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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 161
Paragraph Numbers 20 to 26
Where did the violations occur?
20 In the earlier periods under review, most reports emanated from Durban and Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas; but violations gradually spread further afield, particularly to the Natal Midlands and the small outlying towns. By the 1990s, the entire province, urban and rural, had been touched by the violence – particularly in certain areas which came to be known as ‘flashpoints’. Notably, the province’s white suburbs remained relatively untouched by the political conflict in the province, apart from acts of sabotage in urban centres and incidents of police brutality at police stations.
21 Statements were received from a broad cross-section of communities in the province, with the majority coming from the townships and rural KwaZulu (former ‘black areas’). While many people approached the Commission of their own accord with reports of violations, the Commission also deployed teams of statement takers across the province to gather a wide-ranging sample of evidence for a more complete view of the region’s history. Statement takers reported difficulties in gaining access to some areas, for example Inchanga, which had been the scene of political conflict during 1996–97, and other areas known to be strongholds of the IFP.
22 The Commission received a total of 19 143 reports of alleged human rights violations in the province, of which one quarter referred to politically motivated killings. NGOs, research institutes and monitoring bodies have estimated the actual number of politically motivated killings for the period to have been four times greater – between 18 000 and 20 000.
23 The antagonism of the provincial majority IFP to the work of the Commission inhibited many IFP supporters from coming forward to tell their stories. A resolution of the IFP annual general meeting in July 1995 stated categorically that the IFP would not participate in the activities of the Commission. In correspondence and at meetings, commissioners expressed their desire for the IFP to encourage its members to appear before the Commission. The IFP maintained its stance, raising several objections to the work of the Commission, in particular to what it described as the ‘partisan composition’ of the Commission and to the conducting of public hearings in the province. Its strong opposition to the Commission’s work was publicised in a newspaper advertisement in August 1997. In October 1997, however, the IFP agreed not to discourage its supporters who wished to come forward, in view of the fact that reparations could not be made available to victims who had not made statements to the Commission. The date for victims’ submissions was extended to 15 December 1997, and several thousand submissions were made following this decision, although very few of these were from IFP supporters.
24 The majority of reports of human rights violations in the region refer to the conflict between supporters of the IFP and the ANC-aligned supporters of the UDF. Fighting between the two parties developed into open conflict in the 1980s and climaxed in the pre-April 1994 election violence, often amounting to civil war.
25 The Commission received many more accounts of the political violence from UDF/ANC supporters, creating the impression that the violations suffered by the UDF/ANC outnumbered those suffered by Inkatha by five to one. The Commission was unable to establish the degree to which this disparity is a reflection of the IFP’s rejection of the Commission or a reflection of the actual experience of violations.
26 Similarly, reports of gross violations suffered by members of the former security forces (SADF, SAP and KZP) contributed less than 1 per cent of the total violations reported in KwaZulu-Natal. There is no doubt that members of the former security forces were victims of the political struggle in KwaZulu-Natal. Many were harassed and reviled; many became the targets of violent attack, and many were killed. These victims and their families did not come forward to tell their stories.