|Last year the Truth Commission heard numerous stories of human rights violations committed in Bloemfontein by the security police and their surrogates in gangs like the Three Millions and The Eagles. But this year has seen very few policemen or the gangsters they handled coming forward to tell the truth about repression of political activity in the area. One exception is Nelson Ngo whose amnesty application was heard this past week. His case has been postponed twice before, but this week the Amnesty Committee was determined to proceed.
|Full Transcript and References
|Nelson Ngo is currently seven years into a 25 year sentence for killing a Bloemfontein trade unionist. But this week he chose to tell the Truth Commission about much more than just the murder which put him behind bars. This week, Ngo shook all the skeletons and supposed skeletons in the Bloemfontein and Mamelodi security police closets when he sought amnesty for 15 violations including murder, attempted murder, torture and arson. Mr. Ngo claims that he committed and witnessed these gross human rights violations throughout the 1980s whilst working as a security police informer and then as a security policeman. Ngo’s application implicates no less than 23 other security policemen, who, he claims either gave orders or assisted him in the course of this vicious career.
|The members of the security branch who took part in the torture of the comrades in Botshabelo are as follows: Lieutenant Shaw, Lieutenant Erasmus, Warrant Officer Ramasoeu, Warrant Officer Tsoametsi, Warrant Officer Gillian, Warrant Officer Koch, Sergeant Mamome, Warrant Officer Cronje, Warrant Officer Swanepoel, Constable Motsamae, and myself and Constable Mthyala.
|The implicated cops sent in a posse of sharp shooting police lawyers who ripped into Ngo’s lengthy and complicated testimony casting doubt on his membership of the security police and suggesting that he was nothing but a lone gunman.
|Just answer the question. Do you know, or do you not know who was in charge of the security branch in Mamelodi? It’s a simple question. // No I don’t know the person who was in charge.
|Mr. Chair that man never ever, not for a second in his life, worked for the security branch in the northern Transvaal.
|I’m putting it to you. You were never part of the security branch. You were never stationed at Mamelodi. There was never a substation of the security branch in Mamelodi, ever. I’m putting it to you that you are lying through your teeth, that’s what I’m putting to you. // The person whose still lying through his teeth is you.
|Then, some of Ngo’s victims came to the hearing. Their opposition to his application actually confirmed the truth of some of his stories.
|Nr. Ngo are those two people, were they also in the party of students that were assaulted here in Bloemfontein at some stage which you know of? // Yes that is correct.
|Tempers flared as the week wore on and the lengthy cross examinations served only to muddy events rather than to clarify them.
|Please stop interrupting me Mr. Mamane. // [Interruption] // Please do not interrupt me Mr. Mamane.
|What are you objecting to Mr. Mamane? // I’m objecting to him, asking the next question before the first answer is finished. // You have objected on that ground repeatedly and I think on every single occasion the applicant has confirmed that he’d already given his answer. // But on this occasion he was still answering.
|He was not answering me, he was evading my question. Please let me continue.
|Several cases of mistaken identity only made matters worse.
|You said earlier today on three occasions that if you see him you’ll recognize him and you’ll be able to identify him as the person who was in Bloemfontein at the time when the 25 political activists were interrogated and assaulted. Do you remember? // Yes, I do remember. // I want to tell you that he’s in the hall right now, that Mr. Stevenson that I’m talking about, and I want to ask you to look around and see whether you can see the man you’re talking about and whether you can identify him. // He’s not present. // Will you please rise?
|Sometimes it happens that I use wrong names for the correct one. At times it was an error of referring to that name. It does happen that I write a wrong name by mistake.
|But while Mr. Ngo faulted on the details he remained unshakeable in his purpose.
|I hope that the Truth Commission, the Amnesty Committee, won’t just consider the policeman opposing as the truth, they may consider the truth as they get it from me and from the victims.