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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 2 of Episode 72

01:43Three of the men who were ordered to kill at the Heidelberg Tavern that evening in December 1993 say now they planned to strike a much harder blow with more casualties than the four bodies that were carried out into the night.Full Transcript and References
02:31I had gone there to shoot any living thing. It was my aim to shoot anybody within the tavern // The rifle grenade that was fired in by Mr. Madasi, why did that have wire nails either glued or fixed to the head of the rifle grenade. Can you explain that to us? // We decided to make it so, so that as many people as possible could be injured. It was done for more impact and more casualties. // Were your orders simply to attack the building or were your orders to kill the people inside the premises as well? // It was to kill anything that lived inside the tavern. I had not gone to attack a building.Full Transcript
03:41The APLA cadres maintain they were simply carrying out orders when they attacked the tavern. They say as soldiers they had no choice, but executed the attack with pride and in the knowledge that they were helping to fight the struggle against the oppressor.Full Transcript
03:57Makebu drove straight to the Heidelberg Tavern. When we arrived at the tavern Makebu had pulled up on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. When he stopped I jumped out of the car and ran towards the entrance of the tavern armed with an AK47 rifle and I opened fire immediately, indiscriminately, aiming to kill or injure as many people as possible. I did not enter the tavern.Full Transcript
04:35 I decided to go right inside the tavern. And I went inside and I started shooting until all the bullets were finished.Full Transcript
04:45In regard to the Heidelberg tavern attack, I was supposed to throw a hand grenade but I did not do so. At the time I did not think it wise to do so because I would almost certainly have killed my comrades as they were retreating from the attack on the tavern.Full Transcript
05:09Mr. Chairman were about to see video footage of the interior of the tavern as taken by the police team on the morning after the attack. // Mr. Chairman the camera moves to a raised portion of the interior of the tavern where the other two deceased lay. That is Bernadette Langford and Lindy Fourie. Mr. Chairman between the two bodies is a cartridge against the panelling of the walls encircled in white chalk, as well as one on the left hand side of one of the bodies.Full Transcript
07:36Did you understand that you were going to kill white men on that evening? Was that your understanding? // Yes, I was told that we were going to hit the white men. Everybody knows who the oppressor was. // And did the white man also include young women as well? // According to the education I received the battle APLA was lodging was fighting the oppressor. Who you were or what you were was irrelevant. If you’re an oppressor we would fight against you. // On your own version now you admitted going into the premises, shooting at least one person who you saw moving in the tavern. // I’m an APLA soldier, I obey orders. I was told that an order is an order.Full Transcript
08:58Did it not worry you that despite the political atmosphere in the country and given the fact as we know it later that the elections occurred a few months after Heidelberg attack. // No it did not trouble me. // What is your attitude toward those orders, do you simply obey them blindly, like a robot if I can put it that way? // You do not question orders. This is how I was trained.Full Transcript
09:40It is a great irony that while the PAC clearly states that their struggle was against a white oppressor the bullets that came from their guns that night killed only one white person. Three of the dead were not white.Full Transcript
09:56First of all you must understand that the order was such that I should go to this place and shoot the people, whether they were students or not was not the criteria, whether they were black or white. We were not fighting a racial war. Nobody was written on the forehead whether he was a white oppressor or black oppressor, an oppressor has no colour, no race.Full Transcript
10:23But you ended up killing people who are not regarded as white. Could this be regarded as a botched or a messed up operation? // Sir, I cannot comment on that. We were told to go to the tavern …. I don’t know how to respond to your statement.Full Transcript
10:53At the end of five days of harrowing testimony and cross examination the simple fact that those who killed and those who lost loved ones had been brought together made for an emotional climax to the hearing. For the victims, survivors and families this was the first time they were together as a group. As they faced each other and the three young APLA men all the harsh realities of the past flooded into the present.Full Transcript
11:23I really need to know how you felt when you saw what you had done to human life. I really really need to know that, because can you remember their faces maybe? Can you remember how shocked they looked? Can you remember when they fell? Can you remember anything about that? // Mam, I don’t want it to seem like I’m a racist. The conditions that we lived under here in Azania led to such incidents. As the oppressed by the culprits, everybody who was oppressed, is clear of who the oppressor was. I know that nobody has a right, whatever race, to take somebody else’s life. However, under the conditions that we lived in at that time the people that oppressed us did a whole lot of things. Shedding the blood of the oppressed, the same people went to church and prayed and called themselves Christians. I know it is painful to lose a loved one, someone as close as your daughter. Our lot as the oppressed and we have lost our loved ones under the oppressor. // You haven’t told me how you ...moreFull Transcript and References
14:05I want to ask of you, in your application for amnesty you are asking the survivors and the next of kin or families for forgiveness, but thus far you have shown no remorse whatsoever to give us some sort of comfort. You have shown us nothing. You have only spoken of the orders and the killings that you have done. I understand a great deal of your suffering, we have also suffered. But I think it is about time that you must face us and ask us directly for forgiveness. // You perhaps look at me and think that I’m not showing remorse, however our families know us well. I know that people who worked closely with us in connection with this matter they would tell you how much remorse we are experiencing. If we did not, we would not be here even at this moment.Full Transcript
15:30That is tragic, because we are not created to kill others. I ask for forgiveness. I would not like this to happen as it did then. However, we must bear in mind that circumstances were such that we ended up involved in such actions. I ask for forgiveness to the parents and the next of kin of those who lost their lives.Full Transcript
16:13Molweni madoda. // Molo Mama. // I’m very sorry that I can’t express my thoughts and feelings in Xhosa. I think you remember me. At the criminal trial I asked the translator to tell you that I had forgiven you. Do you remember that? // Yes, we remember. // Mr. Gqomfa was unwilling and looked the other way, but I certainly shook Mr. Mabala and Mr. Madasi’s hands. Nothing has changed. I still feel exactly the same way and I do forgive you. I want to tell you who Lindi was. She was known as Lindiwe by her Xhosa friends. Lindy was a true child of Africa. She helped me to understand how subtle my prejudice and bias and racial discrimination was; that it was nothing blatant, it was in the very subtle fibres of my being. She helped me to understand that. She was totally willing to treat everyone as an equal and she did that openly and freely. Her black friends were as important to her as her white friends. Lindiwe could have been your friend. You did your own cause immeasurable harm ...moreFull Transcript and References
18:21My differences are not with these individuals though but with the mentality of an organisation which led to its soldiers and allowed those soldiers to attack its own government. We all know that the peace negotiations were well on the way by the time this attack took place. In fact the National Party, the racist regime, had already transferred power to the transitional executive council and the elections was almost inevitable. The word ‘amnesty’ is derived from the Greek word ‘amnesia’ which means to forget. Well, we cannot forget. A just war is understandable, but granting amnesty to people who killed indiscriminately will be condoning the actions of every single individual worldwide who has ever planted a bomb on an airplane, machine-gunned a restaurant or killed innocent people in the name of political idealism. Full Transcript
19:28It was a very emotional moment, personally. Because I felt the pain that the victims felt and of which I do regret the loss of lives. And moreover in the position in which I saw them. Hoping that this message will be related to the victims and to other people who suffered the struggle. Especially the victims because we are the source of what they’re going through. I hope that they realize that even myself, personally as a human being that thing affected me. And even right now, I still can’t cope with it, that if God created me to be an angel of death that is something that I cannot believe. It’s very much painful, even to me. At least having my humble plea to the victims that I need an assistance to them because I think they might be an assistance, because personally I’m very much sick about what I’ve done to the victims. Because no human being can do such a thing. Thank you very much.Full Transcript
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