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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 425

Paragraph Numbers 93 to 101

Volume 2

Chapter 5

Subsection 16



93 Whatever the South African government’s reasons, publicly-stated or hidden, for encouraging homeland independence, by the time of Ciskei’s independence ceremonies in December 1981, it was clear that the homelands were also to be used as a more brutal instrument for suppressing opposition. Both Transkei and Ciskei used additional emergency-style laws to silence opposition in the run-up to both self-government and later independence. By the mid-1980s, a clear pattern of brutal suppression of opposition had emerged in both homelands, with South Africa frequently washing its hands of the situation on the grounds that these were ‘independent’ countries.

94 Both homelands borrowed repressive South African legislation initially and, in addition, backed this up with emergency-style regulations passed with South African assistance before independence (Proclamation 400 and 413 in Transkei which operated from 1960 until 1977, and Proclamation R252 in Ciskei which operated from 1977 until 1982).

95 The emergency Proclamations 400, 413 and R252 appear to have been retained in the Transkei case and introduced in the Ciskei in order to suppress legal opposition at the time of attainment of self-government status.

96 Police in the homelands (initially SAP and later the Transkei and Ciskei Police) targeted political opponents rather than criminals, as the SAP did in South Africa.

97 Homeland legislation eventually passed was sometimes more repressive than parallel legislation used in South Africa. For example, when commenting on the replacement of Proclamation R252 by the Ciskei National Security Act of 1982, Haysom commented that “this Act contains most of the much criticised features of the South African security legislation and a good few more besides”4. This law enabled among others detentions, bannings of individuals and organisations, and limits on the right to strike. Most of the powers were exercised on the discretion of the commander general of national security, Charles Sebe.

98 Police in homeland areas acted with extraordinary brutality, possibly because these regions were so often ignored by the rest of the country. For example, the Pondoland Revolt of 1960 and events in subsequent years elicited a venomous backlash from the police (still the SAP in the early years), with police assaulting detainees so badly that it appears they cared little whether detainees lived or died. The Human Rights Commission (HRC) records thirty-two deaths in detention between 1976 and 1982. The Eastern Cape accounted for eight of these (25 per cent) with five of the eight in the two homelands (four in Transkei, one in Ciskei and three in Port Elizabeth).

99 While South Africa proper tended to use repressive legislation primarily against extra-parliamentary opposition, the homelands also used such legislation to act against election and parliamentary opponents: the opportunities for opposition were thus extremely limited.

100 Forms of organisation and extra-parliamentary opposition that were legal in South Africa, although often harassed, were de facto and sometimes de jure illegal in the homelands. For example, when unions started organising in Ciskei in the late 1970s, unionists were initially targeted for severe harassment, detention and torture and by 1983, SAAWU had been banned. In Transkei, unions could not operate at all until after the more benevolent military rulers took over. In both territories, the UDF simply did not have a presence, due to the impossibility of organising there.

101 The homeland authorities had open links with vigilante groups and encouraged them to operate; this was particularly the case in Ciskei. The Ciskei government went so far as to make facilities available to the vigilantes: the use of the Mdantsane stadium as a base for the Green Berets in 1983, the use of a training camp for the Zwelitsha vigilantes in 1985 along with an MP to work with them, and the use of a military base and a private security company as trainers in the 1990s. These vigilantes were, in all cases, used to target opposition to homeland authorities (unionists and commuters in 1983, members of progressive youth structures in 1985 and ANC members in 1990).

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