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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 642
Paragraph Numbers 260 to 273
■ THE WHITE RIGHT WING
260 For the purposes of this section, the definition of the white right wing incorporates all white groups and individuals who organised themselves to acquire self-determination and against the democratic changes, but in particular those who were willing to commit violations in pursuit of their aims. These groups at times worked closely with other ethnically based nationalist groups, like Inkatha and the homelands leaders.
261 The comparatively short period of the constitutional transformation in South African society during the 1990s was marked by a radical mobilisation of white right-wing groupings. In a number of instances, unlawful acts perpetrated by members of right-wing organisations resulted in gross violations of human rights.
262 The first significant right-wing break-away from the NP in the mandate period occurred in 1969 when Prime Minister John Vorster expelled Minister Albert Hertzog from the Cabinet. He was followed across the floor by other conservatives who then formed the Herstigte Nationale Party (HNP). The HNP stood unequivocally
for a return to Verwoerdian politics for the Afrikaner volk, although the party did have not much of an impact on white politics in the country during the years of economic prosperity that followed.
263 In February 1982, Transvaal NP leader Dr Andries Treurnicht and twenty other members of Parliament walked out of an NP caucus meeting during a heated debate over the new constitutional dispensation which granted limited voting rights to coloured and Indian people. Treurnicht and his followers formed the Conservative Party (CP) a few weeks later. It was also during 1982 that the first right-wing weapons cache was found. The weapons had allegedly been provided by a policeman sympathetic to the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), which had been formed in 1973.
264 In late 1989 three extra-parliamentary right-wing leaders, Mr Robert Van Tonder, Mr Piet Rudolph and Mr Eugene Terre’Blanche met with State President FW de Klerk and Mr Gerrit Viljoen in Pretoria to state their demand for a volkstaat and for self-determination. The unbanning of the liberation movements on 2 February 1990 sent shock waves through conservative and right-wing circles. On 26 May 1990, CP leaders announced the beginning of the “third war of liberation”. Mr Ferdie Hartzenberg was quoted at the time as saying that the Afrikaner would follow the example of the ANC and use the strategy of liberation struggle to attain freedom.
265 Between this date and the formation of the Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF) in 1993, the mood swung further towards violence. However, the right wing remained fragmented and most human rights violations during this time were perpetrated by extremist groups and individuals, some linked to the neo-Nazi churches.
Right-wing groupings and structures
266 During the 1980s, right-wing groups became targets of Security Branch surveillance and detention. At the height of the state of emergency, a right-wing group, the Blanke Bevrydingsbeweging (BBB), was restricted. A statement taken from the National Socialist Partisans (NSP) – a four-person cell – observes that the restriction of the BBB demonstrated that the only effective way open to the right wing was that of underground military action. The unbanning of the liberation movements and the process of negotiations led to a further significant growth of right-wing groups. By the time of the first democratic election, it is estimated that just short of 100 right-wing groups were operational in the country.
267 Right-wing groups in the early 1990s could be roughly classified as the ‘mid-right’ (moderates), the loosely structured “Boerestaat Alliance” and the ‘ultra-far right’. Most were later unified under the umbrella of the AVF. Many of the ultra-right members believed that the AVF would lead them into a war, while the moderates eventually opted for negotiations and participation in the 1994 elections.
268 Under the mid-right, the Conservative Party (CP) as parliamentary opposition took centre stage. The CP had its own ‘Broederbond’, called Toekomsgesprek, which in turn formed links with various conservative civic organisations, religious groups and some public institutions. Toekomsgesprek is said to have been instrumental in the formation of the Boere Krisis Aksie during the farmers’ siege of Pretoria in 1991. It was assisted by General Constand Viljoen and Colonel Jan Breytenbach. According to amnesty applicant Mr Daniel Benjamin Snyders [AM0074/96], Toekomsgesprek also developed close ties with the AWB’s Wenkommandos after 1991.
269 Some members of the CP, including leader Dr Andries Treurnicht and Mr Clive Derby-Lewis, were in contact with international right-wing organisations like the ‘Monday Club’ in the British parliament and the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), as well as the Western Goals Institute.
270 The Boerestaat Alliance emerged when a delegation of party leaders petitioned FW De Klerk in Pretoria during 1989 for a volkstaat in the Transvaal and Orange Free State. Significant parties in this alliance were the AWB, Mr Robert van Tonder’s Boerestaat Party (BSP), the HNP, the Oranje Werkersvereniging and the Transvaal Seperatiste (TS). Also included under this grouping was the militant Orde Boerevolk formed in the early 1990s by Piet Rudolph, a former security policeman and the deputy leader of the BSP.
271 In the early 1990s, local self-protection committees, modelled on the neighbourhood watch system, were created in many right-wing towns by the AWB, including Welkom (Blanke Veiligheid), Brits (Brandwag), Klerksdorp (Aksie Selfbeskikking) and Virginia (Flamingos). Some groups engaged in vigilante actions. An AWB applicant (HJ Slippers [AM1002/96]) described how in November 1990 his commander ordered them to establish a ‘white-by-night’ regulation in Belfast in November 1990 which meant that blacks found in town after 21h00 were to be forcibly removed. He and three other members found Mr George Nkomane walking in town after the ‘curfew’ during February 1991, abducted and killed him.
272 Similarly, Blanke Veiligheid was engaged in a drawn-out ‘vigilante’ battle with the adjacent black town, Thabong, as early as 1990, fuelled by frequent speeches by AWB leaders in Welkom and a series of liberation movement rallies in Thabong.
273 On more than one occasion these organisations were at the forefront of confrontations with black residents during consumer boycotts. During such incidents white vigilantes normally encountered little or no intervention from the law enforcement agencies.