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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 668

Paragraph Numbers 388 to 406

Volume 2

Chapter 7

Subsection 31

ANC strategy in the period February 1990 to May 1994

388 While the ANC leadership may have anticipated some political changes in the country in 1990, the rank and file membership was caught off guard by State President FW de Klerk’s announcement on 2 February 1990 that the government was unbanning the ANC, the SACP and the PAC. Many within the ANC met the announcement with deep distrust. The announcement of suspension of armed struggle came only six months later, sealed in the Pretoria Minute of August 1990. During this time, the ANC began to establish its legal presence inside the country, building a mass political movement by establishing branches and issuing membership cards.

389 Over the next two years, violence escalated as the ANC came into conflict with newly-established IFP branches on the East Rand. The simmering violence in KwaZulu and Natal intensified. Violent conflict also erupted between ANC and PAC members, between supporters of the liberation movements and members of homeland parties such as the African Democratic Movement (ADM) in Ciskei and members of vigilante groups and gangs, some of which were aligned to the IFP.

390 The ANC SDUs played an increasingly dominant role during this period, having been trained and armed by MK members. In practice, MK had little real control over the SDUs, although a number of ANC leaders applied for amnesty, giving details of their involvement in the establishment and training of SDUs. In addition, a large number of ‘ordinary’ ANC members applied for amnesty for acts carried out in the course of their SDU membership in accordance with the policies of local ANC leaders.

391 The seizure of power in Transkei by General Bantu Holomisa of the Transkei Defence Force (TDF) on 30 December 1987 positively affected the fortunes of both the ANC and the PAC: both went on to establish active cells in the territory.

392 By 1992, the ANC had embarked on a strategy of ‘rolling mass action’. The strategy was used, in part, to apply pressure on those who were resisting reunification. Although ostensibly a non-violent campaign, it did, on occasion, result in the commission human rights violations.

9 (Submission by Foundation for Equality Before the Law, outline of chapter 17).
Victims of ANC violations in the post-1990 period

393 In the Western and Eastern Cape, the main victims of ANC attacks were police, PAC supporters, Ciskei headmen, members of the ADM, ANC members suspected of being informers or framed for other reasons, people caught up in localised Transkei conflicts over stock-theft and certain factions that became identified with or labelled as ‘Inkatha’. In certain isolated areas, local councillors also continued to be targets of attack.

394 In the Transvaal townships of Tembisa, Ratanda, Katlehong, Bekkersdal, Kagiso, Thokoza, Soweto and KwaThema and others, UDF/ANC supporters, many in ANC SDUs engaged in conflicts with IFP supporters, with vigilante groups (such as the ‘Toasters’ and the ‘Russians’) and with AZAPO. Other victims of ANC SDU or ANC Youth League (ANCYL) violations were ‘non-aligned’ individuals who refused to co-operate with ANC mass campaigns such as marches or rent boycotts. Cases of conflict were also reported between ANC SDU and ANCYL members. One example is the Katlehong massacre, where SDU members killed fourteen other community members, some of whom were ANCYL members.

395 The Commission received information on a number of cases in KwaZulu and Natal where IFP members and supporters were the victims of attacks by ANC members and supporters. In the Orange Free State, cases of conflict were reported between UDF/ANC supporters and vigilante groups and gangs such as the ‘Eagles’, the ‘Three Million Gang’, as well as between UDF/ANC supporters and homeland parties such as the Dikwankwetla National Party (DNP) in QwaQwa.

396 These violations are dealt with in detail in Volume Three. For the purposes of this section, the role of the ANC as a perpetrator group is explored, in terms of the following categories of violations:

a Violence relating to the campaign against homelands: violence in the Ciskei (against the ADM, the Ciskei security forces and traditional leaders), violence in KwaZulu and in the Orange Free State (against the Dikwankwetla Party);

b Violence relating to political intolerance: violence in Fort Beaufort (against the PAC); violence on the East Rand (including the establishment of SDUs) and violations in reaction to Chris Hani’s assassination;

c Violence in other contexts: violence in Mount Fletcher, violence involving gangs in the Orange Free State and violence in Mpumalanga.

