SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WES TERN CAPE 1 TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION INVESTIGATIVE INQUIRY : SAMORA MACHEL DATE: 3 JUNE 1998 HELD AT: CAPE TOWN CHAIRPERSON: Good morning ladies and gentleman. This is a section 29 inquiry; an inquiry which is an investigative probe, and it is held in camera, which means that every bit of evidence that will be taken from witnesses who have been called is confidential, and remains confidential until the Commission decides to release it subject to the requirements of the Act. For that reason only members of the Commission and/or members who have been contracted to the Commission and witnesses and/or their representatives, if any, need and are permitted to be present during the occurrence of the proceedings held in terms of section 29. Ms Terreblanche, I do not know if the formalities have been complied with relevant to Ms Patta. MS TERREBLANCHE: No, I am afraid we have been deserted by our consultant. Ms Patta has graciously said that she will stand in. I think she needs to be sworn in as a member of the staff for the purposes. Unfortunately our lawyer is not here to prepare the contract today, but we will deal with that. CHAIRPERSON: I need a copy of the Act in order to do the necessary. The matter will stand down while she complies with 2 the - we can't begin until we have done the necessary. If you can let me have a copy of the Act in terms of sec - but maybe in the meantime we can indicate how we are going to be proceedings. We will take evidence from Col Honwana who I have to welcome. Welcome Col Honwana; we are pleased to have you here and we are pleased that you have been able to come at fairly short notice. We will be taking evidence from you and before we do so, I would like to introduce members of the panel. My name is Ntsebeza, Dumisa Ntsebeza. I am a Commissioner in the Human Rights Violations Committee, and I am in the investigative unit. To my right is Mr Magadhla who is Head of Special Investigations in the investigative unit. Ms Terreblanche is an investigator who did most of the investigation into the matter in relation to which you are going to be testifying. Ms Glenda Wildschut will join us later. She is a commissioner and she is in the Reparations and the Arbitrations Committee. Ms Deborah Patta is somebody who you will possibly know, but she will also be assisting Ms Terreblanche and she has done her own investigation and she is assisting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a consultant. I do not know whether you are happy to testify in English. I would assume that you are? COL HONWANA: Yes, certainly. CHAIRPERSON: I was worried that you might want to testify in Portuguese, in which event we would have had to look for SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 3 translators in Portuguese, but I am happy that you will be happy to testify in Portuguese (sic). JUAN BARNARDO HONWANA: (sworn states) CHAIRPERSON: You can sit down Col Honwana. We'll have to stand down this matter until Ms Christelle Terreblanche has complied with the necessary. The matter is stood down. MATTER STANDS DOWN ON RESUMPTION CHAIRPERSON: Can I have Ms Patta please? She must stand here, in front of me. You will have to read here. Are you going to take the oath, or are you going to confirm? MS DEBORAH PATTA IS SWORN IN EXAMINATION BY MS TERREBLANCHE: Welcome Col Honwana. Col Honwana has written to us, saying that he is a retired Colonel, trained fighter pilot and the former head of the Mozambican Air Force and Air Defence. And he was also part of the aeronautical sub-commission of the Mozambican national commission of inquiry into the accident which called President Samora Machel. He wishes to give us some information from - or his perspective. Colonel, may I just ask have you prepared anything for the attention, written for the commission, or are you just going to make an oral presentation? COL HONWANA: No, I'll just make an oral presentation. MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you very much, you may proceed. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 4 COL JB HONWANA COL HONWANA: Thank you very much Members of the Commission. CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Colonel, you can go ahead. COL HONWANA: Thank you. As you have heard from my letter to the Commission, my primary interest in approaching the Commission was to try and get as close as possible to the truth as to what happened which led to the accident of Mbuzini. And my personal reason for that, as again is stated in my letter, is amongst others one of the people who perished in the accident was my brother. So I have a personal interest in knowing. Obviously my interest is not to seek revenge; it's too late for that and it's useless. But it's just I believe as happens with so many people who have come through you, the need to know as much as possible, the truth, what happened. Who did it; why? My second reason for coming to the Commission has to do with the belief that I have that in view of my former responsibilities in the Mozambican Armed Forces and particularly in the technical sub-committee that investigated the accident, maybe I might have perspectives, information, knowledge or just ideas that might be useful for the Commission. And that is of course for you to decide. So what I think I can do is eventually to give you a few comments on how we concluded, or what kind of conclusions we arrived at as the Mozambican technical sub-committee. 5 COL JB HONWANA First of all it is important to say that we found that it would be necessary to separate between the technical issues surrounding the flight on one hand, including the behaviour and the eventual mistakes that the crew made, from the allegations at the time that there might have been a decoy beacon somewhere in the South African territory, which eventually has lured the aeroplane to divert from its normal expected route into Maputo, to come to the place where it eventually crashed. So this was the first recommendation if you will, or the first conclusion that we reach that we have to separate, what is the technical information that was available to us at the time and the allegations about the decoy beacon. This is not to say that the decoy beacon was not important. Obviously it would have very critical - at the time specifically it would have very critical political and security implications. At the time it was not possible for us to establish whether or not there was a decoy beacon. But looking at the flight pattern and going through the evidence which we had access to through the flight data records and the cockpit voice records, which records both the communication within the cockpit and the communication between the crew and the various air traffic control stations en route, it was clear to us that the crew was convinced that they were following the VOR. The Maputo VOR. CHAIRPERSON: VOR standing for what? SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 6 COL JB HONWANA COL HONWANA: VOR standing for Very High Frequency Only Directional Range. Which is, if I may try and explain in simple terms. It is basically a radio transmitter which operates in a given frequency, that the ground stations have the VOR, the transmitter and the aeroplanes have the receptors which they tune into the different frequencies of the different stations. So for example if I want to follow a route from Cape Town to say Joburg, I will have the frequency of Joburg VOR amongst other information, and I will tune it into my receptor. So that I have the indication that this is the direction to Joburg. And since we are talking about this, the whole theory around the decoy beacon would be basically that somebody would have placed a VOR in Mbuzini, or nearby the crash site which would be transmitting in the same frequency as Maputo and transmitting the same code sign as the Maputo VOR. In order to attract the aeroplane from capturing the signal from Maputo to capturing this false signal. The intention of this would have been either to make the aeroplane fly over Mozambican Air Defence positions at a very low altitude without prior information, and thereby opening the possibility for the plane to be shot by the Mozambican own air defence units. It would have been to make the aeroplane come into South African air space, thereby open the possibility for the aeroplane to be intercepted by the South African Air Force, or SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 7 COL JB HONWANA eventually to bring the aeroplane into flight pattern lower than 3 000 feet and eventually if there were clouds for example - which seems to be the case at the time - the aeroplane could have hit mountains on the route, mountains in the Swaziland territory. But this was all as we saw it at the time and as I see it now, this was all speculation. Because we could not establish beyond any reasonable doubt that there was indeed such a decoy beacon. There seemed also to be some evidence on the ground of the presence of South African military and there were some allegations which were investigated at the time not by my technical sub-committee, but by the police and security subcommittee of the Mozambican Commission of Inquiry. CHAIRPERSON: May I just ask Colonel, when you say there was evidence, was it physical evidence; what form did this evidence take? Was it oral evidence? Oral testimony, reports, information, rumours? What was the nature of the evidence which indicated the presence of South African security forces on the ground? And when you say it indicated this, did it indicate it to have been there at the time the incident happened, shortly before that, immediately after that? If you understand, we would like to get some clarity around some evidence which suggested the physical presence of South African security forces. COL HONWANA: Yes. First of all let me clarify, I think I said there seemed to be evidence. Not (indistinct). SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 8 COL TB HONWANA CHAIRPERSON: Yes. No, no, I take it on that basis then what you would then be supplying. COL HONWANA: Secondly what to the best of my recollection my colleagues who did the police and security inquiry, they had oral depositions by local people saying that these local people had seen a kind of a military camp either a few days before until the very night of the crash, or at least on the day before until the night of the crash. So there was the presence of a small military unit or a small group of people in uniform. Who raised tents and were doing things or building things or something like that. This is what I recall. I don't have any better recollection. Also from the interviews - and I'm just recalling from memory - from the interviews that we conducted with some of the Mozambican survivors, they said that they had seen people from the South African Police going through the wreckage, looking specifically for President Samora Machel; until they found him, they identified him and they made sure that he was dead. And they were also looking for documents. This is what I recall from what the witnesses that we interviewed at the time having said. So that's why I say there seemed to have been some evidence. What makes this relevant, particularly this information about the evidence of South African personnel at the crash site was that we in Mozambique, as soon as we realised that the aeroplane had disappeared through our security, Minister of SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 9 COL JB HONWANA Security channels we did contact as far as I know the South African security forces to try and establish whether or not the aeroplane could have landed or crashed in South African territory. And the information - initially there was denial from the South African side and the information as far as I can recall only was provided to the Mozambican authorities at around five in the morning. Now the crash took place shortly after nine o'clock the previous night. And if it is true what the survivors said, the South African personnel were at the crash site probably before midnight. So there was a long time for them to inform us what had happened. So this at the time raised our doubts, our suspicions that there might have been some involvement on the part of South Africa; there might have been at least some bad faith. But of course we were not in a position to have any certainty about this. And one of the recommendations we made was that this line of inquiry should be pursued. But again obviously as Mozambicans we could not come and do any investigation in South Africa, so we could only appeal to the South African authorities of the time to undertake further investigation to try and establish the truth around this decoy beacon. CHAIRPERSON: As far as you know was that request made, and if it was made, was it complied with? SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 10 COL JB HONWANA COL HONWANA: The request was made both by ourselves as the Mozambican Commission of Inquiry, also by the Soviet at the time Commission of Inquiry, but it was dismissed by the South African Commission of Inquiry. Because the South African Commission of Inquiry was satisfied that they had enough evidence that the accident had been the result of fundamental errors on the part of the crew. CHAIRPERSON: Right. COL HONWANA: Maybe I could also mention that another reason why the speculations around the South African involvement in this accident, another reason which gave some credibility to that speculation was that in the few days before, probably during the week immediately before the accident, there had been a lot of hostile signals from the South African authorities, namely from the then defence minister, General Magnus Malan who had come through the Presidents, threatening action against Mozambique. There had been rumours circulated in the South African Presidents as far as I can recall about the fact that President Samora Machel was facing increasing internal opposition, that he had run away from Maputo, from the capital to the island of Inhaca; that his whereabouts were not known. So there was a lot of rumours and information leading to the belief that something was happening or something was about to happen SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WES TERN CAPE 11 COL JB HONWANA with regard to the security and safety of President Samora Machel. This is something that we discussed in Mozambique in the very few days just before the crash and some journalist - I think I recall journalist Carlos Cardozo writing an editorial in one of the newspapers stating that well, this is typical of a situation, this is typical of a preparation for something that is to happen. This is typical of preparing the public opinion should something happen to President Samora Machel. So there is danger. He saw this as an indication that there was an intention to harm the security of President Samora Machel MS TERREBLANCHE: Col Honwana.... COL HONWANA: Yes. MS TERREBLANCHE: I would just like to find out from you, were you aware that at the time South Africa was trying to take control of Phase 1 of the Maputo Harbour Project? Do you know anything about that? COL HONWANA: No, I don't. Not that I remember. MS TERREBLANCHE: Col Honwana, do you know anything about the threats against Malawi and the conflict between Mozambique and Malawi prior to the Samora Machel crash? COL HONWANA: Yes, I do. Maybe I have to make a relatively long introduction into this. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WES TERN CAPE 12 COL JB HONWANA CHAIRPERSON: Please do. It will help us to contextualise whatever conclusions we come to. COL HONWANA: Thank you. From late '85, particularly in the beginning of 1986 Renamo had launched a major military operation in the central area of Mozambique. Unfortunately we don't have a map here. But if you can try and recall the geography of the region, you obviously know that we have a border with Malawi amongst other countries. So Renamo had made a major military operation into central areas of Mozambique and at the time we had information through our intelligence units that they were being supported by Malawi. They were using Malawi as the point of departure for this invasion as we saw it. The intention being to cut the country along the Zambezi River Valley, which basically would make for one part of Mozambique from the northern margin of the Zambezi River would be one part of Mozambique and the rest of the country would be south of the Zambezi. As I said, Renamo increased its operation in the Zambezi province in the Mozambican side, in Tete, which is another province and Manica and Sofala. At the time we as Mozambican armed forces found it extremely difficult to respond to this. The one side of things because the operations were raging on all over the country. We had operations in the south, in the centre and this major thrust in that area. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 13 COL JB HONWANA There had been some contacts between the Mozambican authorities and the Malawian authorities, whereby Mozambique was trying to convince Malawian authorities to suspend their support for Renamo and for Renamo's operations. And once these contacts failed the line of action - at least in terms of declarations - the line of action which was taken was basically to say well, we will take the war back to those who are bringing it into Mozambique. In other words we will take the war back to Malawi. Because this major thrust is coming from Malawi so what we have to do, is to take the war back to Malawi. And as a result of that - I can't recall exactly the month, but by mid 1986 President Samora Machel visited our province of Tete which is one of the provinces which borders with Malawi. This was a visit in his capacity as commander in chief, much more than a visit in his capacity as the president of the country. So the main point of his visit was to assess the level of readiness and the capabilities of the military units in that province, particularly those units near the border with Malawi. And in the meetings which took place in those units and in the villages, in the local villages near the border with Malawi I recall from things that my colleagues who were present told me, that President Machel spoke very strongly against Malawi in what could be interpreted as very direct threats. That if Malawi does not stop supporting Renamo, we may invade Malawi; we may SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WES TERN CAPE 14 COL JB HONWANA bring the war back into Malawi. I'm not sure about the exact terms, the exact words, the exact expressions which were used. But in the interpretation of the people at that time this was the sense of what President Samora Machel was saying at the time. So obviously this raised immensely the tension between Mozambique and Malawi. This was followed by a series of demonstrations, manifestations in a number of places, both in the provincial capital of Tete, and particularly in Mozambique. I remember that there was a manifestation organised by the Mozambican Youth Organisation, the Mozambican Youth League if you will, in front of the Malawian Embassy in Maputo, expressing rage, expressing disappointment, expressing anger, frustration with the fact that Malawi was supporting Renamo. And Renamo's effort to divide Mozambique along the Zambezi Valley. So probably it was on the basis of this that the impression was created that Mozambique was preparing to invade Malawi. Having been at the time very involved with operational planning, I am not aware of any specific plan of invasion to Malawi, beyond this if you will political posturing. There was no - to my knowledge, obviously there might have been things that I didn't know about - but to my knowledge there was no operational plan to invade Malawi. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WES TERN CAPE 15 COL JB HONWANA CHAIRPERSON: Do you still recall who was Defence Minister at that time in Mozambique? COL HONWANA: At the time the Defence Minister was General Alberto Chepandi. But it must be said that since probably 1983 or '84 - I'm not sure - General Chepandi was accumulating the function of Defence Minister with the function of Provincial Governor in the northern province of Captain Delgado. And he would divide his time between Phemba which is the provincial capital, and Maputo. And increasingly the President took over military affairs, assisted by the then Chief of General Staff, General Sebastian Homobad and of course other military chiefs. CHAIRPERSON: Now I recall that Gobuza was once Minister of Defence. Was it before or after this event? COL HONWANA: Gobuza was once Deputy Minister of Defence, but it was before this event. CHAIRPERSON: What position was he holding at the time of the incident? COL HONWANA: Gobuza had held a number of positions. I think - and at the time I must say that my perception at least was that his relationship with the President was very tense. There had been rumours that Gobuza was preparing a special force. I think his latest position had been that of Minister of Interior and there had been rumours that Gobuza was preparing a special force, SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 16 COL JB HONWANA eventually with the aim of overthrowing President Samora Machel. As a result of that Gobuza was transferred from being the Minister of Interior to being - I can't recall the name but it was if I may say so, a very awkward designation. He was the Minister for something in the President's office. The Minister for - I don't know, Co-ordination of Economic Development or Coordination of Corporation, something like that which was basically which meant nothing. And also in that period there had been meetings of Frelimo Polit Bureau, there had been meetings of Frelimo - specially the Polit Bureau, to discuss this whole issue around Gobuza. And according to what I recall there had been very tense exchanges between Gobuza and President Samora Machel. So what I'm trying to say is that the rumour was that there was a great deal of tension between the two of them, and Gobuza was basically sidelined at the time. My understanding at least - and I think this was shared by many of the people who were not particularly knowledgeable of the details - but my understanding was that he did not have a function consistent with his prior responsibilities within the structure of Frelimo. MS TERREBLANCHE: Col Honwana, in August 1986 the South African Cabinet had a meeting where they say that their sources had told them that Machel had lost control over Mozambique. