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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 613

Paragraph Numbers 310 to 313

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 45

310 Others shot dead in the Six Day War in 1986 included: Mr Solomon Mosue [JB01578/01GTTEM], Mr Jerry Molebatsi Smiles [JB01777/01GTTEM], Mr Steven Sithole [JB01734/01GTTEM], Ms Lucy Ledwaba [JB02499/01GTTEM] and Mr Jerry Mthembu [JB00130/01GTTEM]. Ms Daisy Mashigo [JB01877/01GTTEM] was shot by the SAP on 17 February and left permanently disabled. Four-year-old Ruben Lengwati [JB02503/01GTTEM] was shot in the head during a mass funeral and remains mentally retarded. Prior to the killing of Mr Mthembu, the police allegedly threatened to kill his sister, Ms Maria Mthembu, who was detained on 1 February when five months pregnant, and gave birth at John Vorster Square security police headquarters. During February, the Mthembu’s home was petrol-bombed. Police allegedly later confessed that they had intended to kill Maria, not Jerry.

311 On 19 April 1986, in the wake of the Six Day War, the Alexandra Consumer Boycott Committee launched a boycott of local businesses, particularly those owned by councillors and policemen or whites. Its demands included the withdrawal of the SADF from the township, the release of political prisoners, improved housing and electricity, lowering of rentals and the resignation of all councillors from the town council. Shopkeepers in Alexandra alleged widespread intimidation of shoppers by gangs of youths on the first day of the boycott. One white owner of a restaurant reported that his business dropped by 20 per cent. On the third day of the boycott, the army sealed off the township after two people died in a night of violence.

312 By 22 April, pressure exerted on the council caused it to collapse following several resignations. This period also saw the emergence of ‘street committees’, many of them organised by trade unionists who led the Alexandra Action Committee (AAC), and ‘alternative structures’ such as ‘people’s courts’.

313 On the night of 22 April, disaffected police who had been driven from the township retaliated by attacking the homes of activists. Five people died. (See the section on Vigilantes below for more detail.) Despite the vigilante attack, the AAC announced on 30 April that ‘people’s power’ had been established in Alexandra and that residents could now defend themselves against police. Streets and schools were renamed in a symbolic display of popular control. The following month, township organisation went underground after a mass meeting of all township organisations where it was agreed that the AAC should be the sole representative of the Alexandra community. However, the declaration of a nation-wide state of emergency on 12 June brought ‘people’s power’ in Alexandra to an end. Security forces swept through the township the night before the emergency was declared, detaining large numbers of people ranging from high-profile leaders to grass-roots activists.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE FUNERAL OF MR MICHAEL DIRADING WAS PEACEFUL UNTIL THE POLICE FIRED TEAR GAS AT THE 11 000 MOURNERS ATTENDING THE FUNERAL. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ATTACK BY THE POLICE ON UNARMED MOURNERS LED TO VIOLENT CLASHES BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND ALEXANDRA RESIDENTS, IN WHICH THIRTY PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND MANY OTHERS WERE INJURED. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE POLICE ACTED IN A DELIBERATELY PROVOCATIVE MANNER BY SHOOTING AT PEOPLE WITHOUT ANY PROVOCATION. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE POLICE PREVENTED THE INJURED FROM RECEIVING MEDICAL TREATMENT, WHICH LED TO FURTHER DEATHS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE SAP, THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, THE MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER, THE SADF AND THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE RESPONSIBLE FOR GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS THAT OCCURRED IN ALEXANDER IN FEBRUARY 1986 IN WHAT IS COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS THE SIX DAY WAR.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT DURING THE ‘SIX DAY WAR’, STATE EMPLOYEES SUCH AS POLICE OFFICERS, AND OTHERS PERCEIVED TO BE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE, WERE ATTACKED AND KILLED. ONE OF THESE WAS POLICE OFFICER SAMUEL MASHILE, WHO WAS BURNT TO DEATH BY UNKNOWN ALEXANDRA RESIDENTS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THESE RESIDENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
 
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