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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 662

Paragraph Numbers 366 to 375

Volume 2

Chapter 7

Subsection 29

Pre-Election Bombings

366 A number of people were killed on 24 and 25 April 1994, when eleven members of an AWB cell went on a bombing spree of targets, mainly (black) taxi ranks. The eleven were part of a group of twenty-six found guilty on ninety-six counts of pre-election bombings, murder, and damage of property. Altogether twenty people died and forty-six were injured.

367 Bombs were placed at four different targets after call-up instructions were allegedly issued on April 14. A pipe bomb was thrown out of a car in Bloed Street, killing three and injuring four. Another bomb was built into a trailer, which was then parked at a taxi-rank in Germiston, killing ten and injuring eight people. The third target was in Bree Street, Johannesburg, where a car bomb exploded killing seven and injuring thirteen people. Lastly, a car bomb was placed on the top floor of the Jan Smuts airport parking area. Nobody was killed in the explosion but a number of people injured. Several statements were received from victims of these bomb attacks.

368 Shortly after the election, thirty-six AWB members including the chief of staff and the leader of the Ystergarde were arrested and charged with nineteen counts of murder and 191 of attempted murder in the PWV area during the week before the election. The Commission received a number of amnesty applications from those who participated in these bombings. During their amnesty hearing, the group claimed to have acted on orders from General Nico Prinsloo (and Brigadier Leon van der Merwe). The applicants are Mr Nicolaas ‘Cliffie’ Barnard [AM6484/97], Mr Abraham Liebrecht ‘Koper’ Myburgh [AM6465/97], Mr Etiene Jacobus Le Roux [AM6467/97], Mr Jan Bastiaan De Wet [AM6466/97], Mr Gerhardus Daniel Fourie [AM6468/97], Mr Johannes Andries Venter [AM6477/97], Mr Jacobus Petrus Nel [AM6469/97], Mr Abraham Christoffel Fourie [AM6478/97], Mr Petrus Paulus Steyn [AM6479/97], Mr Johan Wilhelm Du Plessis [AM6480/97] and Mr Johannes Petrus Olivier [AM6483/97]. All had previously been convicted for their part in the bombings and received sentences ranging from three to fifty years in prison. An Amnesty Committee decision was pending at the time of reporting.

Other targeted attacks

369 In August 1990 right-wingers chanted “AWB, AWB” to disrupt a Port Elizabeth students’ meeting with ANC speakers. After the meeting a student and a journalist were attacked. In Bloemfontein a rock was thrown through an ANC member’s window, with a note threatening to kill Mr Raymond Suttner who was due to speak at an ANC meeting.

370 The first open confrontation between State President de Klerk and the AWB took place in August 1991 at Ventersdorp when the National Party planned to hold a meeting in Ventersdorp, which was regarded as a Conservative Party constituency. The meeting was to be addressed by De Klerk. According to the AWB, the advertisement for the meeting stated that only NP members could attend. However, the AWB insisted that its supporters be permitted to attend as they wanted to discuss certain burning issues with the president. The AWB mobilised its followers and some 2 000 armed AWB members streamed into Ventersdorp. A confrontation with the police ensued. Three AWB members were killed and fifty-eight people were injured. Nearly the entire leadership of the AWB was arrested on charges of public violence. Eugene Terre’Blanche has applied for amnesty for the incident.

371 In June 1993, a crowd of 3000 demonstrating armed right-wingers invaded the World Trade Centre while negotiations were in progress between the government, the ANC and other parties. The police guarding the premises were completely outnumbered and the crowd of men and women, mainly in AWB uniforms ignored instructions to stop. From atop an armoured vehicle Eugene Terre’Blanche shouted instructions, led the crowd around the police cordon and smashed the armoured vehicle through the plate glass doors of the Centre. The right-wingers occupied the chamber for more than two hours during which time they said prayers and sang “Die Stem”. Their representatives handed over demands for a volkstaat. There were some reports of white police mingling with the rightwingers. Sixty-six right-wingers were arrested in connection with the invasion of the World Trade Centre.

372 The Bophuthatswana administration had been one of the founding members of COSAG (Concerned South Africans Group) and was later part of the Freedom Alliance. General Constand Viljoen of the Volksfront agreed to provide assistance to maintain Mangope’s position and planned for a Boere-Aksie force to enter Bophuthatswana unarmed on 11 March 1994. They would then be provided with arms and rations by the head of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force, General Turner. It was agreed that the AWB would not be involved, since Mangope stated that they would not be politically acceptable to his own forces.