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 17 COL JB HONWANA Were there propaganda inside or at any way that you know of that could have led to such communiqué or would it have been propaganda inside South Africa? COL HONWANA: Well, I think to a large extent it was propaganda. First of all because I mean it was not - the way I see it, it was not Machel having control over Mozambique. It was Frelimo having control over Mozambique. Secondly there is a measure of truth in that, saying that Frelimo had no control over Mozambique, because of the event of the war. Because obviously we had no control over substantial parts of the country which were controlled by Renamo. If you will, it is also true that there were tensions within Frelimo, which I think is nothing extraordinary, given the circumstances. There would be personality clashes, there would be other clashes; differences in approach to policy, differences in strategy, and so on and so forth. But that to my mind did not mean that Machel was threatened of being challenged from within. At least not openly. That is my assessment. But you must understand that obviously I was not - as I am not now - in possession of all the details of the situation. CHAIRPERSON: H'm. If just if I come to you, it is better to continue the original line of questioning, but if it was so that there were tensions between Gobuza and the late President, and if SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 18 COL JB HONWANA 3 we extend that and suggest that there may well have been a conspiracy with the South Africans for either President Machel, his government to be toppled, or for him to meet the fate that he did; do you know of any floating of that sort of theory, conspiracy theory that possibly did take place within Mozambique, especially after these events? COL HONWANA: No, I don't really. Apart maybe from declarations made to the Presidents by - I'm trying to recall a name here - I can't remember. But this is an Italian national who lives in Mozambique I believe, who made some declarations to the Presidents to that effect, that there would have - I mean there was the connivance of some Mozambican officials, office bearers of very high rank in Mozambique with the South African authorities at the time, to topple or to cause this accident or somehow to change the political situation in Mozambique by removing President Machel. So this is - but there was not much substance so it was not made public or I'm not aware of it, to that theory. Now if you want my opinion, it would not surprise me. I mean it would not be the first time in the case of Mozambique. Those are things that happened in those kinds of situations. But obviously I could only speculate. I don't have any.... CHAIRPERSON: H'm. Ja. And lastly there was at the time of the crash a pronouncement that was made by Minister Pik Botha SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 19 COL JB HONWANA who announced to the world that the South Africans had managed to pick up documents at the crash site which confirmed in his view that the Mozambicans were on the point of attacking Malawi. Are you aware of those pronouncements which were made by Min Pik Botha as he then was? COL HONWANA: Yes, I'm aware of those pronouncements. CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patta? MS PATTA: I think you've answered the stuff about Malawi, but maybe just to continue about the generals. Were you aware of the late President Samora Machel having any plans to sack some of his generals on his return from the trip to Zambia? Obviously he died in the crash, so he never returned to Mozambique. COL HONWANA: Yes. In fact I was present at a meeting, probably on the Thursday. I think the crash was on a Sunday evening. On the Thursday President Samora Machel called a meeting with the senior military command at his office in State House if I can call it that, in Maputo. At this meeting the President announced that General Mobote, who was then the Chief of General Staff, was being replaced by the then Lt General Armando Pangene who is currently the Mozambican High Commissioner to South Africa. The reason given was that General Mobote was to go to Cuba to further his military training. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 20 COL JB HONWANA Secondly the President had been conducting a series of visits to military units around Maputo and elsewhere in the country in the couple of weeks immediately before the crash. And in his intervention the whole point that he made was that he had been unaware first of all of the gravity of the military situation. He implied that he had been misled to believe that we, the armed forces, were much more in control of the situation than in fact was the case. And also through his recent visits to a number of military units, particularly I recall his visits to some air defence units around Maputo and his visits to an air force station in the north of Mozambique, in Nakala, where he presided over the -I don't know how do you call it in English, but the closure of the training course of one of our paratrooper battalions. At the time the paratroopers were under the air force command. And.... CHAIRPERSON: A sort of passing out parade? COL HONWANA: Exactly. Passing out parade. So as a result of all these visits he said at this meeting he was convinced that we had what it took, or what was required to pursue a military victory in the war against Renamo. The problem was to place the right person in the right place. This was the emphasis of his - and this was the way in which he explained the changes that he was starting. He was initiating by removing General Mobote. And I remember quite vividly the President saying that when I return - I am going to Zambia, when I return from Zambia SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 21 COL dB HONWANA early next week we will continue this meeting because I want to announce further changes in this command structure of the armed forces. We need to place the right person in the right place. And he was in other meetings in which I was present. I also recall the President saying that we have failed to trust our young cadre. We have trained people as military officers, as military experts in a variety of functions, but we have failed to employ them properly. And therefore we are suffering these results in the war. So what we have to do is to be bold; what we have to do is to have the courage and place the right people in the right places. This was something that he was insisting on. So it is not speculation that - at least in his mind it was clear that what he had to do, was a major reshuffle of the command structure. And this was said at those meetings when I was present. MS TERREBLANCHE: Mr Chair, may I ask something of a different nature? Col Honwana, this might be a bit painful for you, but it concerns your brother. We have had a look at some remains of intelligence communication of the Western powers at the time. They were basing their analysis of the documents found on the plane particularly on the diary and the documents found with your brother. At the time they were concluding that Mozambique was under the kind of spell of major Russian disinformation campaign in Southern Africa, and that they were SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 22 COL JB HONWANA like the propagandas of the Russians. Now just in your opinion, do you think that your brother would have been the courier of such - or would there have been possibly another reason for him - if they are correct of course, and if the Western interpretation is correct, why there would be such documents with him? COL HONWANA: Would you please just clarify the question? If my brother would have been the courier of the Russian propaganda campaign? MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes. Do you think that your brother would have been, or can you think of any just possible reason or - you have known him closely, why he would have had this particular material with him? COL HONWANA: You have to understand that my brother was the President's special assistant. But this was only one of his functions. My brother was the head of external intelligence of the Mozambican Security. And I know that he had contacts with Western intelligence agencies as well as intelligence agencies from the East. So he was involved in the intelligence game if I may call it so. I don't have the details of his involvement. Obviously he would not discuss what he did with me. So it does not surprise me that he would have documents of this nature because it was part of his functions. MS TERREBLANCHE: It makes perfect sense, thank you. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 23 COL JB HONWANA CHAIRPERSON: Let me just assure you that the person who has just entered is a member of the Commission staff and therefore you can relax in his presence. Mr Alvin Brink. COL HONWANA: Thank you very much for that. CHAIRPERSON: Can you - Deborah? MS PATTA: Yes. Just two more questions, on the Malawian hostilities, just to clarify. I mean I'm sure we're all aware, but this was well after the 1984 Nkomathi accord had been signed with South Africa and South Africa was accused of backing Renamo at the time. And secondly, Armando Gobuza, am I correct in saying that he headed up or was involved in the commission of inquiry on the Mozambican side into the Samora Machel plane crash? COL HONWANA: You are correct. He was the head of the national commission. In his capacity - exactly, now I recall. In his capacity as the Minister of Transport he was the head of that commission, yes. So I must correct, at the time my previous deposition about Gobuza's position, he had gone through that situation of being more or less in the wilderness - no, let me get my memory straight. No, no, no. At the time of the accident he was not the Minister of Transport. I think he was appointed the Minister of Transport by President Chissano after the crash. So my previous comments are correct that at the time of the accident SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 24 COL JB HONWANA he was sidelined. And I apologise for this, but I'm just digging into my memory, I don't... CHAIRPERSON: Yes. COL HONWANA: So... CHAIRPERSON: And to your knowledge, do you know if President Chissano was aware of the tensions between the late president and Armando Gobuza? I would assume he was aware. And do you think this was a deliberate shift in outlook which indicated possibly a disapproval - not a disapproval, that might be a strong word - not necessarily an inclination to follow the outlook of the late president in sidelining Gobuza? Because it seems he was making an effort, not only one to take him out of the wilderness, but also to place him in charge of a very tricky and I must say sensitive investigation. It's like asking a person who was known to be my enemy to investigate the circumstances of my death. Or don't you have any views on that? COL HONWANA: I mean firstly to respond to your initial question, I think if I was aware of it, President Chissano was also aware of the tension between the late president and Gobuza. Everybody was aware. Secondly it's very difficult really to respond to your question. But my sense is that probably at the time of a great loss the idea was to have everybody on board, even those members of the leadership who had been sidelined. I mean SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 25 COL JB HONWANA everybody had to be on board, everybody had to be together what it meant to have lost President Samora Machel. So in that sense I think - and given the fact the Gobuza had been the Minister of the Interior, given the fact the prominence of Gobuza in the Polit Bureau, despite the fact that he was sidelined at the moment but he was a powerful figure. It was maybe on the part of the new president a sign or signal that we are all together in this, and that we are trying to reduce the internal frictions in order to face a much more danger, a much more threatening situation, which is the loss of President Samora Machel and the need to guarantee a certain stability in the initial times of transition. But this is just my interpretation, obviously. CHAIRPERSON: Now what - and now I'm asking you as a person who was in the armed forces, and particularly in the air forces. I know it's a topic that would possibly take you days on end to talk about, but what is your assessment of the South African response to the Nkomathi accord? Is it your view that when once it was signed they did everything in their power to stick by it, or did they immediately undermine it, and what in your view were indications that it was undermined? Because I think the overrunning of the military base and the discovery of documents which had been delivered by a Deputy Minister of SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 26 COL JB HONWANA Foreign Affairs no less was a revelation to the world that some goings-on were taking place, notwithstanding the accord. COL HONWANA: I think you have answered your own question, and I share your view completely. I mean there is no doubt in my mind - in hindsight now - that the South African authorities had no intention whatsoever to honour the Nkomathi accord. And I say this based is in the evidence of the documents, the famous Gorongoza I think of August '85 probably. But having been involved in operations throughout that period, I mean we had almost on a weekly basis - if not on a daily basis - evidence of the continued South African involvement in supporting Renamo. So probably the biggest mistake that our leadership made at the time was to believe that the South African of that time were to be trusted. And we paid a very high price for that. But I have no doubts whatsoever that there has never been intention to - it is not possible, it would have not been possible for example for the deputy minister Louis Nel to come to Gorongoza, to have the meetings that they had and the whole range of military personnel - and we're not talking about lieutenants or captains; we're talking about brigadiers, colonels - to come to Gorongoza, to do what they did and to say what they same, post Nkomathi without the agreement of the highest authority in this country. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 27 COL JB HONWANA CHAIRPERSON: Mr Magadhla? MR MAGADHLA: Colonel, what would be your comment to a statement which says before leaving for Lusaka President Samora Machel organised a meeting with journalist, the party leadership and the military. He told them that he had received information that the South Africans wanted to kill him. He gave clear instructions what to do if he wouldn't come back. COL HONWANA: I think those were separate meetings. As I said, I was present at the meeting that the President called with the military leadership. I am not aware of any other meeting with the military leadership outside of this one. And I believe that he had a meeting with journalists, separate from the meeting he had with us. I believe he had a meeting also with the party leadership of the Polit Bureau, and it's possible that he might have given instructions of what to do should he not come back. But I'm not aware of those instructions. MR MAGADHLA: Ja. I'm asking the question in the wake of the attack itself as to whether immediately after the plane could not be accounted for, that perhaps steps were taken in accordance with his instructions. But I understand if you say that is one that got away, that you went in. You are unaware of. But there are also - there is also a statement which says that "According to the Mozambican medical commission persons currently unknown interfered with bodies of six of the 35 SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 28 COL JB HONWANA who died when the aircraft smashed. Six of the bodies were found to have incisions already stitched up on the side of the neck. These incisions, about 7 cm long, were made with a sharp instrument on one or other side of the neck along the line of the sternocleidomastoid. The bodies affected were those of a Soviet crew member, President Machel's two Cuban doctors, two Mozambican stewardesses and of a functionary of a Mozambican foreign ministry. It was not possible to establish the precise times at which the incisions had been made." Are you aware of that statement? COL HONWANA: Yes, I am aware of that. I remember that issue being raised by the police sub-committee of the Mozambican national commission of inquiry. MR MAGADHLA: I see also here it says that "These cuts were not the cause of death. The South African Prof Nel advanced the theory that the cuts had been made to collect blood samples, but declared also that it was not normal procedure." I see he says it was not normal procedure. I was just going to ask also that if the accident had taken place there and they had identified the plane as belonging to Mozambique and the passengers as well, would it have been proper for them to quickly start taking blood samples and things like that on the bodies SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 29 COL JB HONWANA without having had communication with the Mozambicans, or having Mozambicans present at the scene at the time? COL HONWANA: I think absolutely not, particularly in view of the plane it was and the passengers that were there. And in view of the tensions between South Africa and Mozambique. So I think it was way out of line to do what they did. MR MAGADHLA: And seeing that it's being said and it has been said by many people that at the time there had been some military movement by the South Africans close to that place, close to the border at the time; if they - even if the plane had actually lost track on its own or for whatever reason - putting aside the question of the misleading beacon - wouldn't they have identified, wouldn't they have tracked or identified a foreign plane that was sort of that had lost track and got into their country? And if they had, wouldn't it have been the proper thing according to aviation treaties and things, have warned that plane that look, your plane has lost track or are you coming to South Africa or whatever the case would have been? COL HONWANA: Absolutely. And I think if may make a suggestion, at the time what we knew or what we thought we knew, was that the South African Defence Force had the capacity through their systems of radar and all of that, they had the capacity to follow any flight departing from Maputo practically from the point of take-off. They had the technical capacity. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 30 COL JB HONWANA And similarly they had the capacity also to control and follow the incoming traffic into Maputo. And of course with much better reason they had the capacity to control every movement in their own air space, in the vicinity of the two hostile borders both with Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This is the knowledge I had at the time, and I believe this is correct. So in that case I think it is reasonable to assume that the South African Defence and Security Forces indeed did track President Machel's flight. I think it is reasonable to assume that they saw the flight diverting from its normal path, going towards the crash site. And I also think that it's reasonable to assume, or to say that they failed all the basic norms and revelations of international aviation. Because they failed to warn the crew about the mistake which was being made. Besides, the crew was in open communication with the Maputo air traffic control. So the South African authorities had access to - I mean the Maputo frequency is an open one; it's known. It comes in all international aviation documents. And they would know, so they could have intervened in the dialogue between the crew and the air traffic control when it was clear that the crew was confused as to where the plane was. They could have intervened and they could have directed the plane to Maputo. