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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 405

Paragraph Numbers 19 to 29

Volume 2

Chapter 5

Subsection 4


Historical and political overview

19 This period began with the 1960 Pondoland Revolt in Transkei, a rural revolt against the increased powers of chiefs and the imminent imposition of homeland structures (see below in the Transkei and Ciskei section). Three years later Transkei became the first homeland to be granted self-government status.

20 Following the successful clampdown on internal opposition, there was a period of marked economic growth. In the wake of these developments, the NP was provided with an opportunity to consolidate its control over the state. In this period of ‘grand apartheid’, the South African government embarked on a project of profound and widespread social engineering. From the 1960s onwards, millions of individuals were uprooted and relocated – generally to the homelands – in the process of ‘consolidating’ South Africa’s ethnic map. Direct physical violence, accompanied by the structural violence inherent in the system of migrant labour, resulted in violations of human rights that defy easy calculation.

21 In this period of forced removals, land consolidation and homeland political development, the legislation prepared by Prime Minister Verwoerd’s Native Affairs Department was widely implemented. In particular, elaborate and at times farcical steps were taken during the 1960s and 1970s to establish African-led administrations in the homelands. As was often the case, the Transkei proved the testing ground and eventually the model for the other homelands.

22 In 1963, the South African parliament passed the Transkei Constitution Act, replacing the existing territorial authority with a ‘self-governing’ legislative assembly with limited law-making powers. The assembly consisted of forty-five elected members and sixty-four ex officio chiefs (who, in terms of the 1951 Bantu Authorities Act, were employees of the South African government). From this body, a chief minister was elected who in turn appointed a homeland cabinet. Following the first general election later in the year, Chief Kaiser Matanzima was elected to the chief ministership, largely on the support of the non-elected chiefs.

23 Almost a decade passed before another homeland followed Transkei’s lead. Partly to avoid further delay, in 1970-71 the South African government passed two pieces of legislation designed to ease the political development of the remaining homelands.

The Bantu Homeland Citizenship Act stipulated that all African South Africans were citizens of one of the homelands, even if they currently lived in the ‘white’ Republic. The Bantu Homelands Constitution Act empowered the Prime Minister to devolve self-government to the homelands by decree, thus circumventing the cumbersome legislative process employed in the case of the Transkei.

24 Political developments quickly followed in a number of homelands. In 1971, self-government was granted to Ciskei and Bophuthatswana; Lebowa, Gazankulu and Venda received self-government in 1973. Only Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (the so-called TBVC states) ever went on to take independence. In 1972, the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly was established, followed by self-government in February 1977; KwaZulu consistently refused to opt for independence. At the end of this period, in 1975, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi revived Inkatha, then a cultural organisation. Buthelezi has been president of Inkatha ever since and went on to head the KwaZulu government throughout its existence. The remaining homelands became self-governing over the ensuing years. In this manner, the apartheid principle of territorial segregation was physically realised through the creation of separate, ethnically-based homelands.

Developments in security structures

25 Throughout the period in question, the SAP continued to dominate state security strategy in the homelands. When a peasants’ revolt and popular resistance emerged in Pondoland and elsewhere, the SAP blamed the situation on groups of ‘agitators’ and ‘intimidators’ who were said to be causing ‘riots’ in previously quiescent and non-politicised areas. The police argued that rural Africans were, by and large, law-abiding citizens who wanted no part of such activities. Police strategy focused therefore on counter-insurgency operations to prevent ‘riotous’ behaviour. Intelligence-gathering structures aimed to expose and apprehend those deemed guilty of inciting it.

26 This was achieved, as described later in this chapter, with the aid of a battery of new security regulations. Much of this legislation was first employed in the homelands. For example, in response to the situation in the Transkei, Proclamations R400 and R413 were gazetted in 1960. Inter alia, the proclamations stipulated that:

a The Minister of Bantu Administration and Development could prohibit any person from entering, being in or leaving Transkei;

b Gatherings of more than ten people (except for church meetings and certain other social events) were forbidden without official permission;

c The police were entitled to arrest and indefinitely detain people without a warrant;

d It was an offence to attend an unlawful gathering, to make any statement or perform any action likely to interfere with the authority of the state, or to boycott official meetings.

27 In addition to the SAP, the first homeland police force was established in the Transkei in this period. It soon became a model for developments in other homelands. Following the granting of self-governing status in 1963, a local department of justice was established in the homeland. To begin with, the Transkei’s forty-four police stations continued to fall under the control of SAP district commands in Kokstad and Umtata. Over time, however, all police stations and staff were transferred to the Transkei Police Force (TPF), officially formed in 1972 under the command of a seconded SAP member, Brigadier BS Pieterse. As would be the case in other homelands, the SAP continued to exercise control over the emerging homeland force. By 1975, the 543 serving members of the TPF were commanded by five white officers, all seconded from the national police force. Similarly, the SAP continued to supply the relevant equipment and training for the TPF, while revenues from the South African government supported the entire homeland edifice, including the Department of Justice. The final and ultimate influence of the SAP, however, was its continued operational presence.

28 In the period under review, military duties remained the sole preserve of the South African Defence Force (SADF), as homeland armies were formed only in the latter half of the 1970s. Nevertheless, important shifts in the SADF’s attitude to black soldiers occurred in this period, with coloured soldiers eventually being used for active duty. As late as 1970, Mr PW Botha, then Minister of Defence, restated official opposition to arming Africans. If “the Bantu” wanted to build a defence force, Botha suggested, “he should do it in his own eventually independent homeland”.

29 However, as Portugal’s colonial authority weakened in Mozambique and Angola, Pretoria was forced to reconsider its position. In 1973, a group of Africans was trained for guard duty at the Prisons Service Training Centre. In 1974, selected members of this group were redeployed as instructors at a newly established Army Bantu Training Centre. Although the SADF originally stressed that Africans would remain non-combatants, by the end of the decade this position had been abandoned.

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