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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 215
Paragraph Numbers 162 to 169
162 Former ANC leader Sifiso Nkabinde of Richmond also gained notoriety as a warlord for the considerable power he wielded in the area after he led a violent and successful campaign to defeat Inkatha opponents. He soon became a leading ANC figure in the province, though tainted by allegations of complicity in the killing of some ANC youth leaders in Richmond and, in 1996, of three Indian policemen. In April 1997 he was exposed as a long-serving police agent and expelled from the ANC.
163 Mr Thomas Mandla Shabalala is representative of the urban warlords who controlled the numerous informal squatter settlements and shacklands ringing the city of Durban. He became the foremost warlord in the Durban region as the self-styled community councillor and self-proclaimed Inkatha mayor of the squatter settlement of Lindelani. He was reportedly elected spokesperson for the community at a residents’ meeting in 1984, went on to chair the local Inkatha branch and later become the KLA member for Lindelani, and a member of Inkatha’s Central Committee.
164 Shabalala set up what he called a ‘community guard force’ in Lindelani, which was paid for by an informal house ‘tax’ of R3.00 exacted from every household. He also exacted fees for Inkatha membership cards, school funds, site rental, school teachers and other taxes and rents. In 1988, he owned a fleet of taxis, the only butchery and bottle store in Lindelani, and a development business.
165 Shabalala’s community guards – described as amabutho [a military regiment] – were soon armed with licensed weapons and engaged in attacks on neighbouring areas and on UDF supporters within Lindelani. Many attacks in the early 1980s were related to attempts by KwaZulu to incorporate areas such as Hambanathi and Lamontville into the KwaZulu homeland. The first major attacks by large groups of men took place in August 1985 in response to large-scale unrest in the Durban area, initiated by a COSAS schools boycott. Shabalala himself allegedly led a 300-strong group that attacked the memorial service for assassinated Victoria Mxenge in August 1985, killing seventeen people.
166 Vigilantes seized control of Ntuzuma, KwaMashu and Umlazi and continued with increasing intimidation and sporadic conflict for months thereafter. The latter half of 1989 saw about 300 people killed in the townships surrounding Durban.
167 Shabalala was also alleged on numerous occasions to have intimidated, assaulted, tortured and killed opponents.
The Case of Belinda and Simon Mfeka
On 26 May 1986, Ms Belinda and Mr Simon Mfeka obtained a temporary interdict against Shabalala because he had threatened them for not paying their Inkatha, Inkatha Women’s Brigade, UWUSA and community guard dues. Within an hour of the granting of the interdict, a group of a hundred people arrived to demolish the Mfeka’s three-roomed brick house.
168 The Commission heard several claims from victims that they had been forcibly taken to Shabalala’s house where they were questioned and assaulted, and where some were held in what became known as ‘Shabalala’s jail’.
The Case of Sibusiso Nkabinde
On 20 May 1989, Mr Sibusiso Nkabinde [KZN/FS/130/DN] was taken forcibly from his home to Shabalala’s house where he was assaulted by two persons acting on Shabalala’s instructions. Shabalala himself pushed a barrel of a rifle into the back of Nkabinde’s head. Nkabinde continued to be assaulted in Shabalala’s presence and heard unknown people deciding that he should be killed and his body burnt. He escaped and the following day his house in Lindelani was burnt down.
The Case of Victor Madele
During September 1985, Mr Victor Madele of Lindelani was forcibly taken to Shabalala’s house where he was questioned about his activities and held in a locked room for about two weeks against his will. At the end of this period of imprisonment, he was again forcibly brought before Shabalala, who assaulted him by stabbing him in the right eye with a fork.
The Commission heard that Madele was forcibly taken from his home to Shabalala’s house on four more occasions in 1988: on 6 June, after which Madele reported the matter to the KwaMashu police station [CR 47/6/1988]; on 19 June; on 1 December 1988, and again ten days later. He reported the matter to the SAP at CR Swart Square in Durban.
The Case of Seven KwaMashu Youth League Members
In 1987, Shabalala was implicated in the killing of seven KwaMashu Youth League members. He was acquitted at a trial in August 1989, but two of his personal bodyguards, Mr Emmanuel Khanyile and Mr Wilfred Phewa, were convicted.
On 25 April 1988, Mr Lindelani Jabulani Msimango, Mr Innocent Mzo Ndlovu, Mr Bheki Gcabashe [KZN/NNN/041/DN] and others were walking near Lindelani when two vehicles stopped near them and a number of men, including Thomas Shabalala, armed with guns and traditional weapons, got out and fired at the group, severely injuring Msimango. The men chased, attacked and killed Gcabashe and attacked and severely injured Ndlovu. Shabalala was arrested for the shooting of the sixteen-year-old Gcabashe, but was released on bail and later acquitted.
The Case of Nkosinathi Mjoli
On 17 June 1990, Thomas Shabalala assaulted Mr Nkosinathi Musa Mjoli at an Inkatha rally at the King Zwelethini Stadium at Umlazi. Mjoli was wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Workers demand a living wage’, and Inkatha supporters believed him to be a supporter of a COSATU-affiliated union and referred to him as a member of the amaqabane [comrades]. At the end of the rally, Shabalala instructed Inkatha supporters to kill Mjoli who was subsequently stabbed to death in the toilets of the stadium.
169 Shabalala had a presence of armed men in many different parts of the region and was believed to have been involved in conflict in North Coast areas including Eshowe, Mandini, Esikhawini and Ngwelezana. By the end of the 1980s, he controlled a large area around the informal settlement of Lindelani. He continued to exact fees from residents32 and it is alleged that some of the proceeds went into his personal business ventures. In spite of the accumulation of evidence against him, Shabalala has remained seemingly immune to police action.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THOMAS MANDLA SHABALALA IS ACCOUNTABLE FOR GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OVER AN EXTENDED PERIOD IN LINDELANI AND ELSEWHERE IN KWAZULU-NATAL. HE FOSTERED AND FACILITATED A CLIMATE IN WHICH OTHERS UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP COMMITTED GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.32 Including, according to one resident in 1989, R5.00 a year for an up-to-date Inkatha card, R10.00 a year for school funds, R3.00 a year for a security guard, R10.00 a month for a site rental and R2.00 per child for a school teacher.