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 3 1 COL JB HONWANA MR MAGADHLA: Yes. Thank you for that. And to your knowledge, did they ever give an explanation as to a nine hour delay in letting or informing the Mozambicans of the crash and the deaths of the passengers? COL HONWANA: To my knowledge it was never clarified. MR MAGADHLA: Are you aware of if perhaps that question was posed to them and as to what response they gave? COL HONWANA: I am not aware that the question was posed to them. I know that we solicited our own security services to pose that question. We as a technical committee. And the response that we got was that they were never informed by the South Africans. So I assume that the question was posed by the Mozambican authorities. MR MAGADHLA: Now the documents that Pik Botha spoke about as having been retrieved from some of the people who were dead at the scene, were they ever handed back or made available to Mozambique or did they keep them as property of their own? COL HONWANA: I don't know. I don't know the position. MR MAGADHLA: Now there has been reports that before this incident there had been attempts on the president's life in the form of attacks made on his palaces by South African forces. Perhaps they themselves may have not known that these were South African forces, but there is information and there are SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 32 COL JB HONWANA reports that there were several attempts made at these palaces. Are you aware of that? COL HONWANA: I'm not aware of any such an attempt. And although I may understand that maybe the security forces would want to keep those things secret, I find it very strange that I wouldn't know of it. And I'm not aware of any such attempt. Either by South African security forces or any other security forces, specifically in the president's palaces and all that. I'm not aware of it. MR MAGADHLA: Thank you. CHAIRPERSON: Any other questions? MS PATTA: Yes, I just have one question for you Col Honwana about the regulations regarding the arrival of the presidential plane from the Mozambican side. Do you know what those are, and were those practised on the night? For example the military radar on the Mozambican side or some radar would have had to have been on; there should have been four ground crew people; those kinds of things. COL HONWANA: There were no such thing as regulations. And the president's flight was treated as a civilian flight. It was operated - I mean the plane itself was operated as you know by a Soviet crew, but everything concerning the air traffic control, et cetera was dealt with by the president's security, the ministry of security and civil aviation authorities. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 33 COL JB HONW ANA This had been an issue that we as air force had discussed with some of our colleagues, wanting to have more say in the organisation of such flights. But it was decided that it was a matter of security and the security and civil aviation would take care of that. Now besides that, if I may make a comment on the actual flight and on the accident, I think it is important to try and understand why would the crew take the risk that they took, even considering that they were not - they would not come to Ntumbuzini in terms of the fuel. The quantity of fuel that remained in the aeroplane. Even if the flight had been successfully completed in Maputo, they would have arrived - how can I put it - with fuel far under what would be deemed safe. In other words in any normal flight when you calculate your flight you have to make sure that you have enough fuel to come to your airport of destiny, to be able to hold for whatever reason - there is some obstacle in the runway - to hold for a given period of time; minimum 20 minutes or 40 minutes - and to have enough fuel to fly to an alternative air field. Clearly in this case the crew didn't have enough fuel to do that. And they obviously knew it, because they knew the fuel consumption features of the aeroplane; they knew the distance. So they knew that they didn't have enough fuel to do that. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 34 COL JB HONWANA Now I knew the captain and all members of that crew. I had worked with them for years. And I knew them as professionals. I had flown with them in that very aeroplane a number of times. And all I can say is that their behaviour in that particular flight was absolutely uncharacteristic in terms of their technical behaviour, as professional flyers. MR MAGADHLA: Why do you think that this was so? COL HONWANA: I have no explanation for this. MR MAGADHLA: If there could be information or talk which says that on the evening prior to the crash there had been a group of South Africans or South African officials, high-ranking officials who had been at a camp or some sport close to the scene and sort of awaiting the happening; and amongst them there were Mozambicans who would perhaps be people who were from Frelimo as opposed to Renamo, but who were there with these people, what would be your comment to that? Would it be a thing that the Mozambican also have heard of or suspected to have happened? Or would there have been people that disappeared after that to say maybe people who would have crossed over to South Africa or whatever and did not return to their positions prior to the happening? COL HONWANA: At the time it did not cross my mind that - to look at that possibility, at the time when I was involved in this investigation. Later, in the light of the conspiracy theories if you SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 35 COL JB HONWANA will - and even now - I mean it doesn't surprise me that such a thing could have happened. Because I mean if there was South African involvement in creating the conditions for this accident to happen, certainly to my mind they would have to have some kind of support inside Mozambique. Some kind of at least inside information about the movements of the president, the details of the flight, et cetera, et cetera. The positions, the state of say air traffic control. And we have to make here a fine difference. I mean we talk about air traffic control when we're talking about the Mozambican tower. But in fact it is an air flight information service. I think up to this day the civil aviation authorities in Mozambique, do not have the necessary equipment to be graded as an air traffic control site. What they do is to provide information. Flight information service; I don't know exactly the civilian name, but it's an information service which is different from a control service. So for example, if you're flying under a control service, if the tower tells you to construct for example your landing manoeuvre in a certain way, that's what you have to do. It's mandatory. While an information service will say well, this is the wind, these are the conditions, you should make your turn to the left. But the captain says well, if the right is clear, I prefer to do SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 3 6 COL JB HONWANA the right and they do this. So there's a slight difference in terms of the authority of the tower per se. So Mozambique at the time it was a flight information service. Which is a fine technical detail, but I think it's relevant. CHAIRPERSON: Ja. Well, I'm sure there possibly will be occasions during the course of our probing into this matter that will possibly require you to return, and if you don't mind, we'll give you due notice. But for the moment I think we should because of time constraints, thank you for having come and indicate to you that you are now released, but that we have found your testimony very valuable. And we would hope that it as well as other testimony that we will be getting in relation to this particular matter will be sufficient at least to throw this matter again back into the public domain, and that we should get hopefully the authorities both in Mozambique and in this country, to sanction a much more penetrating probe than certainly the Margo probe was. I was keen to find out what the Mozambican investigation revealed. But then perhaps that is something for another day. Do you have another witness Ms Terreblanche? MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes, thank you Col Honwana. I agree that - I know that you're going overseas now, but we might be seeing Mrs Machel on the 23rd and we might want to - if you are back - to then test the other evidence we've had on your opinion. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 37 COL JB HONWANA COL HONWANA: 23rd of June? MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes. COL HONWANA: No, I won't be back. MS TERREBLANCHE: Well, as soon as you're back we would like to just have another discussion with you. COL HONWANA: I don't know if I can make this request; and probably it's unnecessary anyway but I just feel that I should make it. I would be very grateful if my name was not disclosed to the Presidents. Even the simple indication that there is a Mozambican former officer, for those who know me - you don't have many Mozambican former officers in Cape Town, so that is sufficient disclosure. I'll be very grateful if that didn't happen. It's not because I fear for my safety or security. It's just because I don't want to have the Presidents calling me all the time and all those kinds of things. I'm retired. MS TERREBLANCHE: No, you have our word. We have this far complied with it. CHAIRPERSON: You are excused Mr Honwana. COL HONWANA: Thank you very much. WITNESS EXCUSED MS TERREBLANCHE: Mr Chair, I am now calling somebody in terms of - we will now finish with the inquiry into the Helderberg with the next few witnesses. I'm calling a Mr Joseph Braisblatt. SAMORA MACHEL HEARING TRC/WESTERN CAPE 38 COL TB HONWANA CHAIRPERSON: Are you not intending to call any witnesses today in connection with this particular matter? MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes, we are. However, the people from the Helderberg have been standing over and they need to get on flights this afternoon. But I do later today intend to continue with this matter. The reason we took Col Honwana was because he also needs to go overseas, and would have no other time. I have really tried to separate the two issues, but it has not logistically been possible. CHAIRPERSON: I would hope that you have consulted with the engineers and the translators, for them to be able to separate the records when the transcripts are coming through. MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes. CHAIRPERSON: Very well then. Is it not time for us to take tea? MS TERREBLANCHE: (Inaudible). CHAIRPERSON: Who is that? MS TERREBLANCHE: (Inaudible).
TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION HEARING
ON TUESDAY, 29 JULY 1997
[PAGES 1 - 74]
OPENING READING AND PRAYER
ACTING CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Reverend. To those who do not know me, my name is Moses Pitso, and I am the co-ordinator in this province for the TRC. In the absence of the Chairman, Reverend Dr Mgojo, I thought maybe I would give you the main purpose, or the statement of purpose, the reason that we have called all of you here. It's primarily to get an input from you that will advise eventually on the final TRC report that will be presented to the State President. We had tried to invite as many people as possible, a broad spectrum of people from all the communities, and - well, though there is about 50 of you here. It's not that really, but at the end of the day it's the quality of the work that should come out of this workshop which will be more or better than the quantity, or the number of people that are here.
So, without really standing long here and saying what is mainly obvious, that we want to get input from you people that will advise eventually on what we say this - on the direction this country should take hereafter. I'll give the opportunity to the mayor, Mr Mohapi, to give his address.
But though still the purpose of our gathering here is not to revenge or plan a revenge, but the purpose of our meeting or conference is to see how best we can say, "We are sorry for the evil deeds of the past." We are in fact here today to see how we can achieve a true reconciliation in this country.
One does not need to be a philosopher nor a social worker in order to understand what is meant by reconciliation. However, one needs to understand the meaning of the word reconciliation, so that a true and real reconciliation can be achieved. Reconciliation, according to my understanding, is a process of healing after the wound has been inflicted. Reconciliation means to make friends after an estrangement with another person, or to purify by special service after desecration.
So, if we, the citizens of this country, have been at war with each other, and therefore in a way got hurt, we need to develop a mechanism to achieve a true reconciliation. We need to say, "We are sorry for what we did to each other in the past." To achieve this we commonly agree that everybody who played a role in the past should come out and fully disclose what he did, and say, "I am sorry for my part." Without that there can be no real reconciliation in our country.
Mr Chairman, there are victims who suffered in the past, and there are victims who still suffer the trauma of the past evil deeds of the former government. There are people still listed as missing in this country. There are people who are coming up with confessions and telling the whole nation what they did in the past. The conference you are having today is important as it gives concerned men and women an opportunity to see how a real process of reconciliation can be achieved, so that an everlasting solution and peace can be achieved in this country. Your conference today is therefore an encounter, and we must come up - we must come out of it with the wisdom necessary to ensure a real reconciliation and peace for both the living and the unborn in this country.
We are rejoicing, and at the same time mourning the deaths of many lives that were lost in the fight for freedom, and it is indeed through the efforts and sacrifice of the dead countrymen that we are where we are today. So, the conference of today should produce decisions that will save this country, decisions that will produce reconciliation and everlasting peace. We are superior men and women, and we must therefore understand what is right. We are superior men and women, and must at all times be liberal to each other's opinions.
With these words, Mr Chairman, I wish to welcome everybody to this conference, and at the same time wish all of you in this auditorium a happy participation and stay in the city of Bloemfontein. Thank you.
ACTING CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Mayor, for those wise words. You have in fact captured the theme of the conference today, that we are here really to engage ourselves in finding ways that are practical in bringing a true reconciliation to our country, especially this province. Without further ado I will give Professor Sidilwane a chance to address us. He'll be giving the main address today.
PROF SIDILWANE: When these young men came, and lady came, to court me to come and speak here, I insisted to them that I was going to speak in my mother tongue in my mother country with my people, and I was going to speak in Tswana or Sesotho. And they begged me that I must speak in English, even though I was to add in some other languages, but the theme should be treated in English for the sake of some people who may not understand Setswana. But I would like to make it quite clear that it is my contention that you are in Rome you speak Italian, and when you are in Sotho-Tswanaland you speak Sotho-Tswana, and when you are in the Free State you speak Sotho-Tswana.
Also I do not come here as a Methodist minister. Some of you will notice that I have not put on a clerical collar, therefore I am not going to labour here as a Methodist minister and speak to you the kind of things that I used to speak, or that I still speak, when I am in the Methodist gathering. Because really I am already, I believe, much more than just a Christian, much more than a minister. If I am professor I am professor of legal studies, and if you ask me how I look at myself - by the way, we are passing through a time in our land, in our country, all over the country, all over the world, of coming out. The gays come out and declare who they are, and people you have been living with all the time, without being aware that are gay or lesbian, are now coming out and declaring themselves, and say, "I am this." And very prominent people come out and are being known now to be what they are, gay or lesbian. This is a coming out perhaps that needs to be recognised, that I don't regard myself primarily as a Christian minister, but I regard myself as a teacher of religion. And if I am professor in that field it is because I am a teacher of teachers of religion. Not necessarily the Christian religion, but all religion, be it Islam, be it Buddhism, be it Judaism, be it the religions of the aboriginal people, how religion works where people are. And it is in that respect that I am here, and that religion out of which I am speaking is the religion of our fathers in this land. They did not call it religion.
It is out of that that I have now emerged, after I have studied all religions, in particular served in the Christian faith, that I can stand up outside and say, "I speak in the name of God, no, in the name of divinity." Because, you see, when I say God you start thinking about that Christian faith that you have been taught by the missionaries, and which the missionaries have made us believe the way we believe. I speak in the name of Mudimo. I speak in the name of divinity, that mysterious thing which nobody can describe, which the old men told the missionaries, "It is like oil which you put on a blotting paper. It penetrates and percolates and spreads until it fills the whole paper." I am speaking as a teacher of that faith, of the people who are actuated and pushed by that, that mystery, that energy, that power, that intellect, that strength, that dynamism, which makes us what we are.
Because, my dear brothers and sisters, some of us who are up against - most of who are up against and know a little bit about what it is, have been hoping that when we were fighting for independence and liberation, we were fighting from liberation even from those strictures which make us think the way other people thought, which have made us slaves to the religious thinking of other people. What is needed, we thought, we were going to get into a stage where we were not only going to be politically and socially decolonised, but where we would be decolonised also spiritually. Then we would have gone back to the ways of our fathers.
I have a huge grudge. I have a guilt grudge against the government of this country and those who make it up. And the grudge that I have is that when they were looking for ways of setting up the new South Africa they were able to run around the whole world and find out the various constitutions that could be found. They sat down at the Tate House and then they came out with a constitution, after they had gone to observe in Canada, in Switzerland, in Germany, everywhere. And they came out with what is acclaimed worldwide as a wonderful constitution humanly speaking, guarding human rights, caring for people. But they never, during all that time, sat down not one moment to say, "How did our fathers govern before the white man came? What was it that actuated them? How come that we in the Orange Free State and the Highveld here could have so many peoples living together? The Barolo, the Botswana, the Korana, the Namaqua, the Sotho, and all of us could live together, and all in peace. What was the political system that was at work here?" Nobody ever tried it to go and ask about that. Why? Because they were told by the ministers, by the missionaries, by the colonisers, that all that time was a time of barbarism. All that time was a time of no knowledge at all, and there is nothing that can be learnt out of it.
And yet Gabriel Sidilwane, a teacher of religion, can sit down and look at Tutu - I wish he was here. I am not saying it because he is not here - can sit down and look at Tutu, and say, "There Tutu is acting as an African. He is doing his tradition. He is not acting necessarily as a Christian."
You remember one time Tutu had a huge work-out with P W Botha. We were living in Cape Town, and they fought together at Tuynhuis. The story goes that they hurled at one another like West African market women fight, and they shouted at one another, Tutu telling PW that his uncle fought for this land in the Second World War, and that he has as much right to this land as anybody, and it was very bitter at that time. And then after that Tutu went and was met by some journalists, and they wanted to know about it. He said, "Oh, P W Botha, oh yes, he is my brother." He says, "Oh no, he is my brother really." And when they said it I said - I was teaching at Cape Town then, and one thing I wanted to do with the students is to make them see how our African ways cling to us in spite of all the sophistication of the world that is put on top of us like mud. I said, "What was speaking in Tutu at that time as not because he is Archbishop of Cape Town, but he was speaking because he's an African?" It was the African-ness in him that was speaking that made him say, after fighting like anything, and being an enemy of PW, as everybody knows, "He is my brother."
And he has shown it in many ways. The other day when Mrs Botha died Tutu was there. Not because he was Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Not because he was Archbishop of Cape Town. If he went there in those capacities, and was seen in those capacities, he saw that it was proper - by the way, FW was not there, who had worked with PW. He saw that it was proper, as an African, to go and stand and do the last respects to P W Botha and stand by his side. That is the African speaking.
I can go with all these examples throughout. I can give you one. All I am saying is that, look at yourself, whoever you are, African, and see how you do the things that you do, and analyse yourself, and you'll find that the best of yourself as a person, the spring from which you draw, is not that Christianity that you boast so much about, it is not that education which you have got, it is not that cleverness which you learned in the discipline that you did, but it comes out of that which you can't resist, your African-ness.
