About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

21 Jul 1992: ANC Quatro Prisoners

Click here for more information on the Interviewee

Click here for Overview of the year

     Interviewee No. 1

POM      I am talking now with Pat Hlongwane. You were born in South Africa?

EH     I was born in South Africa in Port Elizabeth (PE). I grew up and schooled in PE until 1976.

POM     Then what happened in 1976?

EH     In 1976 I was part and parcel of the people who were involved in the Soweto uprisings of June 1976, when we were protesting against the Bantu Education system which was nothing but an apartheid system. In 1979 I became the National Chairman of the PE Black Civic Organisation, which was formed by the Christians and by the civil servants and also some people who were also sympathisers of organisations like PAC and the ANC. In 1983, while I was still the National Chairman of that particular organisation, when the UDF was launched on 20th August 1983 some people from my organisation came up with the suggestion that our organisation should affiliate itself to the UDF and I was one of the people who refused because of my history of having been always opposed to the ANC policies, more especially the Freedom Charter. I knew that the UDF was a front for the ANC which was still banned at the time. They wanted to use people like Archie Gumede in South Africa to present or to become the tools of the ANC.

     So then we had a problem in our organisation which caused a split. In 1986 I decided to leave the country, to go and meet Oliver Tambo, who is now the National Chairman of the ANC, and also to meet Alfred Nzo, who was then the Secretary General of the ANC. I had also intended to meet PAC leaders in Tanzania and the leaders of the BCMA, which is the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania, in Botswana. When I arrived in Zambia in December 1986, I was made to write my biography by the Security Department of the ANC. The man who interrogated me was Jackie Mabuza, who was the Security Head of the ANC and a bodyguard of Oliver Tambo. I wrote it and gave it to them, and then they said I was sent by the SA government to infiltrate the ranks of the ANC therefore I was an enemy agent and this was because I had refused to join the UDF and I am also opposed to the Freedom Charter of the ANC because I am totally against only two clauses in the ANC Freedom Charter which is Clause No. 3 where they say: The people shall share in the country's wealth, and Clause No. 4 where they say: The land shall be shared among those who work it. I am against that because I recognise white people in SA as South Africans and I am opposed to nationalisation in my country because I know for a fact that people who are having those key industries are the whites, and if the whites can leave the country and go to Europe, then we will see starvation in our country and unemployment like in Mozambique, Angola and Zambia. So then I was tortured by the ANC.

POM     How were you tortured?

EH     I was made to take off all my clothes and I remained being naked and I was beaten up. I was also forced to put my hand, you can see my left hand here, in boiling water and I was tortured until I decided to admit that I was an enemy agent because I was beaten with a steel helmet. I was then taken to a cell which was the size of a bathroom. All this happened in Lusaka in a place called RC, their Rehabilitation Centre in Zambia. This cell was full of water on the floor but I was made to sleep there; of course I couldn't sleep.

     The following day they continued. Thomas Nkobi, who is the Treasurer General of the ANC, was practically involved in the interrogation. He is the one who gave instructions to his boys and he was also practically involved because he also gave me a smack and before he left the place he said I must tell his boys the truth or they would deal with me.

     After that I was taken to Angola where I was locked up in a place called Quatro, which means four. Quatro is a concentration camp of the ANC in the Northern part of Angola, Quibaxe. It is tantamount to camps which were run by Hitler during the second world war, it is tantamount to Siberia which was run by Stalin. Quatro was built in 1979 by the ANC. It was built at the time when the leader of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, was the President of the ANC and Mzwai Piliso was the head of the Security Department of the ANC and Joe Slovo was the Army Chief of Staff of MK. In 1978 they went to Vietnam where they were given five working sectors. Whilst they were there, they planned strategies and tactics of how to get information from an enemy agent and how to deal with ANC infiltrators, they used the communist strategies in Vietnam. That is when the ANC decided to build Quatro in 1979. I was there and I was tortured by the ANC. I was not a prisoner but I was a slave of the ANC.

POM     How many people were in Quatro altogether?

EH     There were more than two hundred people, there were blacks, whites, Indians and coloureds there.

POM     Did you have a cell of your own or did you share a cell, or was it barracks? What kind of accommodation did you have?

EH     The cells were the size of a bathroom, there was no ventilation or windows. We used to sleep on the cement floors.

POM     How many people were there in each cell?

EH     You would find about nineteen people in a cell. That place is a hard labour camp. We used to share a cup of water, we used to wash after three months. We used to eat half cooked beans that came from the Soviet Union, we used to eat snakes and monkeys, we used to eat rotten mealie meal from Cuba, from Fidel Castro. We used to dig defence trenches for MK soldiers. People used to work until they collapsed. But true God, in November 1988 the ANC was forced to pull out from Angola.

POM     Were you allowed to use any toilet facilities?

