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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 650

Paragraph Numbers 453 to 459

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 63

Vigilantes

453 Vigilante activities increased in the Transvaal at this time. The main groups were Imbokodo and Inkatha (used in the KwaNdebele homeland to enforce removals and facilitate independence) and disaffected police and/or councillors responding to attacks against them. Kabasa appeared to be concerned mainly with curbing political organisation by the UDF.

Alexandra

454 On 22 April 1986, the township of Alexandra was besieged by groups of men wearing balaclavas, who drove through the township in private cars, shooting randomly and singing songs, including ‘We are the new comrades’. The group divided itself up and systematically sought out activists and community leaders.

By morning, at least five people had been killed, thirteen vehicles destroyed and several activists’ homes burnt. Many residents believed that the state was supporting the vigilantes, and some claimed that the vigilantes included black policemen who had been driven out of the township during earlier disturbances. In response, residents embarked on a stay away and held a protest meeting, which was attended by about 45 000 people.

455 Mr Obed Bapela [JB01889/01GTTEM] told the Commission that a group of gangsters, perceived to be members of the police, modelled themselves on the Sowetobased Ama Cabasa vigilante group:

… So they put those cloths on their heads, but then they had their uniforms on, the blue shirts and their navy blue trousers, but their blue shirts were not inside their trousers, they just pulled them out so that they pretended to be that group of Ama Cabasas who were on an attack. And from the direction that they came from is the Wynberg police station and then entered Alexandra, attacked all those targeted areas and they attacked all those areas where it was places of our meetings where in some instances it was our own people, our own leaders who stayed in those places and attacked during that night. And when they left Alexandra they retreated back to Wynberg police station.

456 The Commission received a number of statements from victims of this attack on the night of 22 April 1986:

457 Ms Moko Melita Lephuting [JB01785/01GTTEM] believes that the police attacked her family because they were activists. Her husband, Mr Samuel Zwane, was stabbed to death, her son Kenneth was wounded and their house was burnt down in the attack.

458 The Commission heard that Mr Linda Twala [JB01826/01GTTEM] and his family were attacked at their home on the same night. Mr Twala was a UDF activist who had been involved in politics in Alexandra since the 1970s. Ms Phumzile Twala [JB01871/01GTTEM] and two of her sisters, Ms Nomgcobo Madikane [JB00279/01GTTEM] and Ms Gladys Twala [JB01870/01GTTEM], were left alone in the house when their father went out in the evening. A crowd gathered in the yard and threw a brick through the window. The three sisters fled from the house and hid themselves in a dog kennel behind a neighbour’s house. From here Phumzile was able to see members of the crowd stoning the house and then throwing ‘bombs’ into it, setting it alight. She alleges that the attackers were white men with blackened faces, wearing police uniforms and carrying AK-47s.

459 Other recorded violations on 22 April 1986 in Alexandra include an assault on Mr Boy Mabusane Moqhae [JB01827/01GTTEM], whose house was burnt to the ground; an assault on Ms Maria Malakoane [JB01882/01GTTEM]; the beating and stabbing of Mr Johannah Koapeng [JB02483/01GTTEM], allegedly by the police, and the shooting of UDF member Edward Raadt [JB02484/01GTTEM] by members of the Kabasa gang.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT GANGSTERS IN THE TOWNSHIP ACTING IN COLLUSION WITH THE POLICE FORMED VIGILANTE GANGS WHICH ATTACKED ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT A VIGILANTE GROUP WENT ON THE RAMPAGE IN ALEXANDRA ON 22 APRIL 1986, ATTACKING ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS. FIVE PEOPLE WERE KILLED, THIRTEEN VEHICLES DESTROYED AND SEVERAL HOMES BURNT DOWN. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE POLICE FAILED TO ASSIST THE COMMUNITY AND THAT THE ATTACK WAS LAUNCHED FROM THE POLICE STATION IN WYNBERG.
 
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