I get mad when people stand up, like my brother Thabo Mbeki, and say, "I am an African." I get mad, because as far back as 1976 - 1969, I myself wrote a meditation, "I am an African, black son of the soil of Africa, black as my fathers are, and my brothers." I get made when people start speaking very glibly about applying ubuntu(?) without really going deeply to find out what it is. It is that mysterious, if you want it, bewitchment with which we are born as sons of the soil and daughters of the soil of Africa.
And therefore it is my contention, Ladies and Gentlemen, that until we go back to those roots we shall not be able to find peace and reconciliation in this land. The good thing about being African is that Africanism does not know discrimination. That's why the white people were able to conquer us, because when they came we accepted them as people, and we did not know what dangers they were harbouring behind their cloaks. When they came up as missionaries we took them on. It is part of African-ness to include.
So, my dear white brothers, don't feel cut up when, once you have left this land, and once you have drunk of the waters of this land, when once you have gone down into the abyss of this land, into the mines, to get the treasures of this land, and become rich on it - sorry that you have kept it mostly to yourselves. The blessings of this land apply as much to you as they apply to the sons of this land and the daughters of this land
Another example - am I giving another example? No, I am going on with the question of reconciliation. Reconciliation after conflict, after struggle, after war, is part of African life. We strive in Africa. Conflict is a known thing. It's a pity that when the foreigner came to observe us, and put us down on books, he recorded us only as violent and destructive people, and never took time, in spite of all his education - psychology, sociology and the rest of them - to sit down and find out really what happens.
I am doing reconciliation in the African tradition. In 1986 I wrote an essay on the 7th anniversary of the University of Natal, and I entitled it, "Social salvation from an African perspective - how healing comes into society." As an African, from an African perspective. After every war there is a coming together. First the people go back, the soldiers go back, and in African custom every one of us - don't you hear those people coming to separate you, applying apartheid, telling you that the Zulus did it this way and the Xhosas did it this way, the Tswana and the Sotho did it this way, the Venda did it this way. In actual fact they all did it the same way, each in its own different way according to the place where they are. Right up to Zambia, right up to Fernanda Po. I am talking what I have researched, not what I hear about. I am talking about what I have lived and seen. They come back from war, and the men will never come back into the village and have peace and enjoy the warmth of their wives until they have washed all the blood that has been spilled by them. In Setswana we call it "kaswa marumo." They will be cleansed ritually. They will be washed, so that when they do come back in they are back to where they were.
If there is conflict between two groups - if there is conflict between two groups, after some time when the conflict has been - when some have given up and others say they are conquerors, there is a coming together of the two groups, and they come together in order to get reconciled one to another. In Zulu they call it, "ukuthelalana amanzi." Then they slaughter, and after they have slaughtered - by the way, when they slaughter, slaughtering is a means of prayer. They are saying by slaughtering the ancestors, divinity, the forces that make life, come here and confirm what they do. Slaughtering is the greatest sacrament of an African life, because by that we are putting on that switch which connects us with divinity, with Mudimo, with Badimo, and what we do after that, or in that ritual, is done in the presence of Mudimo and Badimo. Then these enemies, who murdered one another out in the field, sit together, and they eat together and they drink beer together.
The nubile and little girls amongst them from one village carry the water on their heads across into the other village, water from the bowels of the wells that gave them life, and they carry this water into the pots that give life to their enemies. And the others on the other side do the same, they bring the water this side. This ritual is called "ukuthelelana amanzi," and after that there is peace in the land.
Friends, I am doing this to say to you the capacity to reconciliation, especially for us, the African people, is not a capacity that we are being taught by the foreigner, be he priest, be he ruler, or be he professor and teacher. The capacity of reconciliation is a capacity which we in Africa have always known and have lived by.
Then there was a quarrel between the Buthelezi family. There was a Bishop Buthelezi present, Manas Buthelezi, who was a black theologian and did not agree very much with what his cousin, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, was doing. I am talking about the seventies and the eighties. And he was very fed up with him and there was strangeness between them, there was no peace. They did not need one another. And as it went on that way I think the elders - I don't know how it came about, but I presume the elders in the clan said, "This is not right that this should happen this way. There must be a coming together." And they came together, "bathelelana amanzi." They slaughtered in front of their ancestors, Buthelezi Mangosuthu, BA (Fort Hare), leader of a party, very high up, Manas Buthelezi, PhD through university, presently bishop of the Lutheran Church, "bathelelana amanzi," and there was peace between them.
I am giving you this instance to say to you these things you are doing in your homes. The only thing is that you don't want to come out. You are like a lesbian and a gay, who does not want to come out. These things are the practice that we all do. I quarrel with my brother, and we come back together.
So, when you speak about reconciliation and all this, and you ask me to come and speak to you, I am not going to proceed to repeat all the platitudes which have been taught to us by the Christians. Yes, by the Christians, by the Methodist Church. Which Methodist Church, by the way, I still want to come to the Truth Commission to accuse of abrogating my human rights ever since I joined them in 1948, stomping me and pushing me aside like a little calf not to suck at its mother, so that I could not grow up to the full structure of the man I could have been if I had grown in a free land. Yes, I speak it in front of Methodist ministers here. I wish your Chairman, Dr Mgojo, was here, because he knows that I am talking about. And they were Christians.
Then there are other religions that have come up in the land. There's Islam, there's Judaism, which have been opened up now. And what has happened since multiplicity of religion has been opened up? Instead of learning from Islam, what it means to be - what they have said, Islam, is submission, to be a submissive person. We in South Africa, as indeed all over the world, are experiencing Islam as violent, resistant ... (inaudible) Yes, it is only after Islam has come up that Pagad has come up. And when you look at Pagad, whatever you wanted to say at the beginning, you start saying, "How could any religion breed people who can go on to this extent? Amidst all the torture that we had we didn't go those extents."
The Afrikaner to this day, in spite of his civilisation and his ... (inaudible) ... does not forget the concentration camps which the Englishmen had in this land. Yes, brother, they were bad. I ... (inaudible) ... them, and my parents suffered with them in those concentration camps, if you want to know, in this land. But it's a sin that they, with all their Christianity, still think about the wrong that has been done to them, and old men tremble when they think of it. Even FW, when he speaks about the concentration camps. Speak about the Jews, with their wonderful religion which has given us Christianity and even Islam, what has happened, they never want to forget the Holocaust. The Holocaust is always the thing that is brought up forward, grudges and grudges and grudges. And if you come up as a foreign party, like me, and you say, "But it happened. Why don't you forget it?" then you are an anti-Semitist, you are anti-Semitic.
But we, we know how to do it. We know that after conflict there is a sitting down together, there is a calling out to our common origins, that divinity, Badimo, Mudimo, whatever it is that makes life breathe, and drawing on those energies so that we, who have been separated, can now come together and live together in peace. And that's how our fathers lived in this land. You never hear us saying, "Your Zulu fathers came and murdered our fathers." Whereas we have stories of our families - I have stories in my own family where parents, grandparents, aunts, were mutilated by the Zulus during the "lifakanu"(?). Today my children grew and married Zulu girls, and if a Zulu man knocks at my door and says he wants to marry my daughter I don't say no. Why? Because ... (inaudible) ... this thing about "ukuthelelana amanzi," the coming back together and reliving life together, under that power which was there, and has always been there, and always shall be there. That is faith, that is religion. So, when you speak - today when you speak about reconciliation I draw your attention to that.
Friends, for 50 years next year I have been a Methodist minister. I came into this ministry at the beginning of apartheid in 1948. I have been a member of the ANC from 1945 as a young teacher in Kroonstad under Reverend Z R Mahabane, been secretary of the branch there. Throughout my life it has been my prayer for some peace to come to this land, for equity to come to this land. When I was in Cape Town, and young men would put down their slogans on their doors, and there say all sorts of things, wonderful words that were spoken by Samora Machel about Azania, about coming up and living with Azania. I had one on my door there, and it was written by one of the freedom fighters from Mozambique. "If ever you pass by this grave when I am dead whisper to me and tell me that Africa is free, grown free." It was my prayer, because right from our time when we were at Fort Hare our prayer was freedom in our lifetime, and I was not seeing it come in our lifetime.
I prayed for the freedom fighters. So much so that in my church, the very Methodist Church, I was seen as a terrorist and a communist, and when I was in England, and wanted to come back home and get a circuit, they refused to give me a circuit, because when I was serving the church in Africa I associated so much with these very same people, the Oliver Thambos, the Mbekis, the Mzos, the Nkobis and all those, when they were terrorists. But my prayer was one, the freedom of Africa, the freedom of my people.
But I must tell the truth, friends, I was coming to the end of my life having given it up, that those prayers will never come true any more, be heard, and I was beginning to lose confidence. Then by grace of Mudimo I discovered Mudimo. I discovered the religion of my people. I discovered what a great thing Mudimo is. I discovered that I move with the grace of the ancestors. I applied it in my ministry. I applied it at Bethlehem in 1980. I applied it at Kroonstad when the people there were fighting with one another, chasing ministers around, and I was sent there to be chased around. Not so much because I could do any good, but so that I should get it, because they were my people. And we slaughtered and we went through a ceremony, and there was peace and progress.
What I am saying, friends, is that they ways of our fathers work. And, by the way, they are not made any duller, their demands are not made any duller by all kinds of sophistication and learnedness that we have put on ourselves. They are still there. I'll give an example.
Over in Natal there is a place called Driefontein outside Ladysmith. This land was a missionary clique where the black people were put by the missionaries, and they had little farms that they grew up those farms very well. At the height of the last regime this land was to be taken away from them because it was a black spot, and they fought and they fought at law, and they couldn't get through. One day there was a meeting in Natal at that place, Nzondalelo, of Methodist ministers and laymen, and one minister there called - I'll give you his name later. The minister there called the people and said - the old men came, there was old Gcabashe, there was old Nxumalo, there was old Musimango, and when they gathered he said, "Fathers, here is this ox. We have been praying for God that our people don't move from this land, and today we ask you to slaughter this one and speak to our ancestors, to go through our ancestors that the people do not be moved here." They slaughtered, they ate the thing, they did this prayer, having tried every prayer. To this day the people of Driefontein were not moved. The government relented and they left them where they are.
It works, friends, to be yourselves. It works to do that which your fathers have done. It works better than any medicine you can ever have which comes from a foreign land, and which even the owners of that land are not using properly. We have travelled in Europe, Christian countries, we have travelled all over. We don't see the message of the medicine that they used working. See Bosnia, see what is happening there. See Ireland. By the way, do you know that Bosnia is ... (inaudible - end of Side A) ... as Macedonia. It is a place where Christianity started. They still do not leave peacefully with one another.
So, here is my recipe for healing and reconciliation in our land. My recipe is that we come back home, we try the medicine of our fathers, that we come together and we do a proper African service of reconciliation. The Truth Commission will be handing over its job next year. What an opportune time for us all to come together and do what the mayor said here today. I don't know if he heard himself. I don't know if he heard himself. He said reconciliation is when people come together - he didn't use the word celebrate, but he spoke of a worship, a ritual. He said it is a service of healing which is done. I advocate an African service of
reconciliation which is not done through the churches, which is not done through any organisation, but which is done out of our African-ness and in the African tradition, where in an obvious way the whole nation will gather and we shall slaughter bullocks, and we shall call on our ancestors, the ... (inaudible) ... deities of this land, and they - "What has happened to us? We have killed one another. It's enough. We want to live now in peace with one another." And then bring the victims and the perpetrators together. You know what, the African will do it without any difficulty. I challenge the other people to do it. And you know what, I am sure P W de Klerk will be very glad to come. I am not sporting. Nee. Ek sport nie. Ek praat uit die diepde van my hart. I am sure if we said to PW - to FW, "There is this huge African service which will be done the African way by the doctors," I don't say sangomas, "by the doctors of religion, where they will call upon Mudimo and their ancestors, and all divinity that we come together and forget. Not forget the past, but to put away the past, and we live again as brothers, as Mudimo has ordained us to live." You will say as a Christian as God has wanted us to be. I agree with you. I say as Mudimo and Badimo have ordained us to live. Let us do it this kaffir way and see if it does not work, because everything works. Look what has happened in Natal. They tried everything to bring peace there. They have been doing it - they have not done it rightly. This is challenging. I have been praying all kinds of prayers, but none of them has worked. What is needed today is the whole of South Africa coming down and praying in the octotonous(?) African way. The problem with us is that with all our education and religiosity. We do not recognise spirituality where it works. You know where it works? I was looking at TV the other day, the manager of Hartebeestfontein Mine, where people have died recently, they were interviewing him, and he said to the interviewer, "You know, this thing that happened here is not something that anybody can anticipate, but it is something that should always and does happen. When you go down," he says, "when you go down into the bowels of the earth and release from there all the forces that are out there," and he said, "the forces of nature that are out there, you can't help but expect that there will be these seismic traumas which bring about these things." And he says it. He is not an educated man, he is a ... (inaudible) He is not a religious man like me and you, but he knows about the powers and the dynamism that lie in the bowels of the earth, and which can come up and affect human kind. It is these that I think we want to try - remember in our tradition there in the bowels of the earth, in the musima(?). That is the home of Mudimo. That is where Badimo are. This is where, without hearing yourself, you say when you bury your uncle, your grandmother ... (inaudible) ... and you put her down there, to go and strengthen those forces down there. Those forces affect us all.
And you, my dear brothers, Europeans who are with us, anybody who comes to live in the land is affected by them as much as everybody else, and I say we go and say, without any shame these are the powers we are going to call on, and anybody who really lives in this land, and wants to live in peace in this land, will accept them. There may be some others who may not accept them. I don't think Eugene Terre'Blanche will want it. But you forget about him. I am sure FW will understand and will want it. I am sure there are many Afrikaans people in this land - I can speak about the Afrikaners because I grew up with them. Ek is een van hulle, alhoewel hulle muyu nie aanvaar nie. I am one of them. I know the Afrikaners will accept it because they are part of this land.
Friends, I am saying when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission comes to an end you want - I don't want to use the word celebrate, but I can't get a better word, but you do want to have a huge service which lets them go through, because they are the doctors who have diagnosed our illness and told us where we are, and we will listen by coming together across our races, across our groups. Because these groups of ours, by the way, are not black and white, they are groups between ourselves. The man pointed it out the other day. It is not only the white man who did harm to the black man. The black man did harm to the white man, and the black man did harm to the other black man. So, there is need to be peace. There is need for coming together.
But you see, as a teacher of religion, I will be unfair not to recognise that this kind of thing has happened, and can happen in other religions as well. The Jewish people of old used to have a time when they stopped everything and they forget the past, and they sweep the board clean. And they used to have what is called the Year of Jubilee. Once every 50 years, after seven time seven years, the last year was the Year of Jubilee. Men, women, everybody came together. The wrongs of the past were cleaned, the debts which people owed one another were left out, and people started anew. They were able to face one another, the victims, the sufferers, the cruel ones, were able to get out of their shame out of their having lost their human-ness and meet again with the other people. Yes, reparation perhaps, but reparation is an alien idea. The important thing is everybody went back to square one and became human again, and started to deal with one another as muthu, as at present, in spite of the faults that lay in between them.
48 years ago apartheid started in this land. Next year will be 50 years where this land has been under the cloud of apartheid, the shroud of apartheid. It is only right and proper that we say to the Jews, "We are borrowing from your ancestors also, but we are doing it in the African way." The Jews can also show us another way, and we can declare 1998 the Year of Jubilee, the year when the people of South Africa came together and cleaned the slate so that they could start back again, so don't throw banks(?) on one another any more, like the Afrikaners are always saying of the English, like the Jews are doing at the Germans, but that they live as people, new. That will be the new South Africa, and that is the South Africa I pray for.
And in order to say that I pray for it I suggest that you all stand up and we pray together for it.