373 The plan was pre-empted when Eugene Terre’Blanche mobilised a force of 600 AWB members, who entered the territory on 10 March. They arrived armed and broke away from the command of the Volksfront. Some AWB members then began driving through Bophuthatswana, shouting racial abuse and shooting bystanders. Mr Ezekiel Moatlhodi [JB04764/03NW] was shot in his spinal cord by AWB members at Magogoe village. He states that:

During that time I was together with my fellow ANC members, about 150, holding the branch meeting and chanting the revolutionary songs. Whilst singing the slogans, two white gentlemen, armed with firearms arrived and asked for help. We refused to grant a help. Few minutes later arrived heavily loaded AWB soldiers. They didn’t waste time, they started shooting at us. They used torch-light to see us precisely. I was shot immediately when I start to run away.

374 Mr Martiens Motsumi [JB05627/03NW] reported that:

A 4x4 bakkie arrived carrying armed AWB members. They stopped their bakkie and immediately started shooting people at random. I ran for cover but was unfortunate as they shot me in my back (next to the spine) and my left hand … The AWB members were in the process of killing another employee when they were stopped by my boss… After our boss spoke to the AWB, they left the yard and continued shooting in Montshiwa township.

375 The AWB members did not succeed in their aims and is generally seen to have signalled the end of the potential threat of the right-wing to engage in open warfare. Subsequent to the incident, right-wing unity under the Volksfront crumbled, Viljoen formed the Freedom Front and took significant sections of the right-wing into the electoral process.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE AFRIKANER VOLKSFRONT WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMISSION OF GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AGAINST PERSONS WHO BETWEEN APRIL 1993-MAY 1994 WERE PERCEIVED TO BE SUPPORTERS AND LEADERS OF THE ANC, THE SACP, UDF, PAC AND NATIONAL PARTY AS WELL AS OTHER GROUPS PERCEIVED NOT TO SUPPORT THE CONCEPT OF AFRIKANER SELF-DETERMINATION OR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A ‘VOLKSTAAT’ AND THAT, TO THAT END, THE MOVEMENT’S POLITICAL LEADERS AND MILITARY GENERALS ADVOCATED THE USE OF VIOLENCE IN PURSUIT OF THE MOVEMENT’S AIMS AND/OR IN AN ATTEMPT TO MOBILISE FOR AN INSURRECTION.
IN MAKING SUCH A FINDING THE COMMISSION PLACED RELIANCE ON
  • SPEECHES AND ORDERS BY THE MOVEMENT’S SENIOR LEADERS WHICH HAD THE EFFECT OF INCITING ITS SUPPORTERS TO COMMIT ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS AND INSTITUTIONS PERCEIVED TO BE THE ENEMY OF THE AFRIKANER;
  • THE ARMING OF SUPPORTERS WITH WEAPONS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE LAW;
  • RANDOM ATTACKS BY MEMBERS ON BLACK PERSONS;
  • CLANDESTINE COLLUSION WITH MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY FORCES AND/OR THE IFP EITHER TO COMMIT THE VIOLATIONS CITED ABOVE OR TO TRAIN PARAMILITARY FORCES TO COMMIT ACTS WHICH RESULTED IN THE LOSS OF LIFE OR INJURY;
  • THE TRAINING OF SUPPORTERS TO UNDERTAKE VIOLENT ACTIONS DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE HOLDING OF ELECTIONS IN 1994;
  • THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A VOLKSLEËR AND OTHER PARAMILITARY GROUPINGS TO THREATEN INSURRECTION AND REVOLUTION WITH A VIEW TO DERAILING THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS.
  • BY VIRTUE OF THEIR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS IN THE MOVEMENT, THE COMMISSION FINDS THE FOLLOWING TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTED BY SUPPORTERS OF THE MOVEMENT: GENERAL CONSTAND VILJOEN, GENERAL PIETER GROENEWALD AND MR EUGENE TERRE’BLANCHE.
BROADLY SIMILAR FINDINGS ARE MADE AGAINST THREE OTHER GROUPINGS, NAMELY, THE ORDE BOEREVOLK, THE BOERE WEERSTANDBEWEGING AND THE AFRIKANER WEERSTANDSBEWEGING (AWB).
 
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