Following an article published by The Citizen regarding resurfaced claims made by well-known sangoma, author, and sculptor Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa about Helen Zille, the former leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Zille has hit back at Mutwa’s claims, labelling them lies.
A YouTube video posted by a user named Sandile Mshengu in July 2019 and recently shared to Twitter by journalist Pinky Khoabane shows Mutwa in an interview with an unidentified foreign journalist. In the interview, Mutwa claimed Zille misquoted him in an apartheid-era Rand Daily Mail article on the Cillié Commission of Inquiry into the 1976 Soweto Uprising and other unrest during that period.
According to Mutwa, he was called to testify in his capacity as a municipal supervisor in one of the areas involved in the uprising as a government installation in the area had been demolished in the unrest.
Mutwa explained that because anyone who was assumed to be working with the apartheid government by cooperating with the inquiry faced a possible threat of violence, the inquiry’s presiding judge, Judge Cillié, declared at the time that the proceedings would take place in-camera and the names of the witnesses would not be published.
“But when the inquiry was on, I noticed reporters at the inquiry in a place where they were not supposed to be. If the inquiry was to be held in-camera, why then were there reporters there?” asked Mutwa.
Zille, in response to The Citizen’s article, tweeted: “Thanks for this article. It exposes the lie that my report on Credo Mutwa’s testimony before the Cillie Commission resulted in the attack on his house in Sept 1976. Only one small problem: Cillié Commission of Inquiry had not yet taken place then. #LiesExposed.”
According to South African History Online, the government-appointed Cillié commission of inquiry held its first public hearing in Johannesburg on Monday, September 13, 1976.
The inquiry was appointed to look into the uprisings in Soweto on June 16, 1976, and the extent of the damage and casualties thereof.
Mutwa said his attack took place in September of that year.
There have also been various demands from online users for a copy of the article in question that Zille had written.
You have to look in the archives. I never kept it. It was long before Google. All my reports of the Commission will be in the archives.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) August 7, 2019
The article is currently not available online or to the public and Zille has since directed those who wish to read it to the RDM archives, where it is understood to be recorded and stored.