SINGING OF NKOSI SIKELEL 'iAFRIKA
We will be only fit to pray that way when we have gone through the feast of reconciliation. Thank you.
ACTING CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Ndada Sidilwane. Before we listen to the response from Professor Verster here I would like to indicate to you that the committee members have landed and they will be with us in the next 10 minutes. Thank you.
PROF VERSTER: Thank you very, very much, Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen. I have a very difficult task. I have to respond on a very inspiring lecture that we have had just now, and I am doing it from a totally different perspective, from the perspective of a misologist, a person that teaches missiology, from a Christian perspective, so you must excuse me for actually coming to this from a totally different viewpoint and from a totally different aspect of this question.
The question in our midst is the healing of the land, and I believe that Professor Sidilwane did indeed discuss some serious issues on the theme of reconciliation from the African perspective. One must observe that from this perspective, that in the African mind secular and divine are not separated - the divine, the numinous, is present in the secular, therefore the role of the fathers is so important. What are you without the ancestors?
One must realise that the community needs healing. We long for a situation in which peace and true humanity can be found. We all long for reconciliation and healing. Professor Sidilwane does find consolation in the possibilities recognised in the traditional communities and in their living.
Would it be possible from the Christian perspective embedded in the Western view to look for reconciliation and peace? Do we have to call on Luther's view of the two kingdoms? How can we reconcile secular and religious aspects, and what is our view on this? Should we say that in Western Christian view it is impossible to bring the secular and the divine together? Calvin suggested that every inch of our lives should be under the realm of God. No part of life can be separated from God's influence and His sovereignty. That would be correct, but it does not mean that it is seen in the way as seen by the traditional African communities, and the influence of the divine present in that way. God is indeed the God of the whole world, and His sovereignty must be proclaimed to all, and all must realise that God is a great and powerful thing and the divine source of all life.
But then the question, should we accept all that has a part in the salvation, and the only thing that is needed is a realisation of that salvation, that true human friendship will lead to true salvation? I do wish to suggest that a true humanity is seen in God's total presence, and in His salvation. But this salvation must eventually be seen as salvation in Christ, that shall be found in Christ as he reaches out to mankind.
Salvation must always be seen from the perspective of 2 Corinthians 5, verse 11 to 21, in which it is stated that God is the one that brought about the salvation, and that all must be seen in Christ who died for others and gave us the redemption. Through reconciliation should that be seen from the perspective of this salvation? In this sense Professor Sidilwane's view on comprehensive salvation is both accepted and challenged. It is accepted in the way that it's important, both for the reality, to accept God, but also to the relation to the fellow being.
True salvation must, however, always be viewed from the salvation in Christ. Christ brought salvation about. Reconciliation and healing without this salvation in Jesus Christ will not lead to a comprehensive understand of our situation.
What do we do to hold to this view about salvation if we say that it is a Western view and Western Christianity? Should we not recognise the powers of salvation in traditional African beliefs, and also in Island and other beliefs? God's grace is incomprehensible. His good and His grace is seen in the world. Christ, with his substitutionary death, opened up new ways of living before God. He is the one that opens up new possibilities before God. His salvation is so comprehensive that it's also important for other traditions, but we must state that the centre of reconciliation, healing, and reconciliation with God is in Jesus Christ and his vicarious death.
But this does not mean that the church should take over society and bring about the new society. The church should keep the calling of proclaiming this salvation in society. A regeneration of God through His people will bring about new life and new situation. Thus we are called to be positive in proclaiming this new life in a new situation.
We do not view the church as the only one that can bring this about. The Christian statesman, the Christian lawyer, the Christian businessman should proclaim the reconciliation where it is important. This is also asked of other traditions. This leads to a new situation in which the salvation of Christ brings about new hope and reveals the possibilities of new life. This new situation needs a question in our relation towards each other. Christ called us to be salt and the light of the earth. Christ called us to live a new life of substantial love. The love of the Christian should bring about the healing of the land. The love of the Christian is founded in the calling which comes from God, and God alone.
We should listen to the tradition in Africa and in other religions. We should listen and hear how they relate the possibilities of healing for the land. In this way we should also mention the healing that is seen in these traditions, but in the end we should say the substitution of Christ, his vicarious death on the cross, his reaching out towards the whole world in love, will bring about a new way of living and reconciliation and healing, is essential to our view of how we should live and what we should do. I thank you.
CHAIRMAN: We want to apologise. If we were to follow Dr Sidilwane's article, we don't know whether was it because there's something between us with our ancestors. Why should we leave so early in Durban, and then arrive so late here, when we left about 6 o'clock? Anyway, we thank God that we were able to come here, and I think that the Mayor will be leaving very soon, and we are very pleased that we have been here. It's very nice when we see our black Mayors running our cities. And we know that we are very busy, and that we could satisfy ... (inaudible) ... really shall be praying for you, and we value your presence. Thank you very much. Go well.
May I also bring the apology of Professor Magwaza, who was supposed to be with us here. We are supposed to be a team of four, and because of the work in the office we had to excuse Professor Magwaza to attend some of the assignments in the office so that we could come here ourselves.
We are just sorry that we have missed two contributions, especially the one from Brother Gap(?), because we wanted to get the basis of the African world view to understand reconciliation, especially that it's most of the Africans we are really talking about who really suffered, who have appeared before us in our hearings. It was good to get that background, so that when we go around speaking to them we have this foundation. Anyway, it's good that we have the tape. I have read the article, and it's very interesting indeed, and we are sorry that we have missed the contribution of the respondent, and again Professor Meiring could not come, and he was gracious enough to get somebody to substitute him. We just came when he was about to finish his presentation.
In these sessions of the conference we usually want also to hear from those people whom we term the victims, to get the victims' perspective as far as reconciliation is concerned. We do this because some are still very angry indeed about what's happened to them, and some have started the process of healing after they had said something to us about their suffering. So we want to hear from them. And we also give the opportunity to the perpetrators, to get the perpetrators' perspective. This is when we shall be moving forward. I hope, Moses, all these people are here. These people were given 30 minutes according to the agenda, which means that 30 minutes divided by three is 10 minutes each. If you can just say what you feel about reconciliation we are going to allow you for 10 minutes.
And after they have made this presentation there is going to be what we call the buzz(?) which will be facilitated by Mrs Virginia Gcabashe. Let me repeat this. There's a tendency and a temptation when we come to that, when people start making their presentations in the buzz, of also asking questions which they should be asking in their groups. The buzz is that you listen carefully as you listened to Prof Sidilwane and the respondent, and to the people who we term the victims, and also perpetrators, and then the buzz has to do with the questions of clarification, if there are some things you want to be clarified by those who had given the contribution. Other questions will be discussed in the groups.
Here on my left-hand side is Mama Virginia Gcabashe from Durban, and then on the other extreme end is Mr Mdu Dlamini, also from Durban, and I am Mgojo myself.
Can we now call upon the first victim to give this victim's perspective. That is Tong. 10 minutes. Just be honest. Just say what you feel. Don't try to please anybody. Give us your feelings on reconciliation.
VICTIM: I am going to try to give you the ... (inaudible) ... before I was called to come and give ... (inaudible) ... as to what happened to me during ... (inaudible) ... by the government I was - I know what it is to be ... (inaudible) ... but during the process the police ... (inaudible)
MACHINE SWITCHED OFF
PRESENTATION CONTINUES IN AFRICAN LANGUAGE
CHAIRMAN: Before you go on, we will need somebody to interpret what you are saying, because we are - unless you are going to make a summary after that, or somebody is going to make a summary. Okay, thank you.
PRESENTATION CONTINUES IN AFRICAN LANGUAGE
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Can we get the summary.
INTERPRETER: Before I was arrested I was an outspoken person. I was very active. After the torture by the police we were so fearful, and we were invited to the TRC offices, where we opened up, where we talked about the past. But it is difficult to forget some of these things. They will still remain with us. I will not forget them. Now, I come to what I would like the TRC to do. I would like the TRC to find out how these things happened. Most of us do not function as before. You must have realised I wanted to express myself in English, and I decided to change to my mother tongue because I am very forgetful these days. I thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. We appreciate your presentation. And the next one is going to be Mosidi Moghale.
PRESENTATION PROCEEDS IN SETSWANA
INTERPRETER: I will speak in Setswana. Before I came to the Truth Commission I was very disturbed and I was very sick. Since 1978 I was tortured by the Special Branch members. They were harassing us every night. We knew for a fact that the night was their time. And I came to the TRC through its invitation and I told them my story. I was a little relieved. I was then referred to Pilanomi Hospital for psychiatric treatment. I was under the supervision of Mr Masutu. My son was killed in 1986. He was a member of the MK. He was killed by the boers at Thaba Nchu, and the TRC, after relating my story, promised to find the remains of my son. But it is difficult for me to believe that my son is still here at home. I know for a fact that he was in Tanzania. I am expecting the TRC to help me with the death certificate, because that is what I need. We were invited the second time to the TRC offices in Cape Town, and I found out that it was not myself only who was harassed. I realised how many people had been harassed, the people of the ANC. And since 1980 myself and my husband are not working, we are unemployed, both of us are at home. My other son was also assaults in Ficksburg and he bled too much. I am satisfied because I told my story, it's really made me relieved, but I am still expecting a lot of help because the Seqoli(?) son was exhumed here in the Free State. I do not know whether my son will be found. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Now the last person to give the victim's perspective is Martha Khoso.
PRESENTATION PROCEEDS IN AFRICAN LANGUAGE
INTERPRETER: I greet you, ladies and gentlemen. I am Thandi Khoso, the mother of Comrade Thabeng, who was harassed by the police in the 1980s. When I arrived here - excuse the interpreter. The police would arrive at night, and if they do not find him at home they would harass me. And he was arrested in 1989 during the state of emergency. During his arrest he left behind a girl who was pregnant, and on the 10th of June 1989 he was released from the state of emergency. After his release, that was in 1990, the 1st of June, he was killed. There was no peace at home because of this incident. Myself and my husband were fighting all the time until we separated. On the 15th of October the child was born.
After coming to the TRC I felt very ill, because I thought myself that the wounds were being opened the second time. And I was given help by Mr Masutu, the psychiatrist, and I thank the TRC for the invitation they extended to us. We went to Litala Bantu in Cape Town, where we met with other women. At first I thought that I was the only one affected by this, and yet it wasn't the case. Many people were really affected. Bishop Muthalingwe and them prepared us for forgiveness. They gave us lectures, telling us that it's good to forgive ... (inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 1)
CHAIRMAN: (Inaudible) ... the victim's perspective, and now we are going to listen to the perpetrator's perspective, and I am given the name here, Matshabe Thulo.
MR THULO: Oh, I have already forgotten this is midday. Let me just say to you, pardon me by saying good morning, because I am not on the other continent or whatever, I am in Africa.
Thank you, Chairperson of this sitting today, to the members of the TRC, the victims, ladies and gentlemen gathered here today. I must say to you that I feel honoured to come and say what I am going to say today, also labelled as a perpetrator, although I don't believe so, but that's how the situation has changed for me today.
After being released on the 12th of December last year, through the TRC Amnesty Committee, hardly four days I was democratically elected as the Chairperson, African National Congress, in one of the branches in Kroonstad. By saying this I want to give you another picture that really the citizens of South Africa are reconciling. After doing what we have done, although we were defending the community in Kroonstad, but I do hope that people who are ... (inaudible) ... that humanity cannot easily reconcile with you when coming to remembering what happened in the previous years, by using maybe some firearms, killing some people on daily, but they have showed to me that they have got a trust in me and then had elected me ... (inaudible) ... the chairperson of the ANC. After some few days also ... (inaudible) ... was there, and then I was elected as a member of the ... (inaudible) ... committee, and also in the working committee of it. But due to financial constraints I failed to make it in the region and then resigned.
From our view as perpetrators I therefore think that okay, here in - there in Kroonstad things are running smooth even one or two things have to be ironed out. Because at the present moment I am busy trying to solve the problems of the community. Every member of the community who is having a problem is regarding me as one who can be coming up with the idea to solve her problem.
At schools the principals always invite me and ask me to motivate the students, because they always think that what has happened in the previous time, by going up and down with firearms and trying to shoot someone, it's in honour of it, it's whatever, pride or whatever, then I always show them that that is not how to approach life.
And then also the station commanders ask me to be part of the meetings of them, and those structures that have been set up there within the police. Because of laws I always got invitation from the prosecutors when coming to child abuse, and then women abuse, etcetera. And this shows that really there is reconciliation in South Africa, and then the community accepts me, and then I cannot fail going up and down in that region, and then seeing that maybe people regard me as an animal or whatever. I feel in my bones and in my veins there is some reconciliation.
But I think I will be very much unfair to myself and my fellow comrades who have been released with me, because we are not only perpetrators as such, because if it was not because of apartheid regime we could have not shot the people, maimed the people or tortured the people, as all what I have mentioned happened also to us. We were tortured, maimed and then even thrown into prison. That's why I said when I opened up my statement that I don't regard myself as a perpetrator only, but also the victim for the previous regime.
In understanding that this is the process of reconciliation and healing, but one has to be open and frank and exactly straight to the point. What I do believe the TRC should do is that the people, you know, the community who went through this - because at the present moment in Kroonstad there is that again that those small gangsters. This shows that those young children who were young at about that time, and then witnessed what happened previously, they enjoyed this. They are now starting to go up and down with their firearms. And then when I move in the street maybe some people when they see me they do see me as that guy with guns, and then also labels me, and then the recognises the gang that I was fighting with. And then whenever they see that township where the gangster was residing they also remember what happened, and keep on talking about that.
So I do believe that I can comment to the TRC that the trauma that the community of Moukeng and South Africa at large went through, it must be judged in another way. I believe that the people need to be - need counselling, the people of Moukeng. Because if they can be counselled and then they can stop talking about what happened in previous years, and then by stop talking about that - not forgetting, but stop talking about that so much, it can give an impact to the reconciliation process that we are on. And then to stop this, to become a lifetime albatross to the coming-up generation that has already stigmatised the whole community of Moukeng.
And also the members - the former members of the SDUs and the victims of - the families of the victims should be taken into consideration when coming to the counselling. And it's spontaneous they want to say that -also the perpetrators are also the victims, but the fact is we went out of prison as perpetrators, and also the victims of the previous regime with vision, with courage, and full of enthusiasm. We drafted plenty of documents. That goes hand in glove with the reconstruction and development, and at the present moment our morals as far as those documents are concerned are dampened, because we don't know where to go.
And now some of those activists who have been released through the Amnesty Committee, whom are not maybe politically inclined, at this stage they are sitting now without jobs and nothing whatever to do, because life needs resources, whether outside or inside. So then they may turn out to be hard criminals. And that - I would recommend that the TRC must do something.
But all in all I will say that if the TRC doesn't consider what I have already said in front of them, this is leading to the self-destruction of our future, Presidents and Ministers. And then with this high note I will say that we also need physical and mental check-up, or to undergo physical and mental treatment, because as you can see we can move from here maybe about a kilometres with foot, but when we sit down we can feel that no, something is wrong here. And sometimes when you laugh or do something you feel pains in your body. And then we need reconciliation.
And then my last word to the TRC is that let them not ignore those who are released, because they have firearm experience, and they have that do-or-die cause, so they can destabilise our country with crime because they are getting starving, and then our country is already angered with crime. So, but generally we say that the community is reconciling with us, but do take consideration what I have already said as far as the suffering of the comrades who are released from prison, Mr President. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Let me revisit the programme before I hand over to Mrs Gcabashe. Well, maybe there is a need for summary in Sotho. Did all the people understand what was said here? Okay, this is all right.
If we look at our programme, I have just said that the buzz has to do with the questions of clarification, so that item which comes under 11.15 to 11.25, and 11.15 to 11.45, it's just going to be one thing, because we are going to deal with the questions of clarification. that is to say questions which have to do with what has been said and you did not understand it. Let us not start opening wider discussions because we have got prepared questions we'll be dealing with in the groups. And again we'll have the groups allocation to be done by Mrs Gcabashe again, and she will also lead us into the group work. Now, may I hand over to Mama Gcabashe to deal with the next item.
