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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 26

Volume 3

Chapter 1

Subsection 15

1987 In the Natal ‘Midlands War’, increased inter-organisational conflict and violence break out between Inkatha and UDF youth organisations (resulting in large-scale deaths and social upheaval from 1987 to 1990). Inkatha-aligned vigilante gangs, such as the AmaSinyora in KwaMashu, engage in political violence.
In the KwaMakhutha massacre in January, the home of UDF leader, Bheki Ntuli, is attacked. Thirteen people are killed, including eight children. The Alexandra Treason Trial of five UDF activists begins in January (and continues until their acquittal in April 1989).
In Operation Katzen, Transkei Defence Force (TDF) troops attack Ciskei president Lennox Sebe’s palace in January. In a failed attempt to abduct or kill him, at least two TDF troops die.
ANC official, Albie Sachs, is severely injured in a security force car bomb explosion in Maputo in April. ANC activist, Gibson Ncube/Mondlane, is assassinated in April. He dies after drinking poisoned South African beer brought to Maputo by a Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) operative.
In the general elections in May, the Conservative Party replaces the Progressive Federal Party as the official opposition in Parliament. Large-scale stayaways take place on 5 and 6 May to protest the ‘whites only’ election in May.
The head of MK’s Natal machinery, Theophilus ‘Viva’ Dlodlo, and two passengers are killed in a security police ambush in Swaziland in May.
Security forces bomb COSATU House on 7 May. The Transkei, Ciskei and South Africa sign a non-aggression pact in Cape Town on 10 May, following the February attack by Transkei on Ciskei.
ANC National Executive Committee member, Cassius Maake, and MK operatives, Paul Dikeledi and Eliza Tsinini, are killed in a security police ambush in Swaziland in July. A group of sixty-two mainly Afrikaans speaking whites meets with an ANC delegation in Dakar, Senegal in July.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) is formed in September. A coup in Transkei by the Transkei Defence Force in September ousts Prime Minister George Matanzima and installs the civilian government of Stella Sigcau, which is itself deposed in December by a second coup under Bantu Holomisa.
The first Rivonia trialist to be released, Govan Mbeki, is placed under restriction orders after his release in November. Botshabelo is incorporated into QwaQwa by presidential proclamation in December. The proclamation is challenged and declared invalid. Residents launch mass protests against the incorporation.
The ANC launches Operation Vula after its Arusha conference in Zambia in December. The objectives of Operation Vula are to build strong underground structures with the ultimate goal of bringing ANC leaders into the country.
Conflicts arising from the incorporation into KwaZulu of Clermont result in several killings.
1988 SADF forces are forced by a joint Angolan-Cuban force to retreat at Cuito Cuanavale in Southern Angola in early 1988.
The UDF, COSATU and sixteen other organisations are placed under severe restriction orders in February.
Disaffected elements of the Bophuthatswana defence force, led by Rocky Malebane-Metsing, attempt a coup in Bophuthatswana. The coup is crushed by the SADF on 10 February.
A one-month stay of execution is granted in March, in the Pretoria Supreme Court to six Sharpville residents, sentenced to death for being part of a crowd that killed a black councillor. Sentences are later commuted to life imprisonment following a local and international outcry against their ‘common purpose’ conviction.
ANC representative Dulcie September is killed in Paris in March, allegedly by the CCB.
Four unarmed ANC members are shot dead in June by a Vlakplaas hit squad and members of the Piet Retief security branch. Massive strike in protest against the Labour Relations Amendment Act in June. Stanza Bopape dies in police custody on 12 June, after being tortured. Police state that he ‘escaped from police custody’ and disappeared.
A concert at Wembley Stadium in London in July to celebrate Mandela’s seventieth birthday and protest his continuing imprisonment is televised worldwide. The ANC publishes its constitutional guidelines in July. The security forces bomb Khotso House, Johannesburg, on 1 September, causing extensive damage. In October, Khanya House (the offices of SA Bishops Conference) is destroyed in an arson and limpet mine attack. The ECC wins a successful interdict against the SADF ‘dirty tricks’ campaign in October.
Municipal elections in October meet with widespread national resistance and violence. Former police officer Barend Strydom, AWB and Witwolwe member, shoots randomly at black people in Pretoria in November, killing seven and injuring sixteen.
In what becomes known as the Trust Feed killings, eleven people are killed by SAP members and special constables who storm and fire on an all-night prayer vigil near New Hanover on 3 December. Senior Inkatha leaders are part of the planning.
South Africa signs the New York accord in December, readopts UN Resolution 435 and agrees to the withdrawal of troops from Angola and Namibia.
 
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