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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 411

Paragraph Numbers 1 to 10

Volume 1

Chapter 12

Subsection 11

Volume ONE Chapter TWELVE

Regional Office Reports



1 The Durban regional office operated across the two provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State – each with widely differing political and social dynamics. Although the office served a total population of just over ten million people (over 25 per cent of the total population of South Africa), KwaZulu-Natal has almost three times the population of the Free State. For this reason, the greater part of the work was concentrated in KwaZulu-Natal, where some eighty permanent staff members were employed, while a satellite office with a staff of seven people was set up in the Free State.

2 The Commission was designed to be implemented in a society in which transition had at least begun, and in which there was a degree of political tolerance. In KwaZulu-Natal, the ruling Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) had not been party to many of the transitional negotiations and had, in fact, only come into the election process days before 27 April 1994. From its inception, the Commission was treated with mistrust and scepticism by the IFP and, in spite of written representations and personal requests by the most senior members of the Commission, it was not willing to encourage its members to take part in the process. However, at a very late stage, approximately one month before the cut-off date for submission of statements, the IFP called on its members to apply for reparations. Some 5 000 people subsequently made statements, a small percentage of whom were declared members of the IFP.


3 The total area of KwaZulu-Natal (comprising the former KwaZulu homeland and the Natal province) is just over 92 000 square kilometres, with a sub-tropical coastline on the eastern border and the Drakensberg Mountains to the west. The province includes two large industrial areas: the ‘Durban Functional Region’ (the third fastest growing urban area in the world in the past decade) and Richards Bay. Together, these two ports are responsible for the bulk of sea-based export and import for southern Africa.

4 The Free State is larger than KwaZulu-Natal and occupies a total area of 129 000 square kilometres. Its major urban centre is Bloemfontein, which is the judicial capital of South Africa.


5 KwaZulu-Natal has a population of just over eight million people. The Durban area has the largest population of Asians outside of the Indian sub-continent, many of whom came to South Africa as labourers to work on the sugar plantations during the last century. In terms of the categories created by apartheid legislation, 81 per cent of the population of the province is African, 9.6 per cent Asian, 6.2 per cent white and 3.2 per cent coloured.

6 The Free State is much more sparsely populated and, although a larger geographical area, the population is under three million people. Approximately 83 per cent of people living in the Free State are African, 12 per cent white, and 5 per cent coloured. Very few Asians live in the Free State because, historically, apartheid legislation forbade their settlement in the area.


7 Most of the people in KwaZulu-Natal speak Zulu as a home language, and the majority of the white population is English-speaking. Other prevalent languages are South Sotho, Xhosa, Gujerati and Hindi.

8 In the Free State, the majority of the population is South Sotho speaking. Most of the white population is Afrikaans-speaking; ten times more people speak Afrikaans as a home language than English. Other major languages spoken include Xhosa, Zulu and Tswana.

Income/poverty profile

9 In KwaZulu-Natal, about 50 per cent of the economically active population is unemployed. The annual per capita income is R3 288. Nearly two million people in the ‘Durban Functional Region’ still live in informal settlements. Many people depend on informal employment, such as street trading, for their survival.

10 The Free State has an average annual per capita income of R4 416 and an unemployment rate of approximately 30 per cent. Many of the inhabitants of this province work as farm labourers under very poor conditions of employment or as contract labourers or migrant workers on the mines in other provinces.

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