MS GCABASHE: Thank you Professor Sidilwane, and all the other speakers. Now is the time for us to mull over what we have heard from the presentations this morning, so what I am going to ask you to do to start with is to turn to your neighbour and have a brief discussion about what has strike you most in the presentations that you have heard. We'll just give you five minutes for that, and then after that we will allow for questions of clarification only. You have already heard from the Chairperson that we will not have a discussion, because discussions will take place in our work groups. What will happen after the buzz groups will be to give time for questions of clarification. You can pose your questions to any of our speakers.
MS GCABASHE CONTINUES IN AFRICAN LANGUAGE
MACHINE SWITCHED OFF
MS GCABASHE: (Inaudible) ... him also. Okay, let's exhaust Professor Sidilwane's questions first.
MR ?: In your response it seems to me that you dealt with the subject of reconciliation, and if I understood you correctly you were saying that reconciliation - you dwelt upon the fact that reconciliation is of God. But my question to you is, don't you think that reconciliation is also essential in the building up of a new South Africa, a new - a brand-new democracy, that - that's the question. Otherwise I'll go too wide.
MS ?: This to Professor Verster. The one thing that I -message that I thought I heard from your presentation was that the only way to reconciliation is through Jesus Christ, and my question to you is that implies that - or rather are you implying that there is no other way to reconciliation? That's the first question. Is it only through Jesus Christ? And then the second question would be - I would like some clarification on what your thoughts are, and specifically what you though of Professor Sidilwane's recipe for healing and reconciliation, whether, you know, that is acceptable to you, whether you would be able to accept that as a true way to reconcile?
MR ?: Thank you. I like the borrowing of the jubilee, the idea of the jubilee from the Greeks, that - from the Hebrews, that you allude to. Now, I think that's one of the things, but I don't know how it could be done as one has - all the speakers have already mentioned here the other people, especially in business, who are controlling the economy of this country, those who are controlling the farms, where the sheep of Bethel have gone to, and the cattle, and so on. If those people could be brought on board somehow in a conference like this, I don't know, to let them - because we will then have to wipe away all the deaths, you know, and all that, and that really affects them. And I agree with my brother here, to whom, you know, do you reconcile under such circumstances? So the question of jubilee, if you could say more about that I'll be happy.
MS GCABASHE: Thank you.
MR ?: (Inaudible) ... is from other meetings that I have attended, where a way forward was explored in reconciliation and healing. It has just been as it is today. You have one party, and the other party is absent. Can healing and reconciliation take place when the other party is absent?
MR ?: This one is addressed for Professor Verster. The problem is of equating reconciliation to salvation, and salvation is very far more removed - removed from people. And now healing itself is a process. I find it difficult to find how he reconciles reconciliation to salvation, and salvation is ultimate, whether reconciliation is a process, together with the healing as a process.
MR ?: My questions is to Ndada Sidalwane. I heard Ndada Sidilwane saying he lost confidence in Christianity. Now, I would like to know if I interpreted you well on that. You said something like you lost confidence in Christianity. I would like to know what does it mean to a young man like myself if the minister of religion, if I may say, is saying he lost confidence in Christianity. Thank you.
MR ?: My question is directed to the Chair in relation to ... (inaudible) ... presentation that the remains of her sons, because she gave some indication that maybe they are somewhere, somehow in Thaba Nchu, and then she has an information that she knows where he was murdered. I just want to know whether anything has been done so that maybe he can help to heal here if he can recover the remains of her sons really.
CHAIRMAN: I think that question - such type as those questions can come when we summarise everything. I think at the present moment we must not confuse the issues. The issues here now are directed to the people who have made presentations, so that they may be point of clarifications. Our methodology will be very confused indeed. We need to follow a certain methodology pattern so that we don't lose what we are here for.
MR ?: A further question to Ndada Sidilwane. If he could clarify to this house the difference between the human-ness of man and the African-ness - the human-ness and the African-ness. If you could clarify to this house if ever there is any difference.
MS GCABASHE: Have we exhausted the questions to - because we need to watch our time. You had your hand up, but were you going to - oh, you have been covered. I think I'll now take the last question. I see two hands. If you could both be brief so that we can give our respondents time to respond.
MS ?: My question is that I would like to know is it not too soon for us to be talking of reconciliation and healing when most of the victims they don't even know who the perpetrators are?
MS GCABASHE: Can we suggest that - you know, that kind of question, because the questions that we'll be looking at in your groups will have a reference to your question. Maybe we could discuss that in groups, so save your question also for the group work. Thank you.
MR ?: I just want to know from Professor Verster how does he relate Luther's two kingdoms to reconciliation, because I heard him mentioning something about that?
MS GCABASHE: Thank you, I think we have had enough questions, and if there are those who still wanted to ask questions they could continue doing that in their working groups. I will now give Professor Verster an opportunity to respond.
PROF VERSTER: Thank you very much for the opportunity, and thank you for the questions. The first question is whether we should think of reconciliation as something we all are in need of, black and white, even though we are black and haven't experienced all the bad things, and on the other side if we are white and do not see ourselves as perpetrators? I think that we really are in need of reconciliation in this land. I think we are in need because the whole system brought separation, and endless wrong things and wrong deeds, so that we are in need of working together, of coming to each other. Therefore I think we are all in need of reconciliation. Reconciliation is of God. That I mentioned very strongly, but that does not mean that we are not in need of a new South Africa, a new way of living, a new people. We need new people. That's the - to my insight the meaning of the bible, that a new people is being brought about by the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that new people bring about a new society, and that we are all in need of a new South Africa, new society, new democracy, because that towards which we strive in the name of Jesus Christ.
That brings us to the next question, whether Christ is the only way to reconciliation, and what then about the suggestions of Professor Sidilwane? I do believe that Christ is the way of salvation, that he is the one that reconciles us with God, but I do also believe that his reconciliation is as powerful and strong, and that his reconciliation has meaning for all people, and has a depth of meaning, spirituality, that all people can see that God reaches out to them. But I must say that I am a bit worried that we should say that we should all accept inter-religious kind of service. I think we must give one another the leniency to be of the opinion of having our own preconditions for inter-religious meetings and such sort of things.
Then the other question was what shall we do when only one party is present and the other party is absent? I think that's very sad. I do think that we should try to bring about all the parties, and that all should come to a place like this so that we can reach out to one another.
Then the question about reconciliation and salvation, is reconciliation and salvation - must it be seen as the same thing? I think reconciliation is the reconciliation with God in the first place, through Jesus Christ, through His blood - reconciliation with God, and then that leads to salvation, total salvation, in this new way of living with God and near to God.
Then the question are we not too soon with reconciliation, should we not first of all see all the perpetrators, and hear them all out, and see all the victims and hear them all out? I think reconciliation can never be too soon. I think healing can never be too soon, but then we need to find that by God's grace.
I mentioned Luther's two kingdoms just as a sort of a way of discussing the whole thing that Professor Sidilwane mentioned in his article that was given to me, where he mentioned that the African view is not to separate the divine and the secular, and I just wanted to show that in Western theology there's also the viewpoint to separate divine and secular in a certain sense. But I do not agree with that because I said that Calvin suggested that every inch of our lives should be under the realm of God.
I thank you, Mr Chair.
MS GCABASHE: Thank you. Professor Sidilwane, your turn now.
PROF SIDILWANE: Reconciliation is of God. I am just coming on a little bit from what the professor says. Reconciliation is of God, and this brings me to the answer to the question which one of my sons here says that this ... (inaudible) ... he has lost confidence in Christianity. Yes, I have lost confidence not in Christianity as it was taught by Jesus Christ, I have lost confidence in Christianity as it has developed over the ages, and taken on ideas of other people, other civilisations, other traditions, other ethos. I am even more - lost more confidence in Christianity as it has been practised, especially in other lands - especially in this land of ours, by people who have come here and taught us Christianity and not lived it themselves. You see? Christianity and what has been practised are not the same thing, and I say, my child, after I have studied it for many years, and taught it, I have not lost faith or lost confidence in God, in Jesus Christ. I do believe that in Jesus Christ there was something happening that God was wanting to do for the world, but I want to believe that the world has taken off in another direction and it is not doing what Jesus Christ wanted us to do.
So I have answered that question, and I - that is why, you see, I can still continue to be a Methodist minister, and not only a retired one. I can still preach. I can still be recognised so much that when Professors of Methodism throughout the world meet next month in Oxford they will write to Gabriel Sidilwane and say, "We want you as a professor of Methodist Christianity to come and be with us, and participate and share with us." I am still that much of a Christian, but not a Christian of the practice that has been here. I show my confidence in the church's God, and why. So that part is straight.
About the human-ness - I will just take them at random. About the human-ness and the African-ness. When I speak of human-ness I never really come in - I think when I use human-ness, human-ness as I understand it is what the tender European way comes in, which I have learned from the dictionary and book. Humanitas, that which has go to do with the human, over and against that which has to do with the animal. You see? But when I speak of African-ness, and I then use the word "buthu," Africa "buthu," I mean much more than that, because in Africa - read my Image of God among the Sotho/Tswana. Read my African Theology and Introduction. In Africa ... (inaudible) ... there is sacredness in the person, and therefore African-ness, using the same "buthu," sees in this person more than just the flesh and blood and all the tender feelings that go along with it. It sees in this person an embodiment of divinity. It sees in this person something that is involved, in which the ancestors come to me and speak to me about. And that's what I mean when I say African-ness. There is much more to it. You can't do anything you want to do with it, but if I speak about human-ness I speak about human ... (inaudible) ... is to say there is in the human person a tremendous amount of divinity. So that when I meet the person I don't need to go and look for divinity elsewhere. And the living of my divinity, my closeness to divinity, is going to be the way I go about with the other person.
Then I speak to divinity. Christianity does it. Christianity - that's why I was a student of Christian social change, you know. I went and studied social ethics all the way in America, with the experts, Darryl Neber, John Bennett, and the rest of them. But still I find that the greater one is my father's ways. When it comes to it they never really get to where my fathers were when I touch you, when I meet with you. And if I don't do it, if I don't do it, then I offend divinity and I suffer, and then becomes the essence of that article which you have read, "Xaba."(?) Because I did not act to you as I acted with divinity.
Next one, about the parties. We should ask ourselves questions, we who are Africans, we who are ANC, we who are PAC, we who are AZAPO, we who have been kicked around and so on, why the other people cannot come here. Is it not because they have felt too kicked out, too estranged? Is it not because we ourselves have not yet come to the point where we can accept them? And that's exactly what I am saying. It is this that will have to be healed. We ourselves. So that we can be that big, that African, that ... (inaudible) ... so much so that we can accommodate them and make them feel at home. And the point of reconciliation is exactly to do that, so that that brother of mine should come and know that I accept him.
That Alwyn Schlebusch, who lives in Kroonstad, who signed the order that burned me, as Minister of Justice at the time, should know that Gabriel Sidilwane over there can still accept me. And I have gone to his house, you know. When his wife died I and Reverend Dow(?) went to his house and we prayed in his house, and I want to believe to you that Schlebusch now knows that Sidilwane sees him as a human, and accepts the person. And, by the way, when I speak about African-ness ... (inaudible) ... is not restricted to Africans. Yes, I am. You want to be taught. "Buthu" is not only for Africans. All humans ... (inaudible) ... in the African sense.
African theology, my African religion, does not discriminate because somebody was born somewhere. It is something which has been there from the beginning of time, and by the way the archaeologists say that humanity started here in Africa. The other people went off away from it. We kept it, we lived with it here, and therefore the white man can know African-ness. The white man can be "muthu." If perhaps he has forgotten ... (inaudible) ... which must help him to come back. I am talking about reconciliation ... (inaudible) ... you help that poor white man to come back to the state of "buthu" finally ... (inaudible) ... my son-in-law asks, "Is it not this kind of attitude which has made slaves of you?" He is a Nigerian and he happens to be my son-in-law.
That question we answered with Reverend ... (inaudible) ... as we were coming this morning, and we were looking particular at us, the Tswana people, the Sotho people, people who are not pushy, people who are not demonstrative, and people who are losing, especially today in South Africa, when the new South Africa comes, we are getting forgotten as if we are not talented like anybody else. We know it. We see it. And we are talking about it. Why? Is it you who are downtrodden, turned into this, that you are the ones who are talking about reconciliation? Yes, we are the ones who are doing it. Kicked around by the white man, kicked around by our own fellow black men. That's because Moroka(?) was so nice, and so much of a human person, to be able to extend a hand of help to the dying Afrikaner here at Verkeerdevlei. Your job in that case is to know that is your "buthu" which ultimately is going to conquer ... (inaudible) ... at the end of the day it is Mudimo who acts, who wins, and we come along.
About slaughtering, you, my brother, who wants to slaughter ... (inaudible) ... we are talking about national issues ... (inaudible) ... people don't have anything to slaughter, but at the present moment we are trying to heal the total nation, and the total nation should be healed, and it is when we shall be healed as a nation that things will go, so that this lack of employment, there will be blessing from the ancestors, there will be blessings from Mudimo, and there will be work, and we will develop because we are not developing with some people having the grudge in their hearts. Away from there ... (inaudible) ... I understand you. But just hold on a little bit. Let us think nationally for now. We are talking about national salvation, and if all are healed the individuals in the homes will also be healed by the grace of God. Thank you.
Oh no, but there is jubilee thing. Ja, that is very important. I want these TRC people to know it, because I have been howling this thing in the South African Council of Churches, and they tell me that - they tell me that leaders of the church, what do they call them - heads of the church - will not like it. It's more than a year that we have been howling about this thing. When you do the jubilee thing you are not going to do it necessarily - well, you are going to do everything. You don't have to be literalist.
First you want to appoint people who will go out and preach the gospel among the people, and talk to the people about the need for coming together in a service or an expression of reconciliation, African-style, where you would understand that there are forces at work deeper, and which affect everybody, whether it be P W Botha, Alwyn Schlebusch, PW, FW, Mandela. All of us we are in the same pot. And then you can devise how you are going to do it. You can't gather the whole South Africa at one place. You could have this huge service at one place somewhere on behalf of the whole, and it is at that service that the priest, the truth commissioners should then come and hand up their final work. I don't say report, but in the same way as they were inspanned at the beginning, this is where the oxes have got to be - the cattle have got to be unspanned.
They have done their jobs. We thank them for what they have done. And we do it in the right way, the African way, and we also commit ourselves there at that service to a life - to a reconciled life in the African sense. But as it will be the 50th year after the coming of apartheid we also call upon our brothers, the Jews, who always feel that everybody is against them - they always have that kind of psychosis - and we say, "Out of your tradition you have a good thing. We in South Africa want to celebrate the 50th year of the rule in this land under the blanket, under the shroud." You can say, as you want to put it, "We want to celebrate the end of apartheid, that devilish thing which turned brother against brother, which made my brother the killer, which made my son to be able to hear and, dash it all, call himself a perpetrator, because of apartheid." We celebrate the end of that, and then we can work on it, we can work on it countrywide. It may well be that at the end you want to do it province by province also, but there should be one principal place where this is done.
By the say, this will also be following the African way, because in the African tradition the ... (inaudible) ... that is the celebration of the green feast, is started at the paramount chief's place. You can declare one place to be that, and then from there it is done at the various places. Mandela and Ramaphosa and the rest of them would be knowing this if they had asked themselves, "What did our fathers do to live together as different groups of people before the white man came?"
