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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 423
Paragraph Numbers 116 to 124
116 At least twenty-eight people, with an average age of seventeen, were killed in the ensuing uproar across the Peninsula. At least 150 were admitted to hospital with serious injuries, predominantly from Gugulethu, Nyanga, Athlone, Philippi and Manenberg. At the SACLA Clinic in Crossroads alone, at least eighty-nine people were treated for riot-related injuries. Major General Wandrag and Lieutenant General Lothar Neethling visited the area and Gugulethu, Manenberg, and Mitchells Plain were barred by security forces to all but residents. At least 172 people were arrested in the period of the march and thereafter. Fifteen policemen were also injured in the fray.
117 The Commission received statements regarding at least nine of those shot dead at this time, including a pregnant woman, Ms Sarah van Wyk (21) [CT03201]; Mr Kholekile Charles Maroti, 23 [CT000202]; Mr Lance Henry Phillips (18) [CT00476]; Mr Brian Lucas (16) [CT00476]; Mr Clive Cupido (18) [CT00222]; Mr Manfred Zolile Makasi (28) [CT00114]; and Mr Mbuyiseli Mtuze (16) [CT00112].
118 Ms and Mr Paulsen testified about the death of their twelve-year-old son, Lionel Paulsen [CT00625], who died with Quentin Bailey (13) [CT00630]:
Ms Paulsen: We were going to march in Mitchells Plain on the 29th because the march in Athlone had failed. My son Quentin came home and, like children are, was inquisitive. Then when he went there he was shot and killed. I was at work and they called me and they told me that my son had been shot. My husband and I ran home. His brother Karel was just one year older. Karel couldn’t utter one single word. When he saw me he said “Mommy Mommy”, and he charged out of the house. We tried to go to the police station but it was terrible. Having arrived there they chased us away like dogs and said, “Go and find your son’s body in the morgue”. My husband tried to negotiate with them, but they wanted to arrest him. Some friends who were with us had to calm him down.
Mr Paulsen: I went into the police station. I hit on the counter and asked who had shot my child. They didn’t answer, they were just looking at me. And then I asked again, “Where is my child?” and they said “Go and find him at the mortuary”. And then we went to the mortuary and found his body there. For three months I had this pain in my chest. To tell the honest truth, I loved that child dearly.
Ms Paulsen: The next day we returned again and then they took us to the Commissioner of Police. He was a white man on the second floor and he said “Please come again on Monday. We don’t have time for you now.”
Lionel and Quentin were 13-year-olds and they both died. There were thousands of people but why did the police shoot the children? Karel sat with Lionel while he was dying – now Karel is suffering because he and his brother were like twins.
That day the 29th of August, I still remember that. I had two sons Lionel 12 years and Karel 13 years. That day I lost two sons. Karel did not study any further. They tried to give him psychiatric treatment but even today he is still suffering. We never heard who were the guilty people – who had shot my son.
Aftermath: The Peninsula erupts
119 After the Pollsmoor march, the townships of the Western Cape remained in upheaval until the end of the year with ongoing street battles, barricades and stone throwing and arson attacks on institutions, shops and schools. The troubled townships were regularly sealed off by security forces and placed under virtual siege. The key areas of conflict continued to be the Athlone, Bonteheuwel, Manenberg and Mitchells Plain as well as the African townships of Gugulethu, Nyanga and Langa, with Khayelitsha increasingly entering the fray. On 6 September, the government closed 464 coloured schools and tertiary institutions in an acknowledgement of the enormous impact of the school boycotts. By this stage, however, protest had moved well beyond the education constituency.
120 The widespread political outrage that followed the mass killings at the Pollsmoor march had galvanised communities outside of the youth and the education sector. People identified as ‘collaborators’ were increasingly targeted in petrol bomb and stoning attacks. The death toll continued to grow at the rate of several deaths per week.
121 Mr Ebrahim Carelse (31), father of three, was shot in the head and neck in Salt River in the wake of the Pollsmoor march fracas and died a week later on 10 September. At his funeral in Salt River on 11 September, plain-clothes police constable JJ Farmer (23) was recognised as a policeman and was stabbed to death by the crowd. While under attack he fired a shot, seriously injuring a mourner.
122 October 1985 was an extremely violent month, with daily clashes between police and residents resulting in an estimated thirty-seven deaths in the Peninsula and Boland. On 24 October, a week after the infamous ‘Trojan Horse’ killings of three youths by police in Athlone and two people near Crossroads (see below), crowds marching in Cape Town city centre were chased by police wielding quirts and sjamboks, resulting in numerous injuries. The Western Cape accounted for 70 per cent of all unrest incidents nation-wide in the third week of October.
123 The day after the Trojan Horse shooting, an angry crowd gathered at the St Athans Road Mosque in Athlone. A member of the SAP was shot by the crowd, after which police opened fire, killing Mr Abdul Fridie (29) [CT00607]. On 18 October, a massive security force presence was moved into Athlone. Armed soldiers and police lined the streets and searched houses while a helicopter hovered above.
124 On 26 October, the state of emergency was extended to the western Cape, which prohibited up to a hundred organisations from holding meetings and also restricted the media. Four hundred people were detained in the first two weeks of the emergency, and the death toll continued to rise. Under these harsh restrictions, political protest adopted more varied forms such as candlelight protests, hunger strikes and church services, many of which were violently disrupted by police. The Divisional Commissioner of Police for the Western Cape, Brigadier Chris Swart, said that the candlelight protests were not innocent, but “deliberate tactics aimed at stirring people’s emotions, which leads them to violent acts”.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE GOAL OF THE ‘POLLSMOOR MARCH’ WAS SYMBOLIC IN NATURE, NAMELY TO DELIVER A MESSAGE TO MR MANDELA AND DEMAND HIS RELEASE. MANY OF THE GROUPS OF MARCHERS WERE LED BY CLERICS, STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS. THE ACTIONS OF THE SECURITY FORCES ON THE DAY OF THE POLLSMOOR MARCH AND THE FOLLOWING FEW DAYS WERE THEREFORE UNWARRANTED AND USED EXCESSIVE FORCE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT A MINIMUM OF TWENTY-EIGHT DEATHS ASSOCIATED WITH THE EVENT WERE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SECURITY FORCES. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE HARSH REPRESSION OF THIS ACT OF PEACEFUL PROTEST PROPELLED THE REGION INTO THE MOST EXTENSIVE PERIOD OF PUBLIC UNREST IN ITS HISTORY, LASTING SEVERAL MONTHS UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR.