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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 625
Paragraph Numbers 186 to 195
The IFP, KZP and the battle for supremacy in KwaZulu and Natal
186 Inkatha was found to be the foremost perpetrator of gross human rights violations in KwaZulu and Natal during the 1990s. Approximately 9 000 gross human rights violations were perpetrated by Inkatha in KwaZulu and Natal from 1990 to May 1994. This constituted almost 50 per cent of all violations reported to the Commission’s Durban office for this period.
187 With the unbanning of the ANC and other affected organisations in February 1990, Inkatha’s free reign in KwaZulu and Natal was threatened. A substantial recruitment drive was initiated by the IFP after its reconstitution as a political party in July 1990.
188 Open contests for support between the two parties took the form of territorial battles for the control of communities and geographical areas, leading to frequent and widespread outbreaks of conflict and violence in the province. Tens of thousands of people were affected by the violence – suffering death, injury, maiming, bereavement and displacement on a large scale.
189 The Seven Day War in 1990 was one of the most significant events in the history of political violence in the province during the period. The Seven Day War is the collective name given to the events that occurred in the greater Edendale Valley in the greater Pietermaritzburg area in the seven days from Sunday 25 March 1990.
190 In fact, the violence took place over many more than seven days. Over 100 people were killed, some 3 000 houses were destroyed by fire and approximately 30 000 people fled their homes as a result of the violence. The vast majority of the people killed and injured were from the non-Inkatha areas, and the vast majority of the property damaged, burned and looted belonged to non-Inkatha supporters.
191 The IFP did not give the Commission an official account of its involvement in the Seven Day War. Almost every witness who appeared at the special public hearing into the Seven Day War, other than the SAP and the SADF, laid the blame for these events at the feet of IFP members. Several witnesses, who were at the time residents of the worst hit areas like KwaMnyandu, Gezubuso and Caluza, and who witnessed acts of murder and arson, said that it was a complete misnomer to refer to this event as a war. A resident of KwaMnyandu, Mr Enoch Zondi, told the Commission that it was more like “a reign of terror”.
192 The thousands of Inkatha supporters who took part in the armed attacks must bear overwhelming responsibility for the gross violations of human rights that took place during that week. Nonetheless, young UDF and ANC refugees must accept responsibility for starting the conflagration when, on 25 March, they stoned and attacked buses carrying IFP supporters travelling through Edendale on their return from a rally at King’s Park, Durban. Tension mounted when leaders of the IFP made inflammatory speeches at further public gatherings of IFP supporters.
193 The Seven Day War is documented in Volume Three of this report; here the focus is on the involvement of the security forces. Some witnesses testified to watching in disbelief as police provided buckets of ammunition to the armed attacking combatants. Others described seeing uniformed and armed special constables participating on the side of Inkatha combatants, while yet others spoke of armed and uniformed KwaZulu policemen assisting Inkatha attackers. Several witnesses testified about large numbers of KwaZulu government trucks, with their registration plates obscured by sacking, conveying large numbers of men armed with traditional weapons and guns to the scene of the conflict.
194 The version given to the Commission by special constables Nelson Shabangu, Nhlanhla Philemon Madlala and Riot Unit Constable Basil Harrington described open complicity between the police and IFP forces. The Commission heard that on Wednesday 28 March 1990, IFP leader Mr David Ntombela held a meeting of Inkatha supporters at his house in the Elandskop area. After this meeting, Ntombela instructed a member of the SAP Riot Unit to pick up a large group of special constables in a police vehicle and proceed to Gezubuso. Shabangu said that he drove a Riot Unit vehicle to pick up special constables. He met up with a large Inkatha crowd, including Ntombela and went with the group to the outskirts of KwaShange. There he watched with other members of his Riot Unit while the special constables attacked, burned and looted houses at KwaShange, and returned with stolen property. This was loaded onto a police vehicle and taken to Ntombela’s home, along with cattle, which had been stolen from the residents of KwaShange. Fifteen people were killed in this attack.
195 There is evidence that police provided logistic support to Inkatha members, gave them ammunition, took part in the attacks side by side with them, refused to deploy Defence Force resources in areas where attacks were taking place, and made them available only to ensure that Inkatha members were not attacked on the Edendale road.
THE COMMISSION MADE A COMPREHENSIVE FINDING ON THE SEVEN DAY WAR AND ON THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE PRIMARY ROLE-PLAYERS IN A CONFLICT THAT RESULTED IN THE COMMISSION OF MANY HUNDREDS OF GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS. THE ROLE-PLAYERS INCLUDE: MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF INKATHA, INKATHA MIDLANDS LEADER, MR DAVID NTOMBELA, THE KZP, THE KWAZULU GOVERNMENT, THE RIOT UNIT OF THE SAP, INCLUDING SPECIAL CONSTABLES, AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE FORCE. THE COMMISSION ALSO MADE A FINDING IN RESPECT OF THE PROVOCATIVE ROLE OF MEMBERS OF THE UDF IN THE CONFLICT.