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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 479

Paragraph Numbers 297 to 308

Volume 3

Chapter 5

Subsection 47

Stoning and petrol bomb attacks on commuters

297 There are three periods of deaths and injuries resulting from stonings and petrol bombs during street protests in the Western Cape, namely the 1985 unrest peak, 1986 and 1989. Mr C J Neels Kapp [CT03069] died in September 1985 after being stoned near Crossroads. In April 1986 two union members, Mr Rashid Abrahams [CT01042] and Mr David Nduti, died when their vehicle was stoned and petrol-bombed in Lansdowne Road. Mr Dane Douglas [CT00467] was seriously injured after being stoned near Crossroads in March 1986.

298 In addition to a number of serious injuries by stoning and petrol-bombing of vehicles, six deaths were reported, all in August to October 1989, around the time of the election. Those killed include two young girls who were run over when a vehicle was stoned by youths and went out of control, hitting a group of pedestrians.

THE COMMISSION NOTES THAT STREET UNREST INVOLVING STONING AND PETROL-BOMBING OF VEHICLES RESULTED IN SEVERAL FATALITIES AND SERIOUS INJURIES IN THE REGION. THESE CASUALTIES WERE ALMOST ALWAYS CIVILIANS DRIVING IN A PARTICULAR AREA. THE COMMISSION ACCEPTS THAT WIDESPREAD POLITICAL PROTEST WAS NOT ALWAYS ORGANISATIONALLY DIRECTED, BUT FINDS THAT THESE PROTESTERS WERE LARGELY UDF SUPPORTERS AND THAT THE LOCAL UDF STRUCTURES COULD HAVE PLAYED A ROLE IN HALTING THESE ATTACKS.
Armed operations by liberation movements

299 Armed activity by the ANC in the Western and Northern Cape escalated dramatically from mid-1985 to 1989. The over 100 attacks resulted in at least four deaths and approximately sixty injuries. No PAC or APLA armed actions appear to have taken place in this period.

300 There was a strong shift in 1985 towards attacking personnel of institutions deemed oppressive or ‘collaborative’. The homes of two members of the Labour Party in Mitchells Plain and Grassy Park were attacked with grenades on June 12 1985, along with an attack on the Langa police station. One person was seriously injured in the Mitchells Plain attack. Over the next four days, the homes of community councillors in Crossroads, Langa and Nyanga were attacked with grenades. Three members of the Security Branch were injured when a grenade was thrown at them near the Gugulethu police station. During an attack on the Mitchells Plain home of a Labour Party member on 15 August 1985, Rashaad Witten (16) was killed and three others injured.

301 In 1986 there were at least nineteen incidents, including four grenade attacks on personnel, four explosive devices in buildings and five gunshot attacks on personnel. Several police personnel were injured, some seriously. Primed explosive devices were detonated at the Mowbray railway station toilet on the eve of May Day, and at the Mowbray police station on 3 July. A shoot-out at a roadblock also occurred near Warrenton in the Northern Cape on 13 December in which one MK operative was killed.

302 Several mini-limpet mines attacks in 1987 involved ‘soft’ targets with a high potential for civilian casualties. Certain ‘terrorism’ trialists admitted attacks on three homes of policemen. In a significant ‘soft target attack’ that did not result in any injuries, Ms Jennifer Schreiner, under the command of Mr Tony Yengeni, placed two limpet mines in a ladies’ toilet in Cape Town’s airport around midnight on 21 July. There were also sabotage attacks on power pylons, railway lines, petrol stations, and a bus stop outside a government residence. A powerful car bomb exploded outside SADF residences in District Six and a primed limpet mine was discovered at a bus terminus in Cape Town.

303 The hand grenade targets in 1987 were SAP personnel (both on patrol and in their homes) and community councillors, or persons linked to these groups. On 9 January a hand grenade was thrown into a vehicle driven by the well-known Warrant Officer Barnard near KTC. The explosion killed his right-hand man, Constable Labuschagne, and seriously injured Barnard himself. Three days later Constable Mtetwa was killed by automatic gunfire in Gugulethu. Community councillor Mr Dennis Lobi’s home was attacked by grenades on 15 and 16 June, injuring four people.

304 In 1988, twenty-one MK attacks, mainly with mini-limpet mines, targeted municipal buildings and institutions in the build-up to the October 1988 municipal elections. In one of three simultaneous attacks on June 16, a homeless man, Mr Elliot Mphathio Ketelo, was killed at a dustbin outside the Wynberg magistrate’s court in which explosives had been placed. MK member Mr Allan Ndodomzi Mamba was later convicted for this killing. Ten policemen, two boys and a woman were injured when a police patrol was attacked with grenades and shots in Nyanga. Police linked MK operative Mthetheleli Gcina to the attempted killing of community councillor Dennis Lobi on 5 August 1988.

305 MK operatives linked to the ‘Ashley Kriel Detachment’ applied for amnesty regarding a limpet mine explosion at the Bonteheuwel municipal rent office on 28 September 1988 which seriously injured Mr Mogamat Nurudien Bartlett [CT00667]. Mr Bartlett suffered permanent injuries including the amputation of half of his left leg.

I was on my way home from work walking down Jakkalsvlei Avenue. In front of the rent office I saw a milk carton on the ground. I picked it up and opened it and it exploded whilst I was trying to look inside it. I lost my right eye, three fingers and right hand in the explosion. My body was burnt on the top half and my left ankle was damaged. I woke up in Groote Schuur Hospital. I was there for three to four months. I heard later from people that police thought that I was responsible for placing the bomb.

306 His sister stated that they heard the bomb explosion and she and her mother ran towards the scene:

When my mother got there police were already there. My brother was on fire and when my mother asked them to put it out, they said, ‘Laat die vark brand, hy het dit geplant (Let the pig burn, he planted it).

307 The amnesty applicants were operations commander Aneez Salie [AM6145/97] and operatives Sydney Hendricks [AM6146/97], Venessa Rhoda November [AM7988/97].

308 The whites-only election in September 1989 drew a number of bombings. Polling stations, magistrates’ courts as well as railway lines and stations were targeted. Two MK operatives, Mr Robbie Waterwitch and Ms Coline Williams, were killed in one of three simultaneous explosions on 23 July near the Athlone magistrate’s court.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MANY OF THE ARMED ATTACKS BY MK MEMBERS AMOUNTED TO ATTACKS ON ‘SOFT TARGETS’ OR ON INSTALLATIONS WITH SERIOUS HUMAN RISK. AT LEAST FOUR CIVILIANS WERE KILLED. FIRSTLY, THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT DURING 1985 A SERIES OF HAND GRENADE ATTACKS DIRECTLY TARGETED THE PRIVATE HOMES OF ALLEGED COLLABORATORS, KILLING ONE TEENAGER. SECONDLY, THE COMMISSION FINDS EVIDENCE OF ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS BY UMKHONTO WE SIZWE OPERATIVES. THIRDLY, THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE BOMB PLACED IN THE FEMALE TOILETS OF THE CAPE TOWN AIRPORT, ALTHOUGH NO INJURIES WERE INCURRED, CONSTITUTED A CIVILIAN TARGET. IN SEVERAL INSTANCES, UNINTENDED TARGETS BECAME VICTIMS OF ATTACKS, POINTING TO THE HIGHLY UNPREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE USE OF EXPLOSIVES IN ATTACKS.
 
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