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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 369

Paragraph Numbers 192 to 202

Volume 2

Chapter 4

Subsection 21

Armed clash at Ntlonze Hill
An armed clash took place at Ntlonze Hill on 12 December 1962 when armed Poqo members were intercepted by police while on their way to assassinate Chief Kaiser Matanzima. Seven Poqo members were killed in the encounter and three policemen seriously injured in what could have led to more police fatalities, but for the inability of the Poqo members to use the guns they had obtained from the police. The PAC described the incident as being “aimed at those headmen and chiefs assisting the dispossession of African people through the rural rehabilitation scheme” as well as being “provoked by reports of the brutal torture in Cofimvaba prison of Comrades Makwetu and Kisana”.
In its submission to the Commission, the PAC claims that “a whole platoon of the SAP threw away their guns. Unfortunately none of our combatants could use them effectively”. As this was a military encounter in which both sides were armed, neither the injuries to policemen nor the deaths of the Poqo members can be considered to be gross human rights violations.

192 Poqo attacks were also directed at whites. In February 1963, five white civilians were killed by Poqo members while sleeping in caravans on the roadside at Mbashe Bridge near Umtata. Twenty-three Poqo members were convicted, sentenced to death and hanged as a consequence. The PAC told the Commission that the incident –

needs to be understood in the context of the land wars of the time. People were being moved from their plots and their homes without compensation when the new Umtata to Queenstown road was being constructed. It was a purely defensive act.

193 While the Commission finds that this attack on civilians was a gross violation of human rights, no families of victims of the attack approached the Commission.

194 On 8 February 1963, a white debt-collector was murdered in Langa township, allegedly by Poqo members.

195 On 22 November 1962 at 04h00, about one hundred Poqo members entered the houses of white residents of Paarl, dragged them from their beds and beat them up. Five of the attackers were shot dead by the police. Eighteen-year-old Ms Rencia Vermeulen, a student at a commercial college in Paarl and her friend, twenty-two-year-old Mr Frans Richard, were hacked to death by the Poqo attackers.

196 Poqo supporters also attacked shops in the main street of Paarl, smashing windows and attacking other white residents. The attacks were described by the police as reprisals for arrests made in the Mbekweni location the previous day. These arrests followed the killings of a white shopkeeper, three black women who were found speared to death in a plantation and a black man whose headless body was found floating in the Berg River in Paarl.

197 The Snyman Commission appointed to investigate the Paarl violence highlighted corruption and bad management in the Bantu Administration offices in Paarl and the inhuman treatment meted out to the so-called “Bantus”. The PAC told the Commission that the violence in Paarl was directed against “the self-enrichment of a Mr Le Roux who hoarded migrant workers from Eastern Cape in his farm, using them as cheap labour, only giving them food”.

198 The only PAC victim statement received by the Commission for this period is in respect of the killing by PAC members of Mr Milton Chumani Nozulu Matshiki [CT00267/WIN] in Paarl in October 1962. He went missing and after two days his decapitated body was found.

199 Mr Morgan Nogaga Gxekwa [AM5686/97] applied for amnesty as a founder member of both Poqo and APLA.

WHILE THE COMMISSION TAKES NOTE OF THE EXPLANATION TENDERED BY THE PAC THAT ITS ACTIVITIES IN THE EARLY 1960S NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD IN THE CONTEXT OF THE “LAND WARS OF THE TIME”, IT NEVERTHELESS FINDS THAT THE PAC AND POQO WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMISSION OF GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS THROUGH ITS (POQO’S) CAMPAIGN TO LIBERATE THE COUNTRY. THIS UNLEASHED A REIGN OF TERROR, PARTICULARLY IN THE WESTERN CAPE TOWNSHIPS. IN THE COURSE OF THIS CAMPAIGN, THE FOLLOWING GROUPS SUFFERED GROSS VIOLATIONS OF THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS:
  • MEMBERS OF THE POLICE PARTICULARLY THOSE LIVING IN BLACK TOWNSHIPS;
  • THE SO-CALLED KATANGESE, DISSIDENT MEMBERS OF THE PAC WHO OPPOSED THE CAMPAIGN AND WERE SUBJECTED TO PHYSICAL ATTACKS AND ASSASSINATIONS BY OTHER POQO MEMBERS;
  • REPRESENTATIVES OF TRADITIONAL AUTHORITY IN THE HOMELANDS, THAT IS, CHIEFS AND HEADMEN;
  • WHITE CIVILIANS IN NON-COMBAT SITUATIONS;
THE COMMISSION FINDS PAC ACCOUNTABLE FOR SUCH VIOLATIONS.

200 The 1968 Vila Peri campaign in Mozambique arose from the PAC’s alliance with the Mozambique Revolutionary Committee (COREMO), a rival of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO). A plan known as Operation Crusade aimed to infiltrate a unit of twelve PAC guerrillas into the country in order to establish bases and build armed people’s units to prepare for a “protracted people’s war”. The unit was from the Azanian Armed Forces which had replaced Poqo. Their battles with the Portuguese security forces lasted for over a month, mainly around Vila Peri inside Lourenço Marques (Mozambique). Three Portuguese security men, including a Portuguese Intelligence Agency (PIDE) agent, were killed by PAC guerrillas.

201 The Azanian Armed Forces guerrillas were remnants of twelve highly trained and motivated guerrillas under the command of Mr Gerald Kondlo, a graduate of Chinese and Algerian military academies. Seven were killed in what PAC military analysts describe as “one of the fiercest confrontations” between “the forces of liberation and those who defended the oppressive white minority regimes in Southern Africa”. The SADF immediately set up an operation known as Operation Sibasa to secure areas that could be used as ports of entry by the PAC. Two survived the operation, Mr Enoch Zulu and Mr Zeblon Mokoena. Two others, Mr Oscar Ntoni and Mr Samuel Guma, were wounded and captured. Their fate remains unknown, although they are thought either to have been deported back to South Africa where they were executed or executed by FRELIMO as “counterrevolutionaries”. COREMO leader Paulo Gumane, who was apparently in a political rehabilitation camp with them, was reportedly executed by FRELIMO.

202 No victim statements or amnesty applications were received in connection with these acts.

 
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