MS GCABASHE: I would like to thank your two speakers from the way in which they fielded your questions. I am also aware that in answering your questions they may have brought you to want to ask further question, so you will have that opportunity of asking further questions in your work groups. We are now going to break into groups. I believe that when you received your folders you noticed - pardon? Oh, are you hungry? You can't be that hungry that you can't even - okay, we are quite aware of the fact that you need to have lunch. Let us just go through this exercise first. In your folders you have colours. I hope there isn't anybody who is colour-blind, we are all colour literate. So, we have those that have yellow on their folders. Those that have yellow on their folders will be going downstairs. I believe that's where you had tea this morning. So you can't be that hungry, you had tea this morning. Then, when you get to that room there will be a ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 2) ... or something that will indicate to you which room, because there are two rooms there. You will then choose your own scribe, and choose a facilitator. Then those that have the colour blue will also be going downstairs, and there will be an indication of having that same colour, or whatever, to indicate to you to which room you need to go to. And when you meet you will also choose a scribe and a facilitator. Then those that have the colour red on their folders are going to remain in this room, and they also will choose a scribe and a facilitator.
Now we come to lunch. Lunch is going to be served downstairs, so what we are requesting is that because our time is fast burned we need to try and cover up for the time that we lost earlier. We will ask one group to go and get their food and then go back to their group and start working. When they have done that the next group will go down, and will also go and get their food and will start working, so we are all going to have a working lunch. Those that are in red will also be called later to go and collect their food, and we all have a working lunch. We hope that you may be back from lunch at about quarter past two. Instead of 2 o'clock quarter past two we should be back, but it should be quarter past two sharp, because we would like to finish our programme timeously.
Are we clear now that the multicolour has no relevance to the groupings. It was only for the speakers and - ja, the speakers, and those who appeared on the panel. Can we now break into groups and can we ask the yellow group to be the first ... (intervention)
CHAIRMAN: Before you go on can I make this - can I persuade you. From my experience there is this tendency that when people have had lunch and they have listened to the speakers they just go away and it becomes useless. I mean there are many things which have been raised here. We have been going around doing these conferences, but with this background which has been missing, this one of our brother Sidilwane, I think it's really even helping us. I have just been speaking to ... (inaudible) ... that he has helped me, because I have said to our Commission we need to have - I call it a day of thanksgiving. But it was not clear. When he spoke now about this 50th year or celebration he has really helped us, so that we can really try and pursue this. What I am trying to say here is this. This conference here is going to help other conferences which we are going to have by what we have heard here, so go and have your lunch, and come to your groups so that when we come to the way forward we know what we are going to be talking about when we leave this place. Thank you very much.
MS GCABASHE: Just one more thing before you leave. The questions that we'll be dealing with are already in your folders. I just want to make a certain reference to question number - is it number two? Question number two in your folders. That question refers specifically to the Free State in terms of the farmers, the relationship between the farmers and the farm workers. So, if you could make a note of that. When you answer this question you must have in mind the farmers and the farm workers.
Then also, because here you don't have a very strong, powerful party that we have to contend with, we hope that you can look at that question also in terms of the small other parties that we have. We have PAC, we have AZAPO, and you are in a position to know more other small parties that we need to take into consideration when we do our - when we answer this question.
And then the last thing that I want to say is that we have listened to the victims telling us about the pain that they have had. What we would like to hear now is, in terms of having been victims and suffered the pain, what do the victims themselves think should be happening to try and facilitate or to try and bring about reconciliation? I want to repeat that in Sesotho.
MS GCABASHE CONTINUES IN SESOTHO
MS GCABASHE: Come out with suggestions that would help us to facilitate reconciliation from the perspective of a victim. Is that clear for everybody? Now we can go to our groups. Would the yellow group lead us, the yellow group. Remember you are meeting in Ubunga, Ubunga Hall downstairs. Can the blue group follow, and please collect your food and go straight back to your group. The red group remains here.
LUNCH ADJOURNMENT AND GROUP DISCUSSIONS.
CHAIRMAN: I am going to ask Mr Mdu Dlamini to lead us on the next item we got back from the groups.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Baba Mgojo. Good afternoon everybody. I hope we managed to write down our responses, and we also decided as to who is going to report on our behalf. May I also suggest, in order to save time, that whoever is reporting does not have to discuss or elaborate on each point, unless you feel that it's necessary, it was not possible to put it in one word, so you want to add a few things. But just do it by exception rather than as a rule. If there is something that is not clear we'll always ask you to say more on it, or the members of the group to say more on it. That will help us to save time, which will help us to work on the say forward adequately, and also there were one or two questions that Dr Mgojo promised that we were going to pick up towards the end. So, for us to be able to do all that in time we need to save time with the reporting. Can I start with the yellow group. I think it was the first group that was mentioned earlier on. Yellow group, could you please come forward and share with us.
MS ?: Okay, here are the points written down here for question 1 (a), based on what was presented this morning, as well as on your personal experience, what would you say was the meaning of reconciliation? It's a way of forgiving people for what they have done to make others uncomfortable. The people who have done - the perpetrators should be collectively sorry; that reconciliation can be done through Jesus Christ and through the African perspective, that African religions and Christianity, and in fact all other religions, should be looked upon as one divine or sacred entity; hat there should be an acknowledgement that pain has occurred, and move onwards ones life to better oneself.
For question 1 (b), which was, what in your opinion should happen before reconciliation takes place? There should be full disclosure of what happened. The person should go through the process of bereavement, counselling, and other stages have to be gone through. Victims who are pained have to accept - actually this first one comes first. The perpetrators should be sorry for what they did first, and then the victims who are pained have to accept that apology. Reparations should address the ultimate need of the victims. Question 1 (c), what should be done to achieve reconciliation in our society? We should address the socio-economic imbalance between people before reconciliation can take place. The TRC in these sessions have been interested more in politically active people. In the next phase the TRC should look at all other human rights violations.
Question 2. In the context of the Free State, where people are still polarised and divided among political alignments, what special processes do we need to follow in this region? We need to effect or implement the new land reform laws. The infrastructural support to make land reforms - ja, there should be infrastructural support to make the land reforms effective. The perpetrators should not be put in charge of the land reform laws. There is a need to organise regular meetings which bring together people of different political orientations, in other words to enforce the constitutional laws.
And then number 3, can your organisations be in a position to facilitate reconciliation within the community? The organisations that we had are all listed over here, ANC, ACP, PMUC, CP, NICRO, Department of Psychiatry, Vista, SACTU ... (inaudible) ... of Businesswomens Association, CPSA and SACC. And from Vista they said they would assist the educational and infrastructural know-how. Then we made a note that at the next conference there should be a balance in the representations. For instance there was a conspicuous absence of the police force, the defence force and other political parties.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you. That was nice and brief. This purple, the purple group. Oh, the blue. Oh, blue, thank you.
MS ?: (Inaudible) ... aware that there is something like this happening today. Although some were aware, but others, maybe they don't know. Our response to 1(b). Organisations or representatives therefore can be used to reach out to communities, eg, women's groups. All parties should disclose their side of story, instead of one party coming up. Parties should be brought together, and there must be interaction in order to removed fears and hatreds and frustrations. The TRC can also - the group felt that TRC can also help in responding to cases where people have been asking for their assistance, and Mrs Moghale's case was - the group really felt that the TRC needs to do something about it so that, although they cannot help everybody, but there are cases they can be of assistance. And then there was a question that was raised whether the white people have to apologise on behalf of those who were perpetrators, and this might help in the process, or in the interest of finding who must really reconcile. And then the group answered this question by saying that maybe those individuals who are here today they can go out and preach to others that it's not a matter of, "You did wrong to me," or "Your father did wrong," but now as South Africans we need to reconcile, because that attitude is still there that, "You are black, I am white, so we don't need to talk, we are from different worlds." So, maybe if individuals can just interact that may also help in the reconciliation of the country.
And then our answer to question 2 was reaching out to farmers through education. Farmers should also be involved in the process of reconciliation, and organisation that are women's groups, sports groups, amadodana, women's church groups, they can also take part in reaching out to farmers and the workers.
And then our answer to question three, we said women's groups, that Oranje ... (inaudible) ... YWCA, women's church groups, amadodana, sports groups, ministers, fraternals, SACTU unions, all political parties, the Government itself, eg, councillors and MPs, tertiary institutions, NGOs, ratepayers' associations and individuals, we felt all these groups can play a part in reconciliation. Thank you.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you to the blue group. Can we have the last group - not the least - the red group. (Pause)
MR ?: The red group - red is always an unpopular colour. It signifies blood. What did you find useful this morning ... etcetera, etcetera, based on what was presented this morning, as well as - now, here we find that what is reconciliation? We find that reconciliation means that the entire South Africa is polarised. Then comes the victim and perpetrators, and then these two, the whole South Africa, whether it's families, whether groupings, they have to engage in reconciliation, because if reconciliation is only on a victim and perpetrator it becomes meaningless, because political parties up until now they are still polarised, others they say the TRC is ANC orientated, and it's irrelevant, hence the political parties themselves fail to address this issue of working together as a team to accept TRC, then from there we can have a very good base.
And then we come now to (b). We find that reconciliation should begin with the individual himself. If the person himself is not prepared to reconcile we can do whatever we like, we will never come to reconciliation. Then that will follow then all political parties, stakeholders, should also re-commit themselves, because what we hear in the news, television, read, etcetera, we still find that other political organisations they still disregard all the effort and sacrifice done by TRC. Unless those people had to re-commit themselves again, and then that will stop most of the issues. Some of the perpetrators were forced to reconcile, we must understand that, but if the people don't come themselves forward it becomes meaningless for the whole entire exercise.
We also find that the church must preach
reconciliation exercise, forgiveness, and healing of the past wounds. We had to be - let me close that door because I am afraid. We have to understand. If you have got friends who are Afrikaners they will give you the truth about the whole issue. Apartheid, etcetera, was blessed, and was even encouraged, and workshopped in school camps, in Sunday schools, so the whole entire issue we find out the church is the one that has to unwind the whole thing of even blessing those people and giving them the credit after killing pregnant women and children. The church themself must go back and say what we did, like in the past that what was done was wrong, let us reconcile. It's because we understand Afrikaner, they are more - of the whites mostly they respect the Bible. I think from the Bible which was quoted to justify apartheid, the Bible must be used also to justify reconciliation.
And also find that tertiary institutions, through their professionals, and ... (inaudible) ... and other consent groups can also become involved. What mechanism -the mechanism that can help now, this is the issue of the farmers. We must understand the farmers see the black liberation as a threat, taking their farms, their house, etcetera. So mechanism is now we have to change their mindset, because while the people have been brainwashed that the black swart gewaag, etcetera, you can never even try to reach them because they have closed minds. When they see a black man they see a danger. We have to change their mindset first.
And also the empowerment of workers and farmers. This of course, we understand that this is now - we have kind of touching communism here, but nevertheless we said now if farmers themselves can be given - the workers can be given farms, part of the farms, which we understand the owner of the farm will never agree, unless the Government has to buy the farm for those others, and then the owners also must understand the terms of possession of land. This issue has to be revisited, because it's very broad. It has a lot of fears upon the whites as we understand them.
You find also the correct approach to farmers. You cannot go to the farmers and say, "Hey, you people, we have got unions, we have got rights." The rights in terms of the farmers, once the farmer becomes involved in this thing he is going to be thrown out, and the next day you will find him on N1 being thrown out of the farm. So you have to approach the farmer, try to understand what you are going to say to them. And the farm unions also we must approach the top structure before you can now go to the grass roots and go to the farm, after the farmer has said, "Ek verstaan my boontjie, jy kan nou my boontjies gaan sien."
Now, the churches also. We find that the churches, CBOs, NGOs, and political parties, SANCO, etcetera - we can mention thousands and thousands of them - are in a better position to facilitate the reconciliation process within the community. That's our short answer, thank you.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you to all the groups. I must say that the quality of the presentation is remarkable. It's a demonstration of the amount of work that you put into the group work, and the ideas that have come forward will be really useful. What remains now is for the way forward, the ideas that have come forward, how do we put them into practice? From here where do we go to? On that note I will hand over to Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Can you please continue. You are doing very well on the way forward.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Baba Mgojo. One of the realities of the TRC is that it will have to close shop end of this year, and then from January to March a few of us, to be precise the Commissioners, will remain behind to put together the report that will be presented to the State President on behalf of the nation, who will receive it on behalf of the nation. The same report will be available to all the people of South Africa through our libraries and all other various sources of information.
But the fact of the matter is that there will be jobs that will remain behind unfinished. Reconciliation is one of those programmes or processes that are going to be unfinished by the time we leave or by the time we close down. It's for that reason that we are very much concerned about reconciliation, because the aim of the TRC is not only to uncover the truth, it's not only to expose people who did what, it's not open the wounds, but it's to uncover the truth with a view to healing the nation, as well as uniting the nation, reconciling the people of South Africa, so that when we talk of a rainbow nation, when we talk of a one nation, united nation, it's because we are reconciled to each other. The things that happened in the past that divided us, we have addressed them. There were various ways of addressing them, but we decided on this way, namely the Truth Commission. Other ways that people mentioned were the Nuremberg Trials, where you bring people and charge them, etcetera, etcetera, and some people felt that that was going to divide us even further. And also to control it is not as easy as we might think. And some people felt that, "Look, let's forget about the past. We are moving forward now as a nation," and some of us felt that it's like somebody burying a relative without opening the coffin to see whether the person lying inside the coffin is the person that he thinks, or he or she thinks he is burying. So, to try and forget what you don't know was going to be very ridiculous, so we decided on this method through the TRC, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I think to a certain extent we have achieved the truth uncovering. To a certain extent we know what has been happening in the past. To a certain extent we know who has done what. To a certain extent some families today are in a position to point out the graves of their beloved ones, and we still hope that more information will still be coming forward. But, if we are unable to bring people of South Africa together, reconcile people of South Africa, the Truth Commission will have failed. So, as we say that we admit that with the time at our disposal we are not going to achieve that. All the groups said that reconciliation is not cheap. They said that there are prerequisites that should be in place before you can talk of reconciliation, which means that reconciliation is a process. We can only set that process in motion, but to take it forward, to make sure that it happens, and to see to the finish, definitely it is not going to be the Truth Commission to achieve that, and somebody has to do that, and we believe that the people of South Africa, the structures that we have in our community, NGOs and various bodies that are involved in reconciliation, and people who are available and prepared to offer themselves to promote reconciliation, we feel that we need to identify those people. We need to identify those bodies. We need to empower those people. We need to make sure that the reconciliation takes place. So, the ideas that you have presented this afternoon, we need to have a way as to how do we make it happen. What should happen from today to make sure the things that we discussed in our groups do happen, they don't remain as ideas on paper? So, briefly that's what the way forward is all about.
Mama Gcabashe and Baba Mgojo and the professors as well, if there is anything to add please? But briefly that's the kind of request I am making to you this afternoon, if you could help us about the ideas using Free State as a base, if you could come up with some ideas as to what is the way forward, what should happen for reconciliation to start, for the reconciliation process to start, and to continue, and to achieve its objectives.
Any ideas? Thank you.
MR ?: As ... (inaudible) ... we summarised one of the points.
MR DLAMINI: Yes.
MR ?: (Inaudible) ... the key factor that can penetrate the very strong minds of the ... (inaudible) ... is the church. I think the TRC at this point in time it is possible that they ... (inaudible) ... hold a workshop of all the ministers of all denominations, and especially where our white counterparts are mostly attending, and ... (inaudible) ... the idea of reconciliation to them so that they should be ... (inaudible) ... in the process, in the ongoing process. Those people should continue when your term of an operation comes to an end as at the end of this year, so that those people, the church and others, especially those which are influential, should carry on indefinitely with the process of reconciliation in the smaller groups and smaller ... (inaudible)
PROF SIDILWANE: I agree that this work should go on, as has been talked by that brother over there, but I don't thing it must be necessarily left in the hands of the church.
MR DLAMINI: Baba Sidilwane, can I just check, have you noted it down, Moses, consultation of the church leadership. Thank you. Thank you, Baba Sidilwane.
PROF SIDILWANE: I don't think it must be left in the hands of the church. I don't trust the church any more. The reason is that the church keeps on - each little group keeps on pushing its own self.
