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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 627

Paragraph Numbers 196 to 204

Volume 2

Chapter 7

Subsection 16

The issuing of G-3 rifles

196 As early as 1974, Buthelezi requested that the South African government grant firearms licences to “all chiefs for the destruction of vermin and to deserving businessmen and other Zulus of repute who need these firearms for the protection of their businesses and themselves”. Again in 1985, Buthelezi approached the former government with a request for “the authority to issue licenses for the carrying of firearms”.

197 In 1990, an amendment to the Natal Zulu Code of Law virtually legalised the carrying of dangerous weapons and the arming of the amaKhosi (chiefs). The department of the Chief Minister circumvented normal weapons’ licensing regulations by making automatic weapons available to state functionaries for the protection of KwaZulu government property. G-3 semi-automatic rifles were issued to chiefs and headmen through the Department of the Chief Minister. These chiefs and headmen were in turn able to issue weapons, by way of permits, to their ‘tribal police’ or ‘community guards’. By law, these weapons were to be used to protect KwaZulu government buildings and property. Evidence points to the fact that they were also put to use in clashes between ANC and IFP supporters.

Hostel violence

198 After February 1990, township residents in the province tended to join with the ANC while hostels became the point of entry for Inkatha into the townships. Strangers entering the hostels were frequently suspected of being from the township and were killed. Similarly, hostel-dwellers travelling through the township to and from the hostels were frequently attacked by township youth.

199 In Bruntville outside Mooi River in the Natal Midlands, hostel-dwellers were predominantly Inkatha-supporting and members of the Inkatha-aligned United Workers’ Union of South Africa (UWUSA). In contrast, the Bruntville township residents were predominantly ANC-supporting and members of Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

200 On 8 November 1990, sixteen township residents were killed during a massive pre-dawn attack by approximately 1 200 hostel-dwellers and other Inkatha supporters, who had been brought in especially to assist in the attack. About 1 500 people, mainly women and children, fled their homes in the aftermath of the attack.

201 Violence continued throughout the following year. Hostel-dwellers frequently paraded through the township of Bruntville with their traditional weapons. While the township residents were frequently disarmed and subjected to weapons searches by members of the security forces, the hostel-dwellers were permitted to brandish openly their traditional weapons. In October 1991, the ANC called a stay away-boycott to protest against what they perceived to be differential treatment.

202 On the night of the 3 December 1991, eighteen people were killed when large armed groups of Inkatha hostel-dwellers launched two large-scale attacks on houses and residents in the township. No prosecutions resulted and there is no evidence of an investigation having taken place.

203 Many hostels in the Transvaal were inhabited largely by migrant Zulus from rural KwaZulu who had sought employment in the mines and industries in the Transvaal. Township residents viewed them as outsiders. The hostel residents used their common ethnic identity as a means of uniting in a hostile urban environment. These Zulu migrants became a springboard for Inkatha’s attempt to penetrate the urban Transvaal and launch itself as a national political force.

204 The initial hostel-related violence in the PWV region was signalled by a series of attacks on the Sebokeng Hostel beginning on July 22 1990. The violence rapidly spread to the East Rand, Soweto, the West Rand and Alexandra township. Over 200 township residents were killed in large-scale massacres perpetrated by IFP-supporting hostel-dwellers. Hundreds more died in running street battles between IFP hostel-dwellers and ANC township residents. Examples of some of the massacres carried out by IFP hostel residents in the Transvaal include:

a The massacre in Sebokeng on 22 July 1990 in which twenty-seven people were killed by a group of approximately 1 500 IFP supporters who attacked Sebokeng residents after an IFP rally in the Sebokeng stadium. The attackers included busloads of Zulus from KwaZulu and various Transvaal hostels. Over the next four days, battles between Inkatha followers and ANC adherents followed, leaving thirty people dead.

b The pre-dawn killings in Katlehong during August 1990 in which Thokoza (IFP) hostel inmates killed twenty-four people in the Crossroads squatter settlement in Katlehong.

c The massacre in Sebokeng on 3 September 1990 in which twenty-three people were killed when Inkatha allegedly tried to lay siege to and occupy the Sebokeng hostel (see above).

d The killing of forty people in an attack by hostel-dwellers on a night vigil in Sebokeng on 12 January 1991.

e Events on 26 March 1991 in which fifteen people were killed and sixteen others injured in an attack on a night vigil in the Alexandra Township. Six members of the IFP were later arrested and appeared in Rand Supreme Court. All were acquitted.

f The pre-dawn massacre in Swanieville (West Rand) on 12 May 1991 by approximately 1000 Inkatha hostel residents from Kagiso on residents of the Swanieville informal settlement which left at least twenty-seven people dead and scores injured. Inkatha spokesperson, Ms Suzanne Vos said that the attack was a response to the earlier abduction of two hostel dwellers by Swanieville residents.

g The Boipatong massacre of 17 June 1992 launched by a group of some 200–300 inmates of the KwaMadala hostel. Fifteen Inkatha supporters, all of whom were serving long prison terms for their role in the massacre, applied for amnesty for their roles. All fifteen applicants claimed they acted on the instructions of the IFP leaders in KwaMadala hostel, namely a Mr Bheki Mkhize and a Mr Chonco.

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