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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 258
Paragraph Numbers 261 to 272
Violence stemming from the unbanning of the ANC
261 A number of incidents of violence occurred during celebrations to mark the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. These incidents were more common in KwaZulu areas than in Natal. Incidents directly related to Mr Mandela’s release were reported in KwaMakhutha, KwaMashu, Umlazi, Folweni, KwaNdengezi, Ntuzuma and Mpumalanga.
262 The Commission received several reports of deaths as well as arson attacks, four of which were IFP homes, one ANC and two non-partisan. In Ntuzuma, north of Durban, ANC supporters celebrating the release of Mr Mandela on 11 February burnt down the house of IFP supporter, Nomchule Gowane [KZN/KCD/073/DN]. ANC and Inkatha supporters clashed in Ntuzuma for the rest of the month.
The Killing of Phillip Gasa
On 17 February 1990, Inkatha-supporting Ntuzuma councillor Phillip Muzikayise Gasa [KZN/GM/087/DN] was stabbed to death by unknown ANC supporters. His wife was threatened by the attackers and was forced to flee.
The Seven Day War
263 From the 25–31 March 1990, the communities in the lower Vulindlela and Edendale Valleys, south of Pietermaritzburg, were subjected to an armed invasion by thousands of heavily armed men from the rural, Inkatha-supporting areas higher up in the valleys. Over seven days, 200 residents in the lower valley were killed, hundreds of houses looted and burnt down and as many as 20 000 people forced to flee for their lives. The communities most seriously affected were Ashdown, Caluza, Mpumuza, Gezubuso, KwaShange, and KwaMnyandu.
264 In the late 1980s, communities in the Edendale and lower Vulindlela valleys were pro-UDF/COSATU, whilst those living in Upper Vulindlela tended to be more rural, traditional and pro-Inkatha, living under Inkatha-supporting chiefs and indunas. Most UDF supporters who had initially lived in the upper Vulindlela area had fled down to Edendale by 1989. People living in the upper parts were obliged to travel through lower Vulindlela and Edendale to get to Pietermaritzburg and frequently had shots fired or stones thrown at them by the UDF supporters. The tension between the two areas increased dramatically with the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Mr Mandela in February 1990.
265 During February and March 1990, buses carrying commuters from the Vulindlela area were stoned by young UDF and ANC supporters as they drove through Edendale, damaging buses and injuring passengers. Some deaths were also reported.
266 At a meeting at King’s Park Stadium, Durban, on Sunday 25 March 1990, Mr David Ntombela addressed a gathering of Inkatha supporters and warned that, should buses passing through Edendale be stoned again, steps would be taken against the culprits, that is, UDF and ANC supporters in that area. That afternoon, buses carrying Inkatha rally-goers travelled through Edendale and were again stoned, injuring passengers and damaging the buses. Roadside skirmishes were reported between the Inkatha supporters and Edendale residents. At least three people were killed, including UDF supporters Sihle Brian Zondi and his aunt Ms Grace Gabengani Zondi, at the Mabeza store [KZN/FS/258/PM].
267 The next day, Monday 26 March, Inkatha supporters from Vulindlela could not get to work in town because no buses were running on that route. Mr T Mbanjwa from Caluza told the Commission at the Seven Day War hearing that he saw a group of well-armed men descending from the hill:
And as we were still confused as to what was happening, it was apparent that we had to run for our lives because we heard some gunshots, and some people were attacked with pangas and assegais, as well as traditional weapons. And the community tried to get together in order to prevent the attacks, but it was very difficult because we were not armed and we were fighting against people who were armed with traditional weapons as well as ammunition, live ammunition.
But the most deluding thing was that the police would come, and instead of arresting the perpetrators or the attackers they would shoot at the residents and they would throw teargas canisters at the residents. This went on for quite some time.
268 The scale of the attack intensified dramatically the next day. Large groups numbering up to 2 500 men from the Inkatha-supporting Sweetwaters and Mpumuza areas descended into the lower Edendale Valley. The men were armed with traditional weapons as well as firearms. Residents came under heavy fire and many houses were burnt and looted. In a revenge attack on residents of Payiphini, Mpumuza by UDF supporters later that night, one person was killed and nineteen homes set alight.
269 On Wednesday 28 March 1990, David Ntombela held a meeting of Inkatha supporters at his house in the Elandskop area, after which he instructed a member of the SAP Riot Unit to pick up a large group of special constables in a police vehicle and take them to Gezubuso. Ntombela then instructed the constables to proceed on foot with a large group of armed men to KwaShange, and instructed a member of the Riot Unit to follow the group in his vehicle.
270 Father Tim Smith, a Catholic priest posted to Elandskop (upper Vulindlela) in 1983, described that day’s events to the Commission as follows:
Early on Wednesday, the call went out by loud-hailer that all people, men and women, were to gather at David Ntombela’s house for a meeting with someone from Ulundi. Someone who was there told me that when she arrived, the women were told to go inside the house, take off their clothes and turn them inside out and put them back on again. When they came out of the house, there was a large gathering of warriors, together with some trucks and lorries … the trucks had their registration plates covered with sackcloth. The warriors were sprinkled with intelezi (traditional medicine to protect them from harm) and then moved off to attack soon after dawn.
Soon we began to hear reports of the invasion of the valley. The areas of Gezubuso, KwaShange and KwaMnyandu were worst hit. About thirty-five people were killed, nearly 150 huts were set alight and people fled down into the eSigodini valley.
271 At KwaShange, the special constables and the group of armed men attacked residents and killed fifteen people,50 looted and set fire to an unknown number of houses and drove away cattle belonging to residents of that area. Ntombela instructed a member of the SAP Riot Unit who was present not to interfere with what was going on at KwaShange.
272 The household goods removed from residents’ houses in KwaShange were loaded onto the vehicle used by the Riot Unit and taken to Ntombela’s house. Cattle taken from residents were driven to Ntombela’s house. According to Father Tim Smith:
Many witnesses saw David Ntombela directing the attacks, together with Chief Shayabantu Zondi, Induna Guvaza Khanyile, Lolo Lombo and others. Many said the police were helping the warriors with transport and ammunition …
In the late afternoon, we began to see the impis returning. Some who came on foot brought stolen cattle with them; others were carrying furniture, TV sets and clothing. Mr Ntombela was apparently displeased with all the looting saying: “You went to kill, not to steal!”50 Mr Moses Zuma, Mr Israel Zuma, Ms Rose Mtolo, Ms Agnes Sibisi, Mr Mbuzane Ngubane, Mr George Zondi, Mr Khabekile Ngubane, Mr Nkankabula Ngubane, Mr Abednigo Mkhize, Mr Mzomuhle Manjwa, Mr Mfanafuthi Ngubane, Ms Dominica Ncgobo, Mr Mzikayifani Mtolo, Mr Makhosonke Phakathi and Mr Mfulathelwa Makathini.