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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 34

Paragraph Numbers 1 to 5

Volume 3

Chapter 2

Subsection 1

Volume THREE Chapter TWO

Regional ProfileEastern Cape



1 The current Eastern Cape province borders KwaZulu-Natal in the east, the Western Cape in the west, and the Northern Cape and Free State provinces in the north. It shares an international boundary with Lesotho in the north-east. Geographically, it is the second largest of the current nine provinces. According to the Unit for Statistical Analysis in the Western Cape, there were 6 665 million people living in the current Eastern Cape in 1991 which, after KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, has the third highest population. Unemployment in the province is usually estimated at above the national averages and, in 1991, the Development Bank of South Africa estimated that more than half the adult population had no formal income. Levels of literacy and life expectancy are lower and levels of poverty higher in the Eastern Cape and Northern Province than in any of the other provinces. This poverty tends to be concentrated in the former homeland areas.

2 The current Eastern Cape is made up of the eastern part of the old Cape Province and includes two of the four ‘independent homelands’, namely Transkei and Ciskei. Transkei is the oldest such territory in the country and was granted self-government status in 1963 followed by independence in 1976. Ciskei received self-government status in 1972 followed by independence in 1981. For a substantial part of the period within the Commission’s mandate, they had separate parliaments and separate security forces, particularly after independence. The Transkei and Ciskei, which were geographically more united than most of the other homelands, were separated by a narrow strip of land commonly referred to as the Border region. For the purposes of the Commission’s work, the Border region was often viewed as part of the Ciskei because of the cross-border nature of some of the violations.

3 About 87 per cent of the population of the Eastern Cape is African and almost entirely Xhosa-speaking. Roughly half the population is urbanised, but the majority of the African population lives in rural areas previously governed by homeland administrations.

4 Of the main political organisations, the African National Congress (ANC) has the biggest following in the province. Indeed, the Eastern Cape has generally been regarded as the heartland of the ANC. Many of the organisation’s national leaders either grew up in the Eastern Cape or were educated at Fort Hare University in Alice, in the former Ciskei. The battles for control over this region often made it a key area of conflict in the country.

Overview of violations

5 Abuses of human rights in this region included:

a violations committed during the Pondoland Revolt of the 1960s;

b armed attacks on civilians carried out by Poqo, the armed wing of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and the accompanying torture and executions of Poqo members;

c deaths in detention including that of Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) activist, Mr Steve Biko;

d widespread torture in detention;

e resistance to homeland rule and the related violent conflicts between traditional chiefs on the one hand and supporters of the ANC and the United Democratic Front (UDF) on the other;

f clashes between ANC-aligned groups and the Ciskei government and its allies during the 1990s;

g shootings by security forces at marches, funerals and protests;

h assassinations such as the 1985 killing of the ‘Cradock Four’;

i inter-organisational violence such as that between the UDF and the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO) in the mid-1980s, and between the newly unbanned PAC and ANC during the 1990s;

j the use by UDF supporters of the ‘necklacing’ method of killing opponents such as community councillors, police and those perceived to be collaborating with the government;

k violations committed during clashes between different security forces and homeland rulers, for example during coup attempts;

l the attacks on security forces and ‘soft targets’ by the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) in the 1990s.

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