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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 140
Paragraph Numbers 67 to 72
67 Random shootings by the police into demonstrating or fleeing crowds resulted in many physical injuries. A number of victims who came to the Commission were blinded in such shootings. When Ms Sibonisile Maloma was a fifteen-year-old student in Nelspruit, she was shot by the police while returning home from a school boycott:
We took different directions to go home. And when we approached the corner I saw a Hippo17 and a gun was pointed at me, they shot me with this pellet gun, and I was unconscious.
68 Ms Maloma was blinded as a result of this attack and had to halt her education. According to her father:
Today my daughter doesn’t see. She has lost everything, her future as well.
69 Such incidents were echoed in many statements made to the Commission. Ms Amina Elizabeth van Dyk told the Commission at the Pollsmoor hearing that she had been shot with birdshot by the police in 1985:
I lost my one eye and it bothers me because I get these sharp pains in my eye. I get migraines and then sometimes I want nothing to do with my children because of the pain. This has caused me to lose my job, my house and my medical aid benefits and I have got absolutely no income.
70 There is also evidence that people exposed to trauma, even indirectly, are more likely to develop stress-related illnesses such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Ms Daseko’s son Sam was a student activist who died in detention in 1990. She described the effects of his death on her own health at the Bloemfontein hearing:
There is a lot of difference because, at times, I would feel my heart shaking and sometimes - so many things have changed in my life. I get terrible headaches at times.
71 In 1989, Mr Modise Elias Moiloa’s brother was killed in an attack by members of an organisation called Dikwankwetla. He told the Commission at the Bloemfontein hearing that his parents manifested physical symptoms of the stress:
My mother and father, after the death of my elder brother, both of them suffered from high blood. They are still very sick.
72 Thus, physical injuries have multiple effects, not only on the individual but also on the family and community as a whole. Physical injuries and disabilities cause or exacerbate psychological, economic and social problems, substantially altering the lives of victims and those around them.15 Sister Dianna Ortiz. ‘Survivor’s Perspective: Voices from the Centre‘ in National Institute of Mental Health, 1998 16 Basoglu, M, J Jaranson, R Mollica, M Kastrup. ’Torture and it‘s consequences’ in National Institute of Mental Health, 1998 17 A hippo is an armoured personnel carrier.