don't know if they called her to Compol thereafter. That was the last day I saw her while I was still busy with these Compol police.

MR MANTHATA: How is the business going on, is it going on?

MS MAKOPE: Yes his brother is back. His brother is back and he is looking after the business.

MR MANTHATA: Could you tell us how the Commission could



assist you?

MS MAKOPE: I have got a problem. I think Andrew is not a dog. I don't think he should have died the way he died. If he was guilty or killed somebody they should have arrested him.

The second thing, he's been gone for eight years, nobody told us anything. Why didn't they tell me then that they had killed him.

The third thing, I have to bring the children up on my own. The youngest one is in standard two, he is eight years old. The second one is 11 years old. The first one is 18 years old. He is in standard ten. These children are growing up and if they have to go to university what am I going to do?

Another problem that I have I am suffering the - I mean these children are asking me questions since they said Andrew Makope died the children were very disturbed when they heard the news. They said if father had died when are you going to bury him. I have to answer so many questions. And this upset my family every day. The elder one is worse. He has now got lots of headaches and is a very disturbed child. I don't understand why we should suffer like this. I am finished.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you Tom, thank you Mamma.

DR BORAINE: Could you just make sure that you have got the earphones so we can talk to each other. Are you alright? I would like to ask you one question and I also want to correct something. Firstly you read about the killing of your husband in 1996 in the City Press, is that right? Have you had any contact from any official, any police, anyone who came to tell you what had happened?



MS MAKOPE: No, nobody came. The only person who came on the 27th it was a reporter from the City Press, Elias Maluleka and he told me that I should buy the City Press the following day because Andrew's story will appear in that paper.

DR BORAINE: To make absolutely sure that I understand, you had no official confirmation ...(tape ends)... find out more about this and obviously we will, I just want to make one short comment for the record Mr Chairperson. It was mentioned by my colleague that in your statement there is reference to Andrew being an informer. There is no such reference in your statement that is before us, and I think in fairness to you and your family I should make that public. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN: Yasmin Sooka?

MS SOOKA: I would just like to ask you three questions please. The one is you have told us that you went to the police at Mamelodi to open up a docket. Can you tell me if the police actually opened that up because you seem not to have been very clear there, can you just clarify that for me please?

MS MAKOPE: When I went to lay charges I received Phuta in the office and I laid of kidnapping because we already had information how he was picked up. I was explaining to Phuta how he didn't come home the previous day, how he told us that he was going to the doctor, while taking the statement I explained to him that this lady told them that they were police and Freddy sent them to pick him up, and this policeman said to me is it Andrew that works at the mortuary, can you please wait a minute he will come tomorrow, I am not taking the statement anymore.



MS SOOKA: Thank you. And Queen Skosana, does she live in Mamelodi, that's the first part, and the second one is did you ever see her after you went and she was interviewed by the Compol police please?

MS MAKOPE: Queen is staying in Mamelodi, she is not far from us. After she has been called in by the police I have never seen her again.

MS SOOKA: Freddy, when he came back from Botswana, did he ever tell you that he knew anything about why Andrew had been taken and killed?

MS MAKOPE: No he didn't say anything.

MS SOOKA: It is Freddy who is running the business again?


CHAIRMAN: Russel Ally.

DR ALLY: Queen Skosana she was actually with your husband when he was taken, is that correct?

MS MAKOPE: Yes they were together.

DR ALLY: And will she be able to identify anybody who - the people who actually took your husband away, has she said that she knows, or that she can identify these people?

MS MAKOPE: She said she doesn't know them. She cannot even identify them because she wasn't clear whether they were policemen or whether they were ANC members.

DR ALLY: Have you given an address to the Commission where she can be contacted?

MS MAKOPE: I don't know the address, I can't remember it just from my head.

DR ALLY: The combi that was used you said it was a well-known combi, did anybody ever take registration number or can they describe it, the colour or?

MS MAKOPE: Nobody can describe it, it's only Queen who



saw, it's Queen who can give us clear information. It was blue tinted windows and the driver was a White person.

DR ALLY: Thank you.


MS SOOKA: You said that your eldest son was quite disturbed, could you tell us a little more about that and whether he's receiving any treatment for it.

MS MAKOPE: Yes the treatment is under-way. He is being treated now.

MS SOOKA: Thank you.

DR MAGWAZA: I just want to make a follow-up on the question asked by Yasmin. You mentioned that you are sick and that your in-laws have to support you, can you tell us more about that?

MS MAKOPE: Since Andrew's disappearance I fell very ill and I was diagnosed having a heart attack, ulcers, high blood pressure, in most cases I just feel dizzy. Sometimes I would feel like running away. There is not even one month that I stay without going to the doctor or the hospital. I spent most of my time in the hospital. I couldn't spend any time with my children. I would stay at home a week and then the next I'm in the hospital. This is the situation until now.

CHAIRMAN: Hlengiwe Mkhize.

MS MKHIZE: I will just ask one more question, and I can see you're getting exhausted in talking about the most difficult experience in your life. Partly as a Commission we have a responsibility to think about what needs to be done to promote healing and reconciliation. The question of the disappearances is the difficult one. I wonder whether you can share with us your vision as to what is it that the



Commission can do for those individuals and families who have people who disappeared, any thoughts about what you think might heal, might begin to heal those families?

MS MAKOPE: The most thing that will soothe me, that will be accepted by my children as well, is only when they can get their father and he can be buried dignified.

MS MKHIZE: Your view that if he can be buried, a person can be buried like a person with dignity is appreciated. I don't know whether you had finished what you were saying, thank you.

MS MAKOPE: There is one thing that I am requesting again, can Mamasela appear before the Commission so that the two of us can sit down? So that he can explain why did he kill Andrew, maybe I can be comforted. I am referring to Mamasela.

MS MKHIZE: We thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN: We thank you very much. As we have been saying to other people we ask God to really grace you. Your sorrows are our sorrows as well. If we say we feel the same pain you felt one would think it's a joke. People around here and those who are not here when they hear these stories they will open their hearts as you have done today. We are grateful, your heart will be open, the oil will be poured in and you will be soothed. We really feel the same way as you feel. Let God Bless you.

We are suggesting that we do not take the tea break here. We have just one more witness. It may be better that we take the last witness and then adjourn until Thursday.

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