Ciskei: Violence relating to the campaign against homelands

397 The ANC campaign for the re-incorporation of the homelands escalated from 1992 onwards. Many clashes were reported between ANC activists and individuals loyal to the homeland governments, in both civilian and military structures. In the Ciskei, Brigadier Oupa Gqozo used his newly-established party, the ADM, to counter the influence of the ANC. He also re-imposed the traditional ‘headman’ system. Such activities inflamed the situation further.

398 A report of the Network of Independent Monitors (NIM) lists a number of attacks and weapons and targets suggest that these attacks were carried out by MK. Main targets included headmen and police in the Ciskei, as well as members of the ADM. The list includes forty-eight hand grenade attacks, twenty-three AK-47 attacks, and the laying of limpet mines.

399 Ciskei Police figures list 113 incidents of public violence in 1991, 381 in 1992 and 255 in 1993. Of the victims, 84 per cent or 629 individuals were Ciskei government personnel, members of Ciskei government structures, traditional authorities or parties aligned to the Ciskei government. Fifty-one individuals, just under 7 per cent were aligned to the liberation movements (ANC and PAC) or their allies (COSATU, SANCO or SACP).10

400 The majority of these attacks were carried out by supporters of the ANC, who fell under no military command structures and usually did not have sophisticated weapons. This is borne out by Ciskei police figures which indicate that, of the attacks above, 64 per cent (484) were petrol bomb or arson attacks; a further 6 per cent (42) were classified simply as ‘intimidation’. Of the remainder, there were eighty-four attacks (12 per cent of the total) with hand grenades or bombs and sixty-seven attacks (or 9 per cent) with firearms (AK-47s, R4 rifles or pistols).11

401 There is also evidence that some SDU structures were set up in the Eastern Cape in this period, and that they obtained arms from the Regional MK Command based in Umtata. At the May 1997 ‘recall hearings’ of the ANC, the ANC leadership said that there were no organised MK operations against Brigadier Gqozo’s rule, nor against structures of the Ciskei government, traditional authorities such as headmen, or members of the ADM. MK Commander Ronnie Kasrils told the Commission:

It is clear from operations that were conducted arising out of the oppression in the Ciskei that former MK cadres were involved in hitting back, in responding, but this was never discussed at MK command level.

402 While the ANC denied that its military headquarters authorised any operations in this period, there is evidence that the ANC continued to send considerable numbers of people outside South Africa for training. In the Eastern Cape, the ANC continued to conduct training and facilitate the distribution of arms through the MK regional command in the Transkei.

403 There was also evidence of strategic differences or divisions within the ANC on how to respond to the violent conflict. Some acts of violence were attributed to ‘militant factions’ who believed they were carrying out ANC, SACP or MK policy. In some instances, MK expelled such elements to make it clear that they were acting outside of ANC policy. One such case is Mr Nceba Bobelo, an MK member involved in the Queenstown SDU structure who, after involvement in ‘criminal acts’ including a murder, was eventually disarmed and expelled by the MK Command.

404 Ciskei Defence Force troops opened fire on an ANC protest march in Bisho on 7 September 1992, killing twenty-nine ANC marchers and one of their own soldiers (see above and in Volume Three). After the massacre, violence escalated further as angry ANC supporters - including MK members and members of armed SDUs - engaged in revenge attacks against representatives of the Ciskei government. One such case is that of the killing of a headman in Alice by ANCYL members.

405 Mr Zuko Makapela [AM6438/97] and Mr Ludumo Mati [AM6439/97] applied for amnesty for the stoning and burning to death of Mr Ndodiphela Maseti in Upper Gqumashe, Alice on 28 September 1992. Maseti was a headman and thought to be a member of the ADM. A group of ANCYL members attacked and burnt down Maseti’s home. The following day, the ANCYL members apprehended Maseti, beat him severely, stoned him and set him alight. Makapela and Mati admitted to participating in the attack, and were granted amnesty in July 1998 on the grounds that it was “clearly of a political nature”.

406 Many former headmen and supporters of the homeland joined the PAC. Political rivalry between ANC and PAC members, or organisations aligned to one or the other, began to have violent consequences.

10 (Figures from Eastern Cape CIS files).
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