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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 186
Paragraph Numbers 88 to 90
Special constables in KwaZulu/Natal
88 From 1988, special constables were used to bolster Inkatha in areas around Pietermaritzburg and the Natal Midlands. They were also used to attack UDF supporters. In January 1988, 300 Inkatha supporters were sent for special constable training at Koeberg.7 The group included 130 of those who had been given military training in the Caprivi through the SADF’s Operation Marion and was associated with unlawful acts, perpetrated either alone or in concert with the Riot Unit and Inkatha supporters. Examples are to be found in the Trust Feed killings in 1988 and the Seven Day War in 1990 (see Volume Three).
89 The recruitment and deployment of special constables in the KwaZulu/Natal area provided an overt armed capacity for Inkatha, as opposed to the covert capacity provided by Operation Marion. The Commission obtained evidence that Inkatha membership became a criterion for recruitment. Former police constable William Harrington of the Riot Unit said that all applications by people to work as special constables had to be counter-signed by an Inkatha chief (sic) and by another Inkatha person.
90 Special constables in several areas appear to have been recruited into hit squads. For example, in the post-1990 period, both former and serving special constables were implicated in widespread anonymous ‘balaclava’ killings and attacks in the western Cape, at the behest of town councillors.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SPECIAL CONSTABLES CONSTITUTED A PARTICULARLY POORLY TRAINED AND ILL-DISCIPLINED SECTOR OF THE SECURITY FORCES. THEIR DEPLOYMENT WAS SOON FOLLOWED BY KILLINGS, SEVERE ILL TREATMENT AND TORTURE, AS WELL AS CRIMINAL ACTS. THEIR COMMANDING OFFICERS IN THE POLICE TOOK NO VISIBLE STEPS TO CONTROL THEIR ACTIONS IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY, DESPITE PUBLIC ALLEGATIONS AND COURT INTERDICTS CONCERNING THEIR BEHAVIOUR. THE COMMISSION FURTHER HAS EVIDENCE THAT IN CERTAIN AREAS OF THE COUNTRY THE RIOT UNITS ACTED IN CONCERT WITH SPECIAL CONSTABLES IN THE PERPETRATION OF GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SPECIAL CONSTABLES AND MUNICIPAL POLICE SERVED TO PROVIDE AN ARMED CAPACITY TO THOSE PRO-GOVERNMENT INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPINGS THAT THE STATE SOUGHT TO DEFEND AND PROMOTE, PARTICULARLY INKATHA.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SPECIAL CONSTABLES AND MUNICIPAL POLICE WERE A PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE SECTOR OF THE SECURITY FORCES AND WERE THEMSELVES THE TARGETS OF VIOLENCE, RESULTING IN INJURIES, DEATHS AND THE DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY. WHEN THIS OCCURRED, AND THEIR OWN RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED, THEY DID NOT BENEFIT FROM THE SAME DEGREE OF PROTECTION AND INSURANCE AS THE REGULAR MEMBERS OF THE SAP.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE SPECIAL CONSTABLES COMMITTED GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ON A WIDE SCALE, INCLUDING KILLING, ATTEMPTED KILLING, TORTURE, ARSON AND SEVERE ILL TREATMENT, AND THAT THESE VIOLATIONS WERE PART OF A SYSTEMATIC PATTERN OF ABUSE FOR WHICH THE FORMER GOVERNMENT AND IN PARTICULAR THE MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER AND THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, ARE ACCOUNTABLE.7 Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok’s press secretary explained that “police were not allowed to take part in any extremist organisations like the UDF or the AWB, but could be part of an organisation like Inkatha". Quoted in Brian Mitchell’s amnesty application.