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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 605

Paragraph Numbers 279

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 41

THE COMMISSION FINDS THE FORMER STATE, THE MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND THE VAAL LOCAL AUTHORITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SEVERE ILL TREATMENT OF THE RESIDENTS OF BLACK TOWNSHIPS IN THE VAAL IN THAT THEY ALLOWED AND IMPOSED INCREASES IN RENT AT A TIME WHEN THE TOWNSHIPS HAD NO INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE AVERAGE INCOME OF RESIDENTS WAS AROUND R264.00 PER MONTH. THE COMMISSION FURTHER FINDS THAT THE REFUSAL OF THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE FACT THAT MOST RESIDENTS LIVED BELOW THE POVERTY LINE FURTHER CONTRIBUTED TO FUELLING INTENSE ANGER AGAINST THEM, WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE SUBSEQUENT VIOLENCE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE WAY IN WHICH THE CONFLICT WAS MANAGED BOTH BY THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND THE ORGANS OF THE FORMER STATE CONTRIBUTED TO AN ESCALATION IN VIOLENCE. AS A CONSEQUENCE, NINETY PEOPLE DIED AND COUNTLESS OTHERS WERE INJURED. THE PARTIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ARE THE FORMER STATE, THE MINISTER OF BANTU AFFAIRS AND THE VAAL LOCAL AUTHORITIES.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE AND IMPROPER CROWD CONTROL METHODS TO QUELL THE PROTESTS AND DISPERSE CROWDS HAD THE EFFECT OF MOBILISING THE RESIDENTS AGAINST THE POLICE AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE’S AUTHORITY LIVING IN THE TOWNSHIPS, SUCH AS THE COUNCILLORS. HITHERTO UNPOLITICISED RESIDENTS BECAME AWARE OF THE POLITICAL DIMENSION OF THE CONFLICT, RESULTING IN MASSIVE OPPOSITION TO THE STATE. THUS VIOLENT POLICE DISPERSAL METHODS WERE MET BY RETALIATORY ACTION BY TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS AGAINST COUNCILLORS AND POLICEMEN LIVING IN THE TOWNSHIPS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE FAILURE TO USE PROPER CROWD CONTROL METHODS, THE USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE, THE USE OF LIVE AMMUNITION ON RESIDENTS, THE FAILURE TO DISPERSE PEOPLE IN AN ACCEPTABLE MANNER BY CALLING ON THEM TO DISPERSE AND GIVING THEM ADEQUATE TIME TO DISPERSE, AND THE FAILURE TO USE ALTERNATIVE METHODS TO DISPERSE THE CROWD RATHER THAN LIVE AMMUNITION LED TO THE DEATHS OF AT LEAST NINETY PEOPLE AND THE INJURY OF MANY OTHERS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, THE MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER, AND THE VAAL COUNCILLORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
‘OPERATION PALMIET’ EVOKED INTENSE ANGER AGAINST THE STATE. THE OCCUPATION OF THE TOWNSHIP BY THE ARMY, THE MANNER IN WHICH HOUSE-TO-HOUSE SEARCHES WERE CONDUCTED, THE ROUNDING UP OF ACTIVISTS AND THE SECURITY FORCES’ TREATMENT OF ORDINARY PEOPLE AS THE ENEMY WITHOUT ANY PROVOCATION LED TO GREATER VIOLENCE.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT AGAINST THIS CONTEXT, ‘OPERATION PALMIET’ LED TO GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WHICH THE HEAD OF THE SADF, THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, THE MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER, THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND THE FORMER STATE MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.
WHILST THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE STATE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIAL OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE, AND THE BRUTALITY AND VIOLENCE THAT FOLLOWED, THE CIVIC STRUCTURES AND STUDENT ORGANISATIONS ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BRUTAL KILLING OF COUNCILLORS AND POLICEMEN. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE NECKLACING OF MR CAESAR MOTJEANE CONSTITUTES A GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION FOR WHICH THE CIVIC STRUCTURES, STUDENT ORGANISATIONS AND THE UDF MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.
THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT THE KILLING OF TWO OTHER COUNCILLORS WAS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE ACTIONS OF THE CIVIC STRUCTURES, AND HOLDS THEM AND THE UDF RESPONSIBLE FOR GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT THE BURNING OF THE HOMES OF COUNCILLORS, POLICEMEN AND THEIR RELATIVES (AMONGST THEM COUNCILLOR SONNY MOFOKENG, HIS FATHER AND COUNCILLOR NTSOERENG), CONSTITUTES A GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION FOR WHICH THE CIVIC AND STUDENT STRUCTURES AND THE UDF MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE BRUTAL KILLING OF COUNCILLOR SAM DHLAMINI BY PROTESTERS BELONGING TO THE CIVIC AND STUDENT STRUCTURES CONSTITUTES A GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION FOR WHICH THE CIVIC AND STUDENT STRUCTURES AND THE UDF MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.
 
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