MR ?: Its own agenda.
PROF SIDILWANE: Its own agenda. It should be what you say, my brother, but it should be a national thing, I think, for the whole society, with your NGOs and all the other groups that are there. You see? And that could be the workshop above. If you workshop the churches the Anglicans will do their own thing, and take it and make it their own. The Methodists will do their own thing over here, and bring in the Methodists of their own kind to do their thing. The Dutch Reformed Church will of course not come in. And so on. So, please also note that there are people in this land who are not necessarily Christians, and we are multi-religious. But even more, as Gabriel Sidilwane mo Afrika(?), there are really more basic forces that guide us, our own traditional African ways, which guide us even stronger than our Christian confessions. All these aspects need to be taken into account.
MR DLAMINI: Yes, I think Baba Mgojo wants to ... (incomplete)
DR MGOJO: Please, let us not open a debate on this. We just get your insights, and we are going to put them down as a way forward. Whatever a person says he has got a right, but don't try to answer that person. It's sort of brainstorming you. We'll go and analyse these things. We are nothing them.
MR DLAMINI: And also to have - I don't think the two points are necessarily mutually exclusive. I think Baba Sidilwane was developing, building on what you said, that it should not end with church leadership, it should include other stakeholders, and he mentioned the NGOs, CBOs, the other religions or faiths. I think it was a development from what my brother said here. I don't think there is any conflict. Thank you, Baba Nyegezi, I saw your hand there, and my brother there, Tikwane.
MR NYEGEZI: Thank you, brother. Just to follow up on that issue of churches. The South African Council of Churches has a definite programme set to move, and in our midst here we have Bishop Mathilonge, who is appointed recently to head a special department within the Council to lead this, and within the Free State province we have recently had training, a whole week training workshop, of ... (incomplete)
MR DLAMINI: I promise you, Baba Nyegezi, I did not do anything to cut you off.
MR NYEGEZI: Okay. A panel of - resource persons we call
them, who are now planning and working on models to use in different situation, both in congregations, individuals, and among the clergy and other religions. One of the items we have in that programme that is on now is to include, to put on board other religions that are in various towns within the Free State. And I can assure you that this is a very broad-based kind of movement, and it's definitely on our agenda now.
MR DLAMINI: When is it taking place, because I think it's important for us to know about the existing initiatives and resources so that we don't re-invent the wheel and do the things that are already there. It's that we enrich what is existing. When is it taking, Baba Nyegezi?
MR NYEGEZI: This has - the training has taken place, and we have set ourselves programmes already, and we are working. And our main aim was looking at the end of the TRC's work, you know, after December, so that the churches takes a pastoral role. That's our chief concern, that the churches have really to take a pastoral role in this whole exercise.
MR DLAMINI: My brother there and - my brother, thank you.
MR ?: Mr Chairperson, thank you. I think if maybe we can start - the TRC can start about the victims, the people who ... (Speaker continues in a mixture of English and Sotho)
MR DLAMINI: Can somebody help and summarise it? It was a mixture of English and Sesotho. I would have understood it if it was only Sesotho. Can you please summarise it for us, my brother.
MR ?: The first point relates to what Mrs Khoso referred to earlier on when she said she is left alone and there
are children depending on her. The Government must take a look at that. The second point, the people who have been released from prison must also be met halfway, they must be helped to go back to their communities. Sports also plays an important part. It can unite the people. And lastly, the individual himself must make a contribution. People should start concentrating on forming street committees, and they should come together and discuss their past.
MR ?: Can I just quickly share with you that with regard to the first point, they fall under reparations, and our reparations and rehabilitations subcommittee within the Truth Commission is busy working on a policy on how people - victims will be reparated and - ja, the whole process. And once they have finalised the proposed policy, and it's approved by the Truth Commission as a whole, it will be presented to the Government for consideration. And the idea is to have a special fund which will be known as the President's Fund, from which reparations are going to be implemented. Whether the resources, the money, will be enough to address all the needs, that will be brought before the Government. We are not sure, but definitely there are efforts to that direction.
With regard to the last suggestion of the street committees, individuals, yes, it's a good idea, but my question is to how do we bring about that? Because I think for the way forward we need to be practical, we need to have a way as to how we can implement it and how we can promote it. Do you have any ideas, my brother? I am not putting you on the spotlight in case you have ideas, but if you don't have ideas at the moment we'll just capture the point and we'll think about it as to how it can be put into practice.
MR ?: We have spoken of SANCO, which is a mother body. We can consult with them and they can spread this issue of street committees.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you very much, this is very useful. Thank you, my brother.
MR ?: Sir, the television media is a very, very, very powerful and strong media, and it is my feeling that before the TRC disbands something could be worked at that will be presented over the coming year on TV.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you. Then my brother there.
MR ?: I think with the experience of what happened in the universities and the technikons, especially in the Free State, we need to have a programme within the learning institutions which is informed by the process of the TRC itself. I am not sure the 2005 curriculum programme, whether does it in any way address that, but because what we are doing now will not necessarily address the present generation's problems, but the future generation, so you need to have it inculcated in the education programme. Thank you.
MR DLAMINI: I think we need to follow up with the education authorities, but I think it's a valid point. And also that point of the media, that is very important. We can use the media to our benefit. Thank you very much for those ideas. Baba Sidilwane, I will come to you. There was a hand there. Thank you, my brother.
MR ?: Well, it's in addition to what my brother just
said there, that he said about - he only said something about tertiary institutions, but it needs to start correctly even at the primary level, because that's where the problem is. I am saying all this just because I am at the tertiary institution, and as a leader in the tertiary institution, so I know exactly what is happening. This comes from the onset. If this cannot be worked out from primary level we can't control it at the tertiary level. Thank you.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you. Let me take my brother's one, then I go to Baba Sidilwane.
MR ?: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I don't know if people heard from group yellow about our concern that the policemen that were used in harassing the people are conspicuously absent from this audience, and I think if there is to be a true reconciliation those policemen and security police that were used against people have to come out with information. Otherwise we're going to stay with these grudges all the way, and like the gentleman said earlier, something will happen in the future that we are going to regret. Let me give you an example. Recently on Saturday I went into a supermarket, and as I got into the supermarket a former security police who was one of the people that harassed me was coming out of the gondolas and carrying his ... (inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 2) ... for how do we reconcile? Somewhere we need to meet, and come together and say, "Let's bury the past and forgive each other."
MR DLAMINI: Ja, maybe for the TRC to continuously extend that invitation, especially to the so-called perpetrators, that if they need facilitators to help them to meet the people that they wronged that facility is available. I think that could help, because some of them are not now brave enough to face you. I think from the TRC we need to convey that invitation, and persuade them and tell them that you people are ready to meet them, but you can't forgive a person who is a distance away.
Baba Sidilwane, I have been keeping you at abeyance.
PROF SIDILWANE: Ja, that point of yours emphasises the point I make about the need to come together ... (inaudible) ... a service of reconciliation, where that man will come, and he can be with you, and from that time you can go on together. This is it.
And, Sir, in that same strain, I want to suggest that for us in the Orange Free State especially - there was a talk somewhere in some of us - some of us are spare wheels in the car, supernumerary, but there are some talks especially that come from us that there is need for a service of reconciliation at Kroonstad. First of all of our provincial name, provincial people, who have fought together here and broken up the provincial government. And in which there are involved Kroonstad people, Lekota and Ivy Matsipe, that we in Kroonstad - that we in the Orange Free State, but from Kroonstad, bring these children of Kroonstad, and the groups that go along with them, and say to them - to them altogether, "Look, you are our children, and this country of the Free State is ours, all of us," and all their followers who are sill battling outside who can hear should know that they are all our children, and sort out reconciliation between these factions which have torn our clothings into pieces.
Not only that, that service of reconciliation should also reconcile in Kroonstad, the various groups in Kroonstad. Mohapi has spoken about what is happening in Kroonstad. He knows that in Kroonstad the factions are still there, and they are bad. He knows. And he and I are one of them, are in them. I expect that he'd say that. That's what I pass.
Number two, to the TRC, we stand, these representatives of the TRC, to say, when you say there will be a presentation of the report to the President and the nation, we suggest that that presentation should be done in a big way and in a national way. It should be a service of reconciliation for the whole nation, and it should take the form of a celebration of the year of jubilee. And that service must be prepared for thoroughly, not just wake up in the morning and go and do it. And then the TRC should make means, together with the President, for such a thing to be prepared for from now. Not to make it their own thing, but to give it to the people who really know what they talk about, and whom it burns inside ... (inaudible)
MR DLAMINI: I am not sure whether you are clapping hands because he declared UDI, he spoke of the country of Free State. I thought it was only KwaZulu-Natal who had the kingdom of KwaZulu.
Mama, and then bishop that side. Mama and then bishop.
MS ?: My point is heal the families. I here particularly thinking of families where there has been either torturing or death or loss, where the perpetrators have not been found, where the families have nobody to reconcile with. Heal the families. And the way to heal the families is to provide support groups, provide support services, like clinical psychologists, family therapists, and people that can handle families in crisis. So, my point is the family as a building stone of the entire community. Let's start with the families. Go to the community, go to the nation. If we start there we are starting at the heart of the nation.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Mama. Yes, one thing I forgot to mention when I shared with you as to what will be happening after us, and mindful of that fact, we also tried to train trauma and stress counsellors, and - ja, unfortunately because of limited resources we couldn't train as many as we would have loved to, but that is still in our minds to continue training. People who are going to remain in the community and give support as you have mentioned. That's one way we are trying to address that, and we are glad that you have mentioned it, and we have noted it so that we will reinforce it again. Thank you, bishop.
MR ?: Mr Chairperson, just some advertisement. The SACC has a lot of resources. The SACC is a conglomeration of churches, and your churches are members of the SACC. We are available to train people in different provinces, and I think that - you know, we are available, we are ready, but we don't force ourselves down your throats. We come whenever we are invited. And so I just want you to know that with that commercial. Thank you.
MR DLAMINI: Yes, thank you, Baba. As I said earlier on that definitely we need to take stock audit of the existing resources. That's what is going to help us if you want to be serious. Any other suggestions? Okay, in the absence of any further suggestions I just want to say thank you. I know that Baba Mgojo will wrap up, and in his wrapping up he will definitely thank you for the wonderful work you have done.
And to Mama Moghale and the groups, who have been very concerned about her case, unfortunately we don't have an answer for you now because every case that has come to us in terms of the statements, and also the hearings, the testimonies at hearings, is in a different stage, so it's very difficult to say, as I am, that where your case is at the present moment. I can only check for you and tell you what is happening.
But what we will plead is that if there is any new information please update us on the information that has come forward, because that helps us with our investigation. So, if there is any new information since the time you gave us your statement, or you testified at public hearings, please keep us informed so that we can use that information with our investigation. So, if there is anything I would ask Mama Moghale to contact us at the end of this session and give us more information so that we can check, and also update the investigating team in order to try and find out about your son. Thank you very much, Baba Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Well, I want to thank my colleagues for performing so well here at Free State, though we came very late and we are sorry about that. I must say that we leave this place very much convinced that the type of contributions we had here from the speakers up to the questions are of a high quality. I must say that. Really of a high quality, and we want to thank you very much for that because we have something to take back with us which is of a high quality.
And I want to thank the people who are here. Before I do that I want to thank the staff of TRC here at Free State for preparing for this so well, and for also starting this exercise when we were delayed at the airport. I think it was through God's providence that we said Moses, when we had the conference in KwaZulu-Natal, must come and observe. So, it was very easy for is to say that, "Moses, let the conference begin even before we come," and everything has gone so well.
I want to thank the ministers of religion. I know they are very busy people and they are here. It's always very hard to get the ministers. They don't want to attend things, I don't know why. They are always reluctant to attend things. They say they are very busy. But there are some ministers who are here, and including even two bishops, Bishop Matholangwe and Bishop Gill, and we really appreciate this very much.
I want to thank the different organisations which have come here representing their organisations. We have heard, we have listened. We don't want to impose anything on the people. And we have met with some of the Cabinet Ministers of this region, and we have found that it is easier to work in this region than in KwaZulu-Natal, because in KwaZulu-Natal we are very much divided. You meet these, and the others refuse to be part of the whole assignment.
We shall be taking what you have asked us to do, and we are going to reflect on it and it is going to help us, especially this major suggestion of this jubilee celebration. It's very exciting indeed. It is indeed very exciting. And Brother Gap has warned us that we don't just - when we are left with one month or one week say that we are going to prepare for it. We need to do it now, and make research, and get the inputs of other people to make this thing as a success. We have listened to that because this is a new idea which is adding to what we have been getting.
We understand - and I want to thank our - I am sorry to use this word, please, I am saying it with love - our white sisters and white brothers for ... (inaudible) ... until this time. In most of the cases that is why the reconciliation is going to be very hard. Some of the people are scared to be in this type of a meeting, but you people you were very courageous to sit with us and listen, and we hope that you are going to carry the gospel to your own communities so that the gospel can spread. We appreciate this very much what you have said.
When I came here, when we were hearing the perpetrator, I said that, "What is he saying now?" and this also told us that there are some perpetrators who were perpetrators because they were defending the communities from some of the gangs, especially Three Million Gang here in the Free State. And then the regime, because it was working with those, the old regime, had to put them in gaol, and then they are called perpetrators because they killed. Whereas in fact, in reality, they were protecting the communities. And we appreciate that it came out very clear.
And there's another question which was exciting, which helped us in fact when those questions were directed to Brother Gap about losing confidence in Christianity, etcetera, because I fear ... (inaudible) ... when some of these people go away here they are going to say that, "Oh, a senior father of the Methodist Church said this and this," and Brother Gap ... (intervention)
PROF SIDILWANE: I am apologetic.
DR MGOJO: No, no, don't defend yourself because you answered it very well. You answered very well. Don't rush. Don't rush. And Brother Gap answered it so well that he doesn't mean Christianity as it began, he means how it is practised today. And that really helped us that he means the contemporary Christianity, which is not even contextual, it does not deal with the issues of the day, whereas the Christianity as it began started by Jesus and his followers, it was the Christianity which was relevant to the issues and the problems of the people. That is why most of the apostles in fact were executed because of their testimonies and what they believed. So, that really helped us. That is why I say that everything here has been very high, of a high standard.
Having said so I think we are coming now to an end, and I am going to do something which is very good for me as an African again. I want to recognise one of my mothers, Mama Sidilwane, the beloved Mama. And why I say so is because this is the lady who really initiated my wife in the pastoralia of a minister's wife. We were young at Lamontville, just come. My wife was a nurse, we were just married, and Mama Sidilwane - they were living at Lamontville with Gap, who was in the Youth Department, and she was one of the leaders in that - at Lamontville. And she used to carry that baby on her back - that one was the baby - moving from house to house, doing pastoral visiting and so on. You could not miss anybody who was sick who was under Mama Sidilwane, because she knew all the ... (inaudible) ... and my wife got a model from her. And I want to recognise you, Mama, for being here. And my recognition is going to go further, because I think it will be very relevant if you close this for us by word of prayer. The mothers always pray. If you can bless us here by the words of prayer when we are closing this that is going to be very important. So, we are going to sing the national anthem, and then after that - if you would just move forward. I want you to stand here and then close by the words of prayer. This comes from the bottom of my heart. I am not trying to impress everybody. You are gold in our home. When I tell Estelle that you were there she is really going to be very excited because of the model you gave to her.
MS ?: (Inaudible)
DR MGOJO: Brother Sidilwane says that you will get your paper through the TRC, this one you wanted, and I advise you you need to get it. You need to get it to understand the basics of what this reconciliation is all about in the African world view. While Mama Sidilwane is moving to stand here to pray for us can we stand and sing the national anthem please.
SINGING OF NKOSI SIKELEL 'iAFRIKA
CLOSING PRAYER BY MAMA SIDILWANE