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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 674

Paragraph Numbers 541 to 546

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 74

541 The allegations of forced recruitment in the Transvaal were similar to those made in Natal during the mid-1980s in areas controlled by the KwaZulu government. However, in the Transvaal the IFP did not have the same administrative control as in KwaZulu-Natal and had to rely on more direct physical coercion. The IFP also accused the ANC of not allowing any opposition. Hostels were built at a time when African people were seen as temporary sojourners in South Africa’s towns and cities. The large dilapidated buildings built to house single males in large concentrations created the ideal context for coercion and forced recruitment. This environment also facilitated rapid mobilisation, instant meetings and preparation for armed attacks.

542 During the early 1990s, violence from the hostels was characterised by mass impi (traditional army) attacks. Counter-attacks from the informal settlements followed a similar pattern. Initially, the primary locus of conflict occurred between squatter and hostel communities with conflict spreading to formal townships only later. The conflict led to a process of territorial polarisation with squatter camps and hostels becoming identified with either the ANC or IFP. Residents were no longer able to make personal political choices and in fact to do so could often be life threatening. The process of political polarisation, which increasingly overlapped with ethnic identity, led to major migrations of people from one area to another.

543 Allegations by residents that the police had not intervened to prevent violence or had overtly sided with attackers became commonplace during the 1990s. In August 1990, when Thokoza hostel residents attacked Phola Park squatters on the East Rand, the police issued a statement declaring that they would “not get involved in a political fight” between Zulus and Xhosas.37 The ANC argued that political violence was being orchestrated and fanned by members of the security forces in order to undermine and weaken the recently unbanned organisation.

544 Over the next four years, political and civic leadership repeatedly issued warnings of impending attacks. These were ignored (as in the Sebokeng Massacre on 22 July 1990 where twenty-seven people died; the Nangalembe night vigil massacre where forty-five people died; the Boipatong massacre where forty-five people died). In addition, once attacks were underway, there were repeated allegations (at Boipatong, Swanieville and the Alexandra Night Vigil Massacre) that the police had failed to respond to calls for assistance. In the wake of the massacres, police frequently failed to arrest perpetrators. After the Boipatong and Swanieville massacres, attackers were escorted back to the hostels. Incidents of political violence were not investigated or so poorly investigated there was no possibility that they would lead to convictions.

545 Evidence of the part played by sectors of the SAP and SADF in directly fuelling violence during the 1990s first emerged during the early 1990s. The Goldstone Commission revealed that a police informer, Mr Michael Phama, operating in a SDU in Phola Park, planned and carried out the killing of eighteen IFP supporters in Thokoza on 8 September 1991, precipitating a renewed outbreak of conflict on the East Rand. In November 1992, a Goldstone Commission investigation led to the seizure of documents from a secret military intelligence base. These revealed that, in 1991, the Chief of Staff of Military Intelligence had authorised the hiring of convicted double murderer, Mr Ferdi Barnard, to run a task force aimed at destabilising the ANC and its armed wing, MK.

546 In March 1994, on the eve of South Africa’s first democratic elections, further revelations were made by the Goldstone Commission concerning alleged police involvement in the instigation of violence, including the organisation of train and hostel violence and gun-running. Those implicated included Lieutenant General Basie Smit, SAP Deputy Commissioner and Major General Krappies Engelbrecht, head of the department of Counter-Intelligence of the SAP. These two officers allegedly initiated a project that involved the manufacture of home-made guns, as well as the importation of a large range of weaponry from Namibia after the country gained independence. These arms were allegedly sold directly to senior members of the IFP, including Mr Themba Khoza, chairperson of the Transvaal Inkatha Youth Brigade. Central to the whole operation was Colonel Eugene de Kock, former commander of the C10 Security Branch unit, Vlakplaas. However, weapons stored at Vlakplaas were transferred to another venue and a number of former members of the unit continued to work under De Kock in various destabilisation operations.38

37 Business Day, 15 August 1990. 38 Peace Action, Monthly Report, March 1994.
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