EH     No. Actually there were no toilets there. We used to relieve ourselves into plastic containers. Every morning we had to jump and run to a place which was quite far to empty and clean those containers. If they said to you that you had to do that within five seconds and you failed to do so they would beat you up. To the ANC a prisoner cannot get sick. If you complained about a headache, they would give you a stomach remedy. People were dying because of malaria which is a killer disease in Africa. Hence I said true God, in 1988 the ANC was forced to pull out from Angola, after the New York agreement between the US, Soviet Union, Cuba, Angola and Namibia, then the ANC was chased out of Angola.

     We were then smuggled to another concentration camp in Uganda, which was once run by Idi Amin.

POM     How were you transported to Uganda?

EH     We were smuggled out in a military charter plane. In the plane we were sixty-nine. The plane was full of FAPLA forces, that is the military forces of Angola and MK people. We were moved from Angola at twelve o'clock midnight. I remember when we arrived in Uganda, it was still dark, so that people should not see us. When we arrived there, we met Chris Hani, the General Secretary of the SACP and the Army Chief of Staff of MK. We met him there and we were welcomed by the military forces of Uganda, then we were taken to the concentration camp in Uganda.

POM     What did Chris Hani say to you when you met him, what was the purpose of the meeting?

EH     We did not meet Hani at the airport, it was on the airstrip far from the people, far from the town. He told us that we were going to another place where we would be kept and where we would be rehabilitated by the ANC. That is all he told us. Then we served three years in that place, until 18th September 1990 when Dr. Nelson Mandela decided to set up a kangaroo court, a military tribunal. About sixteen of us were taken to the tribunal.

POM     How do you know it was Nelson Mandela who made that decision?

EH     We were told by a lawyer from the ANC. He told us that they had been instructed by Dr. Nelson Mandela to set up a tribunal which was going to put us on trial. The tribunal was conducted on 18th September, but they could not sentence us until 18th February 1991. Myself I was sentenced to 15 years, which was a minimum sentence because the maximum was the firing squad, that is according to the code of conduct of MK. I then decided to embark on a hunger strike which last twenty-nine days. When the ANC realised that I was going to die, they decided to come with some documents saying that the ANC had decided to pardon me and they were going to send me back to SA, but they were still organising a plane ticket to return me to my home. They also said to me that they had no accommodation outside, therefore they would have to keep me in prison, I would remain as a free prisoner.

     I remained there, waiting for them to come with a plane ticket. On 16th June 1991, I was beaten up by a prison warder. I then realised that the ANC was not honest, they were not genuine; if I was a free man, they should not have ill-treated me. I decided to embark on another hunger strike which lasted for thirty-three days, when I collapsed. I was prepared to die. I decided to sacrifice my life so that my brothers could tell the world, the international community, and they would be released by the ANC. On 17th August, the ANC decided to release us as a group of thirty-two. When we came back to our country, we decided not to sit down with the ANC to negotiate with them or to go back to the ANC at all. We decided to stick with the International Red Cross.

     We were given accommodation by the Red Cross at the Springbok Hotel in Johannesburg. From there we decided that each and everyone should decide what they must do. Then the decision was taken; by then we were a group of twenty. Others decided to rejoin the ANC.

POM     Of the sixty-nine?

EH     No, of the thirty-two.

POM     Twelve decided to rejoin?

EH     The ANC, and then in our group we were twenty. Some decided to quit politics and some decided that we must form a committee which is going to take the ANC to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, so that it can face the consequences of its actions. On 24th August 1991, fortunately, we had some contact with sympathisers from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). Members of our committee travelled to Ulundi where they addressed a conference of Inkatha Youth Brigade. From there, that is when the Chief Minister of KwaZulu and President of the IFP decided to sacrifice his life by taking us and giving us accommodation. He did not know our plans, but he sacrificed for us.

     The reason why I call it a sacrifice is because some people would just come and say, "I have been in exile, I want to come a stay here with Inkatha", all of a sudden they were being sent by the ANC to come a assassinate the Chief Minister, that is why I say he decided to sacrifice his life. So we were given accommodation by the IFP because nobody wanted to give us accommodation, or to sympathise with us until we realised that we must form a committee and call for an independent judicial commission of enquiry to be set up, so that the ANC should account for the people that have died in exile and for the reasons why they decided to arrest us, or to keep us in the concentration camps. There was a leader in the Durban region, Mr. Thomas Shabalala who decided to take us and keep us at a place where we would have access to facilities which would enable us to run our campaign and communicate with journalists and many other people.

     When we arrived here at Lindelani, we were naked, we were hungry. He is the one who sacrificed for us. Today, myself I am from PE and my mother was burnt by the ANC, she was necklaced and my home was destroyed, I am here today as a refugee. All of us we don't belong here. We are being taken care of by Mr. Thomas Shabalala, today I am very happy because we have succeeded. Very soon the commission of enquiry will be set up by the International Freedom Foundation, which is based in Washington DC. A lawyer has been appointed in Durban, Mr Douglas, who is an SC. The International Society for Human Rights based in Germany is also backing the commission of enquiry.

POM     Is it your belief that the senior leadership in the ANC, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu etc., knew about the existence of these camps?

