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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 622

Paragraph Numbers 174 to 185

Volume 2

Chapter 7

Subsection 14

Counter-mobilisation: The African Democratic Movement

174 The African Democratic Movement (ADM) was set up by the Ciskei government in July 1991. As a political party led by Brigadier Gqozo, the ADM aligned itself with Inkatha and with right wing groups in the Concerned South Africans Group (COSAG).

175 Throughout its brief history, the ADM was involved in violent clashes with the ANC. After the Bisho massacre of September 1992, these clashes erupted into more overt warfare, with increasingly sophisticated weapons being used (see the Eastern Cape regional profile elsewhere in this report). The highest number of attacks appeared to have been carried out by the ANC-aligned groups.

176 By late 1991 Ciskei had hired a private security company, Peace Force, to protect government property. Peace Force was given the use of the Ciskei’s Wesley military base on the coast, where it ran brief training courses for ADM-supporting recruits. There were allegations that these recruits were then involved in violent clashes with ANC supporters.

177 In late 1993 and early 1994 there were several armed hit squad-style attacks on ANC supporters in the Ciskei. Five men were subsequently charged with murder, attempted murder and weapons charges in connection with these attacks; they were all acquitted. They were Titise Mcoyiyana (the ADM chairman), Vuyisile Madikane, Dingaan Somtsora, Mongezi Reuben Solani (a bodyguard to Gqozo) and Jeffrey Moshumi (former MK member from the Western Cape).

The Bisho massacre, 7 September 1992

178 The Bisho massacre occurred on 2 September 1992 when thousands of ANC supporters, marching from King William’s Town to Bisho, capital of the ‘independent’ Ciskei were fired on by Ciskei government troops. The march had been organised in support of demands for free political activity in the Ciskei and for the removal of Brigadier Oupa Gqozo. Twenty-nine marchers died and one member of the CDF, Rifleman Vusumzi Sydney Nqabisa, was also shot dead. There were conflicting accounts of the soldier’s death in the various inquiries; however ballistics indicated he was shot with an R4 rifle.

179 The Commission received a considerable number of statements in connection with deaths and injuries sustained in this event. Two public hearings were held on this matter during 1996, with testimony from victims of the shooting, politicians (including Brigadier Oupa Gqozo) and security force members.

180 The Commission heard that shortly before the main body of the March reached the stadium, an ANC advance party arrived at the border to assess the situation. This group found the gap in the fence: as a result the ANC decided that part of the march led by ANC officials including Ronnie Kasrils and Chris Hani would go through this gap and head for Bisho. Kasrils told the Commission:

We broke into a run, beckoning others to follow with the intention of moving as swiftly as possible out of the gap and away from where the soldiers were deployed. We had covered approximately fifty metres when, without any warning whatsoever, the soldiers began shooting at us with automatic rifles … The firing seemed to last for ages, but it has been estimated that there was one full minute of concentrated fire, then a pause of approximately ten to twenty seconds, followed by a second round of volley fire lasting approxi- mately thirty seconds … If there had been a warning, we would have halted, and if warning shots were fired, we would certainly have retreated.

181 Kasrils said he would never have believed that the soldiers would have opened fire in this way. “I accept in a profound moral sense that I was an element in the events that culminated in the massacre, and it still haunts me that perhaps we could have done more to avoid the terrible outcome,” he said.

182 Lieutenant Colonel (now Colonel) Vakele Archiebald Mkosana [AM4458/96], the Officer Commanding 1 Ciskei Battalion and the Field Commander of the CDF troops, was present among the troops when the marchers ran towards them. He said he radioed his superiors, reported that the troops were under fire and, on that basis, received orders to open fire. Mkosana gave the order to open fire to the troops and, according to the CDF planning, only single shots were to have been fired. However firing was picked up by troops around the stadium and even machine gun fire and rifle grenades were used.7

183 Mkosana made various statements about the incident. In general, these statements confirm that he requested and received permission to open fire; however there are conflicting statements about the reasons for opening fire and the firepower used.

184 Ballistics expert Jacobus du Plessis told the Commission that nine marchers and the soldier were struck in the head and two marchers in the neck. Ten marchers were shot from behind while none of them were shot directly from the front. At least fourteen people were apparently shot while lying down or bending over. This seems to indicate that most people were shot while trying to flee. Du Plessis said that 404 cartridge cases, all from 5.56 mm bullets used in R4 rifles, were picked up at the scene. He was able to determine that these had been fired by 107 different weapons. He could not estimate how many rounds had been fired except that it was at least 404. Four rifle grenades were fired by the CDF.

185 The event is documented fully in the chapter on the Eastern Cape in Volume Three, where the Commission made a comprehensive finding on the massacre and on the role played by the Ciskei security forces and the ANC.

7 Mkosana’s reports to his superiors and the authorisation to open fire were confirmed by Oelschig and Van der Bank to the CDF inquiry and to the Commission.
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