Slice of life: ‘It means there is no love’

Each and every day, by 5.30 in the morning, I am here because we check everything before people get here. We check every corner to make sure that it is safe before the [Zondo state capture] commission starts.

And I also watch every day. I am always here, but you usually don’t see me because I am always busy. I am always inside, but you can’t see me because I’m on the job.

But the day Ms Phumla Williams came was so emotional for me. When she was here she told a very touching story. She started crying.

It is interesting when you find the truth about how the leaders of this country can do this to their fellow South Africans. So that was the day I realised: this is what is happening in South Africa.

Ms Williams was telling us about how she was being tortured and mistreated. Hearing about her situation, I put myself in her shoes. If it was me, how would I handle I that?

I was here for the whole time she spoke. I listened to her, and I was also crying.

She spoke about how she felt she was being tortured physically and emotionally. The pain that she was feeling, I was feeling that pain too. She came the one day and she had injured her ankle. In that moment, those things that happened to her felt even more real.

If you are a human being, a human being in South Africa, and you see a black person like you, doing that to you, what does it mean? It means there is no love. So I was so hurt by that.

I hope that it does not come back that Ms Williams has done the same thing. You must remember that this is going to go on for a long time and all these people are going to come with their own stories. — Tumi Kola, assistant manager of the venue where the commission of inquiry into state capture is being held, as told to Sarah Smit


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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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