EH     Yes of course. Dr. Nelson Mandela is aware of the camps. When he was in the US in 1990 and also in London, he was asked by journalists about the camps and he said the ANC has released its prisoners and the camps have been closed down, there were no more prisoners of the ANC. But he is the one who came up with the tribunal in September, therefore he lied to the international community. Andrew Mlangeni, who was released with Walter Sisulu and Raymond Mhlaba from Robben Island, visited us in Uganda in 1991. He is the only leader from the Rivonia trialists who visited us there. He then went back to the ANC leadership to give a report back, that was the reason why Nelson Mandela decided to set up a tribunal, after he had lied to the international community. Even this year, the ANC has lied to the international community in that they said that the camps no longer exist; but people have recently come back from prison from Tanzania and Dakau and the others are now in local prisons of Uganda. Those concentration camps of the ANC are presently barracks of MK soldiers so that if the Red Cross goes there, they will not find any prisoner, they will only find MK soldiers. The prisoners are in the local prisons of Museveni in Uganda.

     In Tanzania the situation presently is such that the prisoners are living in dug-outs, so that when the Red Cross goes there, they don't find any prisoners. Those camps of the ANC have been sold to the Tanzanian government. That is the question presently about the ANC leadership, they are lying to the international community. That is the reason why today we say there must be a commission of enquiry because within us, we have got people who were practically involved in the mutiny which took place in 1984, where more than five hundred people lost their lives in the ANC camps; where people were buried in shallow graves like sardines; where people were taken to firing squads and executed. On 22nd May this year, the Chief of Staff of MK, Siphiwe Nyanda admitted that they did execute people and Chris Hani also admitted that they did kill people in exile. Now why does the ANC not allow the international community and the Red Cross to go and dig those graves? It is because the ANC knows for a fact that they are going to lose credibility. But we will make sure that we leave no stone unturned.

POM     Thank you.

     Interviewee No. 2.

SN     My name is Sipho Ngema. I went into exile due to apartheid although I was not affiliated to any political party here in South Africa.

POM     Where were you born?

SN     I was born in KwaMashu, here in Durban. I went into exile due to apartheid. I was in crisis like anybody else who was suppressed by the system. I left via Swaziland.

POM     What year was that?

SN     It was in 1988. I went straight to the ANC because what I knew was that the ANC was the vanguard movement for the people of SA and it was also the biggest liberation movement. I met UN people and they made the contact for me and took me to the ANC people. I stayed in Swaziland for a week in 1988 then I went to Lusaka, where I underwent certain routine procedures. It was a transition centre of some sorts where people who are coming from SA start off. I stayed for a week. I wrote my autobiography, stating where I was born etc. Then I stayed there for a further week. After that I found myself being taken to a security place. They asked me why I was not involved in politics in SA whilst other people were involved, was it because I was not suppressed? I told them it is because I was ignorant about politics. I was then told that I was an enemy agent sent by the Boers to infiltrate the ranks of the ANC.

     I was then taken to the bush in Zambia where I was tortured. I was beaten with barbed wire, using every kind of torture to make me admit that I am an enemy.

POM     When you say 'every kind of torture' could you describe that a bit more?

SN     I was beaten with a barbed wire, all my joints were dislocated, I was beaten up until I collapsed. Then I was taken to a certain underground house which had no bedding where I was dumped. At about 12 midnight, they poured water on me and the water kept on rising in the room where I was. Even though my joints were dislocated and I could not stand, I was forced to stand by the water, in order to avoid drowning.

     The next day I was made to confess that I am an enemy agent. I was forced to say so due to torture. They continued for a week using the same torture; they were using plastic to burn my intestines and also my body, I was hung and they lit fires under my body and hit me on the body. The next week I was taken to Angola where I was put into solitary confinement.

     I stayed there for three months, eating once a day, in a dark place. After three months I was fortunate to be taken, it was at the time when the ANC was about to withdraw from Angola due to Namibia independence, so we were all taken - I was mixed with the other group after three months, so we were all smuggled to Uganda, where we stayed the very same way under the same conditions; hard labour.

POM     Were you staying in camps?

SN     Yes. We were suffering the very same hardships with these guys. There was hard labour there, you were beaten to death, everything was done. It was survival of the fittest. I was beaten until a certain stage in 1990 when they established the kangaroo court. I was not admitted to attend the court because my case was not a clear case. Actually they did not know why they had locked me up. So they decided to say that my case is so small that I could not attend the tribunal. Other colleagues of mine were sentenced to eighteen years, sixteen years by the judges of the ANC.

     After that I and other prisoners embarked on a hunger strike. They made the hunger strikers dig their own graves. They also tried to put a stop to the hunger strike. Fortunately for them they manipulated some of us, Pat Hlongwane continued with some other guys up until he made 29 days, then they took him to a military hospital. We stayed under those difficult conditions for a long time and then they came and told us that we were leaving the next day although they did not tell us where we were going to. They told us that we were going to be released. We did not believe them because even when they smuggled us to Uganda they told us that we were going to be released, and they would continue with their struggle, therefore we did not understand what was happening when we stayed on and on in Uganda. Whilst there I was forced to admit that I was an enemy agent working with members of the security forces in SA, which was a false statement. We were finally released on 17th August 1991.

POM     You were released together?

SN     Yes, we were a group of thirty-two.

POM     Of the total number who were in the camp, first of all in Angola and then in Uganda, how many would have been initially members of the MK?

SN     Actually the place was full of MK members who had taken part in the mutiny of 1984.

POM     So it would have been people who would have been sentenced after the mutiny that you would have been in the camp with?

SN     Yes. Actually, you see, most of the MK members were in Quatro. In November, when the ANC pulled out from Angola some of those MK guys were smuggled to Tanzania and locked up in Dakau in Tanzania, some remained in Angola. In our group of 69, there were some who were smuggled to Uganda.

POM     What was the basis of the mutiny in 1984?

SN     The reasons for those people to take up arms was because they were sick and tired of the corruption within the leadership of the ANC and another reason was that they realised that they were now becoming mercenaries because they were now being used by the MPLA government, which was pro-communist, to fight against UNITA which was backed by the US. Now they realised that they were dying in large numbers. When they left SA to go into exile it was to receive military training and come back and destroy the economy of SA and overthrow the Pretoria regime in SA, not to fight for the Angolans. So that was the reason for the mutiny. They were also calling for a national conference for the ANC because the last conference which was held was in 1969 in Morogoro, Tanzania. They wanted a conference so that the leadership should be reshuffled, actually changed because most of the leaders of the ANC like Chris Hani were now smuggling and selling diamonds, people like Joe Modise were selling mandrax.

POM     When you came back into the country did you contact the ANC offices in Johannesburg and say we are going to go public with our allegations of the way we were locked up for years, for the confessions that were beaten out of us?

SN     Actually we did not want to talk to the ANC but they came to us at our hotel in Johannesburg. Then Winnie Mandela decided to come there and tried to talk to us. We told her of the things that took place outside in exile that were caused by Chris Hani himself because he was practically involved in those atrocities that took place outside. We told him face to face that he was involved.

POM     What was he involved in?

SN     He was torturing people himself, as a leader, the Chief of Staff of MK.

POM     Did you see him do this or did people who were tortured tell you?

SN     Some of our members were tortured by Chris Hani. After that meeting we realised that the ANC wanted to bribe us, they promised to buy us houses, etc. We decided to cut off communications with them because we were under the supervision of the UN, but the ANC decided to tell the UN to stop taking care of our expenses as they would continue to do so. So we decided to leave that hotel because the ANC was going to blackmail us and tell us that they were feeding us.

POM     What was the name of the hotel?

SN     The Springbok Hotel in Johannesburg. They wanted to bribe us and also they promised us other things. We refused their advances. After some days we decided to disappear from that hotel because we feared assassinations. As time went on we decide to form a committee, this one that we have now.

POM     How many people are in the committee altogether?

SN     There are 750 now, but we are in different areas all over South Africa.

POM     Are people in the different areas making known these atrocities in the same way that you are making them known?

SN     Of course yes, because we are working with them. But most of the time we are using the executive members in activities such as demonstrations, picketing in order to attract public and international community attention to our plight.

POM     Have you found when you have gone to members of the international community that you are getting a sympathetic hearing?

SN     So far we are still being promised.

POM     Do people believe you?

SN     They do believe us because they are promising us. Even now they are trying to set up this commission that will handle this thing. Because we don't want a commission that is going to be formed by the ANC, actually they have started their own commission, but they can't investigate themselves. We want this thing to be monitored by the international community, by independent bodies.

     Interviewee No. 3

POM     Could you tell us your name please?

CM     I am Charlton Mavundla. I was born in Durban on 23 June 1960. Later I went to school in Swaziland, where I did my primary schooling at Christ the King in Hlathikhulu and then I did my high school at Salesian High School in Manzini. That is where I met some members of the ANC because some, like Mr Mabizela, were teaching there.

POM     Is that Stanley Mabizela?

CM     Yes. We knew each other, Mr Jeffrey Radebe, who was also a teacher there, that one is from Durban, Mr Thole, also from Chesterville, Road 25 in Durban. After some years, that is in 1987, I decided to leave the country.

POM     Did you become involved with the ANC?

CM     Whilst I was in Swaziland in 1977, there was some rioting in Swaziland and the Swaziland government said this had been instigated by the South African students who were schooling there. We were arrested and afterwards the UN intervened together with Stanley Mabizela. From there we were registered under the UN as refugees and of course Stanley Mabizela was there representing the ANC, that is how I came to be involved with the ANC.

     In 1987 I left the country again for Swaziland and whilst there I met Spinks, who is Dumi Mwandla, he was a courier, taking letters from Swaziland to South Africa for the ANC. In 1987 he told me that I have to come with him to Mozambique where I would be given military training. In Mozambique I met some other members of the ANC such as Bruce, who I had seen before in Swaziland. From there we went to Maputo and there we stayed at a place belonging to Irene Sithole, who also comes from Durban, but had been in Katlehong for some time during her mission with the ANC, before she skipped the country.

     Whilst I was at Irene's place I was made to write my biography. Then after a week I left Maputo for Lusaka. When I arrived there in March 1988, I went to the transit camp for the ANC where I was made also to write my biography through a questionnaire now, which I did. Later I was taken to Blubbow House. I was taken by Jackie Mabuza who I had known in Swaziland. He was a senior member of the security of the ANC. At Blubbow House, I was once again made to write my biography and later there came Joe Zungu. Zungu also told me that he knows me from Swaziland but he is also suspecting me to be an enemy agent and that I am a captain with the SA security police.

     Of course I denied that I was involved with any of the SA agencies. From there I was taken, we were at Jacky's place, to that place of his at Blubbow. There at Blubbow at Joe's place I met Spinks, the one I have said is Dumi Mwandla and I also met Stanley, a coloured chap - I don't know his real name. They interrogated me and of course I refused that I was a member of the SAP, but they kept on insisting. Later I was to undergo torture: I was beaten up, hung from the roof, made to lift a steam pot, which carries about 60 litres water, throughout the night, and I could not make it because I was beaten now and again. I collapsed and the following day I was urinating blood and they did not take me for medical attention. From there I was made to dig my own grave and after they fired some shots. They then brought me a statement, the contents of which I did not know, they made me to sign it and I did.

     Two days later they came to me and asked me to read what I had signed. It was then that I realised that I had admitted that I was a Captain within the security police of SA and that I was involved in setting up roadblocks for members of the ANC, pointing out residences of ANC members, even in Swaziland, some of which were kidnapped from Swaziland; also that I was involved in the murder of Cassius Marke, who was a leader of MK.

     After that I was made to recite this document to them and later to rewrite it in my own handwriting. Afterwards it was filed as it was. I was then taken to Angola in May 1988, but before that, there came Chris Hani. On that day when Chris Hani came to me, together with Steve Tshwete, who are members of the NEC of the ANC, they said that they were there to confirm from me that I was a captain. Chris Hani asked the questions and Steve Tshwete was busy taking notes. After that, two days later I was transported to Angola. There I was taken to an ANC camp, again I was made to rewrite my biography and that statement which was my confession. After that I was taken to Angola, a maximum prison. On the 11th June 1988 I was taken to Quatro camp. That is where I spent most of my days.

     There I was kept in isolation and given the name Makaku, which is a Portuguese name for monkey. There I was made again to rewrite my biography. While I was there I was beaten up, so much so that I developed a hernia, which I have just had an operation for. From there, after spending almost five months in isolation, I was taken to a cell where I met other fellow prisoners, where I stayed until December 23, when we were moved from Quatro to Luanda.

POM     How many would there have been in the cell?

CM     In the cell where I was kept there were thirteen people and I was the fourteenth person.

POM     How big was the cell?

CM     It was three quarters of this room. We were all taken to Luanda due to the New York Accord between the SA government, Angola, Namibia, the Russians and the US. While in Luanda, we were made, at gunpoint and video tape, to confirm that we were enemy agents, that I was a captain within the SA police force. We did that at gunpoint. From there we were transported to Uganda, on 28th March 1989.

     On our arrival in Uganda, we were met by Chris Hani who told us that we were going to another place where we would be kept. We were escorted by members of the Ugandan army, MK and also FAPLA forces, that is the Angola force.

     There at that place of ours, our new camp, we were told again that we should make biographies of which we were telling them what crimes we had committed before. After that we were then told that we would be kept there until they had decided, or the SA government wanted to make an exchange, i.e. it must release their prisoners in SA then they would release us because we belong to the Boers. When we mentioned that we don't belong to the Boers we were beaten up.

     It then happened that in 1990 in September, fifteen of us were taken out and told that they had been released. They were taken to Tanzania where they were going to be kept; again on the 9th of September another group of seven were taken out from that camp to Tanzania. It continued like that throughout that year. On October 31st, in our cell we decided to go on a hunger strike because we wanted to demand from the ANC that we should be taken to the international court of law so that we could be tried and evidence could be produced confirming that we were actually members of the SAP. We also wanted the Ugandan government to be involved because we were being kept in Uganda; we wanted the International Red Cross to be part and parcel of this. The strike lasted for about a week and then there came the Deputy Chief Representative in Uganda who told us that we are not going to meet any Ugandan official, nor were we going to be taken to the International Red Cross because we are South African and also members of the ANC, so it is the ANC that is going to deal with us, not any organisation from outside. Then we demanded that we should see a qualified medical practitioner, unlike those, who were not from MK. They just supplied us with tablets if you had a problem.

     Then on 25th of November the same year, I was taken to Nsambya Hospital, which is a private hospital being run by missionaries. There I went to a doctor who diagnosed that I was suffering from a kidney ailment and a hernia. Then I was bribed by the ANC that if I agreed to attend medical treatment in Uganda, they would release me and compensate me. Then, of course, I knew that they were lying, that this was not going to happen so I refused. Then I was taken back to the camp. While I was at the hospital, I was under the name of Simon, and this was so that the other prisoners would not know where I was as they knew me by the name of Makaku or Actor Mpilo, which was my travelling name in the ANC, and that the name of Makaku was given to me as a prisoner. So at the hospital I was known only as Simon and they could do whatever they wanted to do with me.

     So when I refused they took me straight back to the camp. Then later, while we were still at the camp, there came now this member of the ANC who was released from Robben Island, Andrew Mlangeni. He came on 14th March 1991. Afterwards there were the trials of people in the camps. I was not tried because I kept on denying all the allegations against me. Then on 25th March, there came Abner who told us that he had been sent by the Executive of the ANC to come and pardon us and that we should remain at the camp until they had organised everything for us to be returned.

POM     Was he an ANC lawyer?

CM     I don't know what he was. But I know that he was within the legal department of the ANC. From there, after he had told us that we were going to be released, we stayed on there until 16th August when we were told that we should bath as normal and then dress in civilian clothing. We were then taken to a truck and transported to the airport. But on that same day we found that we had missed the plane, so we were taken to a camp in Kampala. The following day, 17th August, a Saturday, we were taken again to the airport. From there we went to Nairobi. There when we saw South African Airways and when the Kenyan officials had given us our tickets, then we believed that we were being truly released.

     When we got into the plane we found that there were SA newspapers there, such as The Citizen, the headlines of which were "32 Notorious Spies Released". So now we decided to challenge the ANC again on this statement of theirs. So when we arrived at Jan Smuts airport we decided not to go with the reception committee as it was part and parcel of the ANC, we sought refuge with the International Red Cross. We met an official of the Red Cross by the name of Terry who is based in Johannesburg. Terry took us to the Springbok Hotel. Before he took us there, we explained to him that we are also fearing for our lives because we want to tell the world and the people of SA that the ANC is calling us spies when we are not spies for the government. Of course Terry took us to Joubert Street, where our hotel was. We stayed there for almost five days before we left for Durban.

     When we arrived in Durban again, we had a press conference. But before we left Johannesburg we met Winnie Mandela, Chris Hani, Siphiwe Nyanda, also known as Gebhuza, who is now the Chief of Staff of MK, and we told them that we don't want anything to do with them after we had realised that there was some sort of bribery involved and we do not trust them anymore. We arrived in Durban where we made a press statement.

     So as from that time, we have not been able to go back to the township because when we tried to go there, to my home in fact at KwaMashu L317, we found members of MK had come to my place to try and kill me, so I had to run away from home. From there we went to Ulundi where we are under the umbrella of the Chief Minister, the President of Inkatha, until we shifted here, to the leader of Lindelani, by the name of Thomas Shabalala, that is how now we are busy contacting the international world and the press.

POM     Thank you.

     Interviewee No. 4

POM     Could you please give us your name?

TG     My name is Themba Kondile. I was born in Port Elizabeth in 1968. in 1986 I joined the United Democratic Front (UDF) in PE. During 1986 I was elected by the UDF members as a member of Zwide Committee. In 1988 I started to work for my family because my father and my mother had divorced. I was forced to work, so I got a job as a security guard with a security company called Alert. The same year I was recruited by a member of the agency to go outside the country, receive training and to come back to stay in SA. The person who recruited me told me that the ANC is going to support my family because he was fully aware that I was responsible for my family.

     Therefore I went to Uganda in 1988. I received training in an ANC camp called Ngoma in Kampala. When I arrived at the camp I found that there was corruption there because some of the people were beaten to death by the instructor during the training. In our camp there was starvation. There was also sexual harassment, especially directed towards the female comrades, because the instructors and members of the staff in the ANC camp were harassing the female comrades. Then I started to complain about this.

     Firstly I met another guy called Austin in the camp. He was a member of the security department in the camp. I asked him how he can allow this thing to happen in our camp. I said to him that these people had left SA to come to the camp to receive training to fight apartheid, so there was no need to kill them. Chief Austin told me that the soldier of the ANC does not have a right to speak out against anything because in the army there is no democracy.

     After two days he called me again to the administration office. He asked me how I could ask him those things, being a soldier. He said that I should have known that in the army there is no democracy. After two weeks I was taken to another ANC camp during the night. I was taken by Austin and Mashu, who was a member of the NRA, which is the Ugandan army. I was taken from the camp to Kampala. There I was locked up in a room as small as a toilet. Sometimes Austin would come to this cell to beat me and he gave me about 50 sheets of paper to write everything that I knew and everything that I had done in SA. He accused me of collaborating with the SAP during 1985 and I denied that because I had never done that. How could I have collaborated with the police whilst my mother was shot by the police during 1976? Fortunately she survived. I stayed in that place for about three months.

     Some days during my stay there I was not given food at all. When I asked for food I was beaten by an NRA member. Austin sometimes kicked me in my private parts. So after a long time in this place, I was taken to a prison in Kampala where I met other ANC prisoners. I was put into solitary confinement by the ANC, I was left there naked. I was constantly beaten and tortured by the ANC, even when I was sick. They accused me of drinking poison in order to reveal the truth. I remember one day when I was sick I was beaten by these people, they kicked and beat me. At that point I wanted to die.

     In June 1991, I was taken from Uganda to Tanzania by the security of the ANC. From Uganda to Tanzania I was travelling by sea. When we arrived in Tanzania I was told that I was going to be released. So these people who took me from Uganda took me to a place called '18' to stay. After I had been there for one month, I went to the administration to complain that I had been there for a month although I had been promised that I was going to be released. This person asked me what I wanted him to do. I said he should let me go home. He took me and locked me up again. The place where he locked me up looks like a school but it is a hostel, which is about five kilometres away from the ANC police station. I was locked up there from 1991 until February 1992.

POM     Did you come back to SA then?

TG     Yes.

POM     Did you visit your parents?

TG     Yes, in Port Elizabeth?

POM     Did they wonder what had ever happened to you?

TG     Yes. From Tanzania I went to PE, where the ANC promised to kill me. I remember after one week there, I received a call from a person who told me that if I continued exposing the ANC I would be killed. So that is why I decided to come here. Even now I am sick because of the beatings in the ANC prison. I am suffering from headaches and back pains. I tried to contact the ANC in PE about my problem, and was told that if I don't want to accept that I was an enemy agent I can't get anything from the ANC.

POM     They wanted you to accept that you were an enemy agent?

TG     Yes, but I did not because I have never been an enemy agent. I have never collaborated with the police.

POM     So they are saying in fact that if you say you were a collaborator they will help you and if you refuse to say that they won't?

TG     Yes. So even now I am here in Durban. I have left my parents and family in PE. Nobody in my family works. I was the only person who was working in my family. So now that I am here, I don't even know what is happening in PE, but I hope here I am safe and I am prepared to stay here because I am safe.

POM     OK. Thank you.

     Interviewee No. 5

POM     Could you please give us your name?

KK     My name is Keke Kheswa. I was born and bred in Pietermaritzburg in a tribal authority next to Mavunzo. I did my primary education at Nkabinde Higher Primary School and did my secondary education at Langalakhe Secondary School. I did my high school education at Sobantu High School. Then I started to be involved in politics in 1982.

     In 1982 I was very interested in politics, then I went to Sobantu where I met some of my colleagues who were also interested in politics. Most were interested in the politics of the ANC as well as the politics of the communists, because in Sobantu and around Pietermaritzburg you find that many people were communists. As you know there is Harry Gwala, there is a family in Sobantu of Magubane and Xaba, and their children were communists. I found them, being together with them, trying to explain to the people the aims and objectives of the ANC, as well as the South African Communist Party. I was not aware that the SA government was aware of our activities. Then I found myself writing poems in newspapers, like Natal Witness and Echo. Then I was harassed by the police around Pietermaritzburg. I was arrested on 20th January 1986 under the emergency regulations. After that they told me that they wanted me to be a member of the security branch under the police station in Pietermaritzburg. I told them that I would not do that. Then in December 25th I was harassed by the Pietermaritzburg security police and I decided to quit the country. I then left for Botswana. When I was there I met the ANC security officers who took me to Zimbabwe from where I took a flight to Zambia. In Zambia I was given the choice of joining MK or go to school. I told them that I would not join MK I preferred to go to school.

     Then I was taken to Tanzania. Hardly three weeks in Tanzania I found myself at loggerheads with these people. The squabble started over womanising too much and washing the Land Rover. We were accused of not doing a good job of washing the Land Rover. I was confronted about that and I told them that I did not know that the other guy who was washing the car with me did not wash the car thoroughly. Then the squabble started. They decided to punish us, they called it as corrective measure. I told them that that is not a corrective measure, it is a punishment. I tried to tell them that if they don't want to solve the problem any other way with me, they had better expel me from the ANC.

     They did not want to listen to me. I took the initiative of going to the Chief Rep. in Tanzania where I met him and talked. Then I decided to escape from the camp. I went to Dar Es Salaam where I talked with the Chief Rep. He told me that I have to go back and he gave me one thousand shillings. Then he said I must go to a hotel. I stayed one night in a hotel and then I went back to Mazimbu. After at week at Mazimbu, I was kidnapped by the security officers of the ANC who took me to a forest where they beat me with barbed wires. They told me that they had been told that I am a South African enemy agent. I asked them who had told them that, they said the person who was next to me when we were killing people at Sobantu in Pietermaritzburg. They brought that person to me and I saw that guy. I had never seen that guy before, but he said he knew me. Then I was beaten with barbed wires, stones, sticks, bicycle chains, etc. The conditions which I was under were very severe, I was not even in a position to resist the pain. I decided to admit that I was a South Africa state enemy agent. They said I have to write the names of the people I had killed in SA. I started counting all my friends, who I knew were alive. I think I counted over fifteen of them. Then they said I should say that I had been sent with an R1 rifle. Myself I don't know how to operate an R1 rifle. They said I had to admit that I had poison to poison Oliver Tambo.

     Just imagine how can I travel with an R1 rifle from SA to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique to Zambia and Tanzania, how can that happen? But they forced me to say I did that. Then they forced me to say that I was sent by the SA government to infiltrate the SACP via the ANC and to bomb Mazimbu and reconnoitre the area so that the Boers can be in a position to come and bomb Mazimbu. Then from Tanzania, after I had confessed all these things, this was the fourth statement, I was taken to Angola. From Angola I was taken to Nova Stalasau, which is a Portuguese word meaning 'new installation', which is a Cuban structure (a prison). Whilst I was there I used to eat once every three days and the meal would comprise a small cup of and one slice of bread. From there I stayed about a month then one of the security officers, called Bob, took us to the North of Angola, near Zaire, to a concentration camp called Quatro.

     At Quatro I was told to write the same statement that I had written in Tanzania. I told them that I did not remember all that I had written in Tanzania. They gave me the copies of what I had written in Tanzania, I had to recite it several times. Then they told me to write it out again. I then decided to add another story, not the one which I had written in Tanzania. They asked me why my story had now changed, I told them that it was because I did not commit those crimes. I was beaten again to make me confess.

     From there, in 1988, we were taken from Quatro to Luanda because of the New York agreement. We know the order which was issued by Chris Hani which said, "If it happens that Savimbi attacks us on the way, the only thing they have to do about us is to detonate the hand grenades and jump out of the trucks." But because of God, we were not attacked by Savimbi, which was lucky for us, the prisoners, I don't care about MK soldiers, I don't care about them, but as prisoners it was lucky for us, then we were in a position to reach Luanda. In Luanda they called us all one by one and at gunpoint we had to confess what we had done in South Africa, why we had killed people. At gunpoint I told them that I had never killed people in SA, then I was taken to another place where the next morning they called me and told me that they would give me another chance to confess. I told them that I would never do that.

     Then we were taken from Angola and smuggled into Uganda. In Uganda, as Pat has already explained to you, we went on a hunger strike. The first strike I embarked on lasted for 18 days and the second one lasted 17 days, but the NEC remained stubborn. The ANC never took at steps to try and improve our conditions, instead they were making conditions worse than before.

     Then there came a time when they set up a tribunal. I told them that I would not attend that tribunal because it is illegal, it is not known by the people and we had no access to counsel and we had no witnesses. After that we were told that we were going to be released. Even at that time we did not trust the ANC because there were some rumours that we were going to be taken to Libya or India or Ethiopia and we still did not trust the ANC. After that we found ourselves in Kampala. All the prisoners told them that if they were going to try to smuggle us to another country, we were going to fight at the airport. That is when they decided that we must travel alone to Kenya. So 32 prisoners travelled on their own from Uganda to Kenya.

     When we got to Kenya, myself and three other prisoners did not want to return to SA knowing the situation. We wanted to go abroad and further our studies, but the Kenyans refused, they said that Mandela told them that they had to send all exiles straight back to SA. We then boarded a flight to SA, where we were given The Citizen newspaper in which there was an article about us, that we were notorious enemy agents. That irritated us and there and then we discussed the matter and decided that those who wanted to remain as members of the ANC should do so and those who did not want could go their own way.

     When we reached Jan Smuts airport, we were met by Michael, the head of the International Red Cross and some of us opted to go with him and others opted to go with Frank Chikane. We were taken to the Springbok Hotel where we stayed for two days. During our stay there Winnie Mandela and Chris Hani came to us to apologise about what had happened outside, and we told them that they had to do so publicly, and they had to say that we are not enemy agents, but they refused to do that. Instead, they committed us to telling the journalist that we would not say anything bad about the ANC, only to find that Pat Hlongwane, myself, Paul Ntshwazi as well as Bongani Malingo, but I would exclude Bongani Malingo from this thing. We were very stubborn about this thing. That is why we decided to call one of the journalists, John Calling, who is working for an independent newspaper. We started making a noise about the ANC because we knew their dirty tricks, that they were just bluffing us, they were not telling the truth when they said that they were going to try to reinstate us back into the society.

     One day it happened that we decided to leave the Springbok Hotel. We came to Ulundi where we addressed the Inkatha Youth Brigade. I am not going to say a lot on this since Pat Hlongwane has said all there is to say about that. But we decided, as colleagues who were coming from the ANC concentration camps, to form a committee. As you see, the committee is effective and it is trying to expose ANC atrocities that were committed in exile. We are living here with Thomas Shabalala now and he is giving us everything we need plus all the protection we need. The ANC is trying to come here to kill Thomas Shabalala and us but they have failed and they won't succeed because we know whenever